transgender

Year in review: The most viewed TNJ posts of 2022

Here are the 10 most-viewed TNJ: On the Hill blog posts of 2022, counting up to the

10. Whoever signed this Phoenix Solutions document has some explaining to do.

March 8: An IRS W-9 form submitted to the General Assembly in January 2020 carries the signature of Matthew Phoenix, right under a section outlining the certification is made “under penalties of perjury” that the person signing the document is a “U.S. person.”

9. Trump endorses Ortagus in GOP primary for 5th District.

Jan. 25: Former President Donald Trump is endorsing Morgan Ortagus, a former spokeswoman to then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, for the Republican nomination in the new-look 5th Congressional District being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville).

Cade Cothren, speaking on phone, attends a meeting with lawmakers and fellow staffers on the balcony outside the House chamber on April 29, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

8. Casada, Cothren indicted on federal bribery, kickback charges.

Aug. 23: Former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada and his onetime chief of staff, Cade Cothren, have been indicted on federal bribery and kickback charges. The FBI arrested both at their homes. Casada is retiring from the House this year after stepping down from the speakership amid scandal in 2019. He was overwhelmingly defeated in his bid for Williamson County Clerk earlier this year.

7. TNJ exclusive: Lee chooses Campbell for Tenn. Supreme Court.

Gov. Bill Lee delivers his State of the State address on Jan. 31, 2022. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Jan. 12: Republican Gov. Bill Lee is naming associate state solicitor general Sarah Campbell to the bench of the Tennessee Supreme Court, The Tennessee Journal has learned. Campbell, 39, is an associate solicitor general and special assistant to state Attorney General Herbert Slatery. 

6. Read Vanderbilt hospital’s letter to lawmakers on transgender clinic.

Oct. 7: Vanderbilt University Medical Center says no minors have received genital procedures at its transgender clinic and that all patients were at least 16 years old and had parental consent. The hospital told Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) it will pause gender affirmation surgery on patients under age 18 while it seeks advice from local and national experts, a process that could take several months.

5 Here’s the backstory on the Andy Ogles attack ad.

July 18: We found Ogles appeared as a co-owner of a Franklin home between 2005 and 2015, though for reasons unknown he was not listed on the rolls in the 2013 tax year. While it’s true that property tax payments were late on nine occasions, that includes years where the Ogles family was as little as one or two days behind the deadline. But in other years it took as many as 194 and 322 days to pay the tax bill.

4 Former Tennessee first lady Honey Alexander dies at 77.

Oct. 30: Honey Alexander, who was married to former governor and U.S. senator Lamar Alexander for 53 years, died Saturday at her home outside Maryville. She was 77.

3. Rep. Ron Gant survives head-on crash.

Oct. 25: State Rep. Ron Gant was flown by helicopter for treatment at a Memphis hospital after the vehicle he was driving was struck in a head-on collision in rural West Tennessee. The other driver died in the crash.

2. Lee declines signature on ‘truth in sentencing’ bill.

May 5: Gov. Bill Lee has declined to sign a “truth in sentencing” bill championed by legislative Republicans to require people convicted of violent crimes to serve all of their sentences behind bars, The Tennessee Journal learned.

1. Hargett charged with DUI after Bonnaroo visit.

Secretary of State Tre Hargett speaks with Rep. Curtis Johnson (R-Clarksville) before Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

June 18: Secretary of State Tre Hargett has been charged with drunken driving after attending the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Coffee County. Hargett was at the event from Friday afternoon through around 11:30 p.m. when he was stopped by Tullahoma police. He was given a blood test and charged with DUI.

Read Vanderbilt hospital’s letter to lawmakers on transgender clinic

Reps. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville), center, and Scott Cepicki (R-Culleaoka), right attend a briefing in Nashville on March 16, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Vanderbilt University Medical Center says no minors have received genital procedures at its transgender clinic and that all patients were at least 16 years old and had parental consent. The hospital told Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) it will pause gender affirmation surgery on patients under age 18 while it seeks advice from local and national experts, a process that could take several months.

“We understand this issue is likely to be taken up by the General Assembly in its next legislative session,” Deputy CEO C. Wright Pinson wrote.

Here is the letter:

Representative Zachary,

I write in response to your letter of September 28, 2022 on behalf of Vanderbilt University Medical Center (“VUMC”) and its Board of Directors regarding the concerns about surgical care provided through the transgender clinic for those under age 18.

VUMC began its Transgender Health Clinic in 2018 because transgender individuals are at high risk for mental and physical health issues, and have been consistently underserved by our nation’s healthcare systems. Among those patients under 18 receiving transgender care, an average of 5 per year have received gender-affirming surgical procedures. Contrary to some media reports, all were at least 16 years of age, none have received genital procedures and parental consent to these surgeries was obtained in all cases. None of these surgeries have been paid for by state or federal funds; the revenues from this limited number of surgeries represent an immaterial percentage of VUMC’s net operating revenue.

VUMC approaches its responsibility to care for patients by following the most widely recognized national and international standards of care, while at all times doing so in accordance with state and federal laws. Our clinical teams provide transgender care that is informed by the professional practice standards and guidance established by leading medical specialty societies, such as the Endocrine Society and the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH). We fully comply with the requirements of legislation passed by the General Assembly in 2021, now codified at Tenn. Code Ann. §63-1-169, which prohibits providing hormone therapy to prepuberal children.

VUMC serves as the employment home for over 40,000 people and our people express their views in many forums, including hundreds of open conferences on our campus facilities each year. Comments from videos posted on social media that are obtained at these kinds of events should not be construed as statements of VUMC policy. VUMC’s policies and practices allow employees to request an accommodation to be excused from participating in surgeries or procedures they believe are morally objectionable. We do not condone discrimination against employees who choose to request accommodations.

You have asked that VUMC halt permanent gender affirmation surgeries being performed on minor children. On September 6, 2022, WPATH published a new version of its recommendations to health care professionals for treatment of transgender persons, known as SOC-8. In light of these new recommendations, and as part of completing our internal clinical review of the SOC-8 guidance in patients under 18, we will be seeking advice from local and national clinical experts. We are pausing gender affirmation surgeries on patients under age 18 while we complete this review, which may take several months.

In addition, we understand this issue is likely to be taken up by the General Assembly in its next legislative session. As always, we will assure that VUMC’s programs comply with any new requirements which may be established as a part of Tennessee law.

I trust this letter has been responsive to the concerns which have been surfaced to you and your colleagues.

Sincerely yours,

/signed/

C. Wright Pinson, MBA, MD

Deputy CEO and Chief Health System Officer

AP: Tennessee leads nation in laws targeting transgender people

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters following his address to a joint convention of the General Assembly on Jan. 19, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A flurry of anti-LGBTQ bills have been filed around the country this year, but Tennessee has gone further than any other in targeting transgender people, according to AP reporters Jonathan Mattise, Kimberlee Kruesi, and Lindsay Whitehurst.

From the story:

Lawmakers passed and Republican Gov. Bill Lee signed five new bills into law, consistently dismissing concerns that they discriminate against an already vulnerable population, that some of the laws are unworkable and that they could damage the state’s reputation.

Supporters defend the laws policy by policy, arguing that one protects parental rights, others protect girls and women and one even improves equality. Opponents reject those claims.

[…] Tennessee’s emergence as an anti-LGBTQ leader grows out of a rightward political shift in a state Republicans already firmly controlled. Lee’s Republican predecessor tapped the brakes on some socially conservative legislation, but emphatic GOP election wins fueled by strong support for former President Donald Trump have emboldened lawmakers since then. That’s the political landscape in which Lee is launching his 2022 reelection bid.

Read the whole report here.

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