On Monday, a Dallas, Texas jury awarded sole custody of a seven-year-old boy, James Younger, to his mother, Anne Georgulas, who intends to raise James as a girl, named “Luna.” Thursday, the judge amended the ruling to grant joint custody to James’ father, Jeff, who objected to having his son raised as a girl. The arrangement will now give him a say in medical decisions. However, James Younger is not out of the woods.
There was a great public outcry over the jury’s decision, but the judge’s ruling, while a small step in the right direction, still falls short of protecting this little boy from harm. Yes, the judge modified the jury’s decision which would have awarded Anne sole custody, giving Jeff no say at all in his son’s medical treatments. But even with the judge’s decision, Jeff will still be unable to prevent the mom’s plan of treating James as if he were a girl, sometimes called “social transition.” The mom can still treat James as a girl until James is eleven. Then, at that age, Anne can take Jeff back to court to argue that James should begin puberty blockers. In all likelihood, Anne, who has primary custody, will have the upper hand in fighting Jeff on whether to start James on those drugs. After all, by then, she will have had him acting as if he was a girl for four years.
The trial leading to the rulings focused on two competing views. On the one side is the mother, who wants to treat James as if he is a girl. Anne reported noticing that James wanted a girl’s toy at McDonald’s rather than a boy’s, and later would imitate a female character when watching Disney movies. Upon observing this, she brought James to GENecis clinic, a clinic that provides “gender-affirming care to transgender and gender-diverse youth.” Their recommendation was to start “social transition,” and to begin dressing James as a girl, having friends and family treat him as a girl, and assign him the girl’s name, “Luna.”
Anne and Jeff had split up while James was still very young. His experiences with James were different than Anne’s. Jeff reported that James was happy to be a boy when the two spent time together. Jeff and his friends all testified that James calls himself James, plays with the boys at events with kids, and wears boy’s clothing. During classroom projects, James signs “James” as his name, and in a figure molding project prefers male characteristics to females, even when female characteristics were suggested.
Taking the testimonies at face value, it would appear that James acts feminine around his mother and masculine around his father. It would appear that James is young and is forced into the difficulty of having to navigate two parents and two households. And, as a result, he behaves differently, depending upon who he is around.
At the trial, Anne’s legal team presented the protocol that “gender clinics” across the country, recommend. These clinics are actively pushing the transgender ideology that rejects sex as an objective reality. This protocol calls first for social “transition,” whereby the boy takes on a stereotypically female name and appearance and requires others to treat him as such. Once the boy reaches puberty, the boy would take drugs to block puberty. Later in the protocol, the boy would take drugs to create hormones that a female would produce, which results in chemical-induced sterility. Finally, at the end of this protocol, doctors would surgically castrate him and cut and invert the boy’s remaining genitals to appear, female, receive breast implants, and other cosmetic surgeries to make him appear female.
This entire protocol is based upon bad science, as detailed in a brief recently filed with the U.S. Supreme Court by the Independence Law Center and Dr. Paul McHugh, a former professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University. First, diagnoses are often based on a self-fulfilling, or therapist fulfilling, prophecy. There is no chromosomal test that can be done to determine if someone is transgender. Rather, if someone thinks they are female, it is likely that the gender clinic will treat them as such.
This is an extraordinarily harmful approach, however. Studies show that, if left alone, eighty to ninety-five percent of children who present gender dysphoric symptoms will eventually align with their biological sex. This suggests that a boy who wants to dress up as a girl or play with girl’s toys is merely in a phase that he will grow out of. So why would a jury give sole custody of James to his mother, who wants him to begin acting as if he was a girl, and who did not rule out hormonal treatment before James reached puberty? It is because of the protocol being recommended by gender clinics like GENecis.
Gender clinics are subjecting children (and adults) to treatments that studies show will make them less happy, more inclined to commit suicide, and will have a whole host of health problems. Each phase within the recommended protocol has problems. Treating a boy as if he is a girl only encourages the boy’s perception that is not in-line with reality. By way of comparison, we would not treat an anorexic, someone who believes they are overweight when they are not, by agreeing with them that they are overweight. In the same way, when doctors and those around a gender-confused boy affirm the boy’s belief that he is a girl, it only pushes him further away from reality.
The next phase, puberty blockers, and hormonal treatments creates psychological and physiological problems. In studies, the reports of happiness and suicidal ideations are very similar between people who did not take the drugs and those who did, suggesting taking this step does not benefit patients. Further, those who take puberty blockers and hormones had higher rates of cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, osteoporosis, and cancer. These individuals also risk becoming sterile.
Finally, the body of evidence for surgical intervention is highly testimonial (i.e. self-reporting), but similarly, show no evidence of improvement among those who have undergone body-altering surgery. Rather, some studies suggest that these individuals actually may be more depressed, and more likely to commit suicide, as compared to individuals who did not transition.
Jeff, amazingly, had chosen the correct approach. His approach was “watchful waiting.” He felt that by doing this, James would eventually see himself as a boy. His legal team rightfully pointed out the risks associated with going through the “transition” protocol, including higher risks of suicide and shorter life expectancy. They also showed that James showed no signs of distress when acting as a boy.
Given all that the judge and jury learned, the risks of suicide, shortened life expectancy, health problems, and the fact that James was happy being a boy when around his dad, how did they initially decide to rule against Jeff? And, how does the mother still have primary custody of James? Jeff, after all, presented a home where James could live consistent with his biological sex, which is a life that does not carry the risks associated with transitioning. The answer is entirely about ideology and very little to do with science or the best interests of the child.
Curtis Schube-Legal Counsel with the Pennsylvania Family Institute