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Today is Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Teen Boy Sues to Wear Female Clothing

[NEW YORK, NY] - A teen boy who has an "innate sense" of being a girl has sued the city's Administration for Children's Services (ACS) for refusing to allow him to wear female clothing.

The 17-year-old, identified in court papers as "Jean Doe," is a foster care ward who says he has "gender identity disorder." He says he suffers "clinically significant distress" when forced to dress as a boy.

"Jean was born male but considers herself female," said the youth's court papers. He said a March 28 ACS ruling bars him from wearing feminine clothing at the Atlantic Transitional Foster Facility where he lives.

Since the teen entered the Brooklyn facility, which houses males aged 15 to 21, items of his female clothing -- including bras, padded panties and women's shoes -- have disappeared.

The youth says the director of the facility confiscated his winter coat and refused to return it because it was a purplish-pink color. He says he spent the winter without a heavy coat.

Court papers say ACS claims that its concern for the safety and welfare of other children caused the agency to disallow Jean's female clothing. The papers say ACS does not explain how his clothes would make others unsafe.

"Jean's need to dress as a female is not a matter of whim," court papers say. "It is part of a course of treatment outlined by her physician and generally recommended by the medical community for transgendered individuals."

The youth, raised by his grandmother, was allowed by her to wear girl's clothing until he was 9 when she became too sick to care for him and he went into foster care, say court papers.

When the teen has encountered resistance to his wearing female clothing at any foster care home or facility, he has run away and lived on the street until he could find another placement, according to court papers.

The teen has also been placed at ACS's two foster homes for "gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered and questioning" (GLBTQ) youths, but could not stay at either because of rules conflicts, court papers say.

The teen's lawsuit, filed in Manhattan's State Supreme Court this week by lawyers from the Urban Justice Center, names ACS, which runs the foster care program, and ACS Commissioner William C. Bell, as defendants.

The lawsuit asks the court to annul the ACS ruling against Jean's female clothing, to order the return of items taken from him, to allow Jean to buy, keep and wear female items from now on, and for attorneys' fees.

Kathleen Walsh, a spokeswoman for ACS, said she could not comment on Jean's case specifically, but she said her agency "does not discriminate any child, employee or individual due to ethnicity, religious belief, sexual orientation or lifestyle choice."

"ACS also has a very active GLBTQ work group that meets regularly to address the concerns of youth in that community," Walsh said. "Our effort is always to ensure the safety and well being of all children in New York City."

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