A handful of protesters showed up outside Boston Children's Hospital on Sunday as the hospital continues to be targeted by far-right activists over its treatment of transgender youth.
Carrying signs that said "children cannot consent to puberty blockers" and "children are never born in the wrong body," the anti-trans protesters stood behind metal fencing that Boston police put up along Longwood Avenue.
On the opposite side of Longwood was a much larger group of counter-protesters holding signs that read "Thank you BCH," "Trans people belong," "Protect trans youth" and "Gender affirming care is healthcare." The counterdemonstration was the closer of the two to the hospital entrance and saw dozens waving blue, pink and white striped flags.
There were dozens of police officers with helmets and batons along both sides of Longwood Avenue on Sunday. Boston police said no arrests were made.
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Boston police spokesman Sergeant Detective John Boyle told the Boston Globe that police were at the scene Sunday to “keep the peace,” allow all protesters to practice their First Amendment rights, and to make sure patients, families, and hospital staff remained safe.
Hospital officials said they were grateful for law enforcement in a statement provided to the Globe after the protests ended Sunday afternoon, saying the safety and security of patients and employees is the hospital's top priority.
Boston Children's became the focus of far-right social media accounts, news outlets and bloggers in early August after they found informational YouTube videos published by the hospital about surgical offerings for transgender patients.
People on social media accused the hospital of improperly performing hysterectomies on children. The hospital said it only performs such a procedure on those 18 and older as a part of its Gender Multispecialty Service, but the response was swift and relentless, with a barrage of users demanding the hospital be shut down and calling the surgeries "mutilation,'' "barbarism'' and "child abuse,'' while accusing its doctors of engaging in malpractice or illegal activity.
Boston Children's warned staff of the increased harassment and threats of violence it was dealing with, including a large number of hostile phone calls and emails. More recently, bomb threats have been made against the hospital. Last week, the FBI announced a woman from Westfield had been arrested after allegedly calling in a bomb threat to the hospital on Aug. 30.
Boston Children's has said it is proud to be home to the first pediatric and adolescent transgender health program in the United States and is committed to continuing to provide lifesaving healthcare.