Ted Cruz Faces Backlash After Transgender Teen Ejected From Rally

Apr. 22 2016, Updated 8:33 p.m. ET

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Ted Cruz is facing backlash after his staffers reportedly kicked a transgender teen and his mother out of one of his rallies.

James Van Kuilenburg, a 16-year-old transgender boy, bought tickets to Ted Cruz's campaign rally in Maryland. But instead of hearing the presidential candidate speak, the boy says he was tossed out for unspecified reasons.

Cruz publicly stated his opposition to certain transgender rights this week on Glenn Beck's radio show, saying the country has "gone off the deep end" in support of LGBT causes. At the rally, Cruz repeated his sentiment with even more vitriol.

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

"The fact that I'm thrown out based on my identity is ridiculous," Van Kuilenburg said, accusing Cruz supporters of ousting him. The teenager walked into the rally with his mother, draped in the transgender flag, and says he made no attempt to disrupt the event. Van Kuilenburg's goal was to "to show Cruz supporters that rhetoric about gay and transgender rights hurts real people," he said.

But Cruz's staffers allegedly got physical, grabbing and pushing the teenager out of the venue without offering an explanation.

"When trying to explain what had happened to the Cruz volunteers outside, they laughed at us," Van Kuilenburg said. "The level of disrespect and aggression there was outstanding."

Cruz's staff also referred to Van Kuilenburg as "ma'am," purposely miscasting the boy's gender identity.

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