Parents, county in court over transgender teen's therapy

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CINCINNATI (AP) — A debate over who can best help a transgender boy has split an Ohio family, prompting a county agency to take custody of the teen and argue he should receive therapy at a hospital instead of the Christian-based therapy sought by his parents.

A visiting judge in Juvenile Court in Cincinnati will decide whether the 16-year-old will continue therapy at a hospital or whether his parents, who don't believe he's transgender, can seek Christian-based therapy, the Enquirer reported .

Arguments in the case will continue Thursday after the judge closed the courtroom to the public Tuesday.

The Hamilton County Department of Job and Family Services filed a complaint and was granted temporary custody of the teen early this year after he emailed a crisis hotline and said one of his parents had told him to kill himself and that he could only receive Christian-based therapy, according to Juvenile Court documents. He currently lives with his grandparents.

The teen told authorities his parents once forced him to sit in a room and listen to Bible scriptures for six hours and refused to allow him to adopt a male appearance, the complaint says.

Before the hearing was closed Tuesday, an attorney for the parents said allegations in the county complaint are not true.

A therapist told the teen's father in October 2016 that the teen lacks "the coping skills to manage the home situation," prompting his mother to send an email saying she and her husband would seek a Christian therapist, according to the complaint.

The teen's parents halted therapy at the hospital late last year but then resumed it because of his anxiety and depression.

The teen tried to read a letter to his parents during a meeting at Children's Hospital in December 2016, prompting his mother to stand up, point a finger at him, and scream, "You're a liar," according to the complaint.

The teen began shaking and curled up into "the fetal position," the complaint says.

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