Lunatic laws let gender radicals deny all parental rights

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Ahmed — not his real name — is a Pakistani immigrant, a faithful Muslim and, until recently, a financial consultant to Seattle’s high-tech industry. But when he reached me by phone in October 2020, he was just one more frightened father. Days earlier, he and his wife had checked their 16-year-old son into Seattle Children’s Hospital for credible threats of suicide. Now Ahmed was worried that the white coats who had gently admitted his son to their care would refuse to return him.

“They sent an e-mail to us, you know, ‘You should take your “daughter” to the gender clinic,’” he told me.

At first, Ahmed assumed there had been a mistake. He had dropped off a son, Syed, to the hospital, in a terrible state of distress. Now, the e-mail he received from hospital staff used a new name for that son and claimed he was Ahmed’s daughter. “We had calls with counselors and therapists in the establishment, telling us how important it is for him to change his gender because that’s the only way he’s going to be better out of this suicidal depressive state.”

Syed had been a straight-A student and, according to his parents and the family’s therapist, quite brilliant. He is also on the autism spectrum, a young man who struggles to make eye contact and must be given rules for how long to shake hands, shower and brush his teeth.

When lockdowns hit, the boy who was already struggling socially began to spend all day and night on the Internet. “And he was in his room, just, you know, sleeping one or two hours a day. And that can really be devastating.”

Syed, in a sleep-deprived and confused state, furious at the parents who had taken him to the hospital and in consultation with hospital staff and a social worker, decided that his problem was gender.

The age at which minors in Washington state can receive “gender-affirming care” without parental permission is 13. In other words, the e-mails Ahmed received from the hospital were effectively a courtesy; the hospital didn’t require Ahmed’s permission to begin his son on a path to medical transition.

But Ahmed’s cool head prevailed. Believing he might be walking into a trap, Ahmed reached out to a psychiatrist friend he trusted. The psychiatrist gave him advice that he believes saved his son: “You have to be very, very careful because if you come across as just even a little bit anti-trans or anything, they’re going to call the Child Protective Services on you and take custody of your kid.”

Ahmed assured Seattle Children’s Hospital that he would take Syed to a gender clinic and commence his son’s transition. Instead, he collected his son, quit his job and moved his family of four out of Washington.

Taken individually, no single law in any state completely strips parents’ rights over the mental-health treatment of their troubled minor teens. But pieced together, laws in California, Oregon and Washington place troubled teens as young as 13 in the driver’s seat when it comes to their own mental-health care — including “gender affirming” care — and renders parents powerless to stop them.

Here, for instance, are the powers granted to a 13-year-old child by the state of Washington: She can admit herself for inpatient and outpatient mental-health treatment without parental consent. She can withhold mental-health records from her parents for “sensitive” conditions, such as gender issues. And insurers in Washington must cover a wide array of “gender-affirming treatments” from tracheal shaves to double mastectomies.

Put these together, and a seventh-grader could be entitled to embark on sex transition — which may include preparing to receive a course of hormones — without her parents’ permission, against her parents’ wishes, covered by her parents’ insurance and with the parents kept in the dark by insurance companies and medical providers.

Following up on Ahmed’s family, I spoke in May with Syed’s therapist, an autism expert, who confirmed that Syed is no longer suicidal; nor does he believe he is transgender. He’s a brilliant 17-year-old autistic boy, doing advanced work in philosophy — and also fascinated by his sister’s My Little Ponies. That’s more than OK with his mom and dad.

Abigail Shrier is author of “Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.” Adapted from City Journal.

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