A number of major medical associations wrote to the Justice Department on Monday, requesting a probe into threats against health care providers and institutions that offer gender-affirming care to young people who are transgender.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Children's Hospital Association, the DOJ needs to investigate the entities, individuals, and organizations who coordinate, provoke, and carry out bomb threats and threats of personal violence against children's hospitals and physicians across the country, the groups wrote.
Boston Children's Hospital in Massachusetts, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee, and Akron Children's Hospital in Ohio have received threats on social media as far-right influencers like Chaya Raichik of Libs of TikTok, and Jaimee Michell of Gays Against Groomers have condemned their gender affirmation programs. Boston Children's Hospital has been the target of a faux bomb threat made by a Massachusetts woman who was subsequently arrested. Based on anti-trans conspiracy theories espoused online, Tennessee'sRepublican governor has called for an investigation into Vanderbilt's gender-affirming care program.
Aside from the fact that these threats are crimes, they affect entire institutions and not just any one department, experts in hospital administration say.
"Whether it's newborns receiving intensive care, children getting cancer treatments, or families accessing compassionate care for their transgender adolescents, all patients seeking treatment deserve to get the care they need without fear for their personal safety," American Academy of Pediatrics president Moira Szilagyi said in a press release. "We cannot stand by as threats of violence against our members and their patients proliferate with little consequence."
An analysis from the Human Rights Campaign and Center for Countering Digital Hate found recently that anti-LGBTQ+ content on social media is mainly driven by a small group of extremist politicians and their allies, who are working together to attack LGBTQ+ children in a coordinated and concerted manner.
HRC's senior vice president of programs, research, and training Jay Brown said in a statement, "This moment needs to be a wakeup call for everyone with the power to step in here and halt the violent threats and abuse targeting caring medical professionals, loving parents, and transgender children. This situation requires a coordinated effort from local, state and federal authorities. And it should be a wake-up call for the tech companies that have done far too little, far too slowly, to address the wave of focused hate and disinformation on their social media platforms."
Brown added, "What starts with a post or a tweet quickly spirals into bomb threats, harassing phone calls, death threats, and more, and the pace of it has been relentless. This is having a chilling effect on life-saving and evidence-based care - care that improves mental health outcomes and leads to a better quality of life for those who receive it."