Doctor shuts down father for 'misgendering' 10-year-old in South Carolina medical school training video

"Would you say you identify as a boy, girl, transgender, non-binary, or maybe some other gender?"

Mia Ashton Montreal QC

A series of training videos produced by the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have emerged on social media in which staff are taught how to deal with various gender-related situations, such as parents not affirming their children and what to do if staff accidentally misgender a patient.

A thread of short videos was shared on Twitter by @ExposeDarkDeeds, and in one, a father arriving at MUSC with his 10-year-old male child has a moment of confusion while filling in the registration form, which doesn’t ask for the child’s sex but rather the child’s “gender identity.” The dad selects “male.”

The father explains to the doctor that his child keeps insisting he’s a girl and that “he doesn’t like boy stuff,” so they let him go by the name Sam which is gender-neutral. But the doctor dismisses the father’s input entirely.

“Can you tell me, do you feel like a boy, like a girl, like both, or neither?” The doctor asks the 10-year-old child.

When Sam replies definitively, “I am a girl,” the doctor asks how long Sam has known he’s a girl.

“I don’t know. But a long time,” is the response from the barely decade-old youth. The doctor then inquires about pronouns, and Sam unsurprisingly opts for “she.” The father is irrelevant throughout this whole process.

This scenario is used as an example of how things should be handled by medical professionals. From the registration form asking for the child’s pronouns and gender identity, to the healthcare provider asking the child how they identify, doctors at MUSC are taught to discard the opinion of parents and allow the child to lead the process.

But it is not clear how these procedures line up with recent changes at the hospital.

The MUSC announced late last year that it was closing down its pediatric gender service after pressure from the South Carolina Freedom Caucus (SCFC). The conservative group had made a series of Freedom of Information requests to the medical university after the American Accountability Foundation revealed research showing that children as young as 4 were being seen at the clinic.

The same research showed that 62 percent of the children were on some form of hormonal treatment, and that a significant number had psychiatric comorbidities.

A further MUSC training video encourages staff to keep parents in the dark about their adolescent’s gender identity by showing a scenario where the doctor asks a teenager’s parent to leave the room before enquiring about the young person’s gender identity.

The doctor explains that he is asking all his teenage patients about their gender identity, and that he had the teen’s mother step out of the room because this information is confidential and private.

“Would you say you identify as a boy, girl, transgender, non-binary, or maybe some other gender?”

The female patient responds that she doesn’t really identify as a boy or a girl, and that while some people think she’s a boy, that doesn’t really bother her.

Based on this, the doctor records her identity as “other” and suggests having further conversations about gender at a later time.

MUSC staff learn the correct way to respond when a staff member accidentally misgenders a patient in a comical video where a woman with “they/them” pronouns gets angry at a staff member for using the pronoun “she.”

“Excuse me, but I already told you my name is Jesse, and my pronouns are they/them. How many times do I have to tell you? This is ridiculous, and I can't believe after all this time, we're still not getting it right,” said the obviously female patient.

In the first scenario, the staff member responds defensively, saying how difficult the whole pronoun thing is. This is deemed “hurtful” and a better response is then given, where the staff member apologises for the mistake and vows to “do better” in the future.

Kyle Mann pointed out that this video was like one of their Babylon Bee skits.

Another pronoun video in the thread, this one produced by Fenway Health, also strays into the realm of comedy when a healthcare provider begins an appointment by recalling that the female patient seated before her went by “he/him/his” pronouns and enquires as to whether that is still the case.

After thanking her for asking, the female patient states that now her pronouns are ze/hir/hirs. “Okay great,” responds the doctor with a completely straight face. “Could you spell those for me?”


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