The boy’s mother says her son is transgender.
Not everyone who came to the Weinberg Center in Frederick on Thursday to listen to Republican Senator Ted Cruz was allowed in. A woman told WFMD News that she and her 16-year-old son were turned away by police at the request of the event’s organizers. “Concluding from that, and some of the things that were consequently said to us, we were asked to leave because my son is transgender,” the woman said. She did not want to give her name.
Her son, James Van Kuilenburg, posted a statement on Facebook that said he wanted to attend the Cruz rally “to gain a better understanding of his platform.” He says his mother ordered tickets in advance, and when they arrived, they put their signs aside.
Van Kuilenburg says he and his mother did not attempt to disrupt the rally. “We went in, sitting down and waiting for the speech to begin.” And that’s when, he says, a campaign staff member tapped him on the shoulder and asked them to leave. Throughout the process of ordering them to leave, Van Kuilenburg says the campaign staff didn’t give any reason.
“We just sat that, minding our own business. And then we were approached by two police officers who asked to move, and could not give us any reason why that was,” James’ mother said.
At the time, Van Kuilenburg says he was wearing a trans pride flag around his shoulders and a National Center for Transgender Equality shirt.
“Also to choose to pick on a 16-year-old seems to be very week,” says James’ mother. “We did nothing wrong.”
During his campaign speech, Cruz discussed North Carolina’s “bathroom law” which prohibits trangender people from using restrooms and locker rooms which do not match the gender on their birth certificates. “I’m the father of two little girls,” he said. “Here is basic common sense:grown adult men, strangers, should not be alone in a bathroom with little girls.”
Cruz also took Donald Trump to task for expressing on the “Today” show that transgender people should be able to use whatever bathroom they want. “Donald agreed with Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama in attacking the State of North Carolina for attacking their bathroom ordinance,” he said, to the sound of boos from the audience.
Since the “bathroom bill” was enacted this year, some businesses in North Carolina have threatened to move or not expand in the Tar Heel State. Performers, including Bruce Springsteen, have canceled concerts in the state in protest.