Minneapolis doctors defend gender transitions for kids

“This executive order solidifies Minneapolis as a safe haven for transgender and nonbinary people seeking or receiving gender-affirming health care,” Mayor Jacob Frey said. 

Dr. Kelsey Leonardsmith speaks at a press conference with Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey on his new executive order. (City of Minneapolis/YouTube)

Earlier this month Minneapolis doctors defended what they perceive as the moral and scientific legitimacy of child gender transitions, which typically involve puberty blockers, “hormone therapy,” and even surgical intervention.

Their remarks came at a Dec. 2 press conference where Mayor Jacob Frey signed an executive order that protects access to “services, supplies, drug therapies, and other care that an individual may receive to support and affirm their gender identity,” including minors who do not live with their parents.

“This executive order solidifies Minneapolis as a safe haven for transgender and nonbinary people seeking or receiving gender-affirming health care,” Frey said.

Dr. Kelsey Leonardsmith, a family physician who serves as interim director of Family Tree Clinic and runs its transgender health program, claimed “science” makes it clear that “gender-affirming medical care is life-saving care.”

“When the state governments in places far away from here are acting as bullies towards trans and gender-diverse youth … putting their lives at risk by preventing access to the care that they need, that is nothing short of abuse,” said Leonardsmith.

“And we are here in Minneapolis … to stand between these young folks and their bullies,” she added.

The other physician to make brief comments at the press conference was Dr. Angela Kade Goepferd, a pediatrician and director of the gender health program at Children’s Minnesota, the largest children’s hospital in the state.

She too claimed that “gender-affirming care” is “grounded in research and education,” and criticized “deliberate attempts to spread fear [and] hate” about transgender “care” and its practitioners.

“We know that the medical and mental health care we provide is supported by scientific research across the globe,” Goepferd said. “When we support kids to be who they are, they can grow up to be happy and healthy and safe and strong. It is too often in the gender health clinic that I hear from the young people of this community about the discrimination and harassment that they continue to experience because of their gender identities and their expressions.”

In a press release, Goepferd cited the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance in support of child sex changes. However, a recent report found this guidance was authored by just one doctor with the input of two transgender activists with no medical credentials.

An executive with the Wisconsin chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics recently admitted that children who receive puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones “probably will be infertile.”

Last month a clip of Goepferd’s TED talk from 2020 went viral, in which she claimed children as young as three years old can discover their transgender “identities.”

“They know the categories. They know how they should feel inside based on their anatomy, and they also know the way that they see themselves doesn’t line up with other people’s expectations,” she said. “From as young as some kids can talk, they’re explaining to their parents the truth about their identities.”

Mayor Frey signed the executive order on transgender “care” at the end of the press conference. Sitting alongside him was Minneapolis City Council president Andrea Jenkins, who is considered to be the first “black transgender woman” elected to public office in the U.S.

A growing body of research has challenged the claim that puberty blockers are safe and reversible, so much so that even The New York Times recently questioned their “long-term physical effects and other consequences.”


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.