A judge awarded custody of a transgender teen to her grandparents after what was an emotionally tense and difficult legal matter. That outcome is seen as a win for advocates for transgender youth, but it is also a loss for a family struggling to come to terms with their child's decisions. For many in Texas, this type of child custody case is unimaginable, but states across the nation are having to weigh these types of legal matters.
The child at the center of this case is 17 years of age. Born a female, the child recently expressed a desire to live her life as a male. That decision came on the heels of a bout of depression and anxiety. When the parents sought treatment for those issues in 2016, their daughter declared her wish to live as a boy. She was diagnosed with gender dysphoria.
The parents are deeply religious and do not agree with their child's decision to alter her gender. Child protective services became involved, and the child was placed in the care of her maternal grandparents after threatening to commit suicide. A hospital treating the child recommended that she be allowed to begin hormone therapy, a decision supported by her grandparents.
This child custody case may seem unusual to many Texas readers, but courts across the nation could hear more of these matters as time passes. As more information is made available about gender dysphoria, more young people could push for the right to alter their gender expression. That could put the court in the position of weighing a child's rights against those of a parent.
Source: washingtontimes.com, "Religious parents lose custody of transgender teen for refusing hormone treatment", Bradford Richardson, Feb. 20, 2018