Katee Churchill, a Michigan mother of three children from small, rural Clare County, was accused of child abuse for encouraging her young son's "gender exploration," and lost custody of the kids after facing multiple legal battles.
Her middle son, called "Finn," whose name had been changed to maintain anonymity, reportedly "began showing an interest in wearing dresses and experimenting with more feminine names," over several months when he wanted to explore his gender identity in 2014 at just three-years-old.
According to Pink News, Finn's mother took him to a therapist "specializing in gender variance and dysphoria." While there was no report on what the therapist's precise diagnosis or advice was at the time of the visit, Churchill "vowed to follow Finn's lead and support his gender exploration and expression."
Michigan's Child Protective Services (CPS) were called by an anonymous report that had accused Churchill of abuse and neglect. A case began against Churchill, alleging that she had forced Finn to identify as trans, and CPS recommended that all three of her children be placed with their respective fathers.
The case went before a judge in 2015 and was decided at the time in favor of Churchill. However, CPS decided to pursue a second case against Church with a jury trial. The prosecution called Churchill an "LGBT+ activist" who is trying to impose her gender-identity beliefs on her school-aged children.
"Obviously, anybody can be an activist and for whatever cause they wish. And that wouldn’t necessarily imply that they have any kind of psychological problem," Don Spivak, a psychiatrist and state witness, told the court.
"However, in this case, it is intimately involved with a feeling and decision about a child, so there's an intimate involvement in that activism and the ideas about a child. And then the child has to comply with that notion in order to support the activism. They're intertwined," Spivak said in court.
Finn commented when interviewed: "She might have encouraged me, like, 'It's OK if you are, like, I don't really care if you are or not. But I did choose. I chose. No one else. No one made me. No one forced me."
Finn was then asked what we had to say to children in similar situations. He replied with: "Hopefully, they don't turn out like I am."