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Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
Transgender custody row
The website of GenderPAC, a gender equality campaign group
Transgender rights groups have seized upon the case
By Philippa Thomas in Washington

A six-year-old American boy is at the heart of a battle over gender politics.


She's too emotionally fragile to live as a boy. She's female

Sherri Lipscomb
The parents of Zachary Lipscomb say he is decided that he is female, and they have agreed to send him to school as a girl called Aurora.

Now the authorities in their hometown of Westerville, Ohio have taken custody of the child, and a legal tug-of-war has begun.

The story of Zachary Lipscomb has created outrage on both sides.

Zachary's parents say that since their child was two, he has been dressing and playing like a little girl. This year, he started telling neighbours he was a girl, and asking to go to school in his other identity, as the female child Aurora.

At that point, the local children's services intervened, transferring custody of the child to foster parents, arguing that he is suffering from an illness, and not receiving proper care.

'Discrimination'

Zachary's mother, Sherri Lipscomb, went on national television on Tuesday to appeal for understanding.

Mrs Lipscomb said: "She's too emotionally fragile to live as a boy. She's female.

"There's intense political pressure here. It's like being gay or lesbian in the past. It's just not acceptable."

Groups campaigning for gender identity rights have seized on the case as a symbol of unfair sexual discrimination.

The parents' custody appeal will be heard in court this November.

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18 Sep 00 | Americas
Gay US soldier faces discharge
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