Most legislative attempts to lock down teenagers’ bodies focus on reproductive rights and ages of consent; that this one is about gender identity doesn’t change the basic anxiety behind it. During apress conference in which Anamarie Calagro fielded questions about her lawsuit against her daughter, Calagro pointed out that her kid could have decided to “become sterile” without her knowledge. Even within the legal rubric established to allow self-sufficient young people to escape the control of the people who created them, the idea that a teenager’s body belongs to them is terrifying from a conservative worldview.
Laws dictating family structures and adolescent agency have been altered countless times, but the primary assumption—that young people can’t be trusted to maintain their own innocence—remains the same. Even today, the easiest way to become legally separated from your parents is to marry. In most states, if you want to be emancipated, your parents have to draw up the paperwork and petition the court themselves. Read more.