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161 - The Unlikely Whistleblower with Tamara Pietzke

"It's madness. I can't even wrap my head around what's happening.'"

If you work in pediatric gender medicine and have concerns about the safety of practice, you are not alone. Contact the LGBT Courage Coalition for guidance and support (including finding legal counsel and connecting you with media contacts).

Stella and Sasha welcome whistleblower, Tamara Pietzke for an important conversation highlighting the valuable role that clinicians who are able to speak openly play in revealing insights from ‘behind the gender affirming care curtain’.

Tamara is a mental health therapist (licensed independent clinical social worker) and has been doing this work for twelve years. She has worked a number of places, but most recently was working at Multicare, one of Washing state's largest hospital systems, for the past six years. When she raised concerns about the shift towards mandated "gender affirming care," she was bullied and dismissed. She stopped working there in January of 2024, a couple weeks before her whistleblowing article came out in the

. From Multicare, she went to another practice, but they let her go after three weeks, claiming she wasn't "the right fit for the position," but not offering much more. She has since been working on building a private practice.

The Free Press
I Was Told to Approve All Teen Gender Transitions. I Refused.
Perhaps you read the long investigation about detransitioners published in this weekend’s New York Times. It is comprehensive and sober and we highly recommend it. It’s also a piece we are confident would never have made it into the paper were it not for independent publications like ours taking the journalistic and reputational risk over the past few years to pursue the subject of “gender-affirming” care and the subsequent harms inflicted on vulnerable young people. In this, we are proud to stand alongside Hannah Barnes, Lisa Selin Davis, Hadley Freeman, Helen Joyce, Leor Sapir, Abigail Shrier, Jesse Singal, Kathleen Stock, Quillette and others, who took the arrows so that the mainstream press could finally start reporting on what’s really happening…
Read more

Tamara’s story highlights the challenges and ethical dilemmas involved in providing gender-affirming care to children and the difficulties whistleblowers are facing in speaking out against harmful practices and the lack of informed consent. And as you’ll hear her describe in this episode, the series of events in the aftermath of her taking her story public have only generated further complications and hardships.

Rather than investigating the concerns she raised about the care model for vulnerable patients, the ‘system’ has turned their investigation efforts towards Tamara as the result of her asking reasonable questions in a mandated training. 

Despite the challenges she faces, Tamara courageously remains steadfast in her commitment to advocating for the protection of children and speaking out against harmful practices, regardless of the personal and professional consequences she may endure.

In contrast to the recent pullback away from rushing gender affirming medical interventions by many European counties, the United States is operating from a near total capture of the major medical organizations continuing to back the medicalized gender affirming model. Clinicians (specifically therapists) are facing increasing threats and challenges in providing non-medicalized care pathways. However, there are many organizations building that are offering support and resources for practitioners focused on the non-medicalized approach to supporting identity development and exploration, and advocating for psychological support as the primary intervention for gender dysphoric young people. Some of these organizations include: Beyond Trans, Therapy First, SEGM, Thoughtful Therapist, The Open Therapy Institute, Critical Therapy Antidote, and the LGBT Courage Coalition

Resources & Links

Support Tamara Pietzke

I Was Told to Approve All Teen Gender Transitions. I Refused. For six years I worked at a hospital that said all teenagers with gender dysphoria must be affirmed. I quit my job to blow the whistle., by Tamara Pietzke

‘I Was Fired After Blowing the Whistle’ Tamara Pietzke exposed the dangers of ‘gender-affirming care’ for minors. Then, she lost her job. She reveals the cost of speaking out—and why she has no regrets., by Tamara Pietzke

I Am a Transman: I Was Kicked Out of WPATH’s Science Symposium for Wrongthink, by LGBT Courage Coalition and Aaron Terrell

What Happened at MultiCare? A whistleblower reveals troubling new details about a Washington hospital’s push for “gender-affirming care.”, by Leor Sapir 

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Therapy First

If you liked this episode, more episodes you might find interesting include:

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in it's fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.