The Transgender Money Pipeline
How ultra rich activists are funding the trans movement
The rise of transgenderism is not simply a spontaneous social tsunami that happened organically. A handful of very wealthy activist contributors has funded and nurtured the movement and tried to make it mainstream. I have tracked the flow of the money through public records, charity and foundation filings, and reports from ground-breaking reporting from other journalists, such as
This is only a snapshot of a much larger story.
Many of the richest contributors were significant donors to LGB organizations long before T was added. Unless a grant is earmarked for trans issues, it is sometimes difficult to determine how much of a gift to an organization such as The Human Rights Campaign, might be put to transgender matters.
Hundreds of new transgender specific charities and advocacy organizations have opened in the last decade. In 2013, less than $2 million went to groups such as the Trans Justice Funding Project or the Palm Center for Transgender Military Service. Annual contributions to transgender associations surpassed a hundred million dollars by 2020, about eight times faster than the increase for overall LGBT funding.
The single biggest contributor to the movement is Jennifer Pritzker (formerly James, born male at birth), a cousin of Illinois governor, J. B. Pritzker, and a member of a $37 billon family fortune built from nursing homes and Hyatt hotels. Other key financiers include the Soros family; Warren and Peter Buffett; United Therapeutics CEO, Martine Rothblatt (born male but identifies as a transhuman/transgender woman); software programmer, Tim Gill, the first openly gay man listed on the Forbes 400; Canadian venture capitalist, Mark Bonham; the Tides Foundation creator, Drummond Pike; Jon Stryker, the billionaire heir to the Stryker medical technology company fortune; and the estate of Ric Weiland, who was the second employee at Microsoft.
Many of these billionaires fund the transgender lobby through their own charitable organizations. They also pass significant money through Pike’s Tides Foundation and other anonymous funding groups. Large corporations, other charities, and individual philanthropists, send money to the Tides Foundation, specify where the funds go, and their gift is then delivered anonymously. The Tides Foundation acts as a combination of a legal firewall and tax avoidance for foundations and the wealthy. A snapshot of the charitable contributions to LGBT foundations in 2020 reveals the largest donor was “anonymous;” $31 million in 112 grants that were disbursed through groups like Tides (the second biggest contributor, at $30 million, was the pharmaceutical firm, Gilead, a pioneer in HIV/AIDs medications).
These financiers do not simply write checks. Their money almost always comes with conditions. Jennifer Pritzker, for example, gave millions to the University of Minnesota for the creation of a Program of Human Sexuality. The Pritzker Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Lurie’s Children Hospital, which includes research for gender non-conforming children, got over $20 million in Pritzker gifts. The University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine was one of the first in the nation to offer a complete series of gender affirming courses. At Canada’s University of Victoria, Pritzker endowed the first ever chair in transgender studies. The University of Toronto got $20 million to create a center for Sexual Diversity Studies. Pritzker wrote a $25 million check to the University of California at San Francisco, and it opened a children’s psychiatric unit that specialized in LGBT care. Besides underwriting major institutional endeavors that further the transgender ideology, Pritzker gives millions in research grants to influential physicians, from Northwestern University’s chief of pediatrics, Cleveland Clinic’s Pritzker Foundation Chair for Functional Medicine, and Baylor University’s Endocrinology chief. When Pritzker gave $25 million to a military academy in Vermont, a faculty member told me it felt as if the directive was to develop a program to “make military transgerderism a reality.”
The rise of transgender has also made it into a sizable and rapidly expanding part of the medical industrial complex. Off-label dispensing of hormone blockers jumped from a $10 million a year industry in 2017 to an estimated $500 million last year. Cross-sex hormones added another $4 billion to the industry’s bottom line. Once a patient begins cross-sex hormones they are customers forever. Getting patients to start on lifelong medications while they are adolescents is a drug industry bonanza.
There has been a parallel surge in the infrastructure to provide transgender care. In addition to the hundreds of youth clinics across the U.S., some of the country’s largest hospitals have new wings under construction for specialized surgeries. Many prestigious medical institutions are racing to develop gender treatment and research departments.
Medical schools, and specialized cadaver symposiums worldwide, are providing training in all types of trans surgeries, including vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, facial feminization, and urethral procedures, among others. Plastic surgeons have formed a professional subgroup for “gender affirming procedures.” A full cosmetic transition can cost upwards of $100,000. The U.S. gender-surgery market was valued at $1.9 billion in 2021.
Many medical insurance companies now cover transgender surgeries, drugs, and other expenses, as does the Federal government and more than half the states for employees, as well as Medicaid and the military.
The Human Rights Campaign was instrumental in getting corporate America to cover transgender medical care. It created its influential Corporate Equality Index twenty years ago. Its original intent was to serve as a benchmark to assess whether mid-to-large corporations discriminated based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. In the intervening years, the HRC expanded its index to consider employee benefits, employer contributions to social causes, advertising, even public relations. In 2018, the HRC added that to get its top score and be listed on its annual, “Best Places to Work for LGBTQ Equality,” companies had to provide “health care for all medically necessary services for gender care and transitions, including sexual reassignment.” Corporate America likes to be on the HRC list. In 2002, only 13 companies scored a perfect 100%. That was at a time when there were far fewer requirements to satisfy. In 2022, 842 got the top score, most were among the biggest corporations in America.
The World Professional Associations for Transgender Health (WPATH) collaborated with Starbucks in a model program to create “Transgender Medical Benefits.” It serves as a template for other companies. There are no lifetime maximums, and the plan pays for all procedures, not only mastectomies and genital reconstruction and augmentation surgeries, but also brow lifts, buttocks implants, and voice feminization therapies.
Activist money is flowing to WPATH and the WHO to remove what some see as a transgender stigma since gender dysphoria is a diagnosis in a psychiatric manual. They instead are lobbying for a change to “gender incongruence,” a more generic social discomfort with an assigned at birth sex. It would remove gender for children away from the province of psychiatrists and psychologists.
Endocrinologists are working, meanwhile, on the next generations of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones that might offer a safer patient profile. And there is early investment in biogenetics and transplants. The holy grail in that incipient specialty is womb transplants for men identifying as women and who later decide they want to get pregnant. There are animal trials already underway. There has been a successful, if somewhat grisly, womb implant from a deceased female donor to another female.
Progressive ideologues and misguided doctors and therapists might be the foot soldiers in the transgender movement, but their oxygen is the millions a year pouring in from wealthy activists.