A Dallas boy whose father says is content as a boy may face transgender therapy after a district court judge gave the child’s mother full conservatorship, according to news reports.
Without holding a scheduled hearing, Dallas District Court Judge Mary Brown on Aug. 10 reversed her earlier ruling that upheld joint conservatorship for both parents, who divorced in 2015 when James was 3. The son is one of twin boys.
The boy’s true desire regarding his gender is not known. In the controversial case dating back to 2018, James’ mother Anne Georgulas, a pediatrician, has said the boy desires to live and dress as a girl. The boy’s father, James Younger, has said he has only seen his son behave as a boy.
While both parents remain under a 2019 gag order issued by Judge Kim Cooks, now recused from the case, a Save James Facebook page supporting Younger said Aug. 17 that Georgulas has enrolled the boy in a dance school under the name of “Luna,” although the claim is not substantiated. Georgulas said in earlier court sessions that Luna is James’ preferred name.
According to 2019 news reports, Georgulas wanted the boy to transition socially to a little girl by wearing girls’ clothing and choosing a girl’s name, Luna. The Dallas Morning News reported the mother planned to possibly, in a few years, give the child reversible puberty blockers to temporarily pause puberty. Younger had blogged he feared the boy would be medically castrated, according to the Facebook page.
Under the latest ruling, Georgulas has sole decision-making power regarding the boy’s health care and schooling, Decision Magazine reported.
Southern Baptists have upheld that gender is biologically assigned at birth, limited to God-ordained genders of male or female with no basis for transgendered identity.
Just a week before the latest ruling in the case, Southern Baptist ethicist and apologist Andrew Walker discussed gender identity in a webinar sponsored by the Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.
“Christian reality is reality itself. And when we’re talking about gender issues, I don’t want us to see this from a sectarian perspective that is only persuasive and intelligible if we have Bible verses, though we have Bible verses,” Walker told the TEXAN. Walker is associate professor of Christian ethics and apologetics at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
“Someone does not need to be a Christian in order to agree with the propositions about what a male and female really is,” Walker said, “because what we believe about male and female is not exclusive only to a Christian epistemology – it’s exclusive to reality as it is.”
The case’s history is a see-saw of rulings at times favoring either side. Originally, Georgulas challenged the joint custody arrangement, the Dallas Morning News reported, arguing that Younger failed to affirm the boy’s supposed transgender identity.
In an October 2019 ruling, Cooks awarded the parents joint custody. The judge didn’t require Younger to affirm the child’s transgender identity, but placed a gag order on the parents and ordered them to undergo family counseling.
Cooks ruled that any mental health treatment and medications for the twin boys would require both parents’ consent. At that time, even Georgulas preferred both parents’ consent for any eventual consideration of a medical gender transition, the Dallas Morning News reported.
In response to Cooks’ joint custody ruling, Georgulas filed a motion requesting full custody of the children. Cooks recused herself from the case, and Brown upheld the joint custody ruling in January the Dallas Morning News reported in February.
The joint custody decision ordered the family to undergo counseling for any trauma the children might have experienced in the case. The children’s identity has been public since the case’s early days. In some news reports and on the Save James Facebook page, the counseling is described as costing between $5,000 and $7,000 a month at Younger’s expense.
A hearing on Georgulas’ appeal was scheduled Aug. 11, but without explanation on Aug. 10, Brown reversed the earlier ruling. According to the Save James Facebook page, a follow-up hearing is scheduled in September.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ senior writer.)