Ohio activists and lawmakers are looking for a legislative solution to ensure parents will not lose custody of gender-dysphoric children for refusing to facilitate their transitions to the opposite sex.
The effort comes as schools, medical institutions and courts have taken steps to undermine the rights of parents to decide what is best for their children. A Hamilton County, Ohio, judge removed a transgender child from her parents last month because the parents refused to consent to hormone therapies recommended by the child’s doctors.
In response to that decision, Aaron Baer, president of the Ohio-based Citizens for Community Values, said state Rep. Tom Brinkman, a Republican, will introduce legislation that would ensure the state “cannot take into consideration the denial of hormone therapy as a reason for the removal a child.”
“It’s putting ideology above what’s best for kids,” Mr. Baer said. “That certainly seems to be the trend, and I think that’s what’s inspiring a lot more concern from parents.”
In her Feb. 16 ruling, Juvenile Court Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon awarded custody of a 17-year-old to her grandparents.
The judge acknowledged that there is a “surprising lack of definitive clinical study available to determine the success of different treatment modalities,” but nonetheless ruled that gender non-conforming children have a “legitimate right to pursue life with a different gender identity than the one assigned at birth.”
The custody battle made national headlines and sparked concerns about parental rights. More quietly, some schools across the country have been giving preference to transgender rights over parental ones.
Kindergarteners at California’s Rocklin Academy, for instance, were read a book espousing transgender ideology, “I am Jazz,” without parental notification. When parents petitioned the school to exempt their children from future lessons on the topic, the school declined.
Delaware also is considering legislation that would allow children to choose their gender without parental input. Regulation 225 would allow students to participate in activities and use the facilities of the sex with which they identify, and schools are not required to notify parents if their children identify as the opposite sex.
The LGBT movement has long been aware that transgender rights occasionally will conflict with those of parents.
A fact sheet published by the Transgender Law Center notes that “as more transgender youth come out at an earlier age, sometimes parents disagree among themselves about whether to support their children.”
“If you are a transgender youth who is facing abuse at home or if you are kicked out of your home for being transgender, you can consider creating a different kind of family for yourself,” the fact sheet reads. “If you are old enough and can show a judge that you can support yourself, emancipation may be an option.”
Joseph Backholm, president of the Family Policy Institute of Washington, said the transgender movement is relying on an expansive definition of “abuse” to undermine the rights of parents.
“On this issue, they believe that anyone who does not affirm a minor’s decision to change their gender is being abusive,” Mr. Backholm said. “And because they don’t make any room for the possibility that they are wrong about their assumptions, they automatically jump to the conclusion that anyone who disagrees with me is a child abuser.”
“Once they have concluded that everyone who has disagreed with them is a child abuser,” he continued, “it becomes very easy for them to use the influence of the state to take away the rights of others.”
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