It's been about five months since a well-known program for transgender youth in Dallas stopped offering hormone-blocking treatments to new patients.
The Genecis program merged care from UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and Children's Medical Center Dallas, and the doctor who founded it wants to know why changes were made.
In March, Genecis founder Dr. Ximena Lopez filed a petition calling the new policy discriminatory saying it’s based “solely on the grounds of the patient's gender identity."
In a hearing Monday afternoon, Lopez and her attorneys said Texas political leaders may have influenced the decision.
Since November, more than 100 patients have come to the facility who’ve been “turned away,” said Brent Walker, an attorney representing Lopez.
Denton mom Myriam Reynolds said the Genecis program was part of the reason she relocated her family to North Texas from Colorado five years ago.
Her son, 16-year-old Cameron, is a high school junior in Denton.
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“Cameron came out as trans when we were living in Colorado,” Reynolds said.
She said she did her research before making the move, looking for a clinic that focused on trans youth.
She found Genecis, a program at Children's Dallas.
“He got a lot of clarity and he got a lot of support and got very slow and thoughtful affirming care,” Reynolds said.
They went to appointments every few months, she said, and Cameron received gender-affirming care, like puberty blockers, an intervention she described as critical.
“We needed that time, we needed that time to do more counseling, to do more talking, to do more discovering about if this is the path that we were really taking,” Reynolds said.
On Nov. 18, 2021, UT Southwestern made the decision to stop offering puberty blockers and hormone therapy to new patients. They clarified their position last month.
The decision, it said, was based on a variety of factors: “Limited understanding of the long-term effects … Media attention and political and scientific controversy, as well as UT Southwestern’s status as a state agency, were considered in the months leading up to these joint decisions.”
The Genecis brand, which the university said became a "lightning rod" of the controversy, was also removed.
“We want the experts to be driving this, not political pressure,” Reynolds said.
Though Reynolds's son Cameron is an existing patient, and therefore, not directly affected by the cutbacks, Reynolds said she worries about how much longer he'll have access to the care he needs.
“This health care is not optional. This is life-saving, necessary treatment,” she said.
The petition seeks depositions and documents, including emails and texts from the leaders of UTSW Medical Center and Children’s Medical Center Dallas.
Attorneys for Lopez are asking a judge to allow her petition to move forward to try to identify who dictated the policy change. Judge Melissa Bellan is expected to rule later this week.
In a joint statement last month, UT Southwestern and Children’s Health said they are still accepting new patients who still have, "access to the broader array of gender-affirming care we provide, particularly the psychiatric care considered foundational to gender transition."