News (USA)

GOP attorney general targets therapists working with trans youth for investigation

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey talks with the News-leader at his off in Springfield on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023.
Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey talks with the News-leader at his off in Springfield on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023. Photo: Nathan Papes/Springfield News-Leader / USA TODAY NETWORK

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is continuing his crusade against gender-affirming care for trans youth, now targeting social workers and therapists who work with LGBTQ+ youth for investigation.

According to Missouri Independent, Bailey has acquired unredacted and loosely redacted medical records of trans children through the state investigation into the Washington University Transgender Center at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

He’s also attempting to get access from the university’s digital medical records system. Bailey previously imposed severe restrictions on gender-affirming care via an emergency ruling that was overturned last May and investigated Planned Parenthood to get access to medical records of children who received gender-affirming care from the organization.

Katy Erker-Lynch is the executive director of PROMO, an LGBTQ+ advocacy group in Missouri. She said that “the attorney general has created a hostile environment for medical providers where they are afraid to stay and practice medicine.”

Bailey has reportedly talked to 57 healthcare professionals as a part of the investigation. One of those people is licensed clinical social worker Kelly Storck, who spoke with senior investigator Nick McBroom. McBroom brought with him a file of letters Storck had written to Washington University Transgender Care, supporting patients who wished to access gender-affirming care at the facility.

McBroom asked Storck to explain in detail her practice for recommending gender-affirming, but she refused to. The case was subsequently closed but left Storck with lingering distrust.

“I still have a lot of distrust about who initiated it and who was in my documents,” she said.

Levi is a 17-year-old trans boy who received care at the center. His mother, Becky Hormuth, said the investigation was invasive and disruptive to the family’s lives.

“The state has already basically disrupted our lives,” Hormuth said. “They’ve disrupted our families, our children’s lives with the legislation that has passed. Then for him to continue going on is even more invasive and damaging.”

Missouri passed a ban on gender-affirming care for minors last year, and Bailey implemented an emergency rule extending the ban to transgender adults. In the policy document, he claimed gender-affirming care for transgender people “lack solid evidentiary support” and can “pose very serious side effects.” He withdrew the rule when state lawmakers intervened.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) signed the ban into law in June 2023. Although the ban was promptly challenged in court, a judge allowed it to go into effect.

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