New York family court officials have denied a father the legal right to prevent his eight-year-old son from taking life-changing hormones that would begin his medical transition to a girl.
Dennis Hannon, 32, a senior software engineer from Buffalo, has been embroiled in a seven-year “nightmare” legal battle with the Erie Supreme Court, fighting to preserve his fundamental parental rights.
He claims the boy’s mother “pushed” her son’s transition and says the boy was not distressed about living as a boy.
What’s more, a year after the court ruling, the boy, Matthew*, reverted to his original male gender and is now “a normal boy.”
However, the father has lost a say in medical decisions about his son and sees him only a few hours each week.
You cannot afford to appeal to regain full custody.
Matthew was three years old, when he was a child. His parents had separated but his father, Dennis Hannon, saw him every week.
Matthew in kindergarten, when he was referred to as ‘Ruby Rose’. Matthew now, nine years old, identifies as a boy, aligned with his gender at birth.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Hannon told DailyMail.com. “It has completely destroyed my life.”
It comes days after DailyMail.com revealed that a Montana family had lost custody of their 14-year-old daughter after refusing to allow her to transition to a boy.
Child Protective Services (CPS) showed up at the family’s Glasgow home and later determined that their daughter, who was suffering from mental health issues, needed to transition to “get better.”
She was sent to a mental health institute where she was allowed to live as a boy named Leo, shave her head, and wear a chest girdle.
Hannon claimed his ex-wife began dressing their son in girl’s clothes when he turned three in 2017, two years after separating from his son’s mother.
Hannon saw her son twice a week and every other weekend, while her ex-partner had custody the rest of the time.
“When I picked him up, he was a boy named Matthew*,” he said.
“And I didn’t realize that when she was under her mother’s care, she was actually a girl named Ruby.”
In 2019, his mother sent him to a “transgender-affirming” therapist and sought puberty blockers to stop the production of male hormones, according to court documents seen by DailyMail.com.
But Hannon didn’t discover this information until 2020, when he took his ex-wife to court to find out what had been going on.
And a year earlier, Mr. Hannon had received a letter from his son’s kindergarten addressed to “Ruby Rose Hannon’s parent or guardian,” which used she/her pronouns.
“I thought they sent it to the wrong address,” he said.
‘I was the last one to find out (about the transition). I was on the fast track to puberty blockers.
Medical professionals never made an official diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
This is the condition that experts refer to when a person expresses a feeling of discomfort due to a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This distress or dissatisfaction can be so intense that it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a detrimental impact on daily life.
Dennis Hannon claims his son was “rushed” onto puberty blockers for several years, even though he eventually became comfortable with the gender he was assigned at birth.
Now, following last year’s court ruling, Hannon only has visitation rights, with no joint custody or medical authority, meaning she has no say in any medical decisions.
He receives his son every other weekend and for a few hours a week.
At nine years old, Matthew no longer identified or dressed as a girl.
Gender-affirming healthcare for transgender minors is available in New York, unlike other states.
Additionally, the city allows access to those traveling from other states where it is prohibited.
Social transition, such as changing a child’s name and appearance, remains a gray area of the law.
In 2020, a court order was issued for Matthew to enroll in counseling with a mental health counselor in Buffalo, New York.
‘Although he never had a diagnosis, the court ordered me to take him to a gender therapist who did not accept insurance. It was $145 out of pocket every week,” Mr. Hannon said.
“He was there for a year and a half. And there was still no diagnosis of gender dysphoria… If she denied me, they would say she was interfering with essential medical treatment and take custody away from me.’
Mr. Hannon decided he had had enough and ended the boy’s counseling.
Matthew (center) in a Christmas parade, four years old, dressed as a girl
When Mr Hannon requested that his son be discharged, the therapist wrote to the courts and lost Matthew’s medical authority.
His ex-partner then sought treatment for Matthew with Ms. Andrea Binner, a self-described “transgender-affirming” therapist.
Mrs. Binner had also referred Matthew to a pediatrician named Dr. Tran Ngoc.
“During a 45-minute phone call with just the mother, Dr. Ngoc said my son seemed to have persistent gender dysphoria and they recommended puberty blockers when he was nine years old,” Mr. Hannon said.
In February 2020, Mr. Hannon’s ex-partner filed a Petition for Enforcement of Custody, which is used when a parent fails to comply with a custody order.
The petition referred to Mateo using the pronouns ‘they/their’.
“Since around Matthew’s third birthday… They have expressed, without provocation, that they are a girl,” it said.
“For the past four years, Matthew has been insistent, consistent and persistent that they are a girl.”
In Mr. Hannon’s response, he said this was “an illusion that the defendant is trying to impose on our son.”
Over the seven years, the legal process has cost Mr. Hannon $150,000.
“I spent every penny of my retirement,” he said. He was also ordered to pay his ex-wife’s attorney fees.
Hannon said that while he is desperate to regain custody of his son, he cannot face the appeal process.
As for the effect on Matthew, “it’s been terrible,” Mr. Hannon said.
‘She uses a Chromebook for school and has access to her previous grades, and there are still things that show up with the name Ruby… that’s something she’s going to have to live with. It’s been hard for him.
Hannon said: “It’s very clear to me that this was about pushing a narrative.” No one wanted to question the agenda, or even question whether someone really had gender dysphoria or not, simply because she said she was confused about her gender, it must be true.’
In searching for therapists for Matthew, Mr. Hannon said his ex-wife “would get an answer she didn’t want to hear from a therapist, and she searched until she found the answer she wanted to hear: someone who would work.” with her for the social transition and ultimately the physical transition of my son.
Now Mr Hannon said: “My son is a normal boy, his name is Matthew.” His mother still tries to influence him by using they/them pronouns and still calls him B, which is short for Ruby.
‘It was very difficult for him at school because… one year it was a girl called Ruby, dressed up, made up and had her hair done.
‘Then the next year, it’s a boy called Matthew. Kids at school will ask, “Weren’t you a girl?” That’s hard for a child.
‘At three years old, how can he identify as a girl? She never showed me any indication at all.
‘They considered me simply a conservative who did not want to accept my son’s gender.
‘It’s very easy to be made out to be a bigot for simply wanting to ask why and understand how they came to this conclusion or how they could have done it. It was totally a weapon against me.”
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.