James Younger is a 7-year-old Dallas, Texas area child whose gender identity is part of a bitter and now politicized custody dispute between his parents, with the child’s mother demanding that James be treated as a girl and is transgender, and the father insisting that James was born biologically a boy and should be treated as one.
A Texas jury ruled that the father should not have sole authority to make decisions regarding the child. On October 24, Judge Kim Cooks ruled that both parents should have a “joint managing conservatorship,” with both having “a say in his medical treatment,” The Texan reported. According to Life Site, the judge also placed a gag order on both parents.
People have weighed in on social media, including the president’s son, Donald Trump Jr., who wrote, “This is child abuse. People need to start to stand up against this bullsh*t. Enough is enough.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott wrote on Twitter, “FYI the matter of 7 year old James Younger is being looked into by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services. #JamesYounger.”
The child’s mother Anne Georgulas and father Jeff Younger disagree whether James has gender dysphoria or is transgender. The father and his supporters have compiled a lengthy set of documents in the case, which you can read here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. James Younger’s Mother Argues That the Child Is a Girl Named ‘Luna’ & a Jury Gave Her the Decisionmaking Authority
The Texan’s Daniel Friend has done thorough reporting from the scene at the courthouse. “You’ve heard of people who can’t agree if the sky is blue. These parents can’t even agree if their child is a boy or a girl,” Logan Odeneal, the lawyer for Jeff Younger, told Texas jurors, according to Friend.
The mother argues that the parents should be showing the boy “affirmation,” but the father prefers “watchful waiting” to see how the child develops and feels as years pass, according to The Texan. The mother is not seeking a medical transition, such as puberty blockers, at least until he starts puberty, according to the newspaper. Here’s a picture of the child on the mom’s Facebook page:
The jury found there should be a “sole managing conservatorship” of James and his twin and that the father should not be the person chosen.
Georgulas argues the child should wear dresses and be considered a girl named “Luna” at school. The father does not believe the child is transgender.
“I’m looking out for the best interests of James, my son. When James is with me, he shows no signs of wanting to be a girl when given the choice. Even when in female company, away from me, James rejects a female gender expression,” the father wrote on the website. The Texan reported that the jury modified the couple’s “joint managing conservatorship by requiring Jeff to follow the recommendations of the therapists to ‘affirm’ James by calling him by the name ‘Luna.’”
2. The Mother Is a Pediatrician Who Conceived the Child Through In Vitro Fertilization
According to The Texan, Younger and Georgulas were married in 2010 and “later decided to have children through in vitro fertilization (IVF).” They requested male children and had twin boys in 2012.
The parents were members of an Orthodox church, who named their children after Biblical reference, the newspaper reported, adding that the marriage was eventually annulled. You can see court documents in the marriage’s disintegration later in this story.
According to the mother’s pediatrician website biography, she is “a mother of four, two teenagers and two young children. She’s a board certified pediatrician of the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). The ABP’s General Pediatrics Certificate is recognized throughout the world. Dr. Anne’s pediatric credentials signify a high level of competence.”
The site continues, “Dr. Anne is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Children’s Medical Center. She trains the next generation of pediatricians in her style of compassionate, professional care. She focuses her teaching on differential diagnosis. Dr. Anne’s students learn to consider the whole child, the whole family, and the child’s environment.” Her professional Facebook page was deleted.
Her credentials were given as follows:
University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX – MD, 1991
Children’s Medical Center Dallas – Pediatric Residency, 1994
American Academy of Pediatrics
Texas Pediatric Society
Texas Medical Association
Denton County Medical Association
Mom Approved Doc 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014 (Dallas Child Magazine)
The website labels her business “Dr. Anne modern parenting, classic healthcare.”
“Our family loves Dr. Anne Pediatrics for our two small children,” reads one review highlighted on the website.
In a video posted to the dad’s website, James is asked, “You’re a boy right?”
“No, I’m a girl.”
“Who told you you’re a girl?”
The child said Anne also put James in dresses. “She buys me headbands. She gets me hair clips…she paints my nails.”
“Do you think you’re a girl?” The child answered in the affirmative.
3. There Is a Facebook Page Called ‘Save James’
A Facebook page on the case is called “Save James.” The cover photo on it is a proverb: “Speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.”
The page shares pictures of James Younger with the child’s dad, writing, “Here’s James, loving his daddy, just moments before leaving the protection of daddy. The world is praying for more scenes like this. Save James, save thousands of children!”
The page added: “Many people are leaving mean remarks on the mother’s business page. Please note that we DO NOT encourage or condone this. We pray fervently for a change of heart but do not wish her any ill- will.”
Sarah Scott, who runs it, wrote that she knows James and considers him a boy. “Yesterday, I was supposed to testify in the case for the custody of James and Jude Younger. Unfortunately I was called into the courtroom and dismissed 30 seconds later, because the judge said that the lawyers needed to rest their case,” she wrote. “This prevented the jury from benefiting from the information that I hoped to share.”
She then provided the following account:
You see, I’m just a mom. A mom of 4 kids (3 being boys) who happen to be James’ and Jude’s best friends. As such, I have spent over 150 hours with them over the past year.
I have fed them, read to them, played with them, spent hours talking with them while we did art projects together and have been the victim of an onslaught of 5 little superheroes with foam swords. I know them in a way only a best friends mom can. You know, the mom they go to when they want an adult- but don’t really want to talk to their parents. I have been this for them and I have seen, heard and experienced so much more than any of the other witnesses simply by spending real quality time getting to know and care for them.
If I could, I’d adopt them and take them away from the whole messy situation. A trial like this pits 2 adults against each other and no one comes out looking good because it’s just awful.
Over the past year, I have observed that James is blissfully happy as a boy. He loves to march around outside and yell, ‘we are the only boy scout troop’ or ‘I’m the Leader of the wolf pack!’ He is always the ring leader, even though he isn’t the oldest of the group. He loves dressing as a super hero and sword fighting. One day we all walked to a playground near my house and on the way home James slipped in some mud and got his clothes dirty. He asked if he could borrow some of my kids clothes and I could wash his. Of course I said, ‘no problem’ and grabbed him a pair of shorts from the chest of drawers and tossed them to him. I said, ‘hang on while I grab a shirt from the closet.’ He immediately said, “Mrs. Sarah, I don’t need a shirt! It’s hot! And boys don’t have to wear shirts if they don’t want to! Isn’t that awesome!” He was so cute. I said, “yes that is awesome!” As he ran off to play. I did eventually get him to put on a shirt. It was gray with lizards on it and he loved it! He also likes having his hair cut a certain way but told my son Grayson that his mom wouldn’t let him get it too short even though he wanted it to be spikey.
We document everything with home videos and pictures so our kids can look back and remember fun times together. James and Jude are such a part of our lives that we have tons of photos and footage of them playing together and you can see how happy they are.
James is clearly embarrassed by things that happen with his mom. We were all discussing what they were for Halloween and when my boys asked James he said, “it’s a secret. I’m embarrassed”. I taught my boys that we don’t press James for information when he feels uncomfortable because we love him and always want to be a place where he doesn’t feel forced to talk so that he knows he can share freely when he wants to. We immediately changed the subject, but there have been many instances like that…
No parent is perfect, but both boys adore their dad. They hang on him like a jungle gym. They jump in his lap and tell him they love him. He is great with them. He is firm but gentle, never raises his voice and the kids respond really well to his authority. Sometimes I have to tell my kids 3 times to do something. When Jeff speaks they listen – not out of fear, but out of respect and love. I have heard them both said they wish they could live with him all the time.
I wish the jury could know what I know and could have experienced the joy of these adorable little guys.
Now, I’m trying to console my children who fear they have lost their best friends. There are many hearts breaking today- but there are 5 little boys who are going to suffer the most from this ruling. The wolf pack.
Scott concluded, “I pray that the judge will be wise and fair with the details surrounding the final decision tomorrow and give these little men the best chance they can get at a happy healthy life.”
The father’s website says that he volunteered for a private Christian school, Coram Deo. “Mr. Younger volunteered to serve on the board of the school. He helped transition the school to a new mathematics program and created financial models for the Headmaster,” the site says. The site contains a slew of accusations that the father is lodging against the mother that go well beyond James.
The website alleges that Georgulas “FORCES JAMES TO COME OUT AS A GIRL. At James’s fifth birthday party, an event full of people from church, Ms. Georgulas forced the boy to wear a dress. Witnesses tell Mr. Younger that his son hid in a corner and cried.”
The website claims, “James dresses as a girl at school. Goes by a girl’s name. Uses the girl’s restroom. All his authority figures at school affirm he is a girl — teachers, principals, police officers, peer students, librarian. This child is being lied to by the very institutions that should be protecting him.”
It continues, “When with his Father, James is a normal boy and acts like a normal boy. He does not exhibit any liking for girls toys, steadfastly refuses to wear girl’s clothes, refuses to engage in typical girl’s play, is in fact hyper-athletic. The purported gender dysphoria affecting James never shows up at his Father’s home. This can be attested by scores of witnesses.” The site adds, “Ms. Georgulas is well aware that Father’s religious beliefs preclude any affirmation of a false gender self-identity.”
A court document shared by the father’s website, at a time that the parents were joint managing conservators, listed a number of “exclusive rights” the court was granting Anne Georgulas. Among them, the “exclusive right, after notifying the father, to consent to medical, dental, and surgical treatment involving invasive procedures” and “psychiatric and psychological treatment of the children.”
In 2018, the father was acquitted of assault, according to a court document posted on his website.
4. The Mother Claims James Wanted to Be a Girl After Imitating the Female Character in Frozen, Along With Other Signs
According to The Texan, the mother claims she noticed James was identifying as a girl when he wanted a girl’s toy from McDonald’s, wanted to wear dresses, and imitated female Disney characters from Frozen. She was advised by Rebekka Ouer, a counselor at GENecis clinic at Children’s Hospital Center, who believed James should start undergoing a “social transition” as a girl.
Three mental health professionals diagnosed James with gender dysphoria, according to The Texan. One therapist testified that James expressed anxiety because when the child was around Jeff Younger, James was “having to be a boy” and another said the child picked out the name Luna on sticky notes when asked whether the child wanted to be Luna or James.
The case was before Judge Kim Cooks of the 255th Family District Court. In contrast to the mother’s witnesses, two family friends testified that James is happy to be a boy, according to The Texan. Another expert testified that most children thought to be transgender identify with their biological sex eventually when watchful waiting is chosen.
In a 2018 court filing, shared on the dad’s website, the mother claimed: “Specifically, James is a gender expansive or transgender child and, by choice, now goes by the name Luna and is only known by her classmates as a girl…In response to Luna’s choices, the Father has engaged in increasingly aggressive behavior, including physical force, toward the Mother. His actions are clearly intended to threaten and intimidate the Mother. Further, the Father has engaged in emotionally abusive behavior toward the child (as example only, haircutting and other non-affirming actions.) Although unclear if this behavior rises to the level of family violence at this time, the Father’s aggression is becoming more common and more intense.”
The mother asked the court to stop the father from cutting the children’s hair and “requiring Father to affirm Luna and honor her choices, both inside and outside the home,” among other requests, the document states.
The mother also wanted the father ordered “to attend counseling and/or educational classes associated with being the parent of a transgender child or a potentially transgender child. Specifically, a class that educates Father how his actions and non-affirming behavior could be harmful to the child’s emotional and well-being,” according to the document.
5. The Parents’ Marriage Exploded Into Accusations of Fraud That Led to an Annulment
According to an appellate court decision from the Fifth District of Texas Court of Appeals in the couple’s annulment, Younger and Georgulas were married on December 5, 2010. Before the marriage, Georgulas was the “sole parent of two adopted girls.” Together, they parented twin boys born in 2012. In February 2015, the mother testified she asked Younger to move out of her house, which he did in April 2015.
She filed a divorce petition in 2015 arguing that the marriage had become “insupportable because of discord or conflict of personalities.”
The court record gave further details of the mother’s allegations. She testified in court in 2016 that she had learned Younger was married twice when she had been told initially of one marriage, that he “lied to her” about military experience, that he earned less income than she thought he did, that he had “taken unemployment probably several times in his life,” and that he did not have a college degree, and he was not a professor. She stated that she wouldn’t have married Younger if she had known about the second previous marriage.
A psychologist who conducted a child custody evaluation report testified that Younger admitted to him that he “misstated or lied” to Georgulas about his history as to education, previous marriages, military experience, and employment. The mother argued that her business gave Younger a $45,000 check to purchase a truck but he sold it without permission after they separated. They had a prenuptial agreement.
In 2016, the court annulled the marriage and awarded Georgulas damages in the amount of the truck. Younger appealed. Younger testified that people were “clearly aware of my first wife” because Georgulas’s daughters used to make fun of her nickname.
The court records say Younger argued that “even if he exaggerated his educational accomplishments” and this constituted “a species of fraud, they do not afford a basis for destruction of the marriage.”
Georgulas testified that Younger had told her he was getting his PhD and had two degrees from a university in Dallas but later she determined he didn’t have a college degree. The court records state that Georgulas testified that she learned Younger “had been in the Marines for a very short period of time and because he was underage, he got removed from the Marines,” even though he allegedly told her he was a career Marine who had to fight in the Iraq War.
According to Georgulas, “she found out after they separated that Younger had been in the Army and was discharged due to an ‘admission of homosexuality.’” The court opinion states that the “record shows Younger testified he did not ‘mention much about the Army’ during the marriage, but acknowledged he was discharged from the Army due to admission of homosexuality.”
Younger earned in excess of $100,000 only in the year 2000, according to the court records.
The appeals court concluded that “the evidence supports the trial court’s findings supporting conclusions that Younger committed fraud by inducing Georgulas into marriage. Younger denied Georgulas’s allegations, and in some cases testified to the contrary. However, the trial court is the sole judge of the credibility of the witnesses, and it was permitted to believe Georgulas’s testimony and reject Younger’s testimony…. The trial court did not err in rendering a judgment annulling the marriage.”