A father who was denied the right to prevent his 8-year-old son from starting puberty blockers by a New York family court in 2020 is now telling his story as a warning to parents.
The ruling handed down in Erie Supreme Court has left senior software engineer Dennis Hannon with only visitation rights, having been stripped of joint custody and medical authority over his son, referred to as Matthew.
Hannon claimed his ex-wife initiated their son’s transition process when he turned 3, dressing him in girls’ clothing. At the time, the couple had been separated for two years and were sharing custody of Matthew. Hannon saw his son twice a week and every other weekend.
“When I was picking him up, he was a boy named Matthew,” Hannon said according to the Daily Mail. “And I didn’t realize that when he was in his mom’s care, he was actually a girl named Ruby.”
In 2019, Matthew’s mother sent him to a “transgender affirming” therapist and sought puberty blockers to stop the production of male hormones, according to court documents. Hannon alleges he was kept in the dark about these decisions until 2020, when he took legal action to uncover the truth.
“I was the last to know. He was on the fast track to puberty blockers.”
In 2020, a court order was issued for Matthew to be enrolled with a mental health counselor.
“Even though he never had a diagnosis, I was court-ordered to take him to a gender therapist that didn’t accept insurance,” Hannon said according to Daily Mail. “It was $145 out of pocket every week.
“He went there for a year and a half. And there was still no diagnosis of gender dysphoria. … If I refused, they would say that I was interfering with essential medical treatment, and they would remove my custody.”
After a year and a half, Hannon made the decision to discontinue Matthew’s counselling sessions. As a result, the therapist wrote to the court and Hannon lost all medical authority over his son.
Under the mother’s care, Matthew began treatment with Andrea Binner, a self-described “transgender affirming” therapist, who referred Matthew to Dr. Tran Ngoc, the Daily Mail reports.
“Over a 45-minute phone call with the mother only, Dr Ngoc said my son sounded like he persisted with gender dysphoria, and they recommended the potential for puberty blockers when he was 9,” Hannon said.
Hannon alleges if his ex-wife would get an answer she didn’t like from one therapist she would “shop around” for someone who would “work with her to socially transition and ultimately, physically transition my son.”
Later, Hannon’s ex-wife filed an Enforcement of Custody Petition, referring to the child with the pronouns “they/their.”
“Since approximately Matthew’s 3rd birthday … They have expressed, unprovoked, that They are a girl,” the petition stated according to Daily Mail. “Over the past four years, Matthew has been insistent, consistent and persistent that They are a girl.”
Hannon called his ex-wife “delusional.” Now, Hannon claims he only has visitation rights to his son and a mountain of debt: “I spent every dime of my retirement.” The Daily Mail reports he was also ordered to pay his ex-wife’s attorney fees.
Hannon wants to continue the fight to regain custody of his son, but said he cannot afford the appeals process.
All the while, by age 9 “they” no longer identified as a girl, the newspaper claims.
“My son is a regular little boy. He goes by Matthew,” Hannon said. “His mother still tries to influence him by using they/them pronouns, and still calls him ‘B,’ which is short for Ruby.”
Hannon said the transition processes have been hard on his son.
“It was very difficult for him in school because … one year he was a girl named Ruby, wearing dresses and makeup and the hair. Then the next year, he’s a boy named Matthew. Kids in school will ask him, ‘Weren’t you a girl?’ That’s hard for a child.”
“He uses a Chromebook for school and he has access to his previous grades, and there are things that pop up with the name Ruby on it still … That’s something he’s going to have to live with. It’s been hard on him.”
Hannon said he was called a bigot for asking questions and trying to understand how they concluded his son was a girl.
“It’s very clear to me that it was all about pushing a narrative. Nobody wanted to question the agenda, or even question whether or not somebody actually had gender dysphoria. It was just, because she said that he was confused about his gender, it must be true.
“At 3 years old, how can he identify as a girl? He never showed any indication to me at all.”