A candidate for the Texas House of Representatives, who is campaigning against gender-affirming treatments for children, was shouted down by protesters while speaking at an event Wednesday organized by a conservative campus group.
Social media videos show demonstrators banging on desks and chanting “fascist” as Republican candidate Jeff Younger mockingly claps and repeatedly misgenders protesters.
“The police believe a small group of protestors not affiliated with the university contributed to escalating the overall protest from peaceful to an aggressive encounter,” University of North Texas President Neal Smatresk said in a written statement on Thursday.
“These actions culminated with a group of protestors swarming police, who were working to safely escort both the guest speaker and student organizers off campus.”
The event was hosted by the Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at UNT, which is located about 40 miles north of Dallas.
Joshua Medeiros – leader of a Young Conservatives of Texas chapter at a different university – attended the event and posted a video to social media. He told CNN that Younger was able to speak for only about five minutes out of the 45 minutes he was in the room.
“It got to the point that any time he opened his mouth, there were three or four people in the crowd yelling at him, and the rest were booing him or making other noises,” Medeiros said.
A video posted by the Young Conservatives of Texas showed Kelly Neidert – whom Medeiros identified as the lead organizer of Younger’s appearance – being escorted from the building by police while being followed by screaming protesters with signs.
Younger’s candidacy follows a multi-year battle with his ex-wife over the custody of their children, one of whom is transgender. On his campaign website, Younger says his child will be “permanently maimed and sterilized” if given gender-affirming treatment.
Last week, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a legal opinion that giving gender-affirming treatment to minors amounts to child abuse. That opinion is being challenged in state court.
“I want to thank you for showing the world what leftist politics really is,” Younger said, as seen on a social media video. An unidentified person in a ski mask then took Younger by the arm and escorted him from the room as members of the crowd cheered.
Due to the controversial nature of the event, only 80 people were allowed in, Smatresk said, but “a few hundred protesters gathered outside the building, holding signs and chanting.”
“I won’t back down from communist riot thugs,” Younger said on his campaign Facebook page Thursday.
In response to a request for comment from CNN, Younger emailed, “I do not cooperate with leftist media.”