Sep 1, 2022 - News

Lurie Children's Hospital facing harassment for gender affirming care

Photo of a sign that says Childrens Museum

The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images

Pediatric facilities nationwide, including Chicago's Lurie Children's Hospital, are facing harassment and false claims about the gender-affirming care they offer.

Why it matters: The harassment is driven by Libs of TikTok, a Twitter account whose posts are amplified by the conservative group Awake Illinois.

  • It targets hospitals that provide crucial gender care ranging from talking to children about their identities to hormone treatments and surgery for those over 18 years old.

Flashback: The American Medical Association last year asked governors to oppose legislation that limits gender-affirming care for youth, calling it "medically necessary, evidence-based care that improves physical and mental health."

What's happening: A man calling himself Billboard Chris showed up at Lurie last week with a sign suggesting children are being given puberty blockers against their will.

Photo of a Tweet of a guy standing with a sandwich board on.
Source: Twitter

What they're saying: "We stand in solidarity with our transgender patients and families, community, and colleagues who are providing gender-affirming care," Lurie said in a statement. "We strongly condemn any threats on and harassment toward the transgender community."

The intrigue: An anonymous Twitter account urged "foodies" to boycott Lettuce Entertain You Enterprise (LEYE) restaurants because Awake Illinois leader Jessica Hockett, an outspoken opponent of school masking and LGBTQ equity programs, is married to Wow Bao executive Tim Hockett.

Reality check: LEYE representatives say Tim Hockett hasn't worked there since 2020.

  • Wow Bao, previously owned by LEYE, was acquired by a private equity firm in 2017. LEYE says it no longer manages the brand, but lists it on the Lettuce site because it holds a minority stake.

Of note: Wow Bao did not make Tim Hockett available for comment, and Awake Illinois and Libs of Tik Tok did not respond to interview requests.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Chicago stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Chicago.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more