Last week, on Friday, October 21st, transgender rights and gender-affirming care came into the public eye in Nashville. Two separate rallies on opposite sides of the issue clashed in a big way on the capitol steps.

Conservative figurehead and Daily Wire columnist Matt Walsh put on the first rally,  titled “The Rally to End Child Mutilation.” It was a protest against Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) for their provision of gender-affirming care to minors.

This rally specifically raised their disgust over the Transgender Health Clinic in VUMC, which according to VUMC officials, provides affirming care to transgender people because “transgender individuals are a high-risk population for mental and physical health issues and have been consistently underserved by the U.S. health system.”

The second rally was a counterprotest to the Matt Walsh rally. So trans rights advocates came in droves to advocate for the right to gender-affirming care, even for minors.

The Nashville trans rights rallies butted heads in a big way. Videos surfaced on Twitter of heated screaming matches and protestors using bull horns in each other’s faces. The far-right group The Proud Boys also showed up, causing tension. All in all, almost 3,000 people were in the Capitol plaza that day.

VUMC Gender Affirming Care

According to the hospital, VUMC provides gender-affirming surgeries to minors rarely. There are an average of five cases per year, and none were genital procedures. In addition, the minors who have received surgeries from VUMC were at least 16 years of age. And the hospital requires parental consent to proceed with surgeries. No state or federal funding helped pay for these surgeries.

Back on October 7th, weeks before the Rally to End Child Mutilation, VUMC announced that they would be putting a pause on gender transitional surgeries. In September, the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) released an updated set of healthcare recommendations for transgender persons.

At the request of Representative Jason Zachary, the hospital is pausing the surgeries in order to review the updated recommendations. They say the review could take several months.

 The Tennessee General Assembly will reconvene for a legislative session in January. It is expected that legislation about gender-affirming care for minors will be presented and voted on.


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