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Vanderbilt Revelations Highlight Need for Legislation to Protect Minors from Gender Transitions

Updated: Sep 30

This information is from 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley, MD, whose district includes Giles and five other counties.

In September, political commentator Matt Walsh of the Daily Wire news outlet uncovered appalling videos of Vanderbilt University Medical Center officials acknowledging its pediatric transgender clinic performs irreversible gender transition surgeries on minors, and that financial gain is a factor in pushing these procedures.

Shortly after, Gov. Bill Lee announced an investigation into the clinic, and several of my colleagues in the General Assembly are working on legislation to ban gender transition procedures from being performed on minors.

"I wholeheartedly support the Governor’s call for an investigation into Vanderbilt’s transgender clinic and agree legislation is very much needed to protect children in Tennessee from irreversible damage," Hensley said.

"I also stand with the 62 members of the House of Representatives who on Sept. 28 signed a letter requesting Vanderbilt immediately halt gender transitioning procedures on minors."

Vanderbilt opened its transgender clinic in 2018 and during a recorded lecture, a doctor explained how the clinic came to offer gender transition surgeries, which she described as “huge money makers.”

In a separate video, a Vanderbilt plastic surgeon acknowledged the clinic performs double mastectomies on adolescent girls so long as parental consent is secured.

And, in another video, a Vanderbilt official admitted the clinic has and continues to provide gender-affirming hormones, which alter the recipient’s physical appearance, to adolescents as young as 14.

As a doctor, I strongly believe it is wrong to provide therapies and procedures that cause permanent bodily changes to minors, regardless of parental consent.

Adolescents are simply not mature enough to make these life-altering decisions, and many who have undergone these treatments have come to regret their choices.

Just as it is illegal in Tennessee for a minor to get a tattoo or body piercing, a minor should not be able to have their genitalia mutilated or altered permanently. And financial gain should certainly not be a motivation for performing these surgeries.

The website of Vanderbilt’s pediatric transgender clinic also once noted that gender affirming hormone therapy and puberty blockers are offered at the clinic, though that page appears to have been recently deleted. Just as these practices are concerning, so too is the apparent effort to hide them from the public.

In another video uncovered in Walsh’s investigation, a Vanderbilt official said employees who “assert conscientious objection” are “problematic” and that anyone who objects to the clinic’s work due to their religious beliefs will face “consequences.”

It is wrong to discriminate against hospital employees as this Vanderbilt official suggested, and I’m heartened Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti is committed to investigating Vanderbilt’s practices to ensure they’re in compliance with Tennessee law.

Vanderbilt also has a program called “Trans-Buddy,” which sends “advocates” to attend appointments with transgender patients, monitor hospital staff and ensure they’re using correct pronouns, among other duties, according to another video.

A day after Walsh’s revelations were made public, Vanderbilt issued a statement in response that did not deny any of Walsh’s claims about the surgeries and treatments offered at the clinic. The investigation will shed more light on the clinic and its practices and whether any laws have been broken.

Regardless, Walsh’s investigation made it clear legislation is needed to ensure clinics throughout the state do not carry out procedures that cause permanent damage to children.

I look forward to addressing this issue, considering testimony and input from experts, the community and my colleagues in the legislature.

Tennessee is poised to be the first state to pass legislation to protect minors from the irreversible damage of gender transition surgeries, and I expect many other states to follow suit.

Sen. Hensley may be contacted at 425 Rep. John Lewis Way N., Suite 742, Nashville, TN 37243, by calling 615-741-3100, by calling toll-free 1-800-449-8366 ext. 13100, or by fax at 615-253-0231.

His district address is 855 Summertown Highway, Hohenwald, TN 38462; by teleohone at 931-796-2018, by cell phone at 931-212-8823 or by e-mail: sen.joey.hensley@capitol.tn.gov


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Information in this column comes from the office of 28th District State Sen. Joey Hensley M.D., who represents Giles and five other counties. From school bus drivers to trucking, the lack of Commercia