shut down

“F*ck these fascists!”: Texas students shout down anti-trans candidate

Jeff Younger
Jeff Younger (Photo: Jeff Younger campaign site)

University of North Texas students shut down an anti-transgender candidate on their campus on Wednesday with chants of, “Fuck these fascists!”

Texas House candidate Jeff Younger first came to ignoble prominence after losing custody of his twins due to his refusal to accept his trans daughter’s identity. Now he’s running for office with a campaign largely centered around preventing transitional care for trans youth, which he characterizes as abuse. His views matches those of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, who last month instructed Child Protective Services to investigate parents who provide gender-affirming care to their kids.

Related: Texas DA’s refuse to uphold Governor’s order to investigate parents of trans kids for “child abuse”

The campus group Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) invited Younger to speak at UNT, creating controversy ahead of time with flyers for the event they posted on campus. YCT President Kelly Neidert posted a video of herself to social media arguing with a fellow student about them, and later revealing on Twitter that one read “Criminalize child transitions,” and the other: “Ban child transitions.”

UNT President Neal Smatresk took note of the growing tension and penned a campus-wide email saying he knew “the last several days may have felt particularly difficult for the transgender members of our community, due to the intolerant views of a handful of campus members.” Smatresk also said the campus honored “our First Amendment rights” and encouraged students to “engage in open discourse, free expression, and debate.”

Students did indeed organize, turning up at the event by the dozens, pounding on desks and drowning out Younger, who egged them on, clapping and yelling back, “Louder!”

According to video, he also appears to misgender a student between heckles, upsetting protesters and causing one to spit.

In the end, Younger walked out of the room earlier than planned, prompting cheers.

UNT student Ismael Belkoura, who attended the event and took videos of the scene inside the classroom, told Vice during his truncated time Younger also misgendered his own child, compared the protesters to Russia and claimed there was no such thing as a transgender person.

After the event, students continued to demonstrate outside, as Neidert was led out of the building by police, according to footage tweeted by YCT UNT and Neidert herself.

Video has also emerged showing what appears to be a member of the UNT Police Department hitting a protester.

Independent journalist Steven Monacelli identified the individual struck by the car as a transgender man, who, according to Denton Police, reported having “been hit by a UNT Police Department vehicle.”

“I was so proud of our students for being there, protesting, for going against having a speaker on our campus inciting stuff like that, and supporting trans people even if they weren’t trans themselves,” James Jackson, a UNT employee and alumnus, who is also trans, told Vice. “It was wonderful to hear them just saying ‘trans rights’ and ‘trans rights are human rights.’”

Queerty has reached out to the UNT Police Department for comment.

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