Phoenix, AZ asked in Family Law, Civil Rights and Health Care Law for Arizona

Q: Can my parents deny me medical treatment for mental illnesses?

I'm a 15 year old transgender and I want to take HRT, but my parents won't let me. Can my parents legally deny me access to Hormone Replacement Therapy? It is an urgent, serious, and time sensitive procedure, so is there any legal way I can get HRT without my parents consent?

1 Lawyer Answer
Mike Branum
Mike Branum
  • Criminal Law Lawyer
  • Saint George, UT
  • Licensed in Arizona

A: Everything is urgent, serious, and time-sensitive when you are 15 years-old. Likely doubly so for a transgender teen. Your post is also somewhat confusing because the headline discusses mental illness and the body of the question discusses being transgender. My understanding is that individuals who believe they are transgender do not portray that condition as a mental illness.

Your situation is a difficult one. In order to make your own medical treatment decisions, you would likely need to be emancipated. Emancipation will require you to convince the Court that you are able to take care of yourself. Emancipation would also disqualify you from your parents healthcare insurance. Medicaid is not going to pay for HRT. Unless you are independently wealthy, you will likely be unable to afford HRT even if you were able to gain emancipation to enable you to independently make that choice.

Look at some of the long-term studies out of Europe regarding follow up on teens who underwent HRT. ALL 15 year olds are confused about their gender whether they admit it or not. Your parents likely feel as I do that it is inappropriate to make permanent decisions with significant negative consequences based on the feelings of a teenager. There is a profound risk that you will change your mind five to ten years from now and have done permanent damage to your developing body.

I hope you find a solution that will give you peace but I fear HRT in the absence of parents crazy enough to approve is unlikely until you reach an age and socioeconomic position where you can make it happen without your parents' subsidy.

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