Judges Caving to Transgender Activists on Parents’ Rights

In this Dec.13, 2018 photo, Laura, a transgender girl, looks from behind a glass door duri
Esteban Felix/AP Photo

Transgender activists are lobbying the courts to achieve their goal of removing children from the homes of parents who refuse to affirm their child’s new, self-proclaimed gender identity.

Like many other left-wing political identities whose ideology is unpopular with most Americans, transgender activists have been using the courts as a means to legally take gender-confused children away from parents who will not allow hormone treatments to begin transition to the opposite sex.

Transgender activists have a “plan,” wrote senior contributor Margot Cleveland in a report at the Federalist.

“Use the government to force parents to affirm a false sex for their child, agree to hormone blockers, and accept a transition to their son or daughter’s preferred gender,” she explained. “If parents refuse? Removal of the child from the family, due to alleged medical neglect.”

Cleveland began her piece with the news that the Health and Human Services Committee of the South Dakota House killed a bill that would have affirmed parents’ rights to refuse puberty blockers and transgender surgeries for their gender-dysphoric children.

“That such a simple affirmation of parental rights could not clear a committee in this solidly red state should terrify parents,” asserted Cleveland.

Nevertheless, the national landscape has been studded with cases that point in this direction for the past several years.

In February 2018, parents of a 17-year-old girl lost custody of their daughter for opposing her wish for transgender medical treatments.

Judge Sylvia Sieve Hendon of Hamilton County, Ohio, allowed the girl to be taken into the custody of her grandparents – who supported her medical transition – allowing them to make decisions that would further along her physical transition to the opposite sex.

In her ruling, Hendon urged the Ohio state legislature to create legislation to assist judges in evaluating a young person’s rights with regard to “transgender care.”

“This is a really critical time in a child’s life, and it can be frustrating for the process to take so long to help him,” Corinne Green, policy coordinator for the Transgender Law Center, said at the time, according to CNN. “There can be significant harm in delaying or withholding care of any kind.”

Hendon concluded the girl’s parents had no right to make the decision to prohibit their daughter from entering a life of hormone blockers and likely sex-reassignment surgery.

Like the abortion industry – which has adopted the narrative that abortion is “women’s health care” – transgender activists are referring to prescribing hormone and surgical treatments for a gender-confused child as “transgender care.”

Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, explained to Cleveland the first wave of the transgender strategy began in 2016:

I heard from seven families in as many different states in this situation. In all but one case the child was a 15-year-old girl who never had any sexual identity confusion prior to her parent’s divorce. The other case involved 4-year-old triplet boys whose mother desperately wanted a girl. The mother was a psychologist herself and had cross-dressed one of the boys for two years, insisting that it was his idea. In each of the seven cases the guardian ad litems and judges removed the right to medical consent and/or custody from the parent who objected to transition with puberty blockers and hormones.

In the current “second wave” of the transgender strategy, Cretella said doctors, therapists, and hospital staff are reporting parents who “refuse to affirm their child’s false gender” to Child Protective Services.

Cretella said parents contacted her about having sought treatment for their 14-year-old son’s suicidal thoughts. Though the boy had no sign of gender confusion in the past, she told Cleveland the emergency room physician diagnosed the boy as “definitely transgender because he insists that he is and that [the parents’] lack of acceptance is causing his suicidal depression. He should be started on puberty blockers and estrogen to transition.”

That one prescription by the emergency room doctor, Cretella said, led to the parents having to endure months of battling with the child’s hospital against its allegations they were “abusive and unsupportive” parents.

Cretella warned the “third wave” of the transgender strategy is approaching, as indicated when schools report parents of children with gender dysphoria to Child Protective Services.

“We can see this wave forming from the multitude of school protocols in the news, such as allowing students from K-12 to choose their gender identity,” Cleveland wrote.

Medical professionals who “specialize” in transgender children and are in high demand for speaking tours, along with others who are operating clinics and benefiting from an increasing number of children who claim to be unhappy with their gender identity, are advising judges on how to deal with cases involving such “abusive and unsupportive” parents.

Cleveland reported on a 2015 judicial conference held by the Rhode Island Family Court for which the keynote speaker was Dr. Michelle Forcier, who “is considered an expert on transgender, queer and questioning youth,” according to Steven Petrow in a Washington Post article.

Though conference organizer Judge Sandra Lanni said she failed to view Forcier as an advocate for a particular approach to children with gender dysphoria, Forcier told the Washington Post that not allowing hormone blockers or surgeries was unethical.

Cleveland cited her response:

“How ethical is it to negate a person’s identity — to tell them you know them better than they do?” Forcier asked rhetorically when responding to criticism of the transgender-affirming model. “How ethical is it to deny a person access to medication that is very safe, effective and proven to help persons with gender-nonforming/diverse brain/identity and body experiences?”

Forcier also presented at the United States Professional Association for Transgender Health’s (USPATH) national conference, where a psychologist from a Missouri gender clinic reportedly asked her a question about whether there was precedent for forcing parents to administer puberty blockers. Forcier replied:

Yeah, there’s no precedent but you can again work with the child protection team for medical neglect. Work with one parent…at least to get things started. And again, you can do some education. We did education with judges in Rhode Island. So, we spent a half day with family court judges, basically telling them this is what gender and transgender is…and it’s been deeply helpful with DCYF and our trans population.

Dr. Johanna Olson-Kennedy, medical director of The Center for Transyouth Health and Development at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, agreed, and reportedly replied, “We work really hard to bring both parents in and bring them both on board, so it’s not my first line to go to court to get somebody what they need. But it is my second line and I will do it.”

Olson-Kennedy is one of four researchers running a taxpayer-funded study, launched by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), that is on course to conclude that “affirming” young children with gender dysphoria by providing puberty blockers and ultimately sterilizing them is both safe and necessary for their happiness.

Dr. Quentin Van Meter, an Atlanta pediatric endocrinologist who is also president of the American College of Pediatricians, told Breitbart News in September the NIH study “is designed specifically to show how well they’re doing” taking hormone treatments:

There’s no control group – which is a must if you’re going to be following ethical research guidelines – and the researchers excuse themselves from having one by saying, “What are we supposed to do, let these kids kill themselves with no therapy?” And the answer is the control group should be kids in intensive counseling, because the majority of them have undercurrent problems.

Writing at the Federalist, attorney and parental rights activist Jane Robbins noted as well about the NIH study:

These design flaws aren’t surprising. Olson[-Kennedy] dismisses the possibility that gender dysphoria could be caused by psychological disturbance, claiming the only “mental health issue” related to the dysphoria “comes from the way that the outside world responds” to the confused youth. She states, as though from a medical basis, that gender-dysphoric youth will go through the “wrong puberty” unless she and her cohorts can medicate them early enough in their lives to “put them through the right puberty.”

When the study was first announced, Olson-Kennedy said, “We are pleased to see transgender medicine taking its place on the national health agenda.”

However, Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist in Rocklin, California, who has testified before his state’s Senate Judiciary Committee, told Breitbart News he remains “floored” that physicians are buying into the notion that administering the dangerous hormones to young, gender-dysphoric children is safe.

Laidlaw said the long-term consequences of the hormone treatments can be disastrous for today’s children, who are cognitively unable to comprehend them.

“There are even more dangers to these puberty blockers, such as infertility and restricting bone growth – which puts these kids at risk for future osteoporosis,” he said. “Most of the children – in one study 100 percent of kids administered biological puberty blockers – went on to have cross-sex hormones [testosterone and estrogen] – which means you will remain sterile.”

Yet, these so-called “transgender youth experts” are educating the nation’s judges, said Cleveland.

“It will not be long before these troubled children will be removed as a matter of course from loving parents whose only crime is believing there is a better way than lying about their children’s true sex, shooting them up with drugs, rendering them sterile, and eventually mutilating them,” she warned.


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