NORTH TEXAS — The latest chapter in the years-long fight to protect Texas children from mutilation occurred late last week in Dallas.

The Clinic

On Friday, Children’s Medical Center Dallas and the UT Southwestern Medical Center quietly ended their joint “GENECIS” program—a controversial clinic within the hospital involved in administering disfiguring cross-sex hormones and puberty blocker drugs to minors.

The clinic was partially exposed through the nationally known child abuse case of James Younger, a 9-year-old Dallas area boy whose mother told him he was a girl and wanted to force him—against his father’s wishes—to take sterilizing drugs and eventually be castrated.

The clinic was also the subject of recent protests by pro-family activists in North Texas.

Texas Scorecard frequently reported on the statewide child mutilation issue over the past year, detailing the story of James, the outcries of parents across the state, the vote of nearly 2 million Republican primary voters to ban the barbaric medical practices, and the legislative saga where state lawmakers and Gov. Greg Abbott have repeatedly refused to outlaw the operations.

Regarding the GENECIS clinic, hospital officials at the North Texas centers will still continue their work—but they’ll now be hidden in the shadows of the various pediatric departments rather than exposed in an official public program.

“The choice to remove branding for this care offers a more private, insulated experience for patients and their families,” UT Southwestern and Children’s Medical officials said in a joint statement.

“Pediatric endocrinology, psychiatry and adolescent and young adult care coordinated through this program are now managed and coordinated through each specialty department,” the statement read. “We do not anticipate any interruption of care or services for our existing patients who already receive care with these specialty teams.”

The hospital officials also said they would send new child patients to the “appropriate speciality departments” and used carefully selected words to describe administering sterilizing drugs.

“We accept new patients for diagnosis, including evaluation of gender dysphoria, but will not initiate patients on hormone or puberty suppression therapy for only this diagnosis [emphasis added],” they said.

The hospitals originally opened the GENECIS clinic with much public fanfare in 2015, but their decision on Friday happened with no official announcement. They also removed references to the program on their website.

The Drugs

“What is the medical side of treatment? It’s chemical castration by puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones starting at age 8,” said James Younger’s father, Jeff, at a press conference during this year’s state legislative session. “It permanently sterilizes the child, and it causes a myriad of health problems. Of the children that go onto this protocol, almost all of them go onto surgical transition. So, they were looking to put my son on the path to surgical transition as early as age 8.”

Though some claim many of the common puberty blocker drugs given to healthy kids are “reversible” for certain situations, they can still severely—and potentially permanently—disfigure a child.

“What about using this medication for stopping normal puberty, say [at age] 12 or 8? This is an off-label, untested experimental use. It hasn’t been through any FDA approval process,” said California endocrinologist Dr. Michael K. Laidlaw. “[There are] more side effects; I went through some of them. You’re going to disrupt the normal brain development that’s happening with the sex-based hormones. It actually disrupts normal bone development because the sex hormones are important, so osteoporosis is a future risk.”

“There are also neuropsychological effects. You can go yourself and look up the side effects of, say, Lupron; you see emotional lability, nervousness, anxiety, delusions. It even says, ‘Monitor for development of worsening of psychiatric symptoms. Use with caution in patients with a history of psychiatric illness.’”

The Response

“Rather than helping a child heal whatever hurt is causing their distress, transgender ‘medicine’ actually harms a child’s body,” Cindi Castilla, president of Texas Eagle Forum, told Texas Scorecard. “Children who are experiencing gender dysphoria need real help. Every cell in their body affirms their birth sex, so we do well to help them discover why their developing body feels uncomfortable. Providing a child with hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones could be likened to giving them tools for self-harm.”

“While we are thankful to learn that the GENECIS clinic is shutting down, we suspect that this may be an effort to try to hide what they are doing to children,” she added.

“I am concerned that not only are the services still continuing—just in various departments rather than under one umbrella program—but that they are expanding the administration of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to children with other diagnoses other than just gender dysphoria,” said Jill Glover, committee chairwoman for the Republican Party of Texas. The child mutilation issue was one of the Texas GOP’s top legislative priorities this year.

“[Advocates of these drugs] also continue to assert there are studies which support these treatments, but that is simply not true,” Glover continued. “Our children are being targeted by a radical, extreme agenda that seeks to confuse them at best and at worst, sterilize and mutilate their bodies during critical periods of normal development. This is medical tyranny and child abuse in the worst way possible, and we must stop it to save Texas children.”

On Monday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton released a statement that he is joining a lawsuit defending Arkansas’ recently approved state law to ban such operations on kids, which is called the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act.

“Multiple studies show that most childhood gender-identity issues resolve naturally with time. … The medical evidence also shows that nearly all children whose gender dysphoria is treated with puberty blockers to ‘buy time’ will proceed to take cross-sex hormones and seek other medical interventions with irreversible, lifelong consequences,” Paxton wrote.

“When pro-family advocates get active and get organized, good things happen,” said Chris Hopper, Texas director for pro-family group American Principles Project and one of the activists who recently protested the North Texas clinic. “The shutdown of the GENECIS program is fantastic news for Texas families, and there’s no doubt that the pressure campaign played a big role. But we can’t celebrate yet.”

Hopper added that Texas lawmakers desperately need to act.

“Unfortunately, it’s still very possible that children will be pushed into irreversible ‘sex change’ procedures via other avenues,” he said. “That’s why it’s imperative that state lawmakers pass legislation like Arkansas’ SAFE Act to ensure children are fully protected from this medical abuse in Texas.”