Detransitioners Sue Rhode Island Medical Provider And Persistent Public School Agitator

Thundermist Health Center trained South Kingstown School District social workers to deceive parents about gender-confused children in 2016.

itakdalee. Getty Images. Symbol of transgender and female and male gender symbols
itakdalee. Getty Images. Symbol of transgender and female and male gender symbols

Rhode Island “gender-affirming care” medical providers Dr. Jason Rafferty, Dr. Michelle Forcier, and Thundermist Health Center became defendants in two medical malpractice lawsuits filed last October by former patients, Hannah (“Layton”) Ulery and Isabelle Ayala. Layton alleges she was pressured into “irreversible transgender medicalization” by Dr. Rafferty at Thundermist Health Center who deliberately ignored red flags in her medical history and comorbidities. Likewise, Isabelle alleges medical malpractice, gross negligence, fraud, and civil conspiracy against Dr. Forcier and Dr. Rafferty. You can hear Isabelle’s story in her own words here.

Local Rhode Island media has not reported on these lawsuits despite national coverage by various outlets. A generous explanation for this local media blackout might be the naive perception that these are niche stories outside the scope of public interest. What do these lawsuits have to do with the average Rhode Islander?

Parents may be surprised to learn that the influence of Rafferty, Forcier, and Thundermist Health Center extends well beyond their private practice and directly into Rhode Island public schools. Thundermist Health Center has been a persistent agitator in Rhode Island public schools for quite some time. Materials I obtained from public records requests reveal Thundermist Health Center trained South Kingstown School District social workers to deceive parents about gender-confused children in 2016.

Thundermist “Transgender workshop” slides trained school social workers to “check with the student about family disclosures!” and “Do not disclose without permission.” School social workers should “refer persistent parents to administration” and “build an alliance with the student” when there are “family conflicts with coming out and medical care.” They read like explicit instructions for school social workers to drive a wedge between parents and children in the context of “cross gender hormones vs. blockers vs. wait until age 18.” One slide titled “Medical Treatment Options Under Age 18” advises that there is “some surgery for older teens” and “insurance coverage varies.” There is only one reason for a medical provider to train school social workers on insurance coverage for child sex change surgeries—to recruit future patients.

Thundermist’s Trans Health Director, Jaye Watts, appeared at a school committee meeting of another Rhode Island school district on September 5, 2023, where she stated that she helped create the 2016 Guidance for Rhode Island Schools on Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Students (though she herself is not listed as a reference). Jaye Watts is a biological woman presenting as a man and a licensed clinical social worker who uses “both his professional and life experiences to educate thousands of Rhode Islanders on LGBTQ issues with an emphasis on gender identity…” The guidance Watts helped create advises schools to keep secrets from parents about students’ chosen gender identity, allow boys in the girls’ bathroom, provide co-ed sleeping quarters on overnight field trips, and form “point teams” of school staff to “gender transition” students without parental knowledge or consent.

Watts incorrectly advised the school committee that “regulations” require the school to pass a policy keeping secrets from parents about a student’s chosen “gender identity.” When asked to cite the specific regulation, Watts said she did not know it. Watts also bizarrely alleged, “l’m hearing people saying things like trans people don’t exist,” when no such comment was made at the meeting.

Watts’ transgender activism started to focus on children in 2015 when she worked with the Rhode Island Department of Children Youth and Families to pass a regulation that incorporated transgender medical interventions as routine medical care for children in state custody. Consequently, when parents sign the Authorization for Medical Care for Child in Placement Policy, they unknowingly consent to transgender medical interventions for their child. In some cases, DCYF may consent to transgender medical interventions for children in state custody or obtain a court order, both without parental consent. In a 2020 interview, Watts described her work with DCYF as “the only like non like queer job that I had but still made it very queer.” Watts stated she also helped train Rhode Island family court judges “on LGBT youth in general with a heavy focus on trans care and treatment.” Commenting on the success of her activism, Watts remarked, “…everything must be done quietly.”

Thundermist Health Center even interfered privately with parents concerned about gender ideology in school. In September of 2022, I held a private library event to educate parents about gender ideology in school. According to Cranston Public Library trustee emails I obtained from public records requests, Thundermist Health Center contacted library trustee Larry O. Warner with “concerns” about my event. Warner wrote:

“I did get a call and message via social media from an acquaintance at Thundermist Health Center about their concerns. It seems that there have been threats of violence directed toward other health centers which are specifically for Transgender patients – threats associated with the host group and speaker in question or resulting from their speeches (Thundermist has a Trans Health Program, hence her call and concern). She was looking for contact information for library leadership (sorry).”

Consequently, a woke mob of hundreds of radical transgender activists attempted to sabotage my event, requiring $1,460 in police details. Shortly thereafter, Cranston Public Library director Ed Garcia emailed Jaye Watts to discuss my private event and later held a Thundermist-sponsored library event memorializing their interference with parents as the “one-year anniversary of the day when more than 200 individuals rallied to reject hate-based attacks on trans youth at the same location in 2022.”

Why is Thundermist Health Center so obsessed with parents that they interfere with their private events and train school counselors to deceive them?

Rhode Island school social workers also appear to be influenced by “gender-affirming care” defendant Michelle Forcier. Forcier is a Rhode Island pediatrician and professor of pediatrics at Brown University where her professional bio states she is “gender expansive” and “pansexual.” She is also the former director of gender and sexual health services at Lifespan, another defendant in Isabelle Ayala’s lawsuit.

WATCH: “What is a Woman?” on DailyWire+

Forcier received national notoriety after appearing in Matt Walsh’s documentary What Is A Woman. She also defended the American Girl guidebook directing gender-confused children to organizations for medical care without parents.

Forcier’s name appears in a cryptic email forwarded from an unknown sender to Rebecca Angell, member of the Rhode Island School Social Worker Affiliates. It lists Michelle Forcier as one of “two referral sources for transgender individuals.” Both the sender’s name and numerous email recipients are hidden, and attached to the email is a 2013 news profile of Michelle Forcier.

Forcier also edited a book titled Pediatric Gender Identity which endorses Thundermist Health Center’s recommendation that pediatricians take a “gender history” of children without parents present because it “plants seeds for future allies.” These medical providers openly admit to using pediatrics to recruit children into a political ideology through psychological conditioning and parental separation.

While the full extent of these defendant medical providers’ influence on public school is not yet known and the lawsuits of Layton Ulery and Isabelle Ayala have yet to be adjudicated, one thing is clear: when medical providers are accused of irreversibly harming children, parents should know when they are embedded in public schools.

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Nicole Solas is a senior fellow at IWF’s Education Freedom Center. Nicole is a stay-at-home mom of two children from Rhode Island. Nicole advocates for school choice and academic transparency to fight back against the oppressive teachers unions and school districts that hide public information and bully parents. She is a Massachusetts attorney and graduate of Roger Williams School of Law.

The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.

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