By Prizm News

A court case with echoes of Leelah Alcorn is making news in Cincinnati. A 16-year-old transgender boy, backed by Hamilton County social workers, has asked a local judge to allow him treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

His parents want him to receive counseling from a religious provider. 

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported today that the child, who has been living with his grandparents since Hamilton County officials asked for temporary custody early this year, will have his case heard again Thursday by a visiting judge in Hamilton County Juvenile Court. 

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Although Judge Sylvia Hendon ordered a hearing closed to the public on Tuesday, The Enquirer reported a number of details of the boy’s case: 

  • His parents allowed him to see a Cincinnati Children’s therapist but stopped that treatment last year in favor of a Christian therapist.
  • His parents won’t acknowledge his gender identity and refuse to let him live and dress as a boy.
  • The boy emailed a crisis line last year and said one of his parents told him to kill himself.
  • He claimed he was forced to listen to hours of scripture at a time.
Chris Seelbach

The Enquirer reported that the parents’ lawyer said some of the allegations are not true.

Openly gay Cincinnati City Council member Chris Seelbach, who sponsored legislation in 2015 that banned so-called conversion therapy within the city, said via Facebook late last night that he will look into the case to see if it violates local law. 

“If this family indeed lives in the city of Cincinnati and the ‘Christian counselor’ is licensed by the state of Ohio, it is illegal to force him to attend,” Seelbach wrote.  

He said he will make sure the people involved in the boy’s case know that. 

Cincinnati’s conversion therapy ban—the second local ban in the country after Washington, D.C.—was approved a year after 17-year-old Leelah Alcorn of suburban Kings Mills killed herself because her parents rejected her transgender identity and sent her to religious conversion therapy. 

Seelbach called this latest case “devastating.” 

“This ‘practice’ is one of the most cruel, inhumane and devastating things that can happen to you. I know personally,” he said. “And thankfully, every major medical association in the world agrees on its significant harm.” 



Bob Vitale
A Toledo native and graduate of Toledo Public Schools, Bob has worked as a local government and politics reporter for The Columbus Dispatch, as a Washington correspondent for Thomson Newspapers and as editor-in-chief for Outlook Ohio. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science from Ball State University and a master's degree in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.