Relations Reporting on marriage, family, and sexuality

Parents lose custody of transgender teen

Family | A judge rules the child is better off with grandparents who support hormone therapy
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 2/16/18, 02:52 pm

An Ohio couple on Friday lost permanent custody of their teenage daughter because they didn’t want her to undergo sex-change treatment.

Cincinnati-area Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Hendon removed the girl from her parents’ custody and turned her over to her maternal grandparents, who support the 17-year-old’s desire to indentify as a boy. The teen moved in with her grandparents early last year.

The names of the girl and her parents and grandparents are sealed by court order.

The girl was first hospitalized in 2016 and diagnosed with gender dysphoria, depression, and an anxiety disorder. The gender clinic at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center recommended hormone therapy treatment, but the parents refused, saying they did not think it was in their child’s best interest and instead wanted to pursue Christian counseling to “get to the underlying causes” of their daughter’s desire to become a boy, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

In November 2016, the girl contacted a crisis chat service and reported suicidal thoughts because of her parents’ opposition to a gender change. Hamilton County Job and Family Services took temporary custody of the girl, placing her with her grandparents.

During the closing arguments in Hamilton County Juvenile Court at the end of January, the medical team from the hospital’s gender clinic said removing the girl from the custody of her parents was “a possible life-or-death situation” due to the severity of her depression, according to CNN. The team said the girl has been improving since living with her grandparents due to therapy, and that hormone treatment was the only option to decrease the risk of suicide.

“What we want to do in the coming months around May is plan for a high school graduation,” said Jeffrey Cutcher, the grandparents’ attorney. “We don’t want to be planning for a funeral.”

The county prosecutor and attorneys for the girl and the grandparents contended that anything other than full openness to hormone therapy and gender transition would deny the girl appropriate medical care. A pediatrician featured in CNN’s coverage of the case compared it to parents refusing to give their asthmatic child an inhaler.

But that is unscientific, according to Michelle Cretella, the president of the American College of Pediatricians.

“A child suffering from gender dysphoria has a fixed belief contrary to physical reality. This is a delusion,” Cretella told The Christian Post, noting there is no long-term evidence to show that encouraging a child’s gender transition prevents suicide, and “it is more likely that whatever has caused the child’s depression and suicidal thoughts is also triggering the gender dysphoria.”

Cretella added, “Since there are no long-term studies regarding the use of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones in young children and teens, this entire enterprise is, by definition, an experiment upon a minor—and a dangerous one at that, given the lifelong, permanent side effects.”

A report released last year pointed to the significant, long-term physical and psychological risks associated with hormone treatment in minors, including the inability to transition back, permanent sterilization, heart disease, and cancer.

Before Friday’s decision, Cretella said a ruling in favor of the “ideologically driven gender clinic” would be a tremendous hit to “the ability of all parents to protect their children of any age from all aspects of this social and medical experiment.”

Mr. Daniels becomes Ms. Daniels

An elementary school principal in Swampscott, Mass., last week told students and parents he is transgender. Stanley Elementary School Principal Tom Daniels, 52, said he will begin using the name “Shannon” and wear women’s clothing.

“I can now say it: I am transgender,” Daniels, a married father with three children, wrote in a letter to students, parents, teachers, and administrators last Tuesday. “For me, that means I identify as both a male and female, and I plan to move toward presenting myself and identifying as female.”

The letter proposed language for parents to use when trying to explain the transition to their elementary students, including, “There are many different ways boys and girls express themselves,” and, “Principal Daniels may look and sound different, but inside Principal Daniels is the same caring person.”

But no amount of talking points can shield children from the natural confusion and distress they will feel when their male principal starts dressing as a female, according to Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg.

“Children do not have the cognitive capacity to understand something which could upend their own developing sense of a secure, natural identity as male or female,” Sprigg told LifeSite News, adding that Daniels’ case is even more extreme because he is asking elementary school–age children to embrace his identity as both a man and a woman. “Children should not be subjected to such social engineering.”

One South Dakota state legislator this week tried to sponsor a bill that would have prohibited public schools from teaching students from kindergarten to seventh grade about gender identity or gender expression, but it appears a forceful LGBT lobby bested the effort. A committee hearing was scheduled for Thursday, and LGBT advocates were on hand to testify, but at the last minute, state Sen. Phil Jensen dropped the bill. He refused to explain why. —K.C.

Keeping up with the biological clock

Putting off childbearing means millennial women won’t be able to have as many children as they say they want, according to new birth rate forecasts highlighted in a New York Times article by economist and researcher Lyman Stone.

Women today say they want an average of 2.7 children (men report a similar desire), but fertility treatments and reproductive technology—often expensive, elusive, and unsuccessful—cannot keep up with that goal as women step into childbearing later and later in life.

The dropping fertility rate is old news. Latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a total fertility rate of 1.77 lifetime births per woman, down from its recent peak of 2.12 in 2007.

The reason is also old news: Women are waiting longer to get pregnant and married.

“What began as sharp declines in pregnancy and childbearing among teenagers—typically considered a socially desirable result—has slowly spread up the age cohorts, first to women in their early 20s, then to those in their late 20s. And now fertility decline has set in for women even in their 30s,” wrote Stone.

More and more women are using long-acting reversible contraceptives and emergency contraceptives, he said, so the rate of unmarried births has fallen. The birth rate among married women has been stable for the last 15 years.

The problem, Stone said, is “Americans are improving their ability to avoid unwanted pregnancies far faster than they are improving the ability to achieve desired pregnancy.” —K.C.

Ban porn

The New York Times Magazine recently ran a scathing article about the rampant use of pornography by teenagers. In short, the article recommended parents mitigate their teens’ use of damaging porn by helping their children with “porn literacy”—how to consume certain kinds of porn acceptably.

In response, conservative Times columnist Roth Douthat shot back with his own idea: ban pornography.

“If you want better men by any standard,” Douthat wrote, “there is every reason to regard ubiquitous pornography as an obstacle—and to suspect that, between virtual reality and creepy forms of customization, its influence is only likely to get worse.” On Friday’s The World and Everything in It, John Stonestreet of the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview said the damage done by pornography “so permeates all of our society that it is ruining individual lives, it’s tearing down institutions, it’s breaking apart families, it is compromising the long-term stability of society.” —K.C.

Kiley Crossland

Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.

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  • OldMike
    Posted: Sat, 02/17/2018 03:57 am

    Regarding the case of the teenage girl removed from her parents' custody, because she thinks she wants to be a boy, and her parents want counseling for her, rather than sex change treatment?  It's hard to imagine anything being more off the rails than the decision of the judge, the hospital, county prosecutor, and family services agency, to support this child's fantasy.  

  • Janet S
    Posted: Mon, 02/19/2018 08:33 am

    Why do you think it is hard to imagine with all that is taking place in our country with the LGBT movement? The sad part is that we are doing a great cultural experiment with our children. 

  •  phillipW's picture
    Posted: Tue, 02/20/2018 02:26 pm

    What person, in their right mind, would want to have children, after reading something like this?  We've removed the ability of parents to discipline their children, and to decide what is in their best interests, prior to age 18.  Children can read this story, and sue their parents if they don't like the decisions their parents are making for them.  And we wonder why we have an entire generation of spoiled brats who need safe spaces, and can't handle negativity, pressure, or life in general.  Let's just lock up our wittle snowflakes in a pillow room and don't let them see or do anything, for fear it might harm their precious wittle selves.

    This judge should be removed from the bench.  Horrible precedent and decision to make.

  • OldMike
    Posted: Fri, 02/23/2018 09:01 pm

    I would like to say, in my opinion we don’t have “an entire generation of spoiled brats who need safe spaces, etc.”

    To be sure, there are too many who aren’t becoming assured and responsible young adults. But there are still a lot of families, although probably not a majority, who are raising their kids sensibly and teaching them to ignore the foulness our “culture-leaders” are spewing through entertainment, the schools, and leftist politics. There’s an increase in young people standing for the value of the unborn, for instance. 

    All is not lost yet, though it’s a very chancy thing.  

  • RB
    Posted: Thu, 03/01/2018 11:13 am

    I would tell my elementary school child about Mr. Daniels ‘transition’;

    “Mr. Daniels has been deceived by his desires into believing something about himself that is not true. That is false and unnatural. It is in fact sinful. This does not mean you should treat him differently or avoid him. You should pray for him and love him as Jesus loves you, but you do not have to accept his dressing in women’s clothes, or changing his voice, or acting strange or out of the ordinary as correct or as the truth. Be aware of anyone who tells you something different and tell us.

    If someone, an adult, a teacher, a friend or another kid, tells you that you must accept him in his new way as ok, or asks you to believe he ‘is just expressing himself differently’ or is ‘the same caring person inside’, immediately tell your mother or I as soon as you can.

    If you are worried or have any questions about this you can always talk to us.