Transgender toddlers? Investigation reveals top North Carolina medical schools treat kids as young as 2

Three of the top medical schools in North Carolina are ‘transitioning toddlers,’ some as young as 2, an investigation by Education First Alliance reveals.

Duke University, the University of…

Three of the top medical schools in North Carolina are ‘transitioning toddlers,’ some as young as 2, an investigation by Education First Alliance reveals.

Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and East Carolina University all offer so-called “gender-affirming” care clinics. According to the report, Duke opened its clinic in 2015, UNC followed suit, and ECU opened a clinic last year.

The investigation found that Duke’s gender clinic readily treats children for gender dysphoria as early as 2-years-old.

“We are working with all kinds of kids, from infants to teens,” Dr. Deanna Adkins, clinic manager, told local news station ABC 11 in 2015. “And we take care of children that are having problems developing gender.”

UNC’s clinic apparently also treats toddlers. According to now-deleted webpages the investigation uncovered, it provides treatment to children as early as age 3. A screenshot of the clinic’s intake form and archives from the webpages confirm the claim.  

The intake form requests the potential patient’s “affirmed name, gender identity,” and “sex assigned at birth,” while offering “young child (ages 3 – 11) psychoeducation and support…,” as the first option regarding the reason for referral to the clinic. 

One of the archived webpages contains the clinic’s mission statement which also includes an age range of 4 to 30. 

Another page promoted the services offered by the clinic, including “gender affirming consultations,” referrals for hormone therapy or surgery, psychotherapy, medication management, and clinical training. 

Yet another page promoted its inter-disciplinary team of doctors which includes psychiatrists, endocrinologists, surgeons and family practitioners, all of whom are willing to work together to “affirm” how the child feels about his or her gender, regardless of their biological makeup. 

Drs. Meyer, Lee, and Pflum (the clinic’s mental health providers) work closely with their colleagues in Pediatric Endocrinology, Primary Care, Speech, and Surgery in a collaborative model to provide tightly coordinated services across disciplines for transgender and gender non-binary individuals seeking gender affirming care.” 

The page also details the doctors’ experience, expertise and preferred client base, including “younger children”: 

“Dr. Echo Meyer is the co-founder of the clinic… Dr. Meyer is experienced in working with individuals and families in various stages of transition and identification. Dr. Meyer meets with all people at all stages of transition but she has a focus in younger children” 

“Dr. Cathy Lee is a clinical associate professor and co-founder of the UNC Psychiatry Gender Equity and Wellness Initiative. Dr. Lee is a member of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the World Professional Association for Transgender Health.” 

Dr. Samantha Pflum is a child clinical psychologist and clinical assistant professor at UNC School of Medicine… She provides gender-affirming services to children, adolescents, young adults, and families through the UNC Gender Equality Psychiatry Clinic.” 

ECU opened its gender clinic in April 2022 as part of its Brody School of Medicine (BSoM). It was opened to address what Dr. Colby Dendy, one of the clinic’s directors, called a “healthcare desert” for the LGBTQ community living in the area. 

While the clinic is associated with the BSoM, it reportedly offers services to anyone in the LGBTQ community, providing treatment for children as young as 4, the age at which Dendy claims children start forming their gender identity. 

“The literature tells us that kids can start around age four having their gender identity, so we do not want to exclude anybody within the pediatrics realm,” she said. “A big part of our goal is to provide affirming primary care to everybody in LGBTQ+ spectrum.”  

Doctors like Adkins at Duke, Meyer, Lee and Pflum at UNC and Dendy at ECU ignore biological sex and cater to kids’ feelings about their gender. 

In fact, Adkins once argued in a federal court declaration that the “only medically supported determinant of sex,” is a person’s “gender identity,” not their biological characteristics. 

“It is counter to medical science to use chromosomes, hormones, internal reproductive organs, external genitalia, or secondary sex characteristics to override gender identity for purposes of classifying someone as male or female,” she claimed. 

What’s really at issue isn’t whether doctors should treat people with gender dysphoria; it’s how best to treat them. 

But some doctors are actively promoting permanent, potentially harmful and “experimental” treatments to people, even young children, who are experiencing a mental health issue. 

And as some hospitals, cities and even states go all in on transitioning kids, at least 11 states have passed laws or regulations banning or severely restricting such practices, as reported by The Lion. At least 20 more states are considering similar legislation.