The stark differences in a Texas parents’ long child custody battle have spilled from the courtroom into headlines and talk shows across the nation. The father and mother have deep disagreements over the raising of their 7-year-old that are rooted in a fundamental dispute over the child’s gender.

Pediatrician Anne Georgulas, the mother, says the 7-year-old is a transgender girl. Jeffrey Younger, the father, says the child is a boy. Politicians such as Gov. Greg Abbott and Sen. Ted Cruz have even weighed in on the child custody dispute, as have several national media and political figures.

The judge presiding over the case ruled recently that the parents will continue to have joint custody of their children.

Younger contends that Georgulas plans to force the child to undergo hormone therapy in order to change gender. Judge Kim Cooks has said there is no order for the child to undergo that type of treatment, and the mom told the court that the child is too young to be treated with hormones, “puberty blockers, and/or transgendered reassignment surgery.” She also asked the court to require mutual written consent, which would ensure that no action would be undertaken without both parents agreeing on it first.

The judge’s ruling on joint custody contradicted a jury’s recommendation to award sole custody of the child to the mother.

The judge also ruled that there has never been child abuse in this case, but that the parents and children should undergo therapy to address any issues generated by the intense publicity surrounding the dispute.

The jurist also prohibited mother and father from making public comments about the case until their twin children turn 18.

We can all hope that the parents and their family law attorneys can find a way well before then to resolve the bitter dispute and take the spotlight off of themselves and most importantly, off of their kids.

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