With early voting underway in primary races across the state, one North Texas father is seeking a seat in the Legislature for a very personal reason.

Jeff Younger says he is running to save his son, and all Texas children, from being permanently disfigured by “gender modification” procedures performed on minors that state lawmakers have failed to ban.

Younger lost custody of his son James last July, following a years-long legal fight to stop his ex-wife from “transitioning” the twin boy to a girl.

James has always identified as a boy when with his dad and others, but his mother has insisted James is a “trans” girl since he was 2. She began socially transitioning James—dressing and presenting him as female—at age 3, after filing for divorce.

“As soon as I was out of the house, she began telling James he’s really a girl,” Younger said at a Grapevine Republican Club meeting Thursday night. He said his pediatrician ex-wife was then able to obtain a misdiagnosis of gender dysphoria for their preschool son from a doctor who had never spoken to James.

When James was 4, she contacted the (now closed) GENECIS clinic in Dallas to consult with doctors about “the medical side of treatments,” which would include giving the boy puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones when he turned 9—James’ current age.

Younger’s story gained national notoriety in 2019 and was the subject of Texas Scorecard‘s 2021 documentary Saving James – Ending Child Mutilation in Texas.

Many Texans were shocked to learn that it’s legal in the state for minor children to be given sterilizing drugs that can cause irreversible health damage, and that these life-altering medical treatments can be initiated based on assessments of preschool kids’ perceptions of sex and gender.

Even worse is that it can all be done without the consent of both parents, even if a child is clearly being coerced by one parent.

Texans were also shocked that public schools like the one James attends in Coppell ISD are allowed by law to secretly help “transition” kids as young as kindergarten age without parents’ consent.

“Until these laws change, my son will never be safe,” Younger said Thursday night.

Grassroots activists within the Republican Party of Texas made abolishing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and gender reassignment surgeries for minors one of their top legislative priorities for 2021.

GOP lawmakers filed multiple bills to stop child gender disfigurement, and Younger continued to speak out about the issue throughout the session.

Yet the Republican-run Texas Legislature failed to outlaw the practice.

Younger said his years-long ordeal also revealed problems within the family court system that he plans to address if elected, including increased legislative oversight of the judiciary.

“Why has the Legislature never done anything about it?” he asked on Thursday. “Let me assure you, if I’m elected, we’ll be talking about this.”

Younger is running in the Republican primary to represent House District 63.

As redrawn in last year’s redistricting process, HD 63 moved from the southwest corner of Denton County to a smaller slice along the county’s southern border, centered on the boundary between Flower Mound and Lewisville. The district’s current representative, State Rep. Tan Parker (R–Flower Mound), is running for a state Senate seat.

Three other GOP candidates are also competing for the open HD 63 seat: Ben Bumgarner, Jake Collier, and Nick Sanders.

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Denise Wooten in the November general election.

Republican primary voters will also weigh in on 10 non-binding ballot propositions, including one to “ban chemical castration, puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and genital mutilation surgery on all minor children for sex transition purposes.”

Early voting in the March 1 primary elections is underway now through February 25.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.