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Memphis hospital pauses ALL trans surgeries amid doctors concerns—ACLU threatens lawsuit

A Memphis hospital has paused some of its gender-affirming services for patients who believe themselves to be transgender and non-binary after some healthcare providers expressed concerns.

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A Memphis hospital has paused some of its gender-affirming services for patients who believe themselves to be transgender and non-binary after some healthcare providers expressed concerns.

A spokesperson for the Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare hospital in Memphis, Tennessee said in a statement to Becker's Hospital Review that some care providers had voiced "questions about patients receiving gender-affirming procedures at a facility affiliated with our health system" which has "resulted in a temporary pause to review current practices."

The statement went on to say that the hospital had not changed practices regarding the treatment of transgender and non-binary patients and that doctors intended to reschedule procedures before the end of the year.

This statement comes after the Tennessee branch of the ACLU criticized the hospital’s decision and threatened to file a complaint with the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.

The demand was sent on behalf of 19-year-old Chris Evans, who was scheduled to have an unspecified "gender-affirming" surgery at the hospital but was informed just days before that it had been canceled. According to a statement made by the ACLU, the cancellation was due to a "new policy of denying healthcare to transgender and nonbinary patients."

"All people should be able to access necessary medical care without fear of discrimination because of who they are," said ACLU-TN Staff Attorney Lucas Cameron-Vaughn. "Denial of healthcare results in life-threatening situations for all patients. Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare is risking the lives of its patients by jumping into culture wars. Discrimination does not belong in healthcare."

"Growing up, I was taught to never let anyone touch my body, that my body is mine and mine alone. Right now, my body is not home to the way I feel inside, which is why, in consultation with multiple health professionals and my family over many years, I decided to schedule this medically necessary surgery," Evans, the 19-year-old seeking gender surgery said in the ACLU statement. "I hope that the hospital acts quickly to reinstate my scheduled surgery, because no one else should be able to make decisions about my body but me.”"

The ACLU statement suggests that gender-affirming care is life-saving despite the transition-or-suicide myth being debunked several times by experts.

Throughout the statement, Evans is referred to using they/them pronouns, suggesting that this unspecified surgery is one of a growing number of non-binary affirming surgeries being performed around the US. 

Surgeons offer both gender-nullification surgeries for those who identify as neither male nor female, which create a smooth sexless appearance, as well as bigenital surgeries in which the surgeon creates a second set of genitals for those who identify as both male and female. 

Last month, a detransitioned young woman announced she is suing the mental health professionals who referred her for a "gender neutral" bilateral mastectomy when she was in a state of extremely poor mental health. At the time, Camille Kiefel believed herself to be non-binary and thought the surgery was medically necessary and life-saving, but has since come to regret her decision and deals with both the mental and physical complications of undergoing such an invasive procedure.

The Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare’s announced review of its gender services comes just a short time after Vanderbilt Pediatric Gender Clinic in Nashville, Tennessee revealed it is putting a hold on gender transition surgeries for minors and reviewing its practices in the wake of reporting by the Daily Wire's Matt Walsh. 

Walsh uncovered shocking video footage of a Vanderbilt doctor recounting how she convinced the hospital to begin performing gender surgeries by describing them as "big money makers" due to the high number of follow-up appointments procedures such as phalloplasty require. Phalloplasty refers to using the skin and flesh of a female’s forearm or thigh to construct an appendage to resemble a penis, which has an extremely high rate of serious complications.

Last month, Tennessee Republicans introduced a bill aimed at banning doctors from attempting to change the sex of minors through so-called "gender-affirming" care.
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