As Republicans continue to push dangerous, incorrect, and intentionally misleading anti-trans rhetoric, we’re seeing a concerning upswing in threats and harassment against hospitals that provide safe, age-appropriate, gender-affirming care to trans folks, including trans youth. In the big picture, it’s clear that conservatives are doubling down on anti-trans hysteria in order to keep their voter base angry and engaged just in time for midterms (and eventually) presidential elections; they know they can toss out words like “inappropriate” and “obscene” and “pornographic” and get people scared. They know they can rely on anti-queer stereotypes of the past in order to make queerphobia “okay” in today’s cultural climate. It’s evil, but as we can see, it’s clearly gaining traction.
Daily Kos has covered some of the bigger names in the anti-trans health care movement, including conservative podcast nightmare Matt Walsh and the utterly infamous Libs of TikTok Twitter account, owned by Chaya Raichik. Both (among others) have fanned the flames against hospitals that dare to provide life-saving gender-affirming care to folks. And as Daily Kos has covered, we’re seeing rage against these health care providers lead to harassment and even bomb threats.
Our latest example comes from Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron, Ohio, where, according to a spokesperson for the hospital, they’ve had to actually take down the section of its website that details gender-affirming care options (like mental health services and hormone blockers) because the hospital has been inundated with misinformation and harassment, as reported by local news outlet News 5 Cleveland. Lovely.
RELATED: Far-right conservative Matt Walsh stokes anti-trans hysteria over gender-affirming care in Tennessee
As some background context for what’s been happening at other hospitals, it seems transphobic conservatives are pushing outright lies and misinformation about services offered at trans-inclusive facilities and clinics. For example, claiming that hospitals provide gender-affirming surgeries to youth that they simply don’t, or alleging that youth can access these services without parental consent, which isn’t the case. And of course, these claims tend to be ripe with inflammatory language, like positioning gender-affirming care as “mutilation” or “irreversible” or “permanent,” when, again, it’s not nearly that simple.
In the case of Akron Children’s Hospital, Libs of TikTok shared a local news story (from 2019, mind you) about the hospital offering gender-affirming care. Given that following Libs of TikTok tweeting about similar services in Boston and Washington, D.C., resulted in chaos at the hospitals, it’s no surprise Akron moved swiftly.
The Ohio hospital confirmed it would continue to provide this care, but is going to keep a close eye on what’s happening online and in terms of threats. They’ve already removed specific information about the clinic and information about care providers from the website.
In a statement from the hospital, it stresses that they “firmly believe that young people should have access to gender-affirming care programs that are based on research and standards of care.” The statement goes on to say it’s aware that the program has become the focus of “online chatter.”
Democratic Rep. Casey Weinstein shared a series of tweets defending the hospital, which is just outside of the district he represents.
Gender-affirming health care is life-saving health care. Everyone deserves to have safe, accessible, and affordable health care that improves their quality of life—and workers should be able to provide such care without being in fear for their lives. And if this sounds similar to the language we use around access to abortion (and reproductive health in general), that’s because it is!
The fight for reproductive health care moves in tandem with the right to gender-affirming health care. It’s all connected, and a unified movement gets us further along and helps more people every step of the way.