Former employee denounces "morally and medically appalling" practices of gender transition centers with children

Missouri's attorney general announced Thursday an investigation into the clinic after receiving a letter from Jamie Reed describing the harm done to minors.

Jamie Reed, a "queer woman" described in her own words as "politically to the left of Bernie Sanders," is a former worker at the Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital in Missouri. She denounced the atrocities suffered by children and adolescents who attend gender transition centers. According to Reed, minors are routinely diagnosed as trans and initiate gender transition with hormones. They even receive treatment with experimental drugs.

This also occurs with those who are very young, without making sure that the patients had really understood what was going to happen to them or that it is irreversible. On many occasions, doctors put their authority above the parents. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey announced that he has opened an investigation against the center.

Beginning of gender transition in a systematic manner

In an open letter published in The Free Press, Reed recounted, with examples, the malpractice occurring at the center. She said she has always oriented her professional career to help those most in need. However, far from finding that she was helping young people with doubts about their sexual identity, she found herself in a system that always opted to initiate the gender transition without taking into consideration the situation or other issues with patients. Reed felt a special empathy for these children, as she is married to a trans man. The situation eventually became so untenable that Reed quit her job in November of last year, after which she reported what was happening to the Missouri Attorney's Office.

"Almost everyone in my life advised me to keep my head down. But I cannot in good conscience do so. Because what is happening to scores of children is far more important than my comfort. And what is happening to them is morally and medically appalling," she said in the published letter. In it she describes the change experienced in recent years, in which the number of minors coming through the doors of the center has multiplied exponentially, while the type of patient has undergone a major turnaround.

When I started there were probably 10 such calls a month. 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. ... Until 2015 or so, a very small number of these boys comprised the population of pediatric gender dysphoria cases. Then, across the Western world, there began to be a dramatic increase in a new population: Teenage girls, many with no previous history of gender distress, suddenly declared they were transgender and demanded immediate treatment with testosterone. .

The center recommended related therapists

Under current legislation, girls only need a letter of support from a therapist to begin testosterone treatment. The center recommended related therapists to the patients to facilitate the procedures and went as far as creating a model template that was made available to these professionals to support the minors' requests. Reed was repulsed by these treatments on girls "how little these young people understood the profound impacts changing gender would have on their bodies and minds."

However, these consequences were underestimated by the center, and emphasis was placed on the need to go through with gender transitions. The center's website read: "Left untreated, gender dysphoria has any number of consequences, from self-harm to suicide. But when you take away the gender dysphoria by allowing a child to be who he or she is, we’re noticing that goes away. The studies we have show these kids often wind up functioning psychosocially as well as or better than their peers." Something Reed disagrees with because "there are no reliable studies showing this. Indeed, the experiences of many of the center’s patients prove how false these assertions are."

Consequences of gender transition

The former employee then gave several examples of teenagers, even including emails, who went ahead without knowing the consequences of what they were doing. This was the case of a patient who was prescribed treatment with bicalutamide,

A medication used to treat metastatic prostate cancer, and one of its side effects is that it feminizes the bodies of men who take it, including the appearance of breasts. The center prescribed this cancer drug as a puberty blocker and feminizing agent for boys. As with most cancer drugs, bicalutamide has a long list of side effects, and this patient experienced one of them: liver toxicity. He was sent to another unit of the hospital for evaluation and immediately taken off the drug. Afterward, his mother sent an electronic message to the Transgender Center saying that we were lucky her family was not the type to sue.

In addition, Reed tells stories of adolescents and families who had regrets and asked to terminate treatment and turn back, but there was no turning back. For example, a young woman who had transitioned from female to male, going so far as to have top surgery to remove her breasts when she came of age, called the center after three months saying she felt like a woman again. "I want my breasts back," she said. On other occasions, testosterone weakened vaginal tissues, resulting in heavy bleeding that required emergency care in hospitals, or the growth of the clitoris to the point of causing painful chafing.

"I want my breasts back"

"Another disturbing aspect of the center was its lack of regard for the rights of parents—and the extent to which doctors saw themselves as more informed decision-makers over the fate of these children." Reed notes. This was exacerbated by the fact that "In Missouri, only one parent’s consent is required for treatment of their child. But when there was a dispute between the parents, it seemed the center always took the side of the affirming parent." She even spoke of cases in which a psychologist asked them to contact therapists who would give consent to a minor patient without the parents' knowledge.

This was the last straw for Reed. "I do not ethically agree with linking a minor patient to a therapist who would be gender affirming with gender as a focus of their work without that being discussed with the parents and the parent agreeing to that kind of care," she said. This cost her a reduction in her job rating by her supervisors. In addition, "In front of the team, the doctors said that my colleague and I had to stop questioning the “medicine and the science” as well as their authority. Then an administrator told us we had to 'get on board, or get out.'"

Missouri opens an investigation

For Reed, the choice was clear. She held out long enough to get her job evaluations to allow her to request a transfer to another facility within the University of Washington, and she changed positions. Once she left the center, she wrote a letter to the state attorney general denouncing what was happening and agreed to give a sworn statement. On Thursday, Attorney General Andrew Bailey, following the publication of Reed's testimony in the press, released a statement announcing that he had opened an investigation.