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Parents Defended Embattled Child Gender Clinic. Their Stories Confirm Critics’ Worst Fears

About two dozen parents disputed recent claims that the Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital was rushing mentally ill children onto cross-sex medical interventions in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Thursday, but their stories highlight some of the clinic’s controversial practices.

Jamie Reed, a former case manager at the clinic, said doctors rushed patients into irreversible interventions, sometimes against the wishes of parents, and put intense pressure on parents to consent by claiming “untreated” gender dysphoria may lead to suicide. Parents who were supportive of the clinic reported that their children had numerous mental health comorbidities and transitioned at young ages, sometimes without a history of gender identity issues, and that doctors used suicide risk to pressure families into medical transitions, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“Many” families told the outlet their children had anxiety, autism, and/or borderline personality disorder and other serious mental health conditions beyond gender dysphoria, including one child who came out as transgender after multiple suicide attempts and four stays at a psychiatric hospital; the child is now undergoing testosterone through the clinic, according to the Post-Dispatch.

One parent who had socially transitioned her child and opted for a therapy-centered approach claimed the clinic hadn’t forced her toward medical interventions, but acknowledged that doctors frequently mentioned that her child was at risk for suicide, which the parent took as a scare tactic, according to the Post-Dispatch.

Reed said patients and their parents experienced short-term satisfaction with transgender medical treatments and assumed this meant a positive medical outcome, but that regret and bad medical outcomes tended to appear later on.

“It is not surprising to me that the negatively affected families have not yet come forward. Parents have a strong instinct to protect their children’s privacy,” she told the Post-Dispatch. “Conflating short-term patient satisfaction, which some patients refer to as the period of ‘hormone high,’ with good medical outcomes is the kind of misguided thinking that contributed to the opioid epidemic.”

Reed’s whistleblower report pointed to social contagion among youths as a factor in the soaring rates of transgender identification and said the clinic advocated for “gender-affirming care” even in cases of clear peer influence wherein a patient had no known history of gender identity issues.

One mother said her child, who was “prone to hasty decisions and a chameleon-like lifestyle,” was influenced by peers and Facebook to come out as transgender at 19 years old; the mother continued to use female pronouns for her child, who now identifies as a man and is taking testosterone, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“She’s happy with the care she received,” the mother told the outlet.

The clinic is currently under investigation by the state’s attorney general as a direct result of Reed’s testimony, which she gave several weeks prior to publishing her story in the media.

The Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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