Social media users are urging people to protest against an online form created by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, which solicits responses from state residents who claim to have knowledge of questionable practices relating to gender-affirming care for transgender people.
The form in question urges Missourians to “submit a complaint or concern about gender transition intervention you have experienced or observed in Missouri.” The form does not require any documentation or evidence backing a person’s claim of malfeasance whatsoever.
In response to the form’s launch, social media users have suggested that people disrupt the attorney general’s move to encourage transphobic attacks against medical providers by flooding the form with comments in support of trans people and gender-affirming care.
“The Missouri Attorney general has opened up a ‘reporting’ form to report on gender affirming care providers in the state. Given that he’s seeking to effectively ban care in the state for all trans people, let him know your concern. You know what to do,” wrote Harvard Law instructor and transgender activist Alejandra Caraballo, encouraging people to spam the form.
Other social media users issued similar calls to action.
“It would be a real shame if people flooded this with supportive trans messages,” one user wrote.
“You can just submit stuff. And YOU should. If you can, spare the time to fill one of these out and junk it up,” a trans Twitter user wrote, adding that such forms “should be rendered useless as quickly as possible.”
Bailey’s office claimed that the form was created partly in response to allegations about a children’s hospital that provides gender-affirming care to children and teens in the St. Louis area. The attorney general cited a whistleblower who recently alleged that the Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital used experimental drugs on children and gave them treatment without parental consent. The whistleblower, whose credentials have been called into question, also claimed that the hospital inappropriately pressured parents and their children into seeking gender-affirming care.
Parents whose children have been treated at the hospital, however, have contradicted those claims.
“The idea that nobody got information, that everybody was pushed toward treatment, is just not true,” said a parent whose son, now an adult, received services at the hospital as a teenager. “It’s devastating. I’m baffled by it.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch interviewed close to two dozen families who went to the St. Louis Children’s Hospital seeking gender-affirming treatment for their transgender children. Those parents similarly doubted the accuracy of the whistleblower’s claims.
The whistleblower in question, a former employee of the Transgender Center named Jamie Reed, was in charge of patient intake and scheduling, and did not have direct knowledge of what patients and their parents discussed with doctors behind closed doors, The Post-Dispatch reported.
Reed’s claims have also been disputed by former employees of the center who worked alongside her at the hospital. “I feel like I could go line by line to her affidavit and debunk it all,” Jess Jones, a former employee of the center and co-worker of Reed, told The Missouri Independent.
Jones told the publication back in March that many patients and their parents felt unsafe around Reed when she worked there. “There were parents of trans kids who also raised some red flags around Jamie. So I really wish the center had listened to trans people” at that time, she said.
Parents also told The Missouri Independent that it took several months before their children could receive drug treatments, such as hormones or puberty blockers, which experts say are safe when administered for gender-affirming treatment. Reed had claimed, however, that such treatments were administered within two one-hour visits with hospital staff.
The attorney general’s creation of the form comes after Bailey has also imposed new restrictions on gender-affirming care across the state, requiring transgender patients (both children and adults) to jump through several burdensome hoops in order to access treatment.
A person must document at least three years of gender dysphoria before they can receive gender-affirming care, for example, despite the fact that not all trans or nonbinary people experience dysphoria. The new regulations also stipulate that patients seeking treatment undergo 18 months of therapy, and be screened for autism or social media addiction to determine if they have been influenced by “social contagion” — a requirement that wrongly suggests that trans people are hopping onto a fad rather than legitimately in need of care. Providers of gender-affirming care are also required to provide false information portraying such care as dangerous before they can begin treating someone.
“Bailey’s rule cites debunked studies on social contagion, fearmongers about autism without attempting to justify the concern, and makes it effectively impossible for adults to transition,” LGBTQ program director for Media Matters for America Ari Drennen wrote on Twitter after the new rules were announced. “Everyone should worry about this nakedly unconstitutional escalation.”