As attacks on hospitals across the country providing gender-affirming care services to trans children increases, with the latest target being a hospital in Ohio, far-right Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson is adding fuel to the fire.
During a segment on his show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, on Wednesday, Carlson, who has often made anti-LGBTQ+ comments, attacked hospitals providing gender-affirming health care to transgender young people.
Carlson said that being transgender is a fad, and he repeatedly claimed that gender-affirming medicine harms children and called it a “crime.”
Following a series of tweets from right-wing extremist influencer Matt Walsh accusing Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee of opening its gender-affirming care division for financial gain, Carlson joined online trolls in targeting the facility.
As a result, the hospital received an influx of hate and vitriol, leading to its having to shut down its website, as the Daily Beast reported.
Carlson directs his viewers to engage in threatening behavior with a wink and a nod.
In what experts describe as an example of stochastic terrorism tactics, Carlson said on his program that hospital employees were criminals who shouldn’t be surprised they “are receiving threatening phone calls.”
As the latest attack on children’s hospitals that provide gender-affirming care, right-wing social media accounts have targeted Akron Children’s Hospital, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.
In August, right-wing influencers, news outlets, and social media accounts targeted Boston Children’s Hospital, which runs what was the first transgender health program in the country.
A Massachusetts woman was arrested last week for allegedly making a fake bomb threat at Boston Children’s Hospital, where doctors and staff have been harassed and threatened because of the hospital’s transgender health program.
Providing care to transgender patients looking for characteristics that align with their gender identity is the ambition of gender-affirming medicine, a field involving medical and social work professionals. For LGBTQ+ youth and their families, services can include wellness checks, mental health care, puberty blockers, hormone therapy, and other daily medical services.
Right-wing radicals like Chaya Raichik, who runs the online Libs of TikTok account, and Jaimee Michell, the founder of Gays Against Groomers, have amplified false claims that doctors across the country are “drugging and mutilating” children.
For months, conservative hate groups have attempted to spread a conspiracy theory that hospitals are conducting genital surgeries on minors. They are not. The Endocrine Society does not recommend genital surgery for minors. The only surgeries available to patients as young as 16 years old in rare cases are mastectomies or top surgery for transmasculine youth. For the vast majority of patients who seek gender-affirming care, social support is provided, and the effects of puberty are safely delayed to allow the patient more time to understand their gender identity.
Trans rights advocates say these "mutilation" conspiracy theories aim at generating outrage and inspire attacks against medical facilities and professionals providing essential health care to trans children and adults.