Sophia Cooper’s mother, Jeannette Cooper, has not had visitation rights with her in three years. And the reason why has placed the Chicago mother at the center of a media firestorm and a legal nightmare: She insists, “My child is a girl.”
Back in the summer of 2019 Sophia announced to her father during a visit with him that she was transgender. Sophia’s mother didn’t have a the slightest clue what was coming. Sophia was only twelve-years-old, and her father began court proceedings, claiming that his daughter was “no longer mentally or emotionally safe” with her mother Jeanette, who formerly had joint custody of the girl for six days and seven nights per week, according to the Independent Women’s Forum.
A heated custody investigation ensued. This examination required both parents to undergo psychological tests, home inspections and character evaluations with interviews being conducted with their friends and family who had observed the relationship between mother and child and could testify to it.
“Usually, Child Protective Services has a definition of what it means to be ‘unsafe,’ to either be abused or neglected. There was no evidence that I had done anything like that.”
The final report of the investigation remains unknown as they are not made public. “After that report came out, I thought, surely, this is going to resolve itself. Clearly, there is no finding of abuse or neglect. They didn’t find anything about me that is unsafe,” Jeannette said.
However, the court stated that Jeannette would need to “further [her] understanding of an[d] support of the minor child as relates to the minor child’s gender dysphoria.”
“But the thing that I clearly am not complying with is this concept that good parenting means that you affirm a child’s claim that there is something wrong with their body. I’m not willing to do that. I don’t think that’s good parenting … I have an understanding of the concept of a transgender identity,” Jeannette told IWF. “I don’t think it’s the concept that they want me to have.”
Jeanette has voted as a Democrat her entire life and considers herself a radical feminist, but she drew the line at the party’s conception that a child can be transgender stating plainly, “My child is a girl, and I won’t lie to her or anyone else. I think that’s good parenting.”
“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. I do not believe that to be true. I will not lie to the court. I will not state otherwise. I believe too strongly in my oath to tell the truth. My child is a girl, and I won’t lie to her or anyone else. I think that’s good parenting.”
“I don’t think there are any bounds on what it means to be female other than to exist in a female body,” Jeannette told the IWF. “There is nothing that I have to do to become female. I simply am. I can dress whatever way I want. I can cut my hair off, grow it long, I can change my clothes. I am still female. Any behavior that I have is female because it is mine.”
The court ordered Jeannette to undergo “reconciliation family therapy” with the goal of reconciling her with her daughter, then she learned of a requirement that Sophia’s step-mother — a psychologist — join the sessions. Jeannette said that she had been looking forward to it, and that was the only issue she had. The requirement would give the step-mother access to everything, including Jeannette’s “private” sessions with her daughter. Naturally, she didn’t consent, and the therapist informed her that if she did not, she wouldn’t be able to see her daughter again.
“I was told that if I don’t agree to have stepmom there, then my child is refusing to see me,” Jeannette said. “I had no choice. I wanted to see her so badly.”
Jeanette was able to negotiate a legal commitment from the court to prevent her daughter from “medically transitioning” without a court order or Jeanette’s written permission, but keeping her daughter from going under the knife came at a heavy cost. To do so, she gave up her ability to spend time with her daughter entirely.
“People who are imprisoned have more communication with their child than I do,” Jeannette said. “That’s wrong.”
She’s only seen her daughter for eight and half hours since her father refused to return her home on July 22, 2019.
Jeannette has the ability to petition the court to see Sophia, following consultation with a therapist and attendance of three support group sessions for parents or guardians of transgender-identifying children at The Gender and Sex Development Program at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, a program that per it’s website claims to help in “providing our families with education, exceptional and affirming clinical care.”
She has since been to five of the required sessions as quickly as they would let her enroll. However, the court ordered therapist has had no openings since the order in fall 2021, and her wait list is still full. “I’m glad to do whatever is necessary and whatever is required to be able to be in contact with my daughter,” Jeanette said. “At this point, I don’t know what more I can do.”
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