By Ben Johnson
The Washington Stand
A pediatric transgender clinic under multiple investigations for harming teenagers and potentially defrauding taxpayers has announced it will continue carrying out services — even as emails show clinic employees advising a local school to “affirm” an entire group of fifth-grade girls who identified as transgender.
The latest controversy engulfing The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital came when officials at Parkway Schools asked how it should handle an entire group of 10-to-11-year-old girls who suddenly described themselves as transgender en masse. “The short story is that one of the students in the 5th-grade class is coming out as [t]rans[gender]. She has told several of her friends and now several of them are also saying they are trans,” wrote the school official in an email dated October 7, 2021. “We do not want to discourage them if this is the case, but we’re also suspecting there could be other reasons they are doing this.”
Rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) can be “initiated, magnified, spread, and maintained via the mechanisms of social and peer contagion,” found Dr. Lisa Littman in a 2018 study. But the gender clinic employee told the school Littman’s “language isn’t affirming” and asserted, without proof, that the studies underlying this social contagion view are “invalid.” At the same time, the official admitted, “I have seen this happen with mental health diagnoses,” such as ADHD.
The gender clinic recommended the elementary school provide “as much support and discussion as possible around their gender exploration,” because a few of the preteens may go forward with a gender transition procedure. “If in a few weeks or months, a student wants to go by their legal name and pronouns that match their sex assigned at birth, no harm was really done in affirming them before,” the employee insisted.
Concerned parents raised concerns over the way the clinic dismissed psychosomatic illnesses for ADHD but treated every case of gender dysphoria as legitimate. “The utter lack of curiosity about the underlying causes of such a trend among ten-year old children by medical professionals is immoral at best and an abdication of professional responsibility at worst,” said Nicki Neily, the president of Parents Defending Education (PDE), which uncovered the communications.