LEBANON, Ohio (ChurchMilitant.com) - A teen's parents are appealing an Ohio court ruling disallowing their transgender daughter to change her name.
After Warren County Probate Judge Joseph Kirby ruled that a 15-year-old girl must wait until she is older to change her name from Heidi to Elliott, Kylen and Leigh Whitaker filed an appeal on Monday in 12th District Court.
Judge Kirby noted in his decision that "adolescents can become fixated on their immediate desires and far too often lack the ability to fully appreciate the long-term effects of their decisions.
He continued, "It is generally well-known and not seriously contested that adolescent minds and bodies don't fully develop during their minority and they are unable to cognitively and emotionally make adult-like decisions."
The judge's ruling is in line with scientific research that finds prior to the transition-affirming protocols, 75-95 percent of prepubertal children outgrew their gender dysphoria "after passing naturally through puberty."
Leigh told reporters her daughter came out to them as "transgender" about a year ago. "We did do a lot of therapy to make sure that this was something that was real," she said, explaining that the name change is an important part of therapy. Leigh said her daughter has been in treatment at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Transgender Health Clinic for over a year.
Reparative therapy, which is counseling offered to those who wish to get rid of same-sex desires, has been banned in Cincinnati since 2016. Under this law, no minor can be treated for gender dysphoria or unwanted same-sex attraction except by affirming their alleged transgenderism or homosexuality.
Josh Langdon, an LGBT rights lawyer who is representing the Whitakers, said after the court's denial, "[T]his appeal is a case of first impression in Ohio," adding that they hope the appeals court "moves quickly to overturn Judge Kirby's decision to put transgender children on trial."
Church Militant spoke with Dr. Michelle Cretella, executive director of the American College of Pediatricians, who told us, "For decades, it was understood that social affirmation of gender confusion — allowing cross-sex dressing, treating the child as the opposite sex, could contribute to the persistence of gender identity confusion."
Many former homosexual and transgendered people also disagree with reparative therapy bans. With 13 states and numerous cities, including Cincinnati, that have banned reparative therapy for minors, a growing number of former gays and transgendered people are speaking out against legislation that seeks to criminalize therapy that helps them heal and overcome an unwanted orientation or sexual identity.
"Therapy bans criminalize voluntary counseling for families and children that would explore underlying social and psychodynamic factors that may have led to the development of confusion and/or gender dysphoria in the child," Dr. Cretella said.
"These laws force all children with gender confusion onto the medical pathway of impersonating the opposite sex with toxic hormones for a lifetime," she explained.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Transition Medicine resources page for parents pushes acceptance and affirmation of transgenderism, while information about the causes of gender dysphoria are absent. The links are mostly to gay rights activist and acceptance sites, including Human Rights Campaign, Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), PFLAG, GLAAD and others.
"Cincinnati Children's provides an accepting atmosphere and services for patients 5–24 years old," the website reads. Lee Ann Conard, director of the Transgender Program, was quoted on the website as saying, "Gender isn't a dichotomy, but our society says it is."
The standards of care and treatment protocols the Transgender Clinic reference are from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH), that says cross-sex hormone therapy "limits fertility." They recommend patients make the decision whether to have children before starting hormone therapy — which for minors, would be before reaching puberty.
Dr. Cretella said there are no rigorous long-term studies on the use of puberty blockers, estrogen or testosterone on physically healthy children. "Nevertheless, they are being prescribed at gender clinics like candy despite the fact that all three are known to pose permanent life-altering side effects, including, in many cases, sterility," she said.
She explained that there are two "highly flawed" short-term studies currently underway but any long-term data they generate will continue to have "a host of methodological flaws and confirmation bias."
Church Militant reached out to Cincinnati Children's Hospital but it did not return calls as of press time.