NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) — Two protests are taking place across Nashville Friday, rallying for and against transgender surgeries after recent backlash towards Vanderbilt University Medical Center's (VUMC) pediatric transgender clinic's gender-affirming practices.
Protesters gathered against transphobia and to protect transgender lives at the War Memorial Plaza in Nashville.
You can hear activists chanting, "Trans rights are human rights" during the protest. The protest led to profanity as many activists expressed how they feel on the matter.
Along with local activists, Tennessee Congressional Candidate Odessa Kelly joins in the counter-protest to Matt Walsh's "Rally to End Child Mutilation."
Matt Walsh, a political commentator and writer for the conservative news website The Daily Wire, is hosting his rally against gender-affirming practices. He is joined alongside Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Tulsi Gabbard, Sen. Jack Johnson, Rep. William Lamberth and more.
Matt Walsh's "Rally to End Child Mutilation" is being held at the Tennessee Capitol on Friday, Oct. 21. This comes after a string of social media posts from Walsh on VUMC's gender-affirming practices claiming the clinic "drugs, chemically castrates, and performs double mastectomies on minors" made national news.
"Children are not sexual, keep your hands off our children," said Landon Starbuck during the rally who runs a nonprofit in Tennessee that combats child exploitation.
After Matt Walsh's tweets, Gov. Bill Lee (R-Tenn.) called for an investigation in late September into VUMC's Pediatric Transgender Clinic after video was brought to light of a doctor from the university's transgender clinic calling gender reassignment surgeries "huge moneymakers."
Vanderbilt responded to the backlash and said the video investigation released by Walsh "misrepresent[s] facts about the care the Medical Center provides to transgender patients."
On Oct. 7, VUMC temporarily paused all of its gender-affirming surgeries on minors following the investigation that was backed by more than 60 Republican state lawmakers who requested this halt on the procedures.
The Daily Wire said Walsh will continue to educate the public and announce plans going against hospitals continuing, "this barbaric practice in Tennessee and beyond."
The counter-protest was led by a dozen prominent local activists groups as a means to fight back against what they view as a violent attempt to harm the LGBTQ+ community and promote a transphobic misinformation campaign about gender-affirming care.
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