They Want To Give Sex Change Drugs to Kids. Dem Rep. Eric Sorensen Says They Help His District ‘Thrive.’

Illinois Democrat previously defended hosting drag shows for minors

Rep. Eric Sorensen visits the Project of the Quad Cities (@RepEricSorensen/Twitter)
April 4, 2024

Rep. Eric Sorensen (D., Ill.) is praising an LGBT clinic in his district that is raising funds to administer sex change drugs to minors, applauding the nonprofit for providing vital "health care" that helps his district "thrive."

Sorensen has fiercely defended transgender treatments for minors, even as those treatments have faced increasing scrutiny from medical experts across the United States and around the globe. Sorensen recently visited the Project of the Quad Cities, where he promoted the clinic’s work on medically transitioning children who identify as transgender.

The clinic, where Sorensen previously served as a board member, says puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones are "lifesaving" and "essential" to the health and well-being of minors who identify as transgender. In July 2023, the nonprofit clinic began soliciting donations to raise $100,000 so it could begin providing sex change drugs to children.

The clinic's health care operations director, Andy Rowe, told PBS in January that, while the program has faced setbacks in getting the project off the ground, it has the necessary staff in place and nearly enough money to get the program up and running.

"The Project of The Quad Cities is a friend in helping our LGBTQ+ neighbors in #IL17 thrive," Sorensen remarked on social media after his visit to the clinic last week. "I was able to understand what the needs were in the Quad-Cities and see the services that The Project gives," he added in comments to the Quad-City Times.

Sorensen's praise for the clinic comes as medical experts both in the United States and abroad issue warnings about the risks of medically transitioning minors who believe they are transgender.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning in July 2022 for gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists, commonly used off-label as puberty blockers, citing medical risks such as brain swelling among youth who take them. Infertility is also a risk associated with these drugs, research shows.

England’s National Health Service released updated policy guidance earlier this month declaring those under 18 can only access puberty suppressing hormones if they are part of a clinical research trial. The NHS noted that there isn't enough evidence to determine the safety or efficacy of such treatments. In the United States, over two dozen states have enacted laws banning the provision of these drugs for patients under 18.

Sorensen did not respond to requests for comment.

Sorensen, a freshman Democrat facing a contested reelection bid this year in Illinois’ 17th Congressional District, highlighted the need to fund places like the Project of the Quad Cities during his visit, according to local news in Rock Island, Illinois. Sorensen previously worked on the board of directors at both the Project of the Quad Cities and Clock, Inc., a group the Project refers patients to for "chest binders," "voice lessons," and workshops on "youth drag king & queen involvement."

The clinic’s location near the Illinois border, Sorensen says, is an asset for minors who believe they’re transgender.

"You can come across the border into the state of Illinois and get the health care that you need," he said during his March 25 visit to the Project. The clinic dubs itself a "haven along the Mississippi," surrounded by other Midwestern states where trans youths’ "right to lifesaving care has been stripped away." Sorensen argued on C-SPAN last year that people "have to understand that the understanding of a child as they’re growing into an adult doesn’t happen at this arbitrary 18-year mark. It happens as a youngster."

While the Project waits to obtain enough funding to provide puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to minors, it already provides several gender transition-related services to children as young as 12. These include free counseling and education for trans and gay youth on topics such as "Deconstructing Gender," proper pronoun usage, "the basics of LGBTQ Vocabulary," and safe sex and drug use.

One of the counseling services provided for kids as young as 12 years old is a "Gender Spectrum Support Group," which seeks to discuss, among other things, intimate relationships in which its youth patients may be engaged. The Project’s website also links to a "Safer Sex Guide" resource that is intended for "everyone—no matter your age" and explores topics such as how to safely use drugs during sex and what to do if blood becomes present during intercourse. It also details various sexual fetishes, including "golden showers," "fisting," and "shit play."

The Project’s lead clinician and case manager, Clyde A. Lipp, was arrested in 2013 during a public indecency sting after reportedly attempting to solicit an undercover officer for sex in Blackhawk Springs East Forest Preserve, located in Rockford, Illinois. At the time, Lipp was the longtime director of family services at Sinnissippi Centers in Dixon and was reportedly placed on leave while he faced a battery charge resulting from the sting. The outcome of the case is unknown, and Lipp did not respond to requests for comment.

According to Lipp’s bio on the Project of the Quad Cities’s website, Lipp works "with children, adolescents and adults impacted by depression, anxiety, relationship issues, divorce, trauma, HIV, gender issues, attachment, and LGBT-QIA issues."

Sorensen, who is part of the LGBTQ+ Victory Fund, recently said he has no regrets about hosting drag shows for kids during his time with the Project and Clock, Inc., after spending years promoting them as a board director.

The Illinois Democrat, who frequently insults the intelligence of his constituents, will face Republican newcomer and former circuit court judge Joe McGraw in the November election for Illinois’s 17th Congressional District.