US

Transgender Teen Sues Parents For Not Allowing Her Gender Reassignment Surgery

Ohio social workers are siding with a transgender teen against her parents, asking that she receive treatment at a hospital instead of the Christian-based therapy the parents desire.

The complaint, filed in Hamilton County Juvenile Court, asks Judge Sylvia Hendon to order Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to provide treatment to the transgender teen, against her parents’ wishes. Court documents posit that the girl’s parents refuse to acknowledge her transgender identity, won’t let her receive treatment at Children’s Hospital, and haven’t let her change her change her appearance to look like a man, according to Cincinnati.com.

The case comes after the unnamed 16-year-old transgender teen emailed a crisis hotline in November 2016, saying that one of her parents had told her to kill herself, according to the complaint. Court documents also allege that the mother screamed “You’re a liar!” at her child when she tried to read a letter during a therapy meeting.

The teen says her parents made her listen to Bible passages for more than six hours at one point. The complaint also posits that she was receiving therapy from Children’s Hospital until the parents decided they wanted their child to receive counseling from a Christian therapist. The documents posit that the therapy resumed because the teen was having extensive bouts of anxiety and suffering from depression.

Both the parents’ and teen’s attorneys requested that the media be kept out of the courtroom during the Tuesday hearing, and Hendon granted their request. However, the parent’s attorney, Karen Brinkman, indicated that multiple statements in the teen’s complaints are false.

This case strongly resembles that of transgender teen Josh (Leelah) Alcorn, who committed suicide by running into oncoming traffic in 2014 after his parents insisted he receive Christian therapy. Alcorn’s parents had never heard the name “Leelah” until he left a suicide note under that name. The parents had refused gender reassignment surgery because they didn’t have enough money, according to CNN.

Cincinnati prohibits doctors or therapists from practicing conversion therapy on gays and transgender, in accordance with a 2015 ban passed largely as a result of Alcorn’s death. The city fines anyone practicing conversion therapy $200.

“No licensed medical professional can perform any type of ‘treatment’ to change the sexual orientation or gender identity/expression of a minor in the City of Cincinnati. It is now the law of the land in Cincinnati, Ohio,” openly gay Cincinnati city councilmember Chris Seelbach said after the ban passed.

The hearing will continue Thursday.

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