Friday, May 27, 2022

Local candidate’s speech on ‘transgender child abuse’ draws protest

A Flower Mound man running for a local seat in the State House of Representatives drew hundreds of protestors to a speech at the University of North Texas on Wednesday night.

Jeff Younger is in a runoff election with Flower Mound Councilman Ben Bumgarner for the Republican nomination for House District 63. His platform is based largely on his transgender child and the fact that Younger hasn’t been able to stop the child’s sex change, which he blames on his ex-wife, Coppell schools and the Texas Legislature, according to his website’s “Why I’m Running” page. After asserting that “the state of Texas is trying to transition my son into a girl,” Younger states that he wants to play a part in the Legislature outlawing sex-change surgeries on children.

“We must outlaw transgender sexual abuse of children in Texas,” his website says.

Younger spoke to the UNT Young Conservatives for Texas on Wednesday evening “about the threat of leftist ideology, the utmost importance of conservative social issues, and what conservative [sic] can do to win,” his campaign’s Facebook page says. A letter from UNT President Neal Smatresk said the event “focused on criminalizing healthcare for transgender children.”

The room was limited to 80 attendees for capacity and safety reasons. During the speaking engagement, dozens of protestors disrupted the speech with boos, shouts and chants, while a few hundred more gathered outside the building, holding signs and chanting, according to the Dallas Morning NewsThe protestors were not a surprise, and were even welcome, according to the Younger campaign’s event listing on Facebook.

“We expect protests from camps [sic] leftists, attempts to disrupt the proceedings, and other antics,” the event page said. “Should be entertaining to see liberals doing stupid things.”

Some videos showed Younger encouraging the protestors and calling them communists.

A police escort was needed for Younger’s departure, and protestors surrounded the police vehicles that he and Kelly Neidert, chairman emeritus of UNT’s branch of the Young Conservatives of Texas, were in, according to the Dallas Morning News. Protestors tried to block their exit, but police were able to disperse the crowd. Smatresk’s letter said “police believe a small group of protestors not affiliated with the university contributed to escalating the overall protest from peaceful to an aggressive encounter.”

A protestor reported to police that they were struck by the police vehicle Younger was in, according to WFAA. Denton police took the report at the hospital and forwarded it to another agency for investigation.

The protest has drawn national media coverage, especially from political commentators on both sides of the aisle. Younger has not responded to requests for comment, but his campaign has shared several of those stories on social media, calling the incident an “antifa riot.”

Smastrek’s letter ended by reaffirming UNT’s belief in the freedom of expression, “but last night’s behavior by some individuals is not reflective of the UNT I know and love.”

Some students are staging a peaceful walk-out from 3-5 p.m. Friday to protest Smatresk “for condoning hate speech and ignoring the voices of students.”

Mark Smith
Mark Smith is the Digital Editor of The Cross Timbers Gazette.

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