Boston Children’s Hospital has faced a torrent of threats and harassment from an online campaign aimed at doctors and staff caring for transgender children.
The hospital has received a high volume of hostile internet activity, phone calls, and harassing emails, including threats of violence against its clinicians and staff, representatives for the facility said in a statement. The threats prompted the hospital to contact law enforcement and remove doctors’ images from its website.
“We are deeply concerned by these attacks on our clinicians and staff fueled by misinformation and a lack of understanding and respect for our transgender community,” the statement said.
Young adults and children receive gender-affirming treatment through the hospital’s Gender Multispecialty Service Program.
“Among the far right, there has been a rise in misinformation about gender-affirming care, which falsely accuses caregivers of mutilating children,” reports The Advocate. “Despite online allegations, children under 18 cannot undergo genital surgery at Boston Children’s. Gender-affirming includes a variety of treatments, all of which begin with prolonged counseling. In addition, patients have access to hormonal therapies and surgery. In some cases, if a child is over 15 years old and has parental consent, they may be able to undergo breast surgery, the Boston Globe reports.”
The attacks began shortly after far-right provocateur and transphobe Chaya Raichik, who runs the Twitter account LibsOfTikTok, encouraged her millions of anti-LGBTQ+ sympathizers to take aim at the hospital.
.@BostonChildrens is working with @PolitiFact to cover up for the fact that they provide “gender affirming” hysterectomies to minors. They changed their website after the video went viral. We will not forget. https://t.co/aIDqLNsSge
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) August 14, 2022
Clinical instructor at Harvard Law School’s Cyberlaw Clinic, Alejandra Caraballo, called out the incident as the latest example of far-right-wing actors engaging in stochastic terrorism — using rhetoric that the author knows can lead to real-world actions to achieve the goal of eliminating the target of the subject’s ire through violence.
“In the last 5 days, Libs of Tiktok has tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Boston Children’s Hospital. As a result, BCH providers are being inundated in death threats and harassing calls and emails. It’s now affecting their services. This is stochastic terrorism, full stop,” Caraballo wrote.
In the last 5 days, Libs of Tiktok has tweeted and retweeted 14 posts about Boston Children’s Hospital. As a result, BCH providers are being inundated in death threats and harassing calls and emails. It’s now affecting their services. This is stochastic terrorism, full stop. pic.twitter.com/CEMlRsX6S4
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) August 15, 2022
Chaya Raichik, aka Libs of Tiktok has doubled down on her campaign against Boston Children’s Hospital on her substack. She used false and inflammatory language to attack BCH while her legions of followers engage in harassment and death threats against BCH providers. pic.twitter.com/2JZljybkrm
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) August 16, 2022
After Raichik inspired her followers to direct attacks at Boston Children’s hospital, she aimed her mob at another hospital in Phoenix, as Caraballo pointed out in a tweet to Twitter’s safety team.
“@TwitterSafety how many more children’s hospitals and their providers need to be threatened before you actually do something?”
.@TwitterSafety how many more children’s hospitals and their providers need to be threatened before you actually do something? pic.twitter.com/52yje92VsM
— Alejandra Caraballo (@Esqueer_) August 17, 2022
Twitter has so far done nothing to curb the acts of terror inspired by the account.
“We condemn these attacks in the strongest possible terms, and we reject the false narrative upon which they are based,” the hospital wrote in its statement. “We are working with law enforcement to protect our clinicians, staff, patients, families, and the broader Boston Children’s community and hold the offenders accountable. We will continue to take all appropriate measures to protect our people.”
Read the full article here