Right-Wing Posts Target Trans Health Clinic at Vanderbilt

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Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Clinic for Transgender Health is the latest trans health-care provider to be targeted by right-wing activists.

On Monday night, Matt Walsh, a conservative pundit and contributor to The Daily Wire, released the results of what he called an “investigation” into the clinic to his over one million Twitter followers. Among other things, the Twitter thread asserts that VUMC established the clinic in 2018 because gender-affirming surgeries were highly profitable, that the center threatened “consequences” for staff who declined to provide gender-affirming care and that it “enforced compliance” by parents who might be hesitant to consent to care for their minor children.

In a statement issued yesterday morning, Vanderbilt University Medical Center said Walsh’s social media posts “misrepresent facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients.”

“VUMC began its Transgender Health Clinic because transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system,” the statement read. “We have been and will continue to be committed to providing family-centered care to all adolescents in compliance with state law and in line with professional practice standards and guidance.”

Walsh’s posts have prompted calls for an investigation into the Nashville clinic by Republican state lawmakers in Tennessee, including Governor Bill Lee.

Walsh has targeted a slew of other trans health-care providers in the past, particularly those that offer care to trans youth. He has said best medical practices for pediatric gender care are akin to “molestation and rape” and has called gender-affirming surgery “mutilation.”

In August, another right-wing social media figure, Chaya Raichik, who runs the controversial social media account Libs of TikTok, targeted the Boston Children’s Hospital’s Center for Gender Surgery, making similar allegations about their pediatric gender-affirming care. As a result, BCH staff members have, for the past two months, received a barrage of harassment and death threats—and the hospital has been the target of a bomb threat.

Members of the Vanderbilt clinic’s staff contacted by Inside Higher Ed declined to comment, as did a VUMC spokesperson. But it appears the medical center has taken some proactive measures: as of Tuesday morning, it had taken down the transgender health clinic’s webpage.