Clinics doling out medications to kids demanding gender transition are “permanently harming” them in “morally and medically appalling” procedures with little oversight, according to a former clinic worker.
In a stunning condemnation, Jamie Reed, 42, a former case manager at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, said she quit in November after four years “because I could no longer participate in what was happening there.”
“What is happening … is morally and medically appalling,” the whistleblower warned Thursday in a piece for The Free Press.
According to Reed — who describes herself as a queer “progressive” and married to a “trans man” — soon after she started working at the pediatric gender clinic, she was “struck by the lack of formal protocols for treatment,” leaving physician co-directors as the “sole authority.”
She said little was needed for kids to begin transitioning — a letter of support from a therapist “who they had to see only once or twice for the green light,” and a single visit for girls to an endocrinologist for a testosterone prescription.
“To make it more efficient for the therapists, we offered them a template for how to write a letter in support of transition,’ she wrote.
Reed also slammed the center for downplaying possible negative consequences on both boys and girls — including suicide.
“Being put on powerful doses of testosterone or estrogen — enough to try to trick your body into mimicking the opposite sex — affects the rest of the body,” she wrote. “I doubt that any parent who’s ever consented to give their kid testosterone (a lifelong treatment) knows that they’re also possibly signing their kid up for blood pressure medication, cholesterol medication, and perhaps sleep apnea and diabetes.”
She added, “Our patients were told about some side effects, including sterility. But after working at the center, I came to believe that teenagers are simply not capable of fully grasping what it means to make the decision to become infertile while still a minor.”
At least one parent revoked their consent for the transition medication at the clinic, according to a June 2022 email Reed shared.
“[Redacted] is a shell of his former self riddled with anxiety. Who knows if it’s because the hormone blockers or the other medications. I revoke my consent. I want the hormone blocker removed,” the parent demanded.
Reed wrote that although boys had been the predominant pediatric patient looking to change gender, around 2015, “across the Western world, there began to be a dramatic increase in a new population” — teen girls who “suddenly declared they were transgender and demanded immediate treatment with testosterone.”
She said as part of her role doing new-patient intake, she noticed a surge in girls at the clinic.
“When I started there were probably 10 such calls a month,” Reed wrote. “When I left there were 50, and about 70 percent of the new patients were girls. Sometimes clusters of girls arrived from the same high school.”
Reed said she felt concerned but never expressed them to her colleagues.
“Anyone who raised doubts ran the risk of being called a transphobe,” she said.
When she left the clinic, about 70% of new patients were girls who also suffered from “comorbidities” like anxiety, ADHD, eating disorders, obesity and autism or autism-like symptoms, she said. Another “new group” also began to be referred — vulnerable kids from the inpatient psychiatric unit or ER at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“Frequently, our patients declared they had disorders that no one believed they had,” she wrote. “We had patients who said they had Tourette syndrome (but they didn’t); that they had tic disorders (but they didn’t); that they had multiple personalities (but they didn’t).”
She attributed the troublesome trend to “social contagion,” or the spreading of emotions or behavior among a group — but the clinic’s doctors said “gender identity reflected something innate.”
Reed added it wasn’t just the clinic that was worrisome.
Comments from Dr. Rachel Levine, a transgender woman at the Department of Health and Human Services, declared, “no American children are receiving drugs or hormones for gender dysphoria who shouldn’t.”
But Reed said that’s not true.
“I started writing down everything I could about my experience at the Transgender Center,” Reed wrote, and then brought the concerns — and documents — to Missouri’s Republican attorney general.
“The safety of children should not be a matter for our culture wars,” Reed wrote.
“Hypotheses are supposed to be tested ethically,” she said. “The doctors I worked alongside at the Transgender Center said frequently about the treatment of our patients: ‘We are building the plane while we are flying it.’
“No one should be a passenger on that kind of aircraft,” she wrote.
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