Via Workers World News Service
Reprinted from the April 24, 1997
issue of Workers World newspaper

Transsexual parent fights for child

By Leslie Feinberg

Sharon Boyd is a biological parent of two sons. No one has ever accused her of mistreating her children in any way. In 1995 a St. Charles County, Missouri, judge ruled that Boyd and her former spouse be awarded joint custody of their children.

Yet Sharon Boyd has been kept from any direct contact with her sons-even telephone calls-since late 1992 for one simple reason: She is a male-to-female transsexual.

On March 11, a Missouri Court of Appeals declared that Boyd constitutes "an endangerment" to her own children, based on that fact alone.

The court awarded sole custody of the two children-now age 7 and 10 years old-to their biological mother. A St. Charles County Circuit Court judge now has the power to decide whether Boyd can even see her children again.

Scapegoating, plain and simple

Sharon Boyd's life has become grist for a reactionary mill in the state of Missouri. Hate-mongering groups-from Christian Coalition to Focus on the Family-have closed ranks to attack her rights as a parent.

After Boyd was initially awarded joint custody of her kids in 1995, these rabidly right-wing organizations supported an appeal of the decision by her former wife.

As a result, several bigoted bills have been introduced into the Missouri State Legislature. One would bar custody or adoption rights to anyone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. SB51, a bill that denies the rights of transparents, has already passed the State Senate.

These organizations try to cloak themselves in a religious campaign. Ironically, Boyd is herself an evangelical Christian.

But whipping up transphobic hatred fits in with the current right-wing political crusades against immigrants, non-English speaking peoples, women on welfare, abortion clinic workers, lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and others.

It diverts attention away from the inability and unwillingness of the capitalist economic system to meet the most basic needs of the majority of the population. It's scapegoating, plain and simple.

Boyd vows to continue to fight for her right to see her sons.

She scoffed at the judge's outrageously bigoted ruling in her case. "[My] children aren't going to look at me and keel over dead," she said. "All I want to do is be involved in their lives. I love my kids. That's really what this is about."

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