Chris Elston stood in the 90-degree heat outside Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., wearing a billboard with the message: “Children cannot consent to puberty blockers.”
Elston, a Canadian activist known as “Billboard Chris,” travels across North America wearing signs that spark conversation about the harms of gender ideology and gender transition treatments for children and teens.
Elston protested Monday in front of Children’s National Hospital after seeing reports that the D.C. facility offers “gender-affirming hysterectomies” for minors.
“We’re spreading awareness about what’s going on in the gender clinic, not just at this hospital, but in children’s hospitals all across the nation,” Elston explained in a video later posted by The Heritage Foundation. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s multimedia news organization.)
Such clinics often attract adolescents and teens who are struggling with depression, anxiety, autism, and past trauma and abuse, Elston said.
Children who go to these clinics “come to believe they were born in the wrong body,” he said. “They’re being given experimental drugs that block their bodies from going into puberty.”
Some of them later receive cross-sex hormone therapy as a further step in gender transition, which can cause infertility and other health problems.
“These children’s hospitals are now doing what they call gender-affirming hysterectomies,” Elston said, in which surgeons “cut out the uterus, and sometimes the ovaries as well, of a girl or a young woman.”
“And yes,” he said, “they are doing this on children.”
Elston added: “They even admitted it in a phone call the other day.”
He was referring to Chaya Raichik, who runs the Libs of TikTok account on Twitter. Raichik posted a recorded phone conversation last week in which two Children’s National Hospital employees responded to her questions by saying the D.C. facility performs “gender-affirming hysterectomies” on 16-year-olds.
“We have all types of age groups that come in for [gender-affirming hysterectomies],” one said, later adding that she had seen “younger kids” come in for this procedure.
On the same day the content of that phone call was circulated on Twitter, Children’s National Hospital posted a statement on Twitter denying that it provides “gender-affirming hysterectomies” for patients under 18.
A hospital spokesperson reaffirmed the statement in an email to The Daily Signal, writing:
We do not provide gender-affirming surgery for anyone under the age of 18. We do not provide hormone therapy to children before puberty begins. Care is individualized for each patient and always involves families making decisions in coordination with a team of highly trained pediatric specialists.
“We can’t live in a society where this sort of madness goes on,” Elston said.
Four officers with the hospital’s Special Police approached Elston when he first arrived at an entrance. They clearly had been waiting for him, Elston wrote on Twitter.
“I was standing about 3 feet off of the public sidewalk … when a police officer got very aggressive, demanding I move immediately,” he tweeted.
“We’re out here [protesting] the sterilization of children,” Elston told the officers. “You guys can chill out a little bit, you know? We’re on your team here. We don’t want your kids getting sterilized, either.”
About an hour later, one or two officers still lingered at a distance.
“Billboarding” with Elston outside the hospital were Terry Schilling, president of the American Principles Project, and Jay Richards, director of the DeVos Center for Life, Religion, and Family at The Heritage Foundation and the father of this reporter.
Cars whizzed along Michigan Avenue NW in front of the hospital, passing the demonstrators. Some drivers honked in approval while others glared or sneered as they went by.
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