A whistleblower’s accusations about a Missouri transgender clinic have resulted in state and federal investigations into its practices.

Jamie Reed, a former case manager at the Pediatric Transgender Center at Washington University in St. Louis, told Missouri’s attorney general about “unethical and appalling practices” and wrote a first-person account of what she saw in The Free Press, an online newspaper.

The op-ed was headlined: “I Thought I Was Saving Trans Kids. Now I’m Blowing the Whistle.”

Reed described herself personally as a “queer woman married to a trans man” and politically as being “to the left of Bernie Sanders.” She worked at the clinic from 2018-2022 and alleged “vulnerable patients” were harmed because of a few protocols for treatment.

“I left the clinic in November of last year because I could no longer participate in what was happening there,” Reed wrote in the op-ed.

“By the time I departed, I was certain that the way the American medical system is treating these patients is the opposite of the promise we make to ‘do no harm.’ Instead, we are permanently harming the vulnerable patients in our care.”

“Today, I am speaking out,” Reed continued.

“I am doing so knowing how toxic the public conversation is around this highly contentious issue — and the ways that my testimony might be misused. I am doing so knowing that I am putting myself at serious personal and professional risk.”

Reed wrote that patients falsely claimed they were suffering from disorders, including multiple personalities. Part of Reed’s job was patient intake and admissions.

“The doctors privately recognized these false self-diagnoses as a manifestation of social contagion,” Reed wrote.

“They even acknowledged that suicide has an element of social contagion. But when I said the clusters of girls streaming into our service looked as if their gender issues might be a manifestation of social contagion, the doctors said gender identity reflected something innate.”

She continued to explain that in order to start the transition process, “the girls needed a letter of support from a therapist — usually one we recommended — who they had to see only once or twice for the green light.

“To make it more efficient for the therapists, we offered them a template for how to write a letter in support of transition. The next stop was a single visit to the endocrinologist for a testosterone prescription.”

In an affidavit filed by Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey, Reed attests that she witnessed healthcare providers lying to parents and patients about treatments. The hospital does not require children to continue with mental healthcare, Reed alleged, after the prescription of transgender hormones.

“I have seen puberty blockers worsen the mental health outcomes of children,” she said. “Children who have not contemplated suicide before being put on puberty blockers have attempted suicide after.”

The 42-year-old Reed also wrote in her op-ed that young people seeking care understood little about the consequences.

“The center downplayed the negative consequences, and emphasized the need for transition,” Reed wrote, pointing to the unsubstantiated claim made by the center that, as its website said, “[l]eft untreated, gender dysphoria has any number of consequences, from self-harm to suicide” and “by allowing a child to be who he or she is, we’re noticing that goes away.”

The center’s website goes on to assert, as Reed pointed out in her op-ed, that “studies we have show these kids often wind up functioning psychosocially as well as or better than their peers,” yet she says this is false.

Instead, the empirical evidence at the center suggests the opposite is true, according to Reed.

Reed’s account prompted U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) to open an investigation.

“Starting immediately, your institutions must take steps to preserve all records, written and electronic, regarding gender-related treatments performed on minors since the opening of the Center,” Hawley wrote to Washington University Chancellor Andrew D. Martin, St. Louis Children’s Hospital President Trish M. Lollo, and Christopher Lewis and Sarah Garwood, co-directors of the hospital’s transgender center.

“Additional oversight inquiries and outreach will follow.”

In his letter, Hawley’s office requested the number of minors treated at the transgender center who have returned to identifying with their birth sex. It also asked for sources of funding the center receives for gender treatment.

Washington University released a statement after the op-ed and Hawley’s letter:

“We are alarmed by the allegations reported in the article published by The Free Press describing practices and behaviors the author says she witnessed while employed at the university’s Transgender Center,” the statement said.

“We are taking this matter very seriously and have already begun the process of looking into the situation to ascertain the facts.”

Missouri Attorney General Bailey, a Republican, said his office started an investigation last month after Reed made her accusations in the aforementioned sworn affidavit.

“We take this evidence seriously and are thoroughly investigating to make sure children are not harmed by individuals who may be more concerned with a radical social agenda than the health of children,” Bailey said in a statement.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch asked the board president of TransParent, a national advocacy group based in St. Louis, about the accusations. Susan Halla said they were a shock.

 
“This is not at all my experience and not the experience of my peers,” Halla told the Post-Dispatch. “We all know this person. We are heartbroken and blindsided about where this is coming from.”