The Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRC Foundation) has released "Online Harassment, Offline Violence: Unchecked Harassment of Gender-Affirming Care Providers and Children's Hospitals on Social Media, and its Offline Violent Consequences."
It's a report showing how anti-equality, online extremists are leading a proactive and coordinated campaign of hate against hospitals and medical providers who offer gender-affirming care for transgender, non-binary and questioning youth.
HRC identified a five-part cycle of violence:
1. Hate-speech accounts such as Libs of TikTok or Matt Walsh, a known anti-trans extremist at the alt-right news site The Daily Wire, post an inflammatory message full of disinformation about gender-affirming care and call out a specific hospital or doctor by name.
2. The doctor and hospital almost immediately begin receiving a barrage of harassing and threatening messages online.
3. Offline, doctors and hospitals named in social media harassment campaigns face harassment and threats at their homes and workplaces. In the most extreme examples, doctors face death threats and hospitals face bomb threats, halting care for all patients.
4. Extremist politicians looking to rile up the most extreme members of their base join in spreading the same transphobic rhetoric from their platforms, in some cases going so far as to introduce legislation to regulate children's hospitals and gender-affirming care providers.
5. Hospitals halt gender-affirming services or remove online resources and websites in order to protect the safety of their patients and staff.
Among other things, HRC's report documents dozens of instances where posts have led to violence and prevented patients from receiving the healthcare they need at places like Boston Children's Hospital, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, Vanderbilt University, and the University of Wisconsin.
For more information on the HRC Foundation's Public Education and Research Program, visit www.thehrcfoundation.org/about/public-education-research-program.