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A detransitioner is suing a social worker, therapist, and their respective clinics in Oregon for overlooking her mental health challenges and fast-tracking her “non-binary” double mastectomy surgery.
Camille Kiefel, 32, represented by Jackson Bone LLP, announced a lawsuit last week against the health professionals who approved the surgery to have her breasts removed after only two brief Zoom meetings. Kiefel came to regret the double mastectomy she had in August 2020 in the years that followed, calling the procedure a result of an “abhorrent misdiagnosis.”
“I was 30 and at the end of my rope when I transitioned,” Kiefel testified at a hearing on the efficacy of pediatric medical transition held by the Florida Boards of Medicine. “At the time I believed I was nonbinary, I struggled with severe mental illness and suicidal ideation.”
Kiefel is suing social worker Amy Ruff and mental health therapist Mara Burmeister, as well as their respective Portland-based gender clinics — Brave Space Oregon and the Quest Center for Integrative Health.
After a 40-minute video call with Burmeister in July 2020, following a one-hour Zoom session with Ruff in May, both “experts” wrote a letter of recommendation for Kiefel to undergo chest reconstruction surgery, the complaint reads.
The 13 page complaint alleges that the defendants “transgressed the bounds of socially tolerable conduct by abusing their positions of trust and authority” by facilitating “unnecessary, irreversible treatment” without consideration of Kiefel’s mental health issues.
Kiefel told The Daily Wire that after a traumatic childhood event, she felt discomfort with her breasts and hips, and began to dress androgynously as “a form of escapism,” she said.
“I had a trauma history: when I was in sixth grade my best friend had been raped by her brother,” Kiefel said at the Florida Board of Medicine meeting. “Being a girl meant I was more vulnerable, so I started to present as more masculine. This should have been a red flag, yet within months of requesting top surgery, it was performed on me.”
Kiefel was introduced to gender identity ideology in 2010, while she pursued a women’s studies minor in college, and in 2016, began to identify as “nonbinary” after seeing a “gender-affirming” therapist. She spent much of her childhood suffering from anxiety and depression, which persisted into adulthood and led to suicidal ideation.
In 2020, she began to feel that having her breasts removed would eliminate her mental and emotional distress. The request was granted in just a few months time after making the initial inquiry, despite the fact that she never took testosterone or believed herself to be transgender.
The complaint states that even though Kiefel’s desire for chest reconstruction was “based on ‘individual identity’ described as ‘Absence of femininity’ and desire for a ‘more androgynous’ look,” her care team proceeded with the “life-altering, physically damaging, irreversible” operation.
The complaint alleges that Burmeister “failed to conduct an individualized, comprehensive mental health assessment” and ought to have known Kiefel was a “high-risk candidate for regretting or not benefitting from undergoing a double mastectomy for the purpose of ‘gender affirmation.’” Additionally, Burmeister’s referral letter was “based on cut-and-pasted boilerplate diagnostic criteria” that failed to account for Kiefel’s individual needs.
Defendant Ruff “breached her duty of care” by violating the standards of care applicable to Licensed Clinical Social Workers in the State of Oregon, failing to provide Kiefel with “accurate, complete information about the risks of having a double mastectomy ostensibly to relieve or alleviate mental health or emotional distress.”
Kiefel found the inspiration for a “nonbinary top surgery” when she came across the Gender Confirmation Center (GCC) website, which she claimed to believe was a “legitimate” source of information at the time. The founder of GCC, Dr. Scott Mosser, has performed “over two thousand top surgeries” on girls and women, including several 13 year olds, according to a leaked video in August.
Kiefel says that since she started putting more emphasis on taking care of her physical health, the anxiety and depression that led to her rejection of womanhood resolved. Now she is left with feeling distress over her body after her double mastectomy.
In the complaint, filed with Oregon State Courts, Kiefel details her anguish “living with a permanently scarred, disfigured, and physically painful or discomfiting chest, and deep feelings of regret over unnecessarily and permanently losing her choice ever to breastfeed a child.” She now has fears and anxiety over finding a life partner that will be “sexually and romantically attracted to a woman without breasts.”
As a result of her mistreatment, she feels deeply distrustful of western medicine. “I don’t really want anything to do with conventional doctors anymore after my experiences,” said Kiefel, who as of late has gravitated towards alternative medicine.
Looking back, Kiefel recalled how, even with a diagnosis of ADHD, she had to “jump through hoops” to get her stimulant medication because it’s a controlled substance with safeguarding in place “to prevent the wrong people from getting access to it.” She questions why gender medicine is not subjected to the same safeguarding measures.
Kiefel now believes she was misled in her Women’s Studies courses, especially pertaining to gender identity ideology. “It’s treated as truth, but it’s just a theory,” she said. She recalls when her women’s studies professors attributed all of the world’s ills to sexism. “One of my professors implied that [women] were depressed because of sexism,” Kiefel recalls.
“People who are struggling mentally and physically can get wrapped up in these ideologies because our current solutions aren’t working for people,” she added.
Now, Kiefel is interested in advocacy work for detransitioners, including helping them overcome their emotional distress through physical health. “I just don’t want what happened to me to happen to someone else,” she said.
The complaint calls for a jury trial and seeks up to $850,000 in damages, alleging the defendants “abused their positions of professional trust and authority with intent to cause, or with reckless disregard,” caused Kiefel to “suffer extreme, excruciating, severe emotional distress.”
The Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), a feminist advocacy legal network, is helping to finance Kiefel’s lawsuit, and created a webpage for those interested in donating to support her litigation.