by Megan Brock and Laurel Duggan
The CEO of a sex toy company has been bankrolling a massive pediatric sex change clinic since 2018, according to public records and numerous reports.
Pure Romance CEO Chris Cicchinelli founded the Living with Change Foundation in 2018 to fund a massive expansion of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Transgender Clinic after his son began identifying as a girl at age 8, according to WCPO 9 in Cincinnati. Prior to Cicchinelli’s $2 million donation, the clinic only had one nurse, one doctor and one social worker; it has since tripled its staff, been renamed the Living with Change Center (LWCC) and is now a massive operation which boasts of serving more than 800 children and young adults this year alone on its website.
Cicchinelli joined Pure Romance, a sex toy company his mother founded, in 2000 and grew the company from $3 million in annual revenue to more than $350 million by 2021. Calexotics, another sex toy company, is also listed as a sponsor of the Living With Change Foundation.
Cicchinelli allowed his son to begin wearing girls’ clothes when he was 8 years old after he expressed that he was a girl and did not want to wear boys’ clothes, and he was a patient at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital’s Transgender Clinic by age 10, according to WCPO. The child now uses a female name and pronouns, and Cicchinelli and his wife believe transitioning is responsible for their child’s improved mood and sense of well-being.
The LWCC serves youth aged 5-24 with a medical interview, physical exam and the development of a treatment plan along with referrals to other specialists within Cincinnati Children’s, according to its website. The website does not specify which medical services it offers besides birth control and halting menstruation, but a resource published by the Living With Change Foundation mentions the administration of cross-sex hormones, and the Cincinnati Children’s website specifies that the center offers both psychosocial support and medical care for transgender children.
A Cincinnati Children’s Hospital spokesperson declined to tell the DCNF what specific services the gender clinic offers.
“At Cincinnati Children’s, we believe all transgender and gender diverse young people should have access to comprehensive, developmentally appropriate, gender-affirming medical care provided in a safe and inclusive environment,” she said in a written statement.
Various public documents and quotes from those involved with the center reveal a desire to quickly and dramatically expand the scale of transgender medical services. The center’s patient load tripled from 2016 to 2018, and Dr. Lee Ann Conard, the clinic’s director, said the soaring patient load was a good thing because it indicated that cross-sex treatmentswere being normalized and more kids were being saved from possible suicide attempts, according to WCPO.
“We fueled the change from a clinic to a center. And then that center hired more qualified staff, started more critical programming, and had more room to support trans youth and their families,” Cicchinelli said on his personal website.
He pledged in 2017 to raise at least $3 million total for the center, according to Ad Age.
“We’re basically seeing the tip of the iceberg. We are seeing families where both parents are supportive or both caregivers are supportive, depending on who they live with,” Conard told WCPO. “I think that’s good because it helps families understand where they are and kind of normalizes this as a normal developmental thing in their lives. Also it allows us to catch kids earlier and help decrease suicide risk.”
From July 2013 to June 2019, the center 1,461 saw patients aged 5-25 with an average age of 19.74, according to a pamphlet. The patient load has continued to rise since then with 863 patients receiving clinical care so far in 2023, according to the organization’s website.
The Living with Change Foundation also pledged in 2018 to partner with dozens of school principals to bring transgender education into classrooms, according to WCPO.
Cicchinelli did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.
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Megan Brock and Laurel Duggan are reporters at Daily Caller News Foundation.