By Joanna Button
What’s going on? In March 2022, Texas Children’s Hospital (TCH)—the largest children’s hospital in the U.S.—announced it would halt sex-change treatments for minors after Gov. Greg Abbott ordered investigations into the medical procedures. New whistleblower documents obtained by the City Journal show that the hospital continued to perform such procedures secretly rather than halting them. A spokeswoman for the hospital said she had “no comment” when asked about the allegations.
Secret procedures: According to the documents, doctors at TCH continued medically treating underaged patients for “gender dysphoria” and “gender identity.” Endocrinologist Richard Roberts treated 12- to 17-year-old patients, with his schedule showing a recent appointment to discuss hormone replacement therapy with a patient. Surgeon Kristy Rialon inserted and removed “non-biodegradable drug delivery implants” used to administer puberty blockers to numerous 11- to 15-year-old patients with gender dysphoria.
The hospital’s guidance: This January, TCH and their partner Baylor College of Medicine held a presentation on the care of “gender-diverse youth.” The presentation encouraged physicians to treat adolescents with puberty blockers and hormonal therapy and perform sex-change surgeries for adults. It also stated that surgery is appropriate for some minors on a “case-by-case basis.”
What now? With Gov. Abbott’s stance on the topic and a state-wide ban on sex changes for minors likely to become law soon, an investigation into the hospital’s conduct is expected. The revelations come at a time when opposition to medically transitioning minors seems to be on the rise: Numerous states have passed or are considering bans; whistleblowers and de-transitioners are exposing the risks and harms of these procedures, and recent polls show that most Americans believe children shouldn’t have access to sex-change treatments.