Thousands rally against transgender surgeries for kids; met with protest

Dueling rallies related to transgender rights brought hundreds into downtown Nashville Friday afternoon, Michael Warrick reports.
Published: Oct. 21, 2022 at 10:25 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Dueling rallies related to transgender rights brought hundreds into downtown Nashville Friday afternoon.

The noise surrounded the ‘Rally to End Child Mutilation,’ organized by Daily Wire blogger Matt Walsh, who has fought to end pediatric transgender clinics across the country, like the one at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC.)

After backlash from Walsh and state Republican lawmakers, VUMC agreed to pause gender-affirming surgeries on transgender youth.

Christiana Kiefer, Senior Council for the Alliance Defending Speaker, was a keynote speaker at Walsh’s rally.

“We’re here because we care about kids, and we want to keep kids first,” Kiefer said. “It’s really been disheartening and really troubling to see children being pushed towards life-altering puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and irreversible surgeries that would really mark them for life.”

Opposed to the ‘Rally to End Child Mutilation’ were trans-activists, like Audrey Roberts, who attempted to drown out the speakers at Nashville’s Legislative Plaza.

Roberts said she wished the crowd would understand the process behind transgender surgeries.

“To get a surgery you have to go through an actual process, like doctors’ recommendations, it’s not like ‘oh I want to do this so we’re going to do this,’” Roberts said. “I believe that trans people deserve, whether they’re kids whether their adults, deserve to choose what they want to do with their own body. And when I say kids, I’m talking about teenagers.”

VUMC has said, since 2018, an average of five minors per year have received gender-affirming surgical procedures, but none of them had “genital procedures.” All minors had parental consent and were at least 16 years old, VUMC said.

Greg Hampton made the trip to the rally from Jackson, Tennessee, bringing with him a sign reading, “end child mutilation.”

“The children can’t buy beer, they can’t vote, they can’t buy a car, but yet they can have their sex organs cut off,” Hampton said.

Despite some tense moments between rally-goers, there were no major visible confrontations. Dozens of state troopers were on hand to help keep the peace.

Among some of the speakers after Walsh, were 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard and Sen. Marsha Blackburn.