“You’ve heard of people who can’t agree if the sky is blue. These parents can’t even agree if their child is a boy or a girl,” said Logan Odeneal, the lawyer for Jeff Younger, in his concluding remarks to the jury in a drawn-out custody battle.
For the past week, jurors have been sitting through a family court trial between Younger and Anne Georgulas, who argued over whether their seven-year-old son, James, has gender dysphoria, and if so, whether they should show their parental love to him by taking an approach of “affirmation” or one of “watchful waiting.”
Today, the jury decided to give sole managing conservatorship of the parents’ two twin sons to Georgulas, a pediatrician, who contended that James is transgender and should be affirmed by allowing him to wear dresses and taking him to school as a girl named “Luna.”
The mother filed a request with the court to modify their joint managing conservatorship by requiring Jeff to follow the recommendations of the therapists to “affirm” James by calling him by the name “Luna.”
The father responded to the request with his own: to become the sole managing conservator over James and his twin brother Jude.
Gerogulas’s witnesses in the trial were mostly therapists or counselors who said that James told them that he was a girl and wanted to be called “Luna.”
Younger’s witnesses in the trial, while not having met James, were medical professionals who pointed out the dangers of a “social transition” and the “medical transition” it usually leads to.
The latter transition includes puberty suppression, administration of cross-sex hormones, and ultimately surgical removal of reproductive organs.
Naturally, in their closing remarks, the lawyers for both parties argued for the positions they had maintained since the beginning. Georgulas wanted the revised joint custody agreement and Younger wanted to be made sole conservator.
A third amicus attorney, appointed by the court to give a more neutral perspective, asked the judge and jury for a different outcome.
Contending that both parents loved James, as acknowledged by everyone who interviewed both Younger and Georgulas, he asked the jury to choose for the parents to remain joint managing conservators, and leave the rights and duties of that custody agreement for the judge to rule on in a way that would address the concerns of the father.
Benjamin Albritton, who compiled a report for the court on the case, had advocated for the “affirmation” approach, but recommended the court to prohibit Georgulas from initiating a medical transition without approval from Younger.
In the verdict on Wednesday, the judge could include Albritton’s recommendation and maintain an arrangement similar to the current one.
Younger could appeal the jury’s decision, but it would be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor that might take a year. By that time, Younger is concerned that James could begin puberty — and begin being treated with puberty blockers.
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