A San Francisco dad is fighting a nightmarish custody battle for his toddler son, who he says is being raised “non-binary” by his mother, who claims to be genderless.
Harrison Tinsley, 31, is seeking full custody of his son Sawyer, 3, who currently spends half of his time with Tinsley’s ex-girlfriend, the boy’s mother. Sawyer’s mother, 30, uses they/them pronouns for the boy and puts him in dresses and makeup, photos provided by Tinsley appear to show. Sawyer also told his dad that his mother put him in princess shoes on a trip to Disneyland, a video of the conversation shows. Sawyer’s mother may have thought about raising her son “non-binary” before he was even born. In what appears to be a Facebook post during her pregnancy, she refers to Sawyer as “my sweet baby boy or girl or neither if that’s what you feel.”
Sawyer himself rebels against his mom and insists he is a boy, his dad says.
The mother herself now identifies as “non-binary,” although she did not when she was dating Tinsley, court documents show. LGBT issues have been a major theme in her life — she was adopted and raised by two older gay men in the Bay Area, where she still lives and runs an ultra-progressive non-profit.
Gender confusion is not Tinsley’s only concern for his son — he is also concerned for the child’s immediate safety.
Back in 2021, Sawyer’s mother was arrested and booked in jail for felony child endangerment when then-1-year-old Sawyer fell off a bed during an altercation between the mother and her roommate, police body cam footage viewed by The Daily Wire shows.
The San Francisco police gave custody of Sawyer to the mother’s two dads for the night and put her on a psychiatric hold at the hospital. She was ultimately not convicted of a crime.
During the psychiatric hold at the hospital, Sawyer’s mother told a psychiatrist that she has borderline personality disorder, a condition that can involve impulsive and risky behavior, the psychiatrist later testified in San Francisco family court.
Child Protective Services investigated the police incident and concluded that Sawyer’s mother was not a safety threat to her son. Her mental health was a “complicating factor, but not a safety issue,” reads the CPS report, provided by Tinsley.
Sawyer’s mother was on five different medications for PTSD, mood stabilization, ADHD, and anxiety at the time of the CPS investigation, the CPS report said.
Sawyer’s mom can be heard on the police body cam footage mentioning that she drank alcohol earlier the same day.
“Mommy had two peach bellinis with dinner!” she says.
Sawyer’s mom told police that she is autistic. Her friends told police that she is manic depressive and has a more volatile altar ego named “Lexi.”
After Tinsley’s relationship with Sawyer’s mother ended, he wanted to be in his son’s life, but he was not informed his son was born until a week after the birth, Tinsley said. He fought for over a year in court and was finally allowed to meet his son when Sawyer was 15 months old, Tinsley said. The dad said he also fought to get his last name legally added to Sawyer’s name.
Tinsley moved to the San Francisco Bay Area for a shot at joint custody of Sawyer. When that was eventually granted, Sawyer’s mother lashed out at the female family court judge on social media, a screenshot of her post appears to show.
In December, a San Francisco family court held a trial with the potential of granting Tinsley full custody of Sawyer, but the judge ultimately decided to keep it 50-50 between the parents.
Sawyer’s pediatrician, Dr. Danielle Alkov, works at a youth gender clinic that offers hormone therapy and so-called gender-affirming surgery referrals. She testified as an expert witness in court and said she has worked with children as young as 12. She also mentioned a nearby clinic that works with children as young as 3, Sawyer’s current age.
The court ordered that Alkov continue to be Sawyer’s primary care physician.
Tinsley’s lawyer said he had planned to present scientific materials demonstrating the harm of treating Sawyer as if he had no gender, but they ran out of time in court.
During that trial, Sawyer’s mother said in court that she has had suicidal ideations multiple times in her life.
In October, Sawyer’s mother also violated Tinsley’s restraining order against her in San Jose, according to a communication between Tinsley and a deputy district attorney.
Meanwhile, she has defamed Tinsley repeatedly, he said. Sawyer’s mother has called the father of her child a rapist and even claimed Sawyer is the product of rape and that Tinsley has raped other people as well, a friend told police. She began making these allegations when Tinsley started fighting for custody, he said.
The court found Tinsley’s denial of rape credible, according to court documents. Tinsley provided what he said are screenshots of his texts with Sawyer’s mother, some from the early days of her pregnancy, and they suggest a loving, consensual relationship. Four of Tinsley’s ex-girlfriends also wrote letters vouching for his good character as a respectful boyfriend who never pressured them in any way.
The court also took it upon itself to schedule an upcoming hearing in June that will determine which parent gets to decide whether Sawyer gets vaccinated for COVID. Tinsley argues that Sawyer already has natural immunity, and Sawyer’s mother complained on social media about Tinsley being unvaccinated. Neither parent requested the new court date though, Tinsley said. During the previous trial, the judge forced Tinsley to answer about whether he was vaccinated, court documents show.
Tinsley said he has spent all the money he ever saved on legal bills. His mother even contributed additional money, but funds are running low, he said. He recently started a fundraiser in hopes he can afford to continue fighting for custody of his son.
“I will do anything to keep my son safe and happy with who he is. I hope to inspire other parents with similar situations to be brave and speak up,” Tinsley told The Daily Wire.
In the meantime, Tinsley says he takes off work on the days he takes care of Sawyer, reading to him, taking him to the park, and spending as much time as possible with his young son.