A doctor at a Missouri transgender clinic under investigation advised a school that an entire 5th grade friend group is transgender, despite no personal knowledge of the students.
After several friends of a transgender student all “came out” as transgender, a school official from Parkway Schools in St. Louis contacted Dr. Sarah Garwood at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
“The short story is that one of the students in the 5th-grade class is coming out as Trans,” said the school’s email, acquired by the Daily Mail. “She has told several of her friends and now several of them are also saying they are Trans.”
Garwood opposed the possibility that social “contagion” – a type of indirect peer pressure – could be influencing the youth.
“This language isn’t affirming and the few studies on phenomenon are, in my personal and professional opinion, invalid,” said Garwood of studies that suggest children are highly susceptible to such social influence.
“This is normal, in that when one person realizes who they are and shares it, others realize they are similar,” the doctor claimed.
Controversy has hounded the Transgender Center ever since Jamie Reed, a former employee, accused the clinic of “permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.”
“There are more than 100 pediatric gender clinics across the U.S. I worked at one. What’s happening to children is morally and medically appalling,” said Reed, who says she is a queer woman married to a trans man and describes herself as “left of Bernie Sanders.”
In response to Reed’s complaints, U.S. Senator Josh Hawley, R-Missouri, and Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey have launched investigations into the clinic.
Both called for a moratorium on “the hormonal and surgical treatment of young people with gender dysphoria.” Hawley warned the clinic to “preserve all records, written and electronic, regarding gender-related treatments performed on minors since the opening of the Center.”
The center has refused to put a moratorium on procedures, while promising more oversight.
Meanwhile, the Missouri Senate is holding hearings on legislation that would ban gender transition treatments for minors.