Student protesters at the University of North Texas (UNT) drove out an anti-trans candidate for the Texas House of Representatives this week, at an event hosted by a conservative student group on campus.
The UNT chapter of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) invited Jeff Younger, a Republican running in the 63rd House district in Texas’s state legislature, to speak on Wednesday. A video shared on social media showcases how student protesters stopped him from disseminating his bigoted viewpoints.
The students sat in the room Younger was scheduled to speak in, banging their hands on tables and shouting “fuck these fascists” at Younger and YCT organizers. The students also shouted slogans that expressed support for transgender children in the state, who have been targeted by conservative lawmakers in recent weeks.
Anti-trans Texas House candidate Jeff Younger came to the University of North Texas and this is how students responded. pic.twitter.com/vmsH2aV0xf
— Dallas (@59dallas) March 3, 2022
Younger supports calls to ban gender-affirming care for transgender and nonbinary youth in Texas. According to accounts from inside the room where the protest took place, he engaged the protesters by clapping his hands in rhythm to their pounding on tables, calling the demonstrators “communists.” One person at the event also alleged he shouted back at the protesters, “Trans people don’t exist.”
As a result of the student-led protest, the YCT event was cut short by about 40 minutes. Police ordered protesters to leave the building, where they continued chanting in support of trans rights. Officers also provided the president of the YCT group with a vehicle escort. Video of that vehicle driving away shows that it sped toward protesters still outside the building, hitting at least one person who was unable to move out of the way fast enough.
Younger’s presence on campus came just weeks after YCT distributed transphobic flyers on UNT’s campus, amplifying calls to criminalize gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. It also comes as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) has ordered state government departments to investigate families who may have provided their transgender or nonbinary children with gender-affirming care, which he erroneously describes as child abuse.
A wide range of medical organizations have decried Abbott’s invasive executive order, noting that gender-affirming care is beneficial to transgender and nonbinary children – in fact, such treatments can often be life-saving.
Younger announced his candidacy for the state House seat last year, and has made attacks against transgender children in the state a cornerstone of his campaign. Notably, Younger himself has a transgender daughter, whom he lost custody of in 2019 to his ex-wife; his ex now has sole custody of two children from their marriage.
During the divorce hearings, the judge in the case noted that Younger’s actions were theatrical and showed little concern for his child’s wellbeing. Younger “finds comfort in public controversy and attention” and appeared “motivated by financial gain,” the judge said, noting that he made nearly $140,000 in a crowdfunding campaign that was supposedly to help him win custody of his children.
Younger is campaigning on making gender-affirming care illegal in the state through legislative statute beyond Abbott’s order. On his campaign website, Younger claims that a Texas court “stole” his children from him. He continues to reference his transgender daughter on his website with the name she was given at birth, and refuses to recognize her current name. Younger has also publicly lied about his ex-wife, claiming that she is subjecting his daughter to chemical castration treatments — a gender-affirming option that is not administered at all to children of his daughter’s age, as Chase Strangio, a lawyer and trans activist based in New York, explained in an article for Truthout in December.
“The majority of care prescribed to minors is nonsurgical, and no medical care is provided at all prior to puberty,” Strangio said. “When care is provided, sometimes in the form of medication to delay puberty or gender-affirming hormones to initiate puberty consistent with gender identity, it is done to alleviate severe symptoms of distress.”
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