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Parents, Social Workers Fight over Child's Gender Identity

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The parents of a 14-year-old girl in the United Kingdom say social workers are threatening to remove her from their home if they do not allow her to identify as a boy and change her name.

Michael Phillips, the family's attorney, told The Sunday Times that the parents will meet with teachers and social workers next month to determine whether their daughter is to be known at school by a boy's name. Phillips said there's fear that social workers will place the girl in foster care if the parents refuse to change her name.

The Christian Legal Centre is supporting the family and says the issue began after the parents stopped homeschooling their daughter and her siblings in December, 2015. Within a few months of attending local schools, their daughter told them that she wanted to be called by a boy's name and started dressing as a boy.

Social services and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) became involved this summer when the daughter tried to run away from home. This fall, the family reports that CAMHS workers told them that their daughter was at risk of suicide if they did not allow her to change her name.

The family reports that social workers are also pressuring them to allow their daughter to receive gender identity therapy.

"We have been horrified with the prospect that the name that we gave our daughter with all the meaning that entails will be stripped from her, all because of the social workers' politically motivated ideology," the girl's mother told Christian Concern.

"Our daughter is mentally unwell," the mother added. "We believe that her present gender identity problems are part of her mental health problems. She should receive the appropriate help that she needs rather than being forced into taking on a false identity."

Christian Legal Centre Chief Executive Andrea Williams says the girl has received no formal diagnosis from a psychiatrist and urged psychiatric help for her.

She said the case represents "shocking disregard for parental authority."

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About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim