Seattle school-based health center offers students cross-sex hormones, 'gender-affirming care': report

A student raises his hand in class.
A student raises his hand in class. | Getty Images

A watchdog group has obtained emails showing that a healthcare organization operating inside Seattle Public Schools is offering "gender-affirming care services" to students, including dispensing cross-sex hormones.

Parents Defending Education, a national grassroots organization that raises awareness about potentially harmful policies and curricula impacting children's education, released emails earlier this month from Neighborcare Health, which operates clinics inside Seattle Public Schools' middle and elementary schools.

The manager of the health program operating in the largest school district in Washington wrote in an email on Jan. 25, 2023, that "beginning February 6th [2023], our program will begin offering comprehensive, evidence-based, gender-affirming care services to our students and families who need them." 

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The email states that this expansion is part of the organization's goal of providing "100% access and zero health disparities" to students and families. The manager wrote that the latest initiative aligns with the school district's goal of supporting LGBT-identifying students.

In addition to services like counseling, the email boasted that the program now offers "important medical interventions, including hormonal treatments." The email states that giving children cross-sex hormones is "an informed and private decision made between a parent, their child, and their healthcare provider."

As Parents Defending Education noted, the Seattle Public Schools policy regarding trans-identified students states that staff should not disclose a child's self-declared gender identity unless they are required to by law or the student has given them permission.

The email explains that Neighborcare Health planned to initially offer services through "a small pilot available to students and families within the existing schools we serve."

"Most families will be referred by Neighborcare and SPS staff and will be served by a small subset of our School-based Health provider team through a flexible mix of in-person and telehealth services at the start of care," the email continued.

"After that, the students will transition back to long-term health management with their own School-based Health Center provider. Depending on the demand and success of the program, we will evaluate further opportunities to expand access further in future school years."

In a statement to The Christian Post, a spokesperson for Neighborcare Health said its health centers abide by all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to the provision of healthcare, including "parental/guardian consent and patient confidentiality."

"Neighborcare Health's school-based health centers provide students with access to comprehensive primary care and behavioral health services," the spokesperson stated. "Access to these services enables the early intervention, prevention, and treatment of health-related barriers to learning with the goal of promoting school attendance, improved academic performance and improving overall well-being of youth."

"Gender-affirming care in its many forms is life-saving for many of the youth and their families who choose it," the spokesperson claimed. "Neighborcare Health offers care for transgender and non-binary students that align with best practices defined by regional and national pediatric care authorities and is aimed at meeting needs expressed by the students and families we serve. "

According to a 2024 study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, "gender or sex dissatisfaction is most common at around the age of eleven, and the frequency of this symptomatology then decreases with age. The clear majority of minors show no persistent gender or sex dissatisfaction over the course of their lives."

Over two dozen states have enacted laws to ban surgical and hormonal interventions for minors struggling with gender dysphoria. Some European governments and doctors are also beginning to take a more cautious approach to the provision of puberty-blocking drugs and cross-sex hormones to minors. 

Earlier this month, the German Medical Assembly — comprised of 250 delegates from 17 medical associations — passed two resolutions related to gender dysphoria, one of which warns about the potentially life-long consequences of allowing youth to transition. They called the provision of cross-sex hormones and puberty-blocking drugs "experimental medicine." 

Chloe Cole, a young woman who underwent a double mastectomy as a teen and was prescribed cross-sex hormones, has spoken publicly about the side effects transitioning had on her mental and physical health.

Cole has also filed a lawsuit against Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, the Permanente Medical Group and affiliated healthcare professionals, accusing the medical groups of performing a "mutilating, mimicry sex change experiment" on her when she was only a teen. 

A spokesperson for Seattle Public Schools also told CP that community health agencies independently operate school-based health centers in spaces provided by the district. The spokesperson stated that the district does not supervise or participate in the provision of services offered at these clinics. 

"These clinics provide students with access to comprehensive primary care and behavioral health services. Access to these services enables the early intervention, prevention, and treatment of health-related barriers to learning with the goal of promoting school attendance and improved academic performance," the school district spokesperson stated. "School-Based Health Centers follow all applicable laws and regulations pertaining to the provision of health care, including those relating to parental consent and patient confidentiality."

Earlier this month, Parents Defending Education released documents highlighting an Illinois boarding school's "Gender Support Process and Plan." The documents stated that the Illinois Math and Science Academy's plan is "informed by and modeled after similar plans from Gender Spectrum, Laurie's Children's Hospital, and Chicago Public Schools."

The support plan instructed staff to disclose a student's self-declared gender identity to parents only if the student gives permission or if the staff receives authorization from the law department.

According to the report, support for trans-identifying students might include, but is not limited to the following: "access to [opposite-sex] restrooms, locker rooms, affirmation of student's chosen name and pronouns, disclosure of students identity as requested by the student, confidentiality of gender identity as requested by student, social-emotional supports, staff training, and other supports expressed by the student.'"

In a statement to The Daily Wire, the school's Chief Public Affairs and Development Officer Tami Armstrong said the plan was initially rolled out in October 2022 but remains "under development." She claimed it "has not been fully implemented due to resource limitations."

report released by Parents Defending Education last year states that at least 1,040 districts representing more than 10.7 million students have policies that tell employees they can or should keep a student's gender identity status hidden from parents.

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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