In another landmark case regarding parental rights, Wisconsin parents are suing their school district because their gender-questioning 12-year-old daughter’s school refused to abide their request for educators to stop using male names and pronouns.
After their preteen daughter experienced a quick onset of gender dysphoria in December 2020 and January 2021, the Wisconsin parents conducted research that made them decide that immediate affirmation of their child was not in her best interests. They communicated this decision to not use a male name and pronouns for their daughter to the school, which cited District policy that said they had to follow the child’s wishes. The parents subsequently withdrew their daughter from the school while at the same time discontinuing the affirmative therapy she had been receiving, and the girl soon after desisted from her trans identification. The entire letter from the parents’ lawyers to the school in May 2021 can be read here.
It is worth quoting in full the daughter’s afterthoughts:
A few weeks later, she expressed to her mother that “affirmative care really messed me up.” She explained that the therapists at the center did not question or help her process her feelings, but told her that, now that she knew she was really a boy, the sooner she transitioned the better because it’s easier when you’re young. They also told her she was right to be angry at her mother for not immediately allowing her to “be who she was.” She now realizes this was wrong and actually fueled anger towards her mother.
This letter to the school went unanswered, thus necessitating the need for further legal action as outlined in this court document, stating that the school district violated the parents’ constitutional rights. The complaint cites a ream of peer-reviewed literature noting that social transition may cause a persistence of trans identity and that most children with gender dysphoria will outgrow it. It notes that even WPATH realizes there are divergent viewpoints on social transition, that it is considered “therapeutic,” and that health professionals should defer to parents.
In summary, from the lawyers’ press release:
“What is at Issue? Many medical professionals believe that transitioning to a different gender identity at a young age can become self-reinforcing and even do long-term harm, and therefore recommend a cautious approach. This family simply wanted to follow that approach.
The Kettle Moraine School District’s policy disregards these medical professionals and instead takes this life-altering decision out of parents’ hands and places it with educators. By enabling minor students to transition at school over their parents’ objection, the district is effectively making a treatment decision without the legal authority to do so and without informed consent from the parents. This policy violates the constitutionally recognized rights of parents to raise their children.“
Image credit: Tima Miroshnichenko, Pexels