A Chicago mother has lost custody of her daughter for refusing to affirm her child’s transgender identity.
Since 2019, Jeannette Cooper’s then-12-year-old daughter Sophia has identified as a transgender male — a decision she announced when she arrived at her father’s house, unbeknownst to her mother.
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Sophia’s father soon thereafter alleged during a court hearing his young daughter was “no longer mentally or emotionally safe” while in her mother’s custody. Prior to that, Cooper had custody of their daughter six days and seven nights a week, according to the Independent Women’s Forum.
Due to the parents’ disagreement, both Sophia’s mother and father underwent a battery of psychological tests, home visits, and character evaluations. While the report itself is confidential, public legal filings show no evidence of abuse. Nevertheless, those evaluating Cooper determined she needed to work on her understanding of Sophia’s gender dysphoria and her decision to change her sexual identity.
Cooper has, since then, been virtually removed from her daughter’s life altogether.
“People who are imprisoned have more communication with their child than I do,” Cooper lamented, grieving the fact she missed her daughter’s 13th, 14th, and 15th birthdays and will soon miss her 16th.
She went on to explain, “The thing that I am clearly not complying with is this concept that ‘good parenting’ means that you affirm a child’s idea that there is something wrong with them. I’m not willing to do that.”
“They want me to have a certain understanding that there is such a thing as a child who is born transgender and this is who they are,” Cooper continued. “I don’t believe that. My child is a girl. I won’t lie to her or anyone else. I think that’s good parenting.”
Cooper — who identifies as a “radical feminist” and has voted for Democrats since she was 18 years old — is rejecting the left’s view that a child can be transgender and that affirming his or her identity is the only correct action for a parent to take.
“It is unfortunate that we are teaching children that a word will cause them to commit suicide,” she said. “That is not how suicide works. We know that children who are depressed, anxious, autistic, have a history of childhood trauma are more likely to kill themselves, are more likely to attempt suicide, are more likely to have self-harm. Does that mean changing their identity, creating a new self is the secret to get them out of their childhood trauma? To get them out of depression? That has never been true and it is not true today.”
Cooper went on to say she will not teach her daughter “that somehow she is so weak that she cannot hear her birth name. If I say ‘Sophia,’ she will still live.”
After going through therapy, Cooper ultimately said she felt backed into a corner and signed custody over to her ex-husband, Sophia’s father, acknowledging she did not want to continue with a legal battle that was taking an emotional toll on herself and her child.
As a result, Cooper is only allowed to communicate with her daughter via the mail. Through tears, she said she hasn’t received a single school photo of her daughter since 2019. “I’m not sure why I don’t deserve to get them,” she wondered.
“My daughter did a normal adolescent thing,” the distraught mother said. “She tried something. But there were no guardrails — nothing stopping her. I’m not mad at my daughter. I’m not disappointed in her. I’m disappointed in the adults that have failed to protect her.”
Although Cooper is no longer permitted to have any say in Sophia’s educational or medical decisions, she did successfully reach an agreement in the court stating her teenage child would not be allowed to medically or surgically transition her sexual identity without her parental consent.
The Chicago mom said she has had to pack up all of her pictures of Sophia because seeing them had become an “unbearable” reminder of the relationship that was taken from her.
“Someday, I’ll be able to open the boxes and not cry,” she said, choking down tears.”
The only option Cooper has if she ever wants to regain custody of her daughter is to participate in numerous support-group sessions for parents with transgender-identifying kids. At this point, she has completed five with three more sessions to go.
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