Update: Judge Kim Cooks of the 255th district ruled Thursday that both parents will have joint managing conservatorship and will make joint medical decisions for the child. Cooks also forbade Younger from speaking about the case and ruled that he is not required to pay attorney fees. Younger's site, Save James, will thus have to be taken down.
The governor of Texas is intervening in a custody case amid controversy over a decision of a Dallas jury allowing a mother to proceed with gender transitioning against the wishes of his father.
The case of James Younger, a 7-year-old boy who has been at the center of a complicated and bitter divorce and custody fight in Texas because the mother insists the child is transgender and his father says he is not, has gained national attention this week in light of a Monday 11-1 jury decision in favor of the mother, Anne Georgulas, awarding her custody.
The father in the case, Jeffrey Younger, has been leading a campaign to save his son from the transition, maintaining that gender transitioning is a torturous form of child abuse. The fight over the transitioning of James has been part of a custody battle with a messy divorce. The judge who presided over the case was scheduled to rule on the final terms of conservatorship Wednesday, but ended up delaying issuing the decision.
Georgulas is not biologically related to the child as he was conceived using a donor egg. James has a twin brother, Jude.
Late Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the Attorney General's office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services were looking into the situation.
Georgulas maintains the child is transgender, has reportedly been telling James that he is female since he was three years old, and the young boy is classified by his pediatrician, Dr. Jennifer Pape, as female on his medical records. The child has been enrolled in elementary school as “Luna,” uses the girls’ restroom, and his classmates believe he is female.
Younger took video footage of his son when he was 3 wherein the young boy explained that it was his mother who was telling him he was a girl, was putting him in dresses, and painting his nails. Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that footage Thursday along with the hashtag #protectjamesyounger.
Tweeting in support of the 7-year-old boy and his father were other Republican politicians from Texas like U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, who called the ordeal "horrifying" and "tragic."
"For a parent to subject such a young child to life-altering hormone blockers to medically transition their sex is nothing less than child abuse," Cruz said.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, likewise, tweeted earlier this week in response to the case: "This is heartbreaking and sets a horrible precedent. A 7-year-old can’t possibly make this decision or understand it. Parents should know better. I hope this father receives the public support he needs."
In a Wednesday letter to Attorney General Barr, National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins, and the Office of National Drug Control Policy director James Carroll, Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, wrote of the erosion of parental rights with regard to the best course of treatment for their children suffering with gender dysphoria, and mentioned how kids in the foster system are particularly vulnerable to gender transition. Roy urged the agency heads to conduct a federal study on individuals who undergo sex-reassignment surgical operations and hormone treatments that are under the age of 18.
"And just this week, a jury ruled against a father attempting to save his 7 year-old son from chemical castration forced upon him by his mother," Roy wrote, referencing the Younger case.
"Now is the time to conduct this important research, before more children are separated from one or both parents, foster children are denied a loving home that does not conform with activists' demands, and most importantly, given life-altering treatments that will cause them irreparable harm," the congressman said.
In January, Jeffrey Younger gave an interview with the "Luke Macias Show" podcast describing his agony over losing his child and watching him be told that he is the opposite sex.
"You have to see your son sexually abused, and you have to maintain your calm,” he explained, "because the courts are not going to be fair to you. And the only way you can survive this and get your son through this alive is to calmly allow your son to be tortured right before your eyes and outlast the opposition. That’s what it’s like.”
Texas state representative Matt Krause, who represents a portion of Tarrant County in suburban Fort Worth, said Wednesday that unless there is a special session between now and the next session he would introduce legislation that prohibits the use of puberty blockers for children under the age of 18.
At present, no laws in Texas prevent a legal guardian from giving a minor puberty-blocking drugs or hormones.
Transgender activists have long claimed and continue to assert that puberty blockers are reversible and are a mere "pause button" that gives gender dysphoric youth additional time to decide whether or not to proceed to cross-sex hormones and surgical transition.
Earlier this year, Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist from Rocklin, California noted in remarks before the Heritage Foundation that the claims of doctors engaged in the medicalization of gender are extremely misleading.
No blood test, genetic testing, or brain imaging scans can find a "gender identity," Laidlaw said at the time, adding "there is no objective test to diagnose this, yet we are giving very harmful therapies on the basis of no objective diagnosis."
Medical scenarios such as girls as young as 13 and 14 undergoing double mastectomies and 17-year-old boys with penises of 9-year-olds, developmentally speaking, because of chemical puberty blockers, are now occurring, he explained. And some of these experimental medical practices are being funded by the federal government.
Laidlaw and his colleagues obtained a progress report through FOIA requests from a 2015 NIH grant that was awarded to Children's Hospital Los Angeles, where it notes that in 2017 the minimum age was lowered for cross-sex hormones from 13 to 8.