The child’s father, Jeff Younger, objects to that contention, and the parents have fought it out in court for years.
The state’s highest civil court agreed to consider Younger’s December 16 petition for review this week, coming on the heels of Georgulas taking James and his brother Jude to California. The impetus of Younger’s urgency is a California law going into effect at the beginning of 2023.
California Senate Bill 107 will “prohibit the enforcement of an order based on another state’s law authorizing a child to be removed from their parent or guardian based on that parent or guardian allowing their child to receive gender-affirming health care or gender-affirming mental health care.”
Younger’s asked the Texas Supreme Court to order Georgulas to return the children to the state.
To date, James has not begun any medical gender transition procedures, but while in Georgulas’ care, he is treated as the girl named Luna. According to Younger, James acted as a boy while in his custody.
Jeff Younger’s petition states that if allowed to stay in California, his son “would be subjected to transgender procedures deemed to be child abuse by official opinion of the Texas Attorney General.”
Since last year, the State of Texas has investigated instances of gender transition surgery as “child abuse” under the penal code. That investigation was extended to puberty-blocking drugs in February after the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) issued a non-binding legal opinion supporting the contention that it meets the standard of “child abuse.”
Without intervention by the court, Younger states, “The Children would lose the protections of injunctions on the Mother that prevent her from chemically castrating the Children or sexually mutilating them in transgender surgeries.”
The OAG filed an amicus letter in the case on December 22 in which Attorney General Ken Paxton sided with Younger.
“[A] trial court has allowed relator’s former partner to move to California with their children over relator’s objection,” the OAG letter reads. “There, she intends to provide the child with potentially irreversible medical interventions that may constitute child abuse under Texas law.”
In August 2021, Dallas County District Court Judge Mary Brown awarded Georgulas full custody of James. Brown also eliminated the requirement that Jeff Younger be notified about James’ medical procedures, except for instances of hormone suppression therapy, puberty-blocking drugs, and gender reassignment surgery.
Under that order, Younger must consent to any decisions made under those categories of procedure.
Last year, a few different versions of legislation banning chemical or physical gender transition procedures on minors were filed, but none passed into law. A few months after that, the state’s executive branch began its actions evaluating and eventually acting on the issue; Gov. Greg Abbott did not place such a ban on any of the three special session agendas in 2021.
The lack of a legislative ban also prompted Younger to run an ultimately unsuccessful campaign for the Texas House in 2022, but he lost the GOP primary runoff to Representative-elect Ben Bumgarner.
With the Legislature convening again next year, multiple versions of such a ban have already been filed, primed to be one of the most significant legislative battlegrounds of the session.
The court directed Georgulas’ counsel to provide a response by noon on Wednesday. Younger’s petition asserts that the issue must ultimately be decided by Friday, December 30 to provide enough time before the New Year to “locat[e] and ensure that the Children remain in the State of Texas in order to maintain the status quo until a final order is issued in the underlying custody lawsuit.”
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.