Minnesota Mom is Just… Terrible. Really Awful.

By Penny Robo

Already self-sufficient for years due to parents dealing with substance abuse issues, 13 year old “EJK” came out to her parents as gay, triggering a wave of verbal and physical abuse. Her mother permitted her to live with her biological father at 15, but he was soon incarcerated and, rather than returning to her mother, lived with friends and her grandmother, all while attending school and starting to work, eventually moving into her own apartment by 16. After more than 6 months without any contact with her mother, and considering the ongoing circumstances of her life (including her demonstrated self-sufficiency) she was considered for all intents and purposes to be an adult and in charge of her own medical decisions.

One of her first decisions was to begin hormone replacement therapy.

Her mother’s response was to file a lawsuit against their state of Minnesota for permitting minors (specifically EJK) to make their own medical decisions without parental consent when they support themselves. She also sued the county, her county’s school board, the school principal, two different nonprofits, and the director of St Louis county’s Health and Human Services department. Oh, and she also sued her own daughter.

The capstone to these suits was this press conference, and her persistent mis-gendering of her daughter:

“I’m firmly committed to what’s best for my son. I’m his mother, and he has always been and always will be welcome in our home.”

The case against EJK was thrown out months ago, but the firm representing her mother has announced that they’re going to take the case to the US Supreme Court. The title of their announcement is a doozy:

“Minnesota Mom Seeks U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Minor Son’s Illegal Sex Change Nightmare”

It keeps going within the text itself: “Unbelievably, Minnesota statutes authorize a county to deem a minor ‘emancipated’ to receive welfare payments to live on their own and allow medical providers to void parental input if it determines the minor is living apart from the parents and is managing his or her own personal financial affairs.”

Unbelievably? Really? That sounds incredibly reasonable, practical, and fair, considering that requiring the input of an absent parent for medical affairs could put lives at risk, especially considering that the parent has already demonstrated their lack of responsibility in ensuring their child’s well-being or even survival in general. Extending that to all medical decisions isn’t a stretch by any measure.

And in case you’re wondering, EJK is fine. She’s already 18, and was already set to start college when last spoken to. From this point on, she has nothing to fear from her mother except wasted time (as important an asset as that is).

And for the rest of us, should the Supreme Court accept the case come October, we stand to see important precedent set for how minors are permitted to conduct their own medical affairs when their parents have demonstrated their disinterest in them.

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About Zinnia Jones

My work focuses on insights to be found across transgender sociology, public health, psychiatry, history of medicine, cognitive science, the social processes of science, transgender feminism, and human rights, taking an analytic approach that intersects these many perspectives and is guided by the lived experiences of transgender people. I live in Orlando with my family, and work mainly in technical writing.
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