By: Vivek J
June 2 2023
Various forms of evidence-based gender care given to children are misrepresented as transitions performed on toddlers as young as two years.
Posts circulating on social media claim that three medical schools in North Carolina have been performing gender transition surgeries on children as young as two years old. One such post on Facebook read, “BREAKING: Three medical schools in North Carolina are now diagnosing toddlers who play with stereotypically opposite gender toys as having gender dysphoria, and are transitioning them. Yes, you read that correctly. If a 2 year old girl picks up a truck instead a Barbie, that is proof to these activist doctors that she’s actually supposed to be a boy. WE CANNOT IGNORE THIS!!! PROTECT THE INNOCENCE AND HUMANITY OF CHILDREN!!!”
Similar posts claim that Duke Health, UNC Health, and ECU Health in North Carolina perform these surgeries on toddlers. These particular claims first appeared in a blog post on the Education First Alliance PAC’s website. However, the blog post did not clarify what kind of treatment toddlers received.
These claims reappeared in an Epoch Times article dated May 8, 2023, and more versions of this story appeared on several social media platforms. However, the claims of toddlers receiving transition surgeries in these medical schools or hospitals are misrepresented.
The initial reports of this story claimed that toddlers were being treated at some North Carolina Hospitals for gender transition. The schools have firmly denied these claims. Duke Health, for instance, has provided a detailed overview of its assistance to children through adolescence and puberty. It makes no mention that gender-affirming treatments, such as transitioning surgeries, are performed on children younger than 18. It adds that various therapies are provided to children younger than sixteen.
Duke Health Officials told Logically Facts, "Online misinformation about toddlers starting gender transitions at Duke is false. Duke Health has provided high-quality, compassionate, and evidence-based gender care to adolescents and adults for many years. Care decisions are made by patients, families, and their providers and are both age-appropriate and adherent to national and international guidelines. Under these professional guidelines and in accordance with accepted medical standards, hormone therapies are explicitly not provided to children before puberty, and gender-affirming surgeries are, except in exceedingly rare circumstances, only performed after age 18.”
The Office of Population Affairs of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) has detailed the type of services provided in gender-affirming treatment and the recommended age for these services. Transition surgeries are made available when a child attains adulthood, and on a case-by-case basis in adolescence. It also notes that gender-affirming care includes various other treatments other than transitioning surgeries. Thus, it is clear that just because gender-affirming care is offered to a child does not necessarily mean that they are receiving transition surgeries. There is a specific criterion followed by medical institutions that children must attain puberty to even consider the option for transition surgery.
ECU Health told Logically Facts, "The information circulating on social media claiming UNC Health provides gender care to toddlers is absolutely false. It’s dangerous and reckless to post such incendiary claims online, and we are increasingly concerned about threats to our providers and patients. To be clear: UNC Health does not offer any gender-transitioning care for toddlers. We do not perform any gender care surgical procedures or medical interventions on toddlers. Also, we are not conducting any gender care research or clinical trials involving children. If a toddler’s parent(s) has concerns or questions about their child’s gender, a primary care provider would certainly listen to them, but would never recommend gender treatment for a toddler. Gender surgery can be performed on anyone 18 years old or older.”
Duke Health and ENC Health have clarified via Twitter that they do not provide gender-affirming surgery to minors and referred to social media posts claiming otherwise as false. Various treatments and evaluations are provided to children, and they are eligible for transition only after they reach a certain age. There is no evidence that such transition surgeries are performed on toddlers.
There is no evidence that medical schools in North Carolina are performing gender-transitioning surgeries on toddlers. While there are several therapies and treatment options available to children at a very young age, the minimum requirement to get transitioning done is to have attained puberty, and in most cases transitioning is done after they reach 18 years of age. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.