A Hamilton County judge will decide whether a transgender boy whose parents, according to court documents, want “Christian-based” therapy for him can receive treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
The 16-year-old wants to transition in gender, but court documents say his parents have denied he is transgender, have refused services from Children’s Hospital and at one point refused to allow him to change his “appearance to a male look.”
The teen has reported that he was once forced to sit in a room and listen to Bible scriptures for more than six hours at a time, the documents say.
The case is in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. County social workers are asking a visiting judge, Sylvia Hendon, to order treatment for the teen at Children’s Hospital.
In court Tuesday, attorneys for all parties asked the courtroom to be closed to the media. Hendon granted that request. But before the courtroom was closed, an attorney for the parents, Karen Brinkman, said there are allegations in the complaint that are not true.
The hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday.
Early this year, Hamilton County Job and Family Services filed a complaint, seeking temporary custody of the teen. That was granted, and he was placed with his grandparents.
The teen, according to the complaint, at one point was seeing a therapist through Children’s Hospital. But that therapy was stopped early last year by his parents, the complaint says.
The therapy, however, later resumed due to the teen’s anxiety and depression, even as his parents were “still opposed to the transition issue,” the documents say.
In October 2016, the complaint says the teen’s father was told by a therapist that the teen doesn’t “have the coping skills to manage the home situation.”
The teen’s mother then emailed that they were going to seek a Christian therapist, the complaint says.
According to the complaint, in November 2016 the teen emailed a crisis hotline that one of his parents had told him to kill himself and refused to let him get therapy “unless it was Christian-based.”
During a December 2016 meeting at Children’s Hospital, the teen tried to read a letter to his parents, the complaint says.
His mother stood up, the complaint says, pointed her finger at him and screamed, “You’re a liar!”
The teen started shaking and curled into “the fetal position.”
The case has similarities to that of transgender teen, Leelah Alcorn, who in 2014 ran into traffic on Interstate 71, was struck and killed. In a note left behind on social media, Leelah said her evangelical parents’ efforts to change her with “Christian therapy” left her without hope.