The president of the University of North Texas, Neal Smatresk, said in a campus-wide email Tuesday that students who oppose medical transitions for children suffering from gender dysphoria hold "intolerant views".

Smatresk's email was sent to the campus community in response to an event hosted by the Young Conservatives of Texas with Texas House candidate Jeff Younger, who has proposed banning surgical and medical interventions for children who claim to be transgender.

"I know the last several days may have felt particularly difficult for the transgender members of our community, due to the intolerant views of a...

The president of the University of North Texas, Neal Smatresk, said in a campus-wide email Tuesday that students who oppose medical transitions for children suffering from gender dysphoria hold “intolerant views”.

Smatresk’s email was sent to the campus community in response to an event hosted by the Young Conservatives of Texas with Texas House candidate Jeff Younger, who has proposed banning surgical and medical interventions for children who claim to be transgender.

“I know 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 wrote. “We have a variety of resources through our Division of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access to support you during your time at UNT, and we hope to offer you a safe place to heal and grow your support system.”

Smatresk affirmed the conservative group’s right to free speech but continued to attack its members, accusing them of “challenging” the “existence” of transgender students and being “hurtful.”

“Regardless of who we are or where we come from, we always will encounter people who disagree with us, or do not accept us. Here on our campus, we honor our First Amendment rights, even when we don’t agree with others’ opinions. Our views, or our very existence, might be challenged in ways that feel incredibly hurtful,” Smatresk said.

UNT email to students on ‘intolerant views’ (Screenshot) trans gender

UNT email to students on ‘intolerant views’ (Screenshot)

The event with Jeff Younger first sparked backlash when YCT members began posting flyers around campus. Chairman emeritus Kelly Neidert filmed a student confronting her in the library about one of the flyers that said “Criminalize Child Transitions”. The video received millions of views and lead to death threats against Neidert and her family, as well as the circulation of a petition with nearly 10,000 signatures calling for her expulsion from UNT.

Smatresk’s email did not address the hate being directed toward YCT, instead urging students to use their “free expression” to “[disempower] those with intolerant views.”

“Speak up for and take care of one another. And above all, walk through this life with care, kindness, and grace,” the email concluded.

The University of North Texas did not respond to a request for comment.

Younger became nationally known during a court battle with his ex-wife for custody of his son, James Younger. Younger claimed his ex-wife coerced James into identifying as a girl named “Luna” and sought to medically transition the child without Younger’s consent. Younger ultimately lost custody, but a judge prohibited the ex-wife from putting James through “hormonal suppression therapy, puberty blocks, and/or transgender reassignment surgery.”

Medical transitions using drugs like puberty blockers can have severe and lasting consequences for children, including a decrease in bone density, potential effects on brain development, a higher risk for heart disease or diabetes, and infertility. Multiple studies have found that most children who identify as transgender no longer identify as such by the time they reach adulthood. Further, a Heritage Foundation poll of 1,513 adults found that 57 percent oppose medical interventions for the purpose of gender transition for minors.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton declared in an AG opinion Tuesday that such medical interventions are considered “child abuse” under Texas law.