Clinic facilities

Women’s rights advocate pushes back against Vanderbilt Clinic controversy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The fallout continues over a conservative blogger’s post about the transgender health clinic at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The tweet thread condemned VUMC for conducting gender-affirming procedures and treatments on adults and children.

Now lawmakers are threatening to propose legislation that would ban proceedings for minors, while rights organizations are fighting back.

“We certainly should not allow a child to be disfigured in this horrific manner, in an irreversible procedure before the age of 18,” said Rep. William Lamberth, R-Portland.

Rep. Lamberth is among a handful of Tennessee Republican lawmakers working directly with Walsh on new legislation that would ban underage transgender proceedings in Tennessee.

“When they become adults, if they want to have sex reassignment surgery, if they want to have cosmetic surgery, if they want to do what they would like to do as adults, they are adults, they can make decisions about their But leave our kids alone,” said Lambert, who is also the House Majority Leader.

“People like me aren’t monstrous,” said Dahron Johnson, “These kids, God, no kid is monstrous, are they?”

Members of the transgender community like Johnson say new legislation restricting gender-affirming care would do far more harm than good.

“The real danger is when that kind of care is taken away,” said Johnson, who also works in palliative care. “It just risks getting the best possible health outcomes for these patients, regardless of age.”

She said she might not still be sitting here without the gender-affirming care she received at VUMC and hates the idea that minors might be denied those options.

“Places like Vanderbilt are rare,” she said. “There’s a really underserved population that’s struggling to find the care they need.”

Johnson says that despite how the transgender clinic was characterized, she found Vanderbilt to be ethical and thoughtful every step of the way. “There are age-appropriate limits on the type of treatments even discussed or offered,” Johnson said. “There are well-established practices, ongoing conversations about what the best possible and most appropriate care looks like from the bodies of health professionals.”

It’s one of the reasons she worries about what might happen next on Capitol Hill.

“It wouldn’t just be a shame if it disappeared, it would make families poorer, it would make communities poorer,” she said.

Meanwhile, Rep. Lamberth says you can expect his new legislation related to the Vanderbilt Clinic controversy to be introduced at the 2023 Tennessee General Assembly.

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