A North Carolina cosmetic surgery clinic appears to have performed gender surgery on girls as young as 14.
The Cosmetic Concierge, a plastic surgery clinic in Charlotte, performed elective double mastectomies on teen patients, including at least one 14-year-old, Reduxx reported.
This month, screenshots of “before and after” photos on the clinic’s website were posted on Twitter, prompting outrage from social media users. The images showed the results of “top surgery” procedures, which remove the healthy breasts of females who desire a more masculine appearance. The photos also included the ages of the patients, some of whom were listed as 14, 15, and 16.
— Sara Gonzales (@SaraGonzalesTX) April 8, 2023
The clinic appears to have removed the photos from its website. An archived version of the page from January 22 showed the images present on the site, Reduxx reported.
Under the clinic’s Frequently Asked Questions, it says minor patients need parental consent as well as a therapist’s recommendation for “gender confirming” procedures.
“When considering gender confirming procedures for patients under the age of 18, we do require the consent of a parent or guardian along with the recommendation of a therapist,” the clinic writes.
However, the clinic “no longer” requires a “specific time on hormones” prior to female-to-male or male-to-female chest surgery of body sculpting. The clinic uses the “informed consent model for those procedures.”
Dr. Hope Sherie has operated the clinic since 2014. Sherie is a former Air Force surgeon.
“I understand the power of change and the freedom that comes from knowing you can choose to make changes in your body that feel more like you,” Sherie writes on the clinic’s website. “I think everyone should be able to create an image which makes them feel comfortable, or inspired, or just seen for who you are.”
Sherie sponsors Point of Pride, a nonprofit that provides funds to trans-identifying people for gender surgery, among other services.
Point of Pride thanked Sherie and her team for their “generous support” of Point of Pride’s Annual Transgender Surgery Fund and its other services.
Point of Pride provides free “binders,” or chest compression garments, for trans-identifying girls who want to crush their breasts to look more male. While the group notes that kids 13 and younger need parental consent to get a binder, the form to request reportedly allows kids to put whatever age they want with no verification.
The debate around minors and gender surgery and treatments has picked up steam in the last year as parents and medical professionals expressed concern about the ability of a child to consent to these medical interventions, which they say are permanent and life-changing.
So far, 13 states have banned gender surgery for minors, and some have banned puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.
North Carolina introduced several bills last week that would ban gender-related medical intervention for minors. The state recently snagged a Republican supermajority when Democrat state House Representative Tricia Cotham announced she was switching her party affiliation from Democrat to Republican.
Cotham’s move gives the North Carolina GOP veto-proof control of the legislature against Democratic Governor Roy Cooper.