Lurie Children’s Hospital has increased security and moved a support group for transgender youth from in-person meetings to virtual meetings after it became the latest children’s hospital to face criticism online for its gender development program.
An account called Libs of TikTok posted a series 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 young people progress through development.” of gender identity,” 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 several children’s hospitals across the country for their care of transgender youth. Hospitals criticized for the account have sometimes received threats.
Lurie’s spokeswoman, Julianne Bardele, said Lurie has received no recent threats but is monitoring the situation. The youth group is now meeting virtually out of an abundance of caution in response to “all bullying, including Libs of TikTok, but not just Libs of TikTok,” she said.
“We stand in solidarity with our transgender patients and families, the community, and colleagues who provide gender-affirming care. We strongly condemn any threats and harassment towards 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 delivered 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, TikTok’s Libs falsely accused Boston Children’s Hospital of performing gender-affirming hysterectomies on children. A series of threats followed, including a false bomb threat against the hospital in late August. A Massachusetts woman was charged Thursday in connection with that threat, which prompted the closure of the hospital and the use of a bomb squad, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts.
Other hospitals, including Children’s National Hospital in Washington, DC, Akron Children’s Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, have also been targeted by the account, which has 1.3 million followers.