Texas dad could lose custody of 6-Y-O son for not affirming transgender identity

by Samuel Smith/CP |

(PHOTO: REUTERS/TAMI CHAPPELL)A sign outside a classroom taken in 2016.

A Texas father who objects to his ex-wife pushing their 6-year-old son into identifying as a girl is in danger of losing custody of the child after he was accused of "abusive behavior."

Walt Heyer, a former transgender woman who is now outspoken against the push for children to identify as transgender, has highlighted the case of James Younger, who since the age of three has undergone social transitioning to be identified as a girl.

However, James' father, Jeff Younger, and the parents of some of James' friends maintain that James really desires to be a boy when he is not in the presence of his mother, who is responsible for enrolling the child into school as a girl and having the child undergo psychological assessments.

According to Heyer, who wrote for the conservative website The Federalist, the child is currently in the process of social transitioning before he can begin chemical hormone therapy at the age of eight.

In the couple's divorce proceedings, the wife (who was not named) accused Jeff Younger of "abusive behavior" because the father has engaged in "non-affirming actions" such as cutting the son's hair short.

Heyer, who first heard about the case during a recent trip to Texas, reported that the mother has sought a restraining order against the father and is even looking to terminate his parental rights.

Additionally, the mother asked the court to force the father to pay for James to visit a trans-affirming therapist and also pay for any medical alterations or therapies that James may need to transition to female as he gets older.

Subsequently, the courts agreed and have required the father to pay at least 50 percent for future gender-related medical expenses. Jeff Younger has also been banned by the court from teaching James that he is a boy and banned the father from dressing his son as a boy. Additionally, Younger cannot share religious teaching with his son on sexuality or gender.

But according to the father and his supporters, the son's transgender identity was a decision that was made by his mother when he was three. A fact sheet provided by Younger's supporters claim that the mother began dressing the twin boy as a girl and calling the child by the name "Luna."

The mother then took the child to a therapist, where he was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. The child was then enrolled in social transitioning therapy to "prepare him for chemical castration," a process that transgender children can start when they turn eight years old.

The child was also enrolled in school by the mother under the name "Luna."

Heyer reported that while the mother requires that James wear feminine clothes to school, James is given the opportunity to choose between male and female clothes when he is at his father's house.

"James violently refuses to wear girl's clothes at my home," Jeff Younger was quoted as telling Heyer in an interview.

According to Heyer, eyewitness accounts from friends have corroborated the father's claims.

"Based on the three occasions I've spent time with [James], I'd say he acts and looks unmistakably like a healthy 6-year-old boy," Heyer quoted Bill Lovell, the senior pastor of Christ Church Carrollton, as saying. "I am praying for James, an average 6-year-old boy, a sweet-natured, intelligent, lovable and at this point particularly vulnerable young man, caught up in a titanic clash of worldviews."

Sarah Scott, a mother of James' friends, told Heyer that when James is in their presence and away from the mother, he seems to think of himself as a boy.

"We all went on a walk to the park. We had such fun! It had rained the night before. On the walk, James slipped and got his clothes dirty. He asked if he could borrow some of my boys' shorts and if I could wash his clothes. I said sure!" a mother of three of James' friends told Heyer in an email. [I] went to grab something he could wear. While I was looking, he said, 'Guess what Mrs. Sarah? You don't need to find a shirt because boys don't have to wear them if you're hot!' I laughed and told him I guess that's a good thing about being a boy! He said, 'Yes, it is!'"

Scott, who set up a crowdfunding account to aid James' father with legal fees, also detailed an encounter with James' mother in which she came over to Scott's house to pick up James and his twin brother, Jude, to take them to one of Jude's soccer games.

"[James] refused to go to the soccer game as a girl with mom and stayed with dad," Scott wrote. "That evening they came to our house."

Heyer argued that James' behavior when he is not in the presence of his mother suggests that he does not actually have gender dysphoria.

"This by all accounts is not a true or clinically correct diagnosis of gender dysphoria," Heyer contested. "Yet the therapist stands by her diagnosis and continues to keep 'Luna' on track to gender transition."

According to Heyer, the transition therapist involved in James' case has observed that James does not express a consistent desire to be "Luna."

"For example, a dossier filed with the Dallas court says that, under the skilled eyes of the therapist, the child was presented two pieces of paper, one with the word 'James' and one with the word 'Luna,' and asked to pick the name he preferred," Heyer wrote. "When the appointment only included his mother, James selected Luna, the name and gender he uses at his mother's home and in his first-grade classroom. When the appointment was only with his father, however, James pointed to the boy name James, not the girl name."

Heyer wrote that he could relate to James in a way because of the fact that he was cross-dressed for two-and-a-half years by his grandmother, who made him wear a purple dress as a child.

"Somewhat like James, my cross-dressing occurred under one adult's care, but away from grandma's I was all boy with my mom and dad," Heyer stated. "Also, just like James, I found my way into the office of a gender therapist, who quickly started me toward transition."

"Unlike James, I was an adult at the time of my diagnosis. Grandma was gone by then, but the therapist, like so many today, affirmed my cross-gender identity and guided me through gender transition," Heyer continued. "He provided access to hormones and surgery and I soon had the full gender-affirming surgery and identified as 'Laura.' I felt that my gender identity and biological sex were at odds, but what the therapist failed to consider were the other factors driving my desire to change gender, which needed to be addressed first."

Heyer argued in his Federalist piece that what the mother is doing to James "looks very much like what my grandmother did to me by affirming me in the purple dress."

"My grandmother didn't intend to harm me, but her actions destroyed my childhood and my family and consumed nearly 50 years of my life," Heyer explained. "James has no idea what he is in for or how his gender journey will play out, but with an incorrect diagnosis, it will be ugly. I became very concerned about James because he is not exhibiting the diagnostic attributes of gender dysphoria. His gender preferences are not consistent or insistent, but flip back and forth, according to which parent is present."

Critics have warned about the health hazards of putting children through hormone therapy for gender transition.

Although data has shown that gender dysphoria does not persist for many children into their adulthood, the effects and impact of hormone suppression and cross-sex hormone therapies can be permanent even though pro-trans health experts say that puberty blocking treatments have no permanent effects.

"Much of what is being done here can be considered experimental treatment," Paul Hruz, a St. Louis-based doctor who is a professor of pediatrics, endocrinology, cell biology and physiology at the Washington University School of Medicine, said about gender transition therapies last year. "But that is not how the public is hearing about this and [not] what the patients themselves and the families who are dealing with this issue are being presented with."

Rod Dreher, a prominent Christian author and commentator, wrote in an op-ed for The American Conservative that what is happening with James is tied into the societal "demolition of the idea of male and female."

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