Lurie Children’s Hospital has increased security and moved a transgender youth support group from in-person meetings to virtual ones after it became the latest children’s hospital to face criticism online over its gender development program.
An account called Libs of TikTok posted a number of tweets late last month criticizing Lurie’s program, which aims to support “the physical, mental and social health of patients and their families as youth progress through gender identity development,” according to Lurie’s website. Many of the program’s patients are gender-nonconforming children, gender-questioning youth and transgender and gender-fluid youth.
In recent months, Libs of TikTok has criticized a number of children’s hospitals across the country for their care of transgender youth. Hospitals criticized by the account have sometimes received threats.
Lurie spokeswoman Julianne Bardele said Lurie has not received any recent threats but is monitoring the situation. The youth group is now meeting virtually out of an abundance of caution in response to “all harassment including Libs of TikTok but not solely because of Libs of TikTok,” she said.
“We stand in solidarity with our transgender patients and families, community, and colleagues who are providing gender-affirming care. We strongly condemn any threats on and harassment toward the transgender community,” Lurie said in a statement late last month when the comments were first posted on Twitter.
“Lurie Children’s has long supported gender-affirming care for transgender youth,” Lurie said in the statement. “All young people should have access to comprehensive, gender-affirming, and developmentally appropriate health care that is provided in a safe and inclusive environment.”
Libs of TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment Monday. The account also frequently criticizes drag shows that children are allowed to attend.
Previously, Libs of TikTok falsely accused Boston Children’s Hospital of performing gender-affirming hysterectomies on kids. A number of threats followed, including a hoax bomb threat against the hospital in late August. A Massachusetts woman was charged Thursday in connection with that threat, which led to a lockdown of the hospital and the use of a bomb squad, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Other hospitals including Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., Akron Children’s Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital have also been targeted by the account, which has 1.3 million followers.