Undercover Video: Transgender Center Transitioning 8-Year-Olds Allows Puberty Blockers after First Visit
Transgender clinics across the country are willing to prescribe hormones to children or perform surgeries on them at ages much younger than publicly advertised, according to a new undercover videos filmed by Project Veritas (PV). Part One of PV’s “Too Young” series was released on Wednesday. In one of the transgender centers exposed in the video, a social worker says the center has children starting at eight or nine years old, and that a prescription for puberty blockers might be appropriate after one” appointment because “it’s not something that we want to gatekeep.”
An undercover PV journalist (PVJ) went to Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas, posing as a parent who wanted to begin puberty blockers for a 10-year-old girl who identified as transgender. The PVJ spoke to Nora Scott, a Licensed Social Worker (LCSW), and had the following conversation:
Scott: “We do have patients who are starting as young as eight, nine [years old]. So, we do have folks on the younger side.”
The PVJ evidently asked a question about how long it would take to schedule an appointment and obtain a prescription.
Scott: “So, we take a few different types of patients, and there is not a waitlist currently for our gender patients. So, you could get scheduled more quickly than some of our other types of patients right now for those [puberty blockers]. And then, in regards to prescribing, that’s up to the prescriber’s discretion. And they might just require a couple of appointments just to see. It might be appropriate after one.”
Here the footage was clipped, but Scott continued on the same topic. Perhaps the PVJ asked a clarifying question about whether the transgender center placed any requirements on prescribing puberty blockers:
Scott: “It’s not something that we want to gatekeep and require someone to, you know, come see us ten times before it’s prescribed.”
“This is confirmation that the whole practice of supposedly treating gender dysphoria is the Wild West, and a poignant example of malpractice,” Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, a former clinical psychologist and now director of the Center for Family Studies at Family Research Council, told The Washington Stand. “To give someone such a treatment that is off-label based on a session, or even a few sessions, is unconscionable.”
The Food and Drug Administration has not approved puberty-blocking drugs, known scientifically as “gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) substances,” for the purpose of forestalling a person’s normal progression of puberty. The FDA actually issued a warning label for puberty blockers last summer after six female minors aged 5-12 experienced severe symptoms including brain tumors, hallucinations, headache, vomiting, increased blood pressure, and visual impairments.
“These medications have not been thoroughly researched,” Bauwens continued. “The normal safety protocols that you would put on an experimental drug should be present here because it’s an experimental environment. They’ve moved right past the testing phase and right into the practice phase.”
The conversation then moved — the video does not indicate how — to psychological evaluation. In this exchange, Scott reveals that the transgender center refers out for psychological evaluations and does not require that a child receive such an evaluation before beginning puberty blockers. However, she states that a psychological evaluation is recommended. She voluntarily adds that a reference letter from a psychologist would be required for gender transition surgery, although the hypothetical 10-year-old has not yet been evaluated.
Scott: “We have a list of gender affirming therapists that we can provide, too. So, that’s something outside of the clinic that’s generally very recommended.”
PVJ: “But it’s not required, [in order] to be seen here?”
Scott: “But it’s not required. It’s not required. It would be required if you were trying to go through — if they were older — like, a formal surgery, and you would need a reference letter. You would need a therapist’s reference letter. But if you’re not going through that process, it’s not required.”
In other words, they are “not doing an assessment for underlying conditions or any comorbid conditions that could be contributing to the stress of these children,” Bauwens said. “Clinical practice is really a research skill: ‘where did these symptoms come from?’ … This [behavior] is, ‘We already have the answer.’ It does not have the characteristic of, ‘Let’s discover together how to help you.’”
Joshua Arnold is a senior writer at The Washington Stand.