A Texas father trying to stop his seven-year-old son’s gender transition at the hands of his mother has been awarded joint medical decision-making rights by a judge.
Jeffrey Younger hugged supporters outside the Dallas courtroom on Thursday. Asked whether he was happy with the outcome, he appeared lost for words, grinning broadly and nodding his head for several seconds before saying only, “Yes.”
The closely watched ruling by family court judge Kim Cooks comes after the jury’s verdict on Monday that sole custody of twin boys James and Jude should be granted to their mother Anne Georgulas.
Texas is one of the only states in the US where family court matters can be decided by a jury. They had been asked to decide whether sole custody should be granted to a single parent, and if so which one. Judge Cooks instead ruled that the existing joint managing conservatorship should continue.
Dr Georgulas contends that James is transgender and identifies as a girl named Luna. She applied to a court last year to modify the custody arrangement to limit her ex-husband’s visits with his children, ban him from referring to James as a male and force him to take transgender parenting classes.
Mr Younger responded by asking the court to grant him sole custody, alleging Dr Georgulas had psychologically manipulated James into believing he was a girl and that she was planning to “chemically castrate” him with puberty blockers.
Thursday’s ruling, attended by local news website The Texan and Christian outlet LifeSiteNews, gave both parents joint decision-making over all medical, dental, and psychiatric care for the boys, meaning both have to consent to the use of puberty blockers or other aspects of a “medical transition”.
James has already been “socially transitioned” when in his mother’s care, wearing girls’ clothes to school where teachers refer to him as Luna. He wears boys’ clothes and goes by James when the twins stay with their father.
During the trial, Dr Georgulas provided a letter from a gay children’s therapy centre recommending James become a patient of Dallas transgender children’s clinic Genecis “so that she can receive a full psychological assessment for gender dysphoria and potentially take hormone blockers”.
Custody evaluator Dr Benjamin Albritton had expressed doubt that James was fully convinced he was female. “There is still some fluidity in his thinking,” he told the court. “Neither child appears to be depressed, anxious or aggressive … (James) gave no indications of other significant psychological difficulties.”
Mr Younger was also hit with a gag order in Thursday’s ruling, meaning the SaveJames.com website may have to be shut down. The site was launched by supporters of Mr Younger last year to raise awareness of the case and crowd-fund his legal expenses.
The case had only been covered in a small number of local and conservative media outlets until news of Monday’s jury verdict went viral, spawning the hashtag “SaveJamesYounger” and attracting the attention of federal and state politicians.
Late on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that the case was “being looked into” by the Texas Attorney-General’s Office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.
State Representative Matt Krause wrote on Twitter that he intended to introduce legislation that “prohibits the use of puberty blockers in these situations” for children under the age of 18.
Texas Federal Representative Chip Roy, meanwhile, sent a letter to US Attorney-General Bill Barr calling for the Department of Justice, National Institutes of Health and the Office of National Drug Policy to “conduct a behavioural analysis study to determine the societal impacts of forced medical treatment of gender dysphoria in prepubsecent children”.
Originally published as Judge rules in 7yo gender transition