Top Medical Center to Pause Transgender Surgeries on Minors After Backlash

Top Medical Center to Pause Transgender Surgeries on Minors After Backlash
Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., is pictured on July 16, 2013. (Mark Humphrey/AP Photo)
Zachary Stieber

A top medical center in Tennessee is pausing the removal of breasts and other procedures that it says were performed on transgender youth in recent years.

The Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) disclosed the pause in a letter to a state representative on Oct. 7.

VUMC doctors have performed breast removals and other surgeries for youth who think they're a different gender, according to lectures given by VUMC doctors. Archived versions of the webpage for the VUMC "pediatric transgender clinic" says that puberty blockers and "gender-affirming therapy" are among the services offered.
The transgender clinic, which also services adults, has performed "gender-affirming surgical procedures" for an average of five minors per year since it started in 2018, Dr. C. Wright Pinson, deputy CEO, told state Republican Rep. Jason Zachary in the new letter.

All of the minors were 16 or older, none received "genital procedures," and parental consent was obtained for all patients, according to Pinson.

Zachary and 61 other Tennessee House Republicans in September asked VUMC to pause what they described as "surgical mutilations of minor children" until they had a chance to craft and pass legislation that prohibits such procedures.

Pinson's letter, a response to the request, said that VUMC would pause the surgeries for minors while the center reviews a new version of recommendations by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) and consults with local and national experts on the updated recommendations.

WPATH's recommendations say that youth should show “several years of persistent gender diversity [or] incongruence” before being given hormones or surgeries but the group also removed any age restrictions regarding transgender surgeries, which include breast removal and womb removal.

The review may take several months, Pinson said. He also said that if new laws are passed VUMC will comply with them.

Zachary said in a statement that he appreciated the response.

"Glad that VUMC has paused surgeries for children at their transgender clinic. This is a win for the safety of our children, but we’re committed to ensuring this never happens in Tennessee again," Tennessee House Majority Leader William Lamberth, a Republican, said in a statement.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, a Republican, has called for lawmakers to pass legislation that would not allow "permanent, life-altering decisions that hurt children," and a number of legislators said they plan to craft bills to that effect and introduce them in January when lawmakers are due to gather.

Brad Jones contributed to this report. 
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at [email protected]
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