Children’s hospitals harassed over transgender care programs – WSB-TV Channel 2

BOSTON — (AP) — Doctors and other staff at Boston Children’s Hospital are facing threats of violence over its surgery program for transgender youth, administrators said, and other U.S. children’s hospitals are also being harassed online .

Boston Children’s is home to the first transgender pediatric and adolescent health program in the United States. He became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers last week after finding informative YouTube videos posted by the hospital weeks ago about surgical offers for transgender patients.

The hospital quickly deleted the videos. He said in a statement on Tuesday that he was working with law enforcement to protect his staff and patients and to “hold offenders accountable”, adding that he rejected the “false narrative” circulating online.

Some of the same social media accounts are now directing their attention – and that of their millions of followers – to similar gender support programs at children’s hospitals in Pittsburgh and Phoenix. Those hospitals did not immediately respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.

Transition treatment is under attack in many states, with some calling it a form of child abuse Where except Medicaid coverage. Critics argue that safety must be well established before subjecting young people to potentially irreversible treatments.

But many medical groups support allowing different types of medical treatment for young transgender people, citing evidence it can improve their well-being, though rigorous long-term research on benefits and risks is lacking.

Republican candidates have also been denigrate transgender people in midterm election campaigns in a strategy designed to motivate the conservative base and sway swing voters, political observers say.

CP Hoffman, senior policy adviser at the National Center for Transgender Equality, said this was the first time they had heard of intense and targeted online attacks on children’s hospitals, although other organizations who provide services to trans people have been subject to significant harassment.

“It really raises concerns about the safety of trans youth and their families and the people who provide services to them,” they said.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition also condemned the attacks as baseless allegations continuing an attack on trans youth and trans health care that is spreading across the United States.

“Attacking children and those who care for them for seeking appropriate medical care is an indefensible position and, at root, an unfortunate attempt to erase transgender people from public life,” the coalition said in a statement. a statement.

Critics cited the videos and snippets of previous language on the hospital’s website to claim that Boston Children’s Hospital was improperly performing gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomies, on minors and ” young» children. The response has been swift and relentless, with a deluge of users demanding the hospital be closed and calling the practices ‘mutilation’, ‘barbarism’ and ‘child abuse’, while accusing its doctors of engage in professional misconduct or illegal activities.

The hospital said it received “a large volume” of hostile online messages, harassing phone calls and emails, including threats of violence.

“We are deeply concerned about these attacks on our clinicians and staff fueled by misinformation and a lack of understanding and respect for our transgender community,” the hospital said in its statement.

The hospital updated language on its websites to emphasize that to qualify for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 years old and meet certain criteria, including undergoing medical and mental health intensives and submit letters of support.

Some of the online reviewers pointed to information that once appeared on the hospital’s website that said to be eligible for vaginoplasty at Boston Children’s, you had to be at least 17 years old and meet certain criteria, as well as language. for chest reconstruction and breast augmentation which remains on the website which states that patients must be at least 15 years old and meet certain criteria.

Vaginoplasty is the creation of a vagina from existing genital tissue. A gender-affirming hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and fallopian tubes, which may precede a phalloplasty, the surgical creation of a penis.

The hospital said it does not perform genital surgeries as part of gender-affirming care on a patient under the age of 18. He said that for a surgical consultation, a patient must be 17 years old and between 18 and 35 at the time of surgery.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health, a global group that sets standards for medical care for trans youth and adults, recently lowered its recommended minimum age to begin gender transition treatment, including sex hormones and surgeries.

The new standards support starting hormones at 14, two years earlier than before, and some surgeries at 15 or 17, about a year earlier than previous guidelines. The group acknowledged the potential risks, but said it is unethical and harmful to withhold early treatment.

The Endocrine Society generally recommends starting these treatments a year or two later, but is also updating its guidelines. The American Academy of Pediatrics, American Medical Association, and American Psychiatric Association are among other groups that support allowing medical treatment for transgender youth, but do not offer advice specific to transgender youth. age.