EXCLUSIVE: Trans Medical Org Speaker Blames ‘Hate Groups’, Christian Nationalism For Backlash Against Child Sex Changes


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Megan Brock Contributor
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A speaker at an educational event hosted by the world’s leading transgender medical association blamed “hate groups” and right-wing Christians for orchestrating bills designed to limit children’s ability to receive sex change procedures, according to a WPATH presentation obtained through a public records request by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) is a transgender medical organization that has published influential clinical guidance for the sex reassignment industry, called Standards of Care, which recommend children receive puberty suppression, cross sex hormones and sex reassignment surgery. The presentation, titled “Legal Issues & Policy,” was part of an educational series recorded in September 2022 for licensed clinicians seeking WPATH certification in transgender medicalization.

In the presentation, Paula Neira, who identifies as a transgender woman and is the Program Director of LGBTQ Equity & Education at Johns Hopkins Medicine, claimed that legislative efforts aimed at stopping pediatric sex reassignment and protecting women’s sports were “targeting” the rights of transgender youth. Neira further claimed that “hate groups” and “Christian Nationalism” were behind bills to limit child sex change procedures, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center in the process.

“Numerous states have either engaged in having litigation and legislation proposed or the government has taken actions that are targeting the LGBTQ+ community broadly, and then at least half of these bills are specifically targeting transgender people, particularly transgender youth. The way that these bills are being played out are … attempts to stop gender affirming care,” Neira said.

“These bills are trying to bar the use of facilities aligned with gender identity or to bar participation in interscholastic sports aligned with gender identity,” Neira added.


Later in the presentation, Neira suggested these legislative efforts to stop pediatric sex reassignment services and protect women’s sports and spaces were driven by “Christian Nationalism” and “anti-LGBTQ hate groups” parading as Christian organizations.

“Nationalism and in the United States, particularly Christian nationalism, is what is behind this slew of state-based legislation,” Neira said. “It’s the alliance with, for partisan political reasons, organizations that profess to be Christian but are in fact anti-LGBTQ hate groups, as labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

The SPLC is a left-wing organization that has frequently been criticized for using the “hate group” label to target conservative and religious nonprofits and organizations. In December 2023, the SPLC published a report titled “Combating Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscience,” which said efforts to stop pediatric sex reassignment are rooted in disinformation and pseudoscience.

In 2021, Neira co-authored a paper titled “Under Attack: Transgender Health In 2020,” which criticized, by name, several faith-based organizations who support stopping pediatric sex reassignment and protecting women’s sports and spaces.

“The Family Research Council, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and Liberty Counsel, all self-proclaimed to be faith-based organizations, have championed actions that have direct and indirect negative health implications for TGD (Transgender and Gender Diverse) Americans,” the paper reads. “These organizations are designated as anti-LGBTQ hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center for their continued defamation, intentional misinformation, and willful intellectual dishonesty about TGD people.”

Mathew D. Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, strongly refuted the “hate group” label in comments to the DCNF.

“The SPLC is a sham and has no credibility. Liberty Counsel hates no one,” Staver said.

Staver also stated that common sense and science, not “Christian Nationalism,” were driving efforts to stop pediatric sex reassignment and uphold binary sex in women’s sports and private spaces.

“The term ‘Christian Nationalism’ defies definition and is merely a label used to create a strawman argument,” he said. “What is behind the efforts to protect women in private spaces and sports and to protect children from fraudulent and harmful medical malpractice, is common sense and science.”

In a statement provided to the DCNF, Dr. Jennifer Bauwens, Family Research Council’s Director of the Center for Family Studies, described the movement to protect children from transgender ideology as diverse, uniting individuals with differing religions and worldviews.

“The movement to protect children from the transgender ideology is gathering people from different religions and worldview perspectives, uniting those who believe that children should be allowed to experience their natural development and not be persuaded into making decisions that they are not physiologically capable of making and will ultimately impact the rest of their adult lives,” Bauwens said. “Some transgender advocates have resorted to name-calling as a means of distracting from the harms that are being imposed on children.”

During a question-and-answer segment at the end of the WPATH presentation, Neira said religious healthcare organizations were hiding behind “religious-affiliation dogma” to avoid providing sex medical reassignment services.

“In the United States, depending on what state you are in, the percentage of hospital beds that are affiliated with religious based organizations can be very high. It’s about 17% nationally. And that runs into the problems of medically necessary, even ethically driven care being prohibited because of the religious-affiliation dogma,” said Neira.

Neira suggested that religious organizations who don’t provide sex reassignment services could find themselves in court battling over the definition and protections of religious liberty.

“This is an area where you are seeing lawsuits of organizations that are of religious affiliations that deny gender-affirming care to folks being taken to court. And, again, this gets back into that whole area where the battlefield is set up as this fight between what religious liberty means and what it means to provide care to the LGBT+ community in a non-discriminatory way,” Neira continued.

Several court decisions have protected the right of religiously affiliated health professionals and institutions to abstain from providing medical interventions, such as sex reassignment services and abortion, which violate their religious conscience.

WPATH, Johns Hopkins Medicine and Neira did not respond to a request for comment. Alliance Defending Freedom declined to comment.

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