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Do teens need parental permission to get sex-change treatments?

A Minnesota mother filed suit last Wednesday after her 17-year-old son began receiving sexual reassignment treatments without garnering her permission. The lawsuit names two governmental agencies, saying that the agencies and medical clinics have infringed upon her parental rights. She says that the agencies and medical service providers did not obtain a court order to emancipate her child prior to administering the sex-change treatments against her wishes.

In the lawsuit, the mother's counsel has highlighted the difference between the rights afforded by the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Minnesota's child emancipation law that allows medical service providers to administer care to minors without first obtaining a court order. Her attorney argues that the right of due process offered by the 14th Amendment is violated by the Minnesota law.

This case is bringing the conflict between parental rights versus the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children out into the open. The issue is controversial, to say the least. Parents who believe they know what is best for their children, and fear that their transgender children could be making grave mistakes with their bodies, are up against psychologists who say that parents need to have more understanding for their transgender or gay children.

According to one psychologist, when parents refuse to accept the gender and/or homosexual identities of their children, there is a higher chance of suicide in the affected children. However, in the instant case described above, the woman said she does not object to her child's sex change procedures on religious or moral grounds. She merely wants her son to wait until he has matured before he makes such a life-altering decision.

In the current legal climate, family law issues relating to the sexual identity of children are delicate and sensitive. Minnesota parents who are facing such issues may want to consult with both a psychologist and a family law attorney to decide how they will navigate these matters in a way that best supports and benefits the growth and development of their children.

Source: Washington Times, "Mom sues after her transgender teen gets sex-change treatments without her consent," Bradford Richardson, Nov. 16, 2016

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