A Missouri teen has refuted their mother’s account of being “bullied” into allowing her child to go on puberty blockers.
On Monday, The Free Press, a conservative outlet founded by former New York Times columnist Bari Weiss, published a story based on Caroline Miller’s claims that she was pressured by doctors at the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital to allow her then-14-year-old child to receive a pharmaceutical implant that would deliver the puberty blocker Supprelin for two years. According to the Free Press piece, Miller and the child’s father were both informed of potential side effects, and after some initial resistance on Miller’s part, both parents signed off on the implant.
But Miller claims that within months of receiving the implant, her child’s mental health declined, their grades dropped from “all As and Bs to a report card dotted with Ds and Fs,” and they expressed “suicidal thoughts.” Blaming all of this on the puberty blocker, Miller revoked her consent and demanded that the implant be removed. Doctors declined, saying that they needed both parents to sign off on the removal.
In an April 4 tweet, Miller said she was contacted by The Free Press after reaching out to a lawyer. She gave the outlet permission to report on her child’s treatment. The resulting story, by writer Emily Yoffe, identified Miller’s child as “Casey” and misgendered them throughout.
On Tuesday, the now 16-year-old “Casey,” whose real name is Alex, took to Twitter to refute the Free Press story. In a long tweet thread, Alex, who uses they/she pronouns, said that their mother’s account is based on “false perceptions that my mom has about the doctors and clinic.”
Alex says that Miller informed them of the story only after speaking with Yoffe. “When I read the draft I was disgusted with what the reporter and my mom had made my experience out to be,” they wrote.
After speaking with Yoffe, Alex says they were told they had no say in whether the story was published.
Miller claimed that she felt pressured to agree to the puberty blocker implant after doctors implied that Alex was at high risk of suicide if they didn’t receive the treatment. Alex says that while doctors did quote statistics around suicide in transgender adolescents, they never said that Alex was at substantial risk.
They also say that Millers claims about their grades and mental health were exaggerated. “My grades were on a steady decline since 2020 due to unrelated mental health concerns,” they wrote. “The article claims that my mental health issues can be attributed to the Supprelin implant, however, my personal experience shows that this is not the case. Since Covid-19, my mental health has been declining, and it was already an issue.”
Alex also praised their counselor at Washington University Transgender Center, but says that they were denied access to counseling after Miller retroactively objected to the Supprelin implant.
In a tweet responding to Alex’s thread, Miller identified herself as Alex’s mother (the Free Press story omitted her last name) and asked that users not “harass my child.” She also defended her decision to speak to The Free Press. “This is actually my story about how I was treated as a parent at this center,” she wrote. “Alex has a story too, but this article wasn’t it. Don’t confuse the two.”
Editor’s note: This article mentions suicide. If you need to talk to someone now, call the Trans Lifeline at 1-877-565-8860. It’s staffed by trans people, for trans people. The Trevor Project provides a safe, judgement-free place to talk for LGBTQ youth at 1-866-488-7386. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.