DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A volatile custody case involving a 7-year-old child’s gender is now over.
Dallas Judge Kim Cooks granted Anne Georgulas and Jeffrey Younger joint custody of their twin children Thursday, but the central issue focused on whether the parents should allow one of their children to live as a girl or a boy.
Outside the courtroom, the case has sparked a nationwide debate over how parents should handle gender identity.
Jeffrey Younger, of Flower Mound, says his child, who was born as a boy, should be raised male.
But the child’s mother, Dr. Anne Georgulas, of Coppell, said the child presents as a girl.
“My son goes to school dressed as a girl, he’s enrolled in school under a fake girl’s name, his teachers and everyone says he’s a girl,” Younger said. “Now with me, when I have possession time, he presents as a boy.”
While sharing custody, the parents have been waging a legal battle for years. This week, the case went to trial.
A Dallas jury granted Georgulas, a pediatrician, sole custody.
But instead of upholding the decision, Judge Cooks restored the parents’ joint custody of the child and the child’s twin brother.
“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,” Judge Cooks said.
The case has ignited debate over how parents should navigate gender identity in their children.
Public officials, such as Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Ted Cruz and Attorney General Ken Paxton have even waded into the controversy.
On Wednesday, Gov. Abbott tweeted,” FYI the matter of [the 7-year-old child] is being looked into by the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services.”
Attorney General Paxton sent a referral letter to DFPS, requesting the state agency investigate possible child abuse over allegations Georgulas proposed chemical and surgical treatments to permanently alter the child’s sex.
“Texans understand that children are cherished, unique individuals who should be supported and properly cared for as they grow up in communities,” Paxton stated in a news release. “I trust DFPS will act immediately upon our request, conduct a thorough investigation, and protect this child.”
A DFPS spokeswoman stated the agency has received the letter and a review of the allegations is underway.
Abbott and Paxton stated they have asked state agencies to investigate allegations Georgulas proposed chemical and surgical treatments to permanently alter the child’s sex.
But Thursday, Judge Cooks stated the court found no evidence of child abuse by either party, denouncing any rumors about chemical castration.
“No Texas judge or Texas court nor the 255th Family Court or any of its judges has ordered the chemical castration, puberty blockers, hormone blockers or any transgender reassignment surgery on this child to become a female,” Judge Cooks said.
Additionally, previous court documents filed earlier this month show Georgulas had requested that the court require mutual written consent from both parents before any treatment with “hormonal suppression, puberty blockers and/or transgender reassignment surgery.”
The judge ruled the court would not be intervening in specific parental decisions over gender identity.
Rather, Judge Cooks ordered that any decisions over certain issues, including medical procedures and psychiatric treatment, should be reached in mutual agreement.
The judge did take time to address the parents’ previous actions.
She read Georgulas’ own testimony stating she may have over-affirmed the child’s identity.
Cooks also noted Younger created a website that publicized the case and generated approximately $139,000 in donations in support of his cause.
She also discussed how Younger invited a conservative news crew into his home to interview the children.
“The father finds comfort in public controversy and attention surrounded by his use of unfounded facts and is motivated by financial gain of approximately $139,000, to which he has received at the cost of the protection and privacy of his children,” Judge Cooks said.
Neither Georgulas nor her legal team responded to requests for comments.
Before the hearing, Younger said he expects someone to file an appeal no matter how the case ends.
Neither parent commented on the judge’s final ruling on Thursday.
During the hearing, Judge Cooks prohibited both parents from appearing in interviews that could be seen by the children. She also ordered joint family counseling for the entire family.