Boston University School of Law

 

Masters of Their Own Destiny: Children's Identities, Parents' Assimilation Demands and State Intervention

Orly Rachmilovitz
Boston University School of Law

Boston University School of Law Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper No. 13-35
(August 13, 2013)

 

Abstract

Parents’ assimilation demands compromise children’s healthy identity development and attachments with parents. For LGBT youth in particular, rejection from families heightens their vulnerability to negative health, legal and economic outcomes, yet leaves them under-protected by the legal system. So far, children who have experienced family mistreatment in the form of heteronormative assimilation demands on their sexual orientation or gender identity have been unable to mobilize courts to understand why assimilation demands are harmful and how to protect children from such mistreatment. Thus assimilation demands that undermine children’s identities and are harmful to their wellbeing should be recognized as an additional exception to parental rights. Rather than suggesting assimilation demands are a form of emotional abuse, this Article recommends a new framework – family in need of services – that could empower children to seek state intervention that would help families support LGBT youth and facilitate family cohesion. Parents’ assimilation demands compromise children’s healthy identity development and attachments with parents. For LGBT youth in particular, rejection from families heightens their vulnerability to negative health, legal and economic outcomes, yet leaves them under-protected by the legal system. So far, children who have experienced family mistreatment in the form of heteronormative assimilation demands on their sexual orientation or gender identity have been unable to mobilize courts to understand why assimilation demands are harmful and how to protect children from such mistreatment. Thus assimilation demands that undermine children’s identities and are harmful to their wellbeing should be recognized as an additional exception to parental rights. Rather than suggesting assimilation demands are a form of emotional abuse, this Article recommends a new framework – family in need of services – that could empower children to seek state intervention that would help families support LGBT youth and facilitate family cohesion.

 


Adobe Acrobat Reader v3.01 or greater is required to view this paper.
To obtain a free copy, click the button below

 

 

Contact Information

Orly Rachmilovitz
Visi;ting Assistant Professor - Health Law
Boston University School of Law
765 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
United States

617-353-8960 (Phone)
617-353-3077 (Fax)
Email: orlyr@bu.edu

 

SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH NETWORK