Feb 25, 2022 - News

UNT President responds to "intolerant" flyers targeting trans kids

A man in glasses and a suit and tie

UNT President Neal Smatresk. Photo: Isaac Brekken/Getty Images

University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk said the last few days might have felt “particularly difficult for the transgender members of our community,” because of what he called in a campuswide email “the intolerant views of a handful of campus members.”

Driving the news: The email came days after a viral TikTok video of two students arguing over flyers reading “criminalize child transitions” distributed by Young Conservatives of Texas.

Why it matters: Gender-affirming medical care has become a popular issue among Texas conservatives. This week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Gov. Greg Abbott — who are both seeking re-election in the upcoming primary — called this type of medical treatment “child abuse.”

  • Abbott said teachers and nurses should report parents who allow it.
  • Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot has said he won’t prosecute families for trans youth care.

Context: The flyers were for an event featuring Texas House candidate Jeff Younger, who lost a years-long battle for custody of his 9-year-old twins. One of them is a transgender girl, per Courthouse News.

What they’re saying: “Regardless of who we are or where we come from, we always will encounter people who disagree with us, or do not accept us,” Smatresk wrote in the email. “Here on our campus, we honor our First Amendment rights, even when we don’t agree with others’ opinions."

  • Smatresk added: “We value diversity of thought because it helps shape us all, whether it’s exposing us to new ideas or reaffirming who we want to be in the world.”

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