Noa Ben-Asher


In the fall of 2000, six-year-old male Zachary from a small town in Ohio, claimed that s/he was a girl and requested, from now on, to be called Aurora. When the child's parents honored this unusual wish and made efforts to make official the child's feminine identity, the case turned into a custody battle between the parents and the state of Ohio. Although the child was occasionally treated as a girl at home from the age of two, the attempt to register the child in public school as a girl motivated the state dissolution of this family. At the conclusion of this legal dispute, the child was removed to foster care, with the expressed hope that the child would enjoy future prosperity as a normal male boy. Can a parent be legally required to control the gender of a child? What is the legal justification of a forced disintegration of a family? This Essay will try to address these issues, raised by this unusual legal dispute between parents who believed that they should raise their child as a girl, and a state agency that insisted on a masculine upbringing as a boy..

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