As reported in an earlier article concerning a Dallas, Texas, custody case, when in the care of his mother six-year-old James attends first grade obediently dressed as a girl enrolled under the name “Luna.” But when with his father, where he’s given the choice of boy or girl clothes, James chooses boy clothes and refuses to wear girl clothing. Despite this inconsistent behavior, a gender therapist has given James a diagnosis of gender dysphoria.
In response, heartwarming things have happened in the fight to save James. A team of designers volunteered their services to update the savejames.com website and another caring friend started an online petition directed to Texan representatives to do something to prevent this kind of abuse of children. Generous people donated to the father’s legal expense fund, raising half of what is needed.
But the father, Jeff Younger, is still hampered by a shortage of finances to secure expert witnesses and perform a forensic custody evaluation to change the outcome for James.
After writing the first article about James, I arranged to visit Jeff and his six-year-old twin sons in Texas. We met on a Thursday evening during the boys’ usual two hours of visitation with their father. To keep the time casual, Jeff suggested we spend the time with his good friends, the Scott family and their four young children, who always enjoy time together.
Jeff and I drove across town to the mother’s home to pick up the boys. As we pulled up, the front door opened, and the two young boys came flying out. James was dressed as a boy, like his brother. Into the backseat they went, saying hi to their dad and to me before they started talking about Ninja Turtles and other things they had done at school. Not one smidgeon of gender dysphoria or “girl talk” appeared during the drive back to the Scott home.
The next two hours were supervised and playful bedlam. Jeff brought out a toy popular with this bunch of friends—plastic swords and shields. Immediately, all six children were joyfully absorbed in rough-and-tumble swordplay with their fathers and each other. A pleasant dinner followed, and then the children went off to other playtime activities.
I observed James’ mannerisms, voice inflections, and interactions, looking for evidence of gender dysphoria. I can emphatically say that during the two hours of the visit I saw no sign of gender dysphoria. James indicated no desire to be a girl, nor did he behave like a girl or talk like a girl during the entire time. Both James and his brother happily engaged with the four Scott children and the adults. Both were talkative, demonstrated strong vocabularies, and eagerly showed off their artwork created during a previous playdate.
I asked Jeff why James was dressed as a boy when he ran out of mom’s house. Jeff explained that James prefers to dress as a boy, even at his mother’s, except when he goes to school dressed as a girl.
After observing James and his behavior, I cannot see how his counselor at Dallas Rainbow Counseling could have diagnosed James with gender dysphoria. She spent time with James and his father, where James showed a preference for being a boy. Even if James preferred a girl name in sessions with his mother, it is a huge leap to a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. He’s only six, after all.
A misdiagnosis cannot be ruled out, and a prudent next step is a comprehensive psychological assessment to explore why he identifies as a girl with mom and as a boy with dad. Per the custody order, the only parent authorized to oversee James’ psychological counseling is his mother.
A Single Diagnosis Is Not Enough
A single therapist’s diagnosis of gender dysphoria has put James on a life-changing protocol known as the Dutch protocol. (The Dutch protocol lacks scientific basis, yet clinics are adopting it.) The protocol consists of social transition to acting like the opposite sex, and hormone blockers.
Social transition is the first step. James’ mother has enrolled him in first grade as a girl with a girl name and dresses him as a girl for school. Social transition for a young child is not harmless. It’s grooming. My grandmother dressed me as a girl when I was 4, 5, and 6 years old, which led to my own gender confusion.
The next step is administering drugs to block the necessary and natural process of physical maturity and puberty, as early as age 8. Dr. Michael Laidlaw, an endocrinologist practicing in Rocklin, California, says, “What parents should find truly terrifying is the psychological effect of this medication.”
Early evidence shows a troubling effect: All of the children put on blockers continue towards sex changes. The blockers themselves seem to influence children to transition. In vivid contrast, 60 to 90 percent of trans kids who are not reinforced in this desire or put on puberty blockers are no longer trans by adulthood. In other words, most trans children naturally grow out of it as they go through puberty, if they are not socially locked into an opposite-sex identity and puberty is not blocked.
Puberty blockers and the following step, cross-sex hormones, are known to cause serious side effects, including infertility. Children are not able to understand these consequences or give informed consent.
James is on track to be given these drugs.
Another opinion is so clearly needed. It’s easy to see why this father is alarmed and fights so hard for his boy. An intervention is clearly needed and needed now. A second opinion needs to come from someone who is not a cheerleader for diagnosing gender dysphoria and preparing a child for a sex change. The ideal counselor will explore the family dynamics and other contributing factors.
If the current counselor is solid in her belief the gender dysphoria diagnosis is indisputable and fixed, she should support getting a second opinion in the best interests of the child.
Cross-Dressing Young People Will Influence Their Future
The case of James is very troubling to me because I know how the story unfolds. My grandmother dressed me as a girl when I was 4, 5, and 6 years old. Like James, I was far too young to comprehend the long-term consequences of being encouraged to cross-dress at such a young age, much less fight back. In my child’s mind, it felt good to be the center of her attention. Now I call what grandma did to me “child abuse” because her grooming of me as a female negatively affected my entire life.
In adulthood, I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria and underwent unnecessary cross-gender hormone therapy and surgical gender change. I lived eight years as a woman and tried my best to make it work, but after surgery I still had gender dysphoria. Even worse, I was suicidal. Before giving me hormones and surgery, my medical providers should have helped me explore the possible psychological roots of my desire to escape into a female persona, but none did.
I’m not the only one whose life was hurt by the rush to change gender. I have heard from so many trans adults who ask me for advice in going back to their sex at conception that I compiled 30 people’s emails into a book, “Trans Life Survivors.” Several people in the book transitioned in their teens but when they hit their twenties, their feelings of gender dysphoria changed. They grew out of it, but only after making irreversible changes to their bodies, including the ability to have children, and losing years of their life to an alternate identity.
Help James From Being Locked In
Jeff and his lawyer are pursing action through the court to save James, but public response is still very much needed. Even after a generous outpouring of support, Jeff is still hampered by a shortage of finances to secure expert witnesses and perform a forensic custody evaluation.
This case is not only about one six-year-old boy, but about all children who will get locked into a trans life by a gender dysphoria diagnosis and a parent’s endorsement of social transition and hormone blockers. If Younger can prevail in proving the diagnosis of gender dysphoria and the resulting treatment is misguided, this Texas case has the potential to save other young children from similar gender identity nightmares.