Exploring Social Contagion at the Washington University Transgender Center
Jamie Reed worked as a case manager at The Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children's Hospital for four years between 2018 and November 2022. Reed, who identifies as a queer woman married to a transgender man, spoke recently about her experiences at the clinic.
Reed wrote that the doctors she worked with frequently said “We are building the plane while we are flying it,” in reference to the treatment of their patients. She also noted that many patients at the clinic declared they had disorders they did not have, such as Tourette syndrome, tic disorders, and multiple personalities.
The doctors at the clinic recognized that some of these false self-diagnoses may have been a manifestation of social contagion and even acknowledged that suicide has an element of social contagion. However, when Reed suggested that the gender issues of some of the patients may have been a manifestation of social contagion, the doctors said gender identity reflected something innate.
Reed wrote that teenagers are not capable of fully grasping what it means to make the decision to become infertile while still a minor, especially given that clinics like the one where she worked are creating a whole cohort of kids with atypical genitals – and most of these teens haven’t even had sex yet. She recounted how one of these patients became pregnant, but of course, she would never be able to breastfeed her child.
0. “‘I want my breasts back': Former transgender clinic employee remembers the horrors of the ‘gender-affirming care' she …” Heartlander News, 9 Feb. 2023, https://heartlandernews.com/2023/02/09/i-want-my-breasts-back-former-transgender-clinic-employee-remembers-the-horrors-of-the-gender-affirming-care-she-once-believed-in/
1. “Trans clinic worker blows whistle on ‘appalling' harm being done to children” Daily Mail, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11732559/Trans-clinic-worker-blows-whistle-appalling-harm-children.html
2. “‘We are permanently harming’ kids: University gender clinic whistleblower” The College Fix, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.thecollegefix.com/bulletin-board/we-are-permanently-harming-kids-university-gender-clinic-whistleblower/