A 16-year-old transgender boy from Frederick said he was asked to leave Ted Cruz’s campaign rally at the Weinberg Center for the Arts on Thursday morning.

Draped in a flag that represents the transgender community, James Van Kuilenburg made his way into the theater with the rest of the ticket holders. But he and his mother, Nicola, said they were escorted out by campaign staff who told the Van Kuilenburgs it was because they were with peaceful protesters outside earlier. Since it was a private event, they could be asked to leave, Nicola Kuilenburg said she was told.

“The fact that I’m thrown out based on my identity is ridiculous,” said James Van Kuilenburg, a student at Gov. Thomas Johnson High School.

Van Kuilenburg said he wanted to show Cruz supporters that rhetoric about gay and transgender rights hurts real people like him.

Cruz made a number of statements about the transgender community Thursday, in a continued debate on “genderless bathrooms,” tied to the recent passage of a North Carolina law that bars transgender people from restrooms and locker rooms that do not match the gender on their birth certificates.

“Have we gone stark-raving nuts?” Cruz asked the crowd at the Weinberg event. “This is basic common sense ... grown adult men, strangers, should not be alone in a bathroom with little girls.”

On Thursday morning’s “Today” show, Republican front-runner Donald Trump said North Carolina’s bathroom law has caused unnecessary strife and transgender people should be able to choose which restroom to use.

“There have been very few complaints the way it is,” Trump said. “People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate.”

Cruz doubled down on his opposition, sending a lengthy campaign email attacking “political correctness,” Democrats and Trump.

“This is not real tolerance. The Left wants to force its belief system onto Americans across the country and silence people of faith in the public square. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump is all too eager to join them,” Cruz said in a statement.

Nicola Van Kuilenburg said she was proud of her son for making an effort Thursday to counter such “horrible” comments.

“A lot of people who sat in here have interacted with transgender people and not even known it,” she said. “And maybe they needed to see that there are transgender teenagers, to put a face to them.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Danielle E. Gaines on Twitter: @danielleegaines.

Danielle E. Gaines covers politics and government in Frederick County, splitting her time between Winchester Hall and The State House. Having grown up in Illinois, she lived in New York and California before settling in Maryland.

Nancy Lavin covers social services, demographics and religion for The Frederick News-Post.

(73) comments


It's entirely rational that person who are likely to be strongly opposed to the candidate are going to be told to leave. Cruz, myself or any rational person wants his rally disrupted. He has the right to allow or disallow whomever he wants into his events. This is why these events are not held in public areas such as baker park. This girl/boy or whatever is obviously there to disrupt the event. The girl/boy has my 100 percent support to stand out on the street and hold signs up or whatever he wants to do. So long as the disruption on the street is not unreasonable to the people living working and going on about there business


So if I "think" you will protest or disrupt it is worth ignoring your message and tossing you out? In my opinion people should be allowed in as long as they aren't disruptive.


Disrupt it in what way? He was sitting quietly.


I have heard that they were in early enough and wanted to sit in the back by the press. Yet, when asked to move forward with everyone else as they were ushered in, they would not and wanted to remain at the rear of the theater. They were asked to move forward again and would not. That is what I am hearing. That's being disruptive. Period. If it's true. Although there is about as much credibility to this story as their is to the story coming from only one side which is displayed here. Take it for what's it's worth. Which is absolutely nothing, much like this story. one sided stories shouldn't be taken very serious. Did the FNP reach out and ask for witness accounts or from the Cruz campaign? Exactly!


" This girl/boy or whatever "
Wow, really.
But to your other point you are guessing. It is possible he wanted to quietly get a point across. It is also ossicle he wanted to hear what Cruz had to say. But they shut that down because they could not contain themselves at the sight of his shirt. If people like Cruz and Trump have their way no one will be allowed to voice their disagreement withbrhe


....with them. And that is a loss of our democracy.


Just as when a president uses executive authority to bypass congress


Shouldn't the Cruz campaign be contacted for a comment on this story?


Only comment needed is his concession speech


Proper journalism to tell both sides or at least reach out for comment from each.


He doesn't need one because it is mathematically impossible for him to get enough delegates. His only hope is Trump doesn't and it goes to an open convention, where delegates could select him. Why they would want him over Trump or Kasich escapes me.


This anti-trans argument stems from ignorance. People incorrectly believe sex and gender are the same thing. "Sex" is your biology; i.e., the reproductive organs you were born with. "Gender" is one's perception of their own sex; i.e., whether someone "feels" like a male or female (or something else - not every person fits the standard binary model). For most people, their sex (biology) and gender (psychology) match, which leads some of them to logically (but erroneously) conclude that sex and gender are synonymous. This leads them to the conclusion that transgendered individuals must simply be perverts, who decided to pretend to be the opposite sex because they get a sexual thrill from it.

But the reality is that transgenderism is an identity disorder, not a sexual kink or perversion. It is a mental health issue, not a moral one. And it is not a choice. The only choice is how to deal with the identity disorder once it is identified. Ignoring it leads to depression, and often suicide. The healthy solution to the identity crisis is for the individual to try and live as close as possible to the gender they perceive themselves to be.

We simply cannot allow this continued ignorance of basic biology/psychology to be used as a cudgel for self-righteous individuals to punish those whose only crime is to be different from most people. They have a disorder, and they need help. Punishing them accomplishes nothing. (Well, it displays the ignorance and/or lack of compassion of the punisher, but nothing beyond that.)


A valuable insight. I'd recommend it highly to a number of the posters who've already weighed in and displayed their complete ignorance about this very serious subject. We can always learn more when we want to.




Michael that is the most informed discussion I have seen on the subject. Thank for sharing. I hope it will heighten the understanding of the readers[thumbup][sleeping][thumbup][thumbup]


Who in the world is asking to punish them? What world do you live in?


I would consider forcing people who look, act, and feel themselves to be women, to use men's public restrooms - and vice versa - to be a punishment. It has certainly made circumstances worse for this population, while doing nothing to improve anyone else's. The sole intent behind the action was to single this population out, and make their lives worse, because the people in power have misunderstood them to be "perverts" or "degenerates", which is not factually correct.


I agree Michael


This event was a private event paid for by the Cruz campaign. His campaign paid for the use of the Weinberg center, for the security, and for the staffing to hold the event. This event was for Senator Cruz and those of his supporters i.e. "private". So yes this kid can protest all he wants just not inside where there was a potential for him or any other like minded people to disrupt Mr. Cruz's event. What is so hard to understand? Would you people think this would be acceptable if the Tea Party Patriots showed up to a Bernie Sanders rally and do this? I don't think so.

Glen Shiel

Well put, very well put.[thumbup][thumbup]


He was not disrupting anything. And if we want to start denying people based on "was a potential for him or any other like minded people " we will have to bar just about everyone - because everyone has the potential to disrupt.


His clothing alone was disruptive.


What was his clothing doing? Or do you mean that other people would not be able to control themselves?


So by your logic you must believe that girls are raped because they are asking for it by the clothes they wear. Clothing is not disruptive. People who can't handle themselves are the ones being disruptive.


It was a slightly modified version of this same logic that kept African-Americans in the balconies of so many movie theaters, and at the back of so many buses. You may be right that this event was "private", but that is undercut to a significant degree by the fact that tickets were free. We hear so much about free speech, but it's only important when someone is deciding how to respond to speech they don't agree with. If Cruz and his people really believed in the Constitution, they would have let this kid and his mom stay right where they were. On the other hand, George Wallace would be mighty proud of the greeting that the event security employees in Frederick gave to this teenager. "You don't look like the rest of us, so get out of here!"


There should not be anything disrespectful, but any meeting open to everyone is not private, no matter whom paid for the hall.


He was sitting quietly. That's protesting ???


My definition of a LGBT or any humanoid is - engender by genealogical factors.


How is it a private event when tickets are issued and the people had tickets?


Not sure what defines a transgender.

We're body parts modified?

In MD, you must be a min of 18 yrs old to get a tattoo.

So, I hope the same law applies to modification of body organs.


transgender: "denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity does not correspond with the gender assigned to them at birth"

cisgender: "1.denoting or relating to someone whose sense of personal identity corresponds with the gender assigned to them at birth"

Modification of body parts is not part of either definition. (For example, an extremely flat-chested or extremely large-chested cisgender female might choose to modify body parts but that won't change her identity as cisgendered.


Once again the minority is trying to get the majority to adapt to them.


Just how much adapting does it take to sit in the same room as someone else?


True, if I had not been busy, I would have gone, but I do not believe almost anything that Cruz believes. Yet, I could sit respectfully and listen to understand them, if I can, which is doubtful.


Once again a person who has no idea what they are talking about. How about the minority would like equal rights.


The intolerance shown here by Ted Cruz is no surprise. He is a conservative, radical hypocrite when it comes to social issues. And the previous sentence applies to the overwhelming majority of people in Frederick that align themselves with conservative social values. They are cowards, and intolerant of anyone that doesn't conform to their beliefs. I was tossed out of a business (Rt 15 at Biggs Ford) by similar patrons and employees for appearing to resemble a police officer. Never did I make any sort of disturbance with any patron. That business just didn't want anyone dressed a certain way, or groomed a certain way, in their establishment. Needless to say, I recommend everyone to stay away from this business. It is sad to say that this sort of intolerance is alive and kicking, still, in Frederick County. Probably why Ted Cruz felt welcome here.


First off James is not a boy, she's a female. It's sad that the liberal left has forced their immoral beliefs down our throats and caters to mentally ill people who want to dress up and use the bathrooms of the opposite sex. What's next?

Are you for real?


I totally agree , if you was born with a penis you use the boys room. If you allow trans to choose which bathroom they want to use, your just opening up the door for all kind of perverts.


lilman, you really should educate yourself - your comment shows you have no idea what you are talking about.

You know that there is no law and hasn't been a law in Maryland or surrounding states and in the majority of the United States that prevent LBGT from using the facilities that they're most comfortable with. And it hasn't been a problem. By far most people don't even notice or impact their lives.

Including Texas, Ted Cruz state.


newspost, please do not feel sorry for me, I am very comfortable in my gender and feelings.

Comment deleted.

You don't actually think that lesbians are transgendered, do you?

Comment deleted.

DickD, please educate yourself. The potential of a transgendered person being a pervert is no more than a non transgendered person being a pervert. I feel sorry for people like you, who are so uneducated, that you'd think just because someone is transgendered that he or she will make inappropriate contact in a bathroom.

Glen Shiel

Agreed lilman, 100%. [thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]


Way to go, James! Stand up for what you believe in. We can all learn a lot from this young man. I hear so many people who wave the flag talk about how important the Constitution and free speech are to them. Making James and his mother leave this event indicates the ignorance and intolerance of Lyin' Ted and all those who follow him.


Thank GOD my kids were born normal.


Normal? And what is your definition of 'normal' wango tango? Are you saying that children born with physical defects or mental challenges are not 'normal? Children who are born with gender issues are not normal? Children born with Down's are not normal? Children born without a limb are not normal? Children who are born deaf are not normal? Blind? Crippled? Thank GOD you didn't have any of these not 'normal' [your words, not mine] children, I can't bear the thought of how you would have treated your child. Or perhaps you would have just thrown them away. Spewing such hatred toward a child, any child, is both cruel and intolerable.

Glen Shiel

To answer your question:
"Normal" adjective 1. conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal; regular; natural. (Dictionary.com)
The majority of the people here are not "transgender" which makes them "the common type," "natural." People who claim to be "transgender" are a minority which means that condition is not "normal." Is it that hard to figure out? And, if children born with physical defects or mental challenges made up the MAJORITY of the population, then they would be "normal."


"Spewing such hatred toward a child, any child, is both cruel and intolerable."

So is showing up in super-hero cape in an attempt to make a spectacle of yourself. An obvious attention seeker with more issues than " what sex am I"?


Wango please explain how it is cruel and intolerable to show up in up in super-hero cape. It isn't. You really have no idea what you are talking about!

WangoTango, really?


Thank God most of us are born "normal". And this does not mean we should not be tolerant.[thumbup]

Comment deleted.

maybe you should be an ambassador and help with the movement


What does that mean wango?


How can you say "The fact that I’m thrown out based on my identity is ridiculous"? You were told that you were being asked to leave because you were with the protesters outside. If you are going to protest outside, who is to say that you aren't going to cause a disruption inside? I would have asked you to leave as well. For you to be taken seriously, you can't use your identity as a cause of something if it wasn't. And I'm saying this as a member of the gay community, myself. I absolutely support equality for you, but I can't stress enough how important it is to do your lobbying the right way!


Would someone in a Confederate flag T-shirt have been asked to leave? Would someone with a " vote Democrat " T-shirt been asked to leave? Would someone in a pro-life T-shirt been asked to leave? would someone in a 2nd Ammendment cap or T-shirt been asked to leave? Many more possible examples but I'm guessing not!


Do you think a "Black lies Matter" tee shirt would have been allowed in? or, hey . . . a tee shirt with, "My President visited Cuba, and all I got was this lousy tee shirt"


Qless - there you go again - throwing out ridicule that has nothing to do with the issue...


I think after seeing the ridiculous behavior of the Trump supporters at rallies; security isn't taking any chances with anyone they perceive as a potential disruption. It's sad that people can't disagree without resorting to poor behavior.


“It's sad that people can't disagree without resorting to poor behavior.”
intelgal, you do mean the poor behavior of the Cruz campaign staff right.


It doesn't say he was asked to leave because of the shirt. It says he was asked to leave because he was with the protestors outside.


So we are not allowed to PEACEFULLY protest in this country any longer?


Apparently not hayduke.


I agree with your statement. I do not feel that James and his mother were removed because of his gender identification. If they were outside with the protesters prior to coming in then I am sure they were identified as someone who may potentially cause issues for the supporters that were at the event to hear Mr. Cruz. I certainly am no supporter of him but the people that showed up for his event deserve to have security ensure that it's a safe event since we have seen what can happen when an event gets out of control. Sometimes protesters get out of hand and I think they were just looking to ensure that the event went off without incident. By seeing him wearing the shirt and the flag it may have identified (to security) James as a "potential outburst". We all want our opinion and voice to be heard but have to accept that we can be asked to leave a private event for that very same reason. I wish nothing but good for James as he embarks on his journey of self-exploration and hope that he remains true to himself and not let others opinions change who he is.


Cruz will be coming for you if he ever became President folks! Respect for Cruz? NOT an nanogram for this wannabe Ayatollah!

Glen Shiel

Believe it or not, Ted Cruz is just as entitled to his opinion as everyone else is. If he does not support these "transgender" people that is his legal option and no one can deny him that. He came to Frederick to speak for his campaign and for someone to wear a T-shirt like that into the venue where he was speaking was both an insult and slap in the face to him. This boy asks for respect for what he believes in, yet he appears to have no respect for what Cruz believes. He did his protesting outside, there was no need for him to wear it into the building. As well he should have been asked to leave, though his agenda was met; he can now go about telling people that he was kicked out of a Cruz rally because of what he believes his identity to be. Congratulations James Van Kuilenburg, you got your moment of fame.


Absolutely! Be what you want to be. Do what you want to do. Just don't ram it down my throat. I have my own worries and agenda.

So Glen, you are suggesting that Cruz felt insulted and slapped in the face by this young person? And he can't tolerate opposing viewpoints?.....
Thank god he'll never be president.

Good job, James!


Same comment as above... Would someone in a Confederate flag T-shirt have been asked to leave? Would someone with a " vote Democrat " T-shirt been asked to leave? Would someone in a pro-life T-shirt been asked to leave? would someone in a 2nd Amendment cap or T-shirt been asked to leave? Many more possible examples but I'm guessing not!


More than likely if you went in with a "vote Democrat" t shirt, you would be asked to leave. Probably the same for a pro life. The Confederate flag and 2nd amendment cap might be allowed to stay, as those are the people that support Cruz.


How brave of you, James!

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