Police: No direct security threats to UW Health after tweets targeting gender services

Uw Health East Madison Hospital Sign
Courtesy: UW Health

MADISON, Wis. — After an anti-LGBTQ+ twitter account with 1.4 million followers targeted UW Health’s gender services programs last month, Madison police said they launched an investigation that found the posts didn’t lead to direct security threats against the health care system.

The “Libs of Tik Tok” account has targeted gender services programs at health care systems across the United States, leading to bomb threats and reams of online harassment at multiple hospitals across the country. The account has been suspended multiple times on various platforms, with reports of another 7-day Twitter suspension served following the tweets about UW Health.

On September 23, the account highlighted information about UW Health’s gender affirmation programs and its director of gender services in multiple tweets that led to hundreds of comments and retweets targeting the system.

In a statement, UW Health said they take these situations seriously and were working closely with law enforcement to monitor the safety and security of patients, providers and staff.

“UW Health fully supports our patients who identify as LGBTQ+ and our expert clinicians and staff who provide patient-centered and evidence-based gender services care,” UW Health’s spokesperson said in a statement. “We have not made any changes to our gender services program and standard appointments and operations continue.”

A Madison police spokesperson said they launched an investigation into the tweets, but found all the activity was protected by the first amendment and that there were no resulting direct security threats.

“It appears one subject is taking pictures of the building, doctors, and nurses associated with the gender services department and posting it on social media,” the spokesperson noted. The investigation is no longer ongoing.

The Twitter account is run by a former Brooklyn real estate agent named Chaya Raichik and has picked up hundreds of thousands of followers after its tweets targeting the LGBTQ+ community made their way into right-wing coverage from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and other conservative media personalities.

The string of threatened attacks against healthcare providers offering gender-affirming services to minors has prompted a group of national health care associations to call on U.S. attorney general Merrick Garland to investigate people and organizations threatening violence to children’s hospitals across the country.

“From Boston to Akron to Nashville to Seattle, children’s hospitals, academic health systems, and physicians are being targeted and threatened for providing evidence-based health care,” the letter from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, and the Children’s Hospital Association read.

“These attacks have not only made it difficult and dangerous for institutions and practices to provide this care, they have also disrupted many other services to families seeking care.”