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Children's hospital harassed over transgender care program

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The Associated Press

Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) — Doctors and other staff at Boston Children's Hospital face threats of violence over a surgical program for transgender youth, administrators say, and other Children's hospitals in the United States are also being harassed online.

Boston Children is home to the first transgender child and adolescent health program in the United States. He came to the attention of his far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers after discovering a YouTube video released by the hospital a few weeks ago providing information about surgeries on transgender patients.

The hospital quickly removed the video. In a statement Tuesday, it said it would work with law enforcement to protect staff and patients and "hold criminals accountable", adding that it rejected "false narratives" spreading online. } Several of the same social media accounts draw the attention of their millions of followers to similar gender care programs at children's hospitals in Pittsburgh and Phoenix. Those hospitals did not immediately respond to emails and phone messages seeking comment.

Transitional care is under attack in many states, and some consider it a form of child abuse or ban Medicaid coverage. Critics argue that safety should be well established before exposing young people to potentially irreversible treatments.

However, many medical groups advocate allowing transgender young people access to different types of treatment, citing evidence that it can improve health outcomes, but rigorous long-term studies of benefits and risks are lacking.

Republican candidates have also allegedly smeared transgender people in their midterm campaigns with tactics intended to sway conservative constituencies and unsettle voters. says the political commentator.

C.P. Hoffman, a senior policy counsel at the National Center for Transgender Equality, said it was the first time he had heard of a targeted mass online attack on a children's hospital, but trans people

"Transgender youth, their families, and the safety of the individuals who serve them really matter." I worry," they said.

The Transgender Political Coalition of Massachusetts also condemned the attack as a baseless allegation to continue its attacks on trans youth and trans healthcare across the United States.

41} Seeking adequate medical care is an indefensible position, and at its core is an ill-fated attempt to erase transgender people from public life," the coalition said in a statement.

Critics have accused Boston Children's Hospital of improperly performing gender-affirming surgeries, such as hysterectomies, on minors and "young" children. It cited videos and snippets that were posted on the hospital's website. The response was swift and relentless, with users calling for hospitals to close, calling the surgery "cutting," "barbaric," and "child abuse," and accusing doctors of engaging in medical malpractice and illegality. did.

The hospital said it received a "high volume" of hostile online messages, phone calls and harassing emails containing threats of violence.

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

The hospital has updated the language throughout its website to state that to be eligible for most gender-affirming surgical procedures, patients must be at least 18 years of age and undergo intensive medical and psychiatric care. stressed that they must meet certain criteria, such as undergoing a medical health assessment and providing a medical certificate. support.

Some online critics once posted on the hospital's website that eligibility for vaginoplasty at Boston Children must be 17 years or older and meet certain criteria. , and for breast reconstruction and breast augmentation left on the website, it says that the patient must be at least 15 years old and meet certain criteria.

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

The hospital said it did not perform genital surgery on patients under the age of 18 as part of gender reassignment care. Surgery consultation is 17 years old or older, 18 to 35 years old at the time of surgery.

The World Association of Transgender Health Professionals, an international body that sets medical standards for transgender youth and adults, recently set a recommended minimum age for initiating gender transition treatments, including sex hormones and surgery. pulled down.

The new criteria included her starting hormone therapy at age 14 years earlier than her previous guidance and starting hormone therapy at age 15 or 17 years earlier than previous guidance. supports the initiation of some surgeries in The group acknowledged the potential risks, but said it would be unethical and harmful to withhold early treatment.

We encourage you to get started, but we're also updating that guidance. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association are among other groups that advocate allowing treatment for transgender youth but do not provide age-specific guidance.

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