It’s easy to get lost in the complexity of the James Younger situation and simply dismiss the current uproar as judicial activism by a leftist judge that was successfully rolled back because of widespread outrage. That would be an oversimplification that overshadows the larger issues in the case.
The case comes as part of the proceedings related to the divorce of James’ parents and James’ father Jeff Younger’s attempt to obtain sole managing conservatorship of James to protect his son and prevent further transgender efforts desired by the boy’s mother. Texas family law is complex and fraught with peril, as Jeff learned Tuesday when a Texas jury ruled against him. Instead of honoring his request, the jury awarded James’ mother sole managing conservatorship in a decision that echoed across the country — a decision the judge reversed last Thursday.
At this point, it appears the judge has restored some sanity into the situation by overturning the jury’s determination. The prior decree gave James’ mother the right to make decisions about James’s psychological and psychiatric care with only a duty to inform his father. Now it appears Jeff will have a “right to consent” to any such care, presumably including any puberty-blocking medical treatment.
The legislative fight to protect James specifically, as well as the desire to outlaw irreversible transgender treatments with unproven puberty-blocking drugs on minors in Texas, began well before this case received national attention. It was a spring day in 2017 when Rep. Matt Rinaldi, a Republican from Coppell, Texas, was on the floor of the Texas House, and he received a phone call from his friend and constituent Jeff Younger. Jeff summarized the situation with James and asked Rinaldi for help.