Father who denies trans daughter’s identity stripped of custody after refusing to pay child support

After years of battling in court, the mother of a trans girl has been granted custody after her father, who refuses his child’s gender, stopped paying child support.

Luna Younger, an eight-year-old from Texas, has been at the centre of a lengthy, bitter custody dispute between her mother, ​​Anne Georgulas, who affirms her gender identity, and her father, Jeffrey Younger. He claims Georgulas is forcing Luna’s identity on her, which she has strenuously denied.

The legal battle has received huge public attention, including from Donald Trump Jr and Ted Cruz, who in 2019 both accused Georgulas of “child abuse”.

In the most recent hearing on the case, Dallas judge Mary Brown ordered that Georgulas be given “exclusive right to establish the primary residence” of Luna and her twin brother within the county, according to court documents uploaded by Slowly Boiled Frog.

Custody was awarded after Younger “failed to timely make the payments of child support, medical support and interest as [previously] ordered”. The court ruling noted Young “only paid his past due support” after a “motion for enforcement was filed”.

“Due to Mr Younger’s unwillingness or inability to follow the order designed to serve the best interests of the children, the court finds that it is necessary for the health and safety of the children that Ms Georgulas have the following exclusive rights on a temporary basis,” the ruling read.

Judge Brown ruled Georgulas can now determine the children’s legal representation, education, extracurricular activities, haircuts and enrolment in school. She can also determine the children’s medical, dental, psychological and psychiatric care.

However, the court has put a caveat on Georgulas’ custodial rights to consent to gender-affirming care or treatment for Luna. In its ruling, the court ruled “neither parent may treat a child with hormone [suppression] therapy, puberty blockers” or gender-affirming surgery “without the consent of the parents or court order”.

Georgulas’ attorney said that the ruling was not about Luna’s gender.

“This is just a high-conflict custody case, and you’re going to hear a lot of issues with regards to Jeff’s parenting abilities,” said Jessica Janicek, according to the Texan.

Younger’s lawyer, however, told the outlet: “To downplay that this is but for the gender issue is absolutely misleading and wrong. This is all about the gender issue in this case. And it’s about the parents’ ability to cope with and deal with this situation.”

Luna Younger knew she was a girl at her young age. Her father refuses to believe this

According to Forbes, Luna knew that she was transgender from a young age and declared “I’m a girl” at age three. At the time the article was published, she had also received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria from several medical experts.

Vox reported that physicians, school staff and family members have all testified in court that Luna has consistently and persistently identified as a girl, with her mother affirming her identity.

Younger has been vocal in his efforts to gain custody of the children and his opposition to Luna’s gender identity. According to BuzzFeed, the father at one point set up a website, which included Luna’s deadname, and published a lengthy essay detailing the case. This dossier also included Younger’s perspective over the legal proceedings and his child’s gender identity.

In it, Younger claimed Georgulas “socially transitioned” Luna by affirming her chosen name and allowing her to dress as she felt comfortable. BuzzFeed reported Younger also argued that affirming his child as a “girl violates the father’s Christian religious beliefs”.

He also claimed that Luna only preferred “girl’s toys” and “girl’s clothes” when at her mother’s house, BuzzFeed reported.

Forbes reported a jury awarded Georgulas sole custody of Luna and her sibling in 2019. But the decision did not sit well with Younger and his right-wing supporters, who rallied to the father’s defence.

Greg Abbott said in a 2019 tweet that the case was “being looked into” by the Texas attorney general’s office and the department of family and protective services. He also decided to misgender and deadname Luna in the same tweet.

The judge overseeing the trial then set aside the jurors’ ruling on the basis that the “state of Texas has no compelling interest to justify such interference … requiring the father to affirm the child and honor the child’s choices”, LGBTQ Nation reported.

That did not stop the mother from petitioning the family court to limit Younger’s custodial rights over their children and allow her to have full say over crucial decisions in their lives.

Luna Younger and trans kids like her are under attack

Luna’s case comes as trans rights are attacked across state legislatures.

Earlier this year, Arkansas became the first state to ban puberty blockers and gender-affirming treatment for trans minors.

In 2021, 20 states have introduced bills that prohibit or impede the administration of gender-affirming care to trans minors, according to the ACLU.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has rebuked the spate of anti-trans bills attempting to criminalise healthcare for trans youth across the US. In June, the group characterised such bills as “governmental intrusion into the practice of medicine” and said efforts to ban healthcare for trans minors will ultimately prove “detrimental”.

Michael Suk, an AMA board member, said that gender-affirming care is “medically necessary” and “evidence based”. Suk also insisted that it “improves the physical and mental health of transgender and gender-diverse people”.