A Harvard-affiliated children’s hospital has sparked outrage after claiming some babies know they are transgender ‘from the womb’.
In a now-deleted video, the Boston Children’s Hospital suggested an even larger number of minors know ‘as soon as they can talk’.
Critics told DailyMail.com the claim was was not based on science and suggested medics at the clinic are unwilling to question children who are often vulnerable.
The hospital, part of the Harvard University medical system, also faces claims it rushed under-18s into life-altering sex change surgery.
In the clip posted to the Boston hospital’s official website in August, psychologist Dr Kerry McGregor explains the type of patients she sees.
She says: ‘So most of the patients we have in the clinic actually know their gender, usually around the age of puberty.
‘But a good portion of children do know as early as – seemingly – from the womb.
‘And they will usually express their gender identity as very young children, some as soon as they can talk… kids know very, very early.’
It comes as several states begin to clamp down on puberty blockers being prescribed to children. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has previously likened it to ‘child abuse’.
The Boston clinic sees children as young as two and three usually up to the age of nine. New patients come to the clinic and meet with psychologists to discuss their issues with the sex they were born into
This map shows the proportion of children aged between 13 and 17 years old that identified as transgender by state. The darker colors indicate a higher proportion of youngsters. In New York and New Mexico, it is as high as three per cent
Dr Jay Richards, from the right-wing Heritage Foundation, told the DailyMail.com: ‘The claim that children “know their gender identity … seemingly from the womb” is a claim with no basis in science or data.
‘It’s simply a concept imposed on the actions of kids by gender ideologues.’
Dr Richards said it was another sign of a ‘social contagion’ that is increasingly creeping into medicine.
‘I think even 25 years ago, this would have been unthinkable,’ he told DailyMail.com.
The Boston clinic sees children as young as two and three. New patients are given counseling before exploring pharmaceutical options.
The clinic also offers that child ‘space and support’ to explore their gender.
Stella O’Malley, a psychotherapist who specializes in gender issues, told DailyMail.com: ‘When distressed and vulnerable young people are offered an option to be somebody different, it’s very, very alluring and gender ideology does offer that.’
This map shows the proportion of the population identifying as transgender by state. Those with the darkest color have almost one per cent of their population in this category
Shown above are the states with a ban on puberty blockers (red), a partial ban (dark orange), a suspended ban due to legal proceedings (orange) and a ban on surgery only (yellow).
The above map shows the population of transgender adults and children across America in 2020, according to the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Its estimate for children aged 13 to 17 has doubled since 2017. It shows the highest population is in southern states, followed by those along the east coast
How gender dysphoria rates among children have DOUBLED since 2017 – with 300,000 teens now identifying as trans
The number of children with gender dysphoria has exploded in recent years, giving rise to the use of powerful puberty-blocking drugs.
About 300,000 children aged between 13 and 17 (1.4 per cent) in the US identify as transgender, according to most recent estimates from 2020.
That is double the number estimated to be transgender in 2017 in a previous report by the same researchers, though they used different estimates.
Connecticut and New York saw the numbers of children identifying as transgender in their states nearly quadruple over the last three years alone. The population only fell in West Virginia, Tennessee and New Jersey.
Children aged 13 to 17 are over four times more likely to identify as transgender (1.4 per cent) than adults over 65 (0.3 per cent).
Some say the rise is born out of increased awareness of gender dysphoria — that is, emotional distress due to a disconnect between gender identity and biological sex — and a rise in acceptance in society.
However, many believe that the impressionable minds of children are easily swayed by ‘trends’ and ‘phases’ among peers and that children are not ready to make irreversible decisions about their gender.
While no official, national estimates exist, many more children receiving gender-affirming care at an increasingly younger age. Treatment often involves powerful and life-altering drugs that block puberty and the release of key developmental hormones.
So far, four states — Alabama, Arkansas, Texas, and Arizona — have brought in bans to restrict access to gender-affirming care including hormonal treatment and surgery. Oklahoma signaled its intent to follow suit Tuesday after threatening to cut a hospital’s funding if it prescribes puberty blockers or hormone therapy.
‘Based on a series of events that I think, mostly due to social contagion plus the kind of ideological commitment, many now consider these the proper standard of care for kids with gender dysphoria and Boston Children’s Hospital is just one of the first ones to do it,’ Dr Richards said.
He added: ‘Some kids conform more or less closely to gender stereotypes.
‘This tells us nothing about their ‘gender identity,’ a concept that no child has on his or her own, that no one had until recently, and that doesn’t even have a stable definition.’
Boston Children’s Hospital is also embroiled in scandal over now-deleted guidance that allowed 17-year-olds to undergo irreversible gender transition surgery.
It was revealed by a reporter at the The Post Millennial in August that people under 18 had been permitted to undergo a hysterectomy as well as vaginoplasty, or the surgical construction of female reproductive genitalia on a boy, or a hysterectomy.
Hospital staff, meanwhile, have said that hasn’t happened because no 17-year-old has met the required legal and other criteria.
Within about a week following public uproar in the realm of right-wing social media accounts, the hospital scrubbed that information from its page on gender affirming care, altering it to say, ‘To qualify for gender affirmation at Boston Children’s Hospital, you must be at least 18 years old for phalloplasty or metoidioplasty and for vaginoplasty.’
Boston Children’s meanwhile, refuted the allegations as transphobic misinformation.
‘Age 18 is used to reflect the standard age of majority for medical decision-making,’ the hospital stated. ‘Boston Children’s does not — and will not — perform a hysterectomy as part of gender-affirming care on a patient under the age of 18.’
Dr Richards said that contagion had resulted in a historic rate of young people coming out as trans or non-binary, an umbrella term that people use to describe genders that don’t fall into one of these two categories, male or female.
An expansive report from the UCLA Williams Institute, relying on government health surveys spanning from 2017 to 2020, estimated that 1.4 per cent of 13- to 17-year-olds and 1.3 per cent of 18- to 24-year-olds are now transgender, compared with about 0.5 per cent of all adults.
In the UK, meanwhile, referrals for girls to be treated for gender dysphoria, or the distress that arises from a perceived mismatch between the gender someone identifies with vs the gender they were born into, have shot up more than 4,000 per cent over the past decade.
The exponential growth in rates of young people coming out as nonbinary is not surprising to social scientists who have documented incidents of ‘social contagion’ in the past.
Dr O’Malley told DailyMail.com: ‘It’s very well known that there’s a lot of social contagion, for example, with suicide and with eating disorders and self harm.’
‘It’s particularly common among adolescent girls because they have a tendency to co-ruminate together, to over identify with each other to kind of endlessly talk about their problems in a very sympathetic way to each other, but it can lead a kind of over- identification with each other’s problems,’ she added.
In the wake of scandals at Boston Children’s, the hospital has been subject to a harassment campaign and have been inundated with bomb scares and threats.
Other children’s hospitals where gender-affirming care is offered, such as the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Vanderbilt Medical Center’s Clinic for Transgender Health, and Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago have been forced to severely curtail services or shift all appointments to telehealth platforms in response to the hostility.