Dr. Elizabeth Thompson, or “SuzySidewalk” as she was known on Twitter, is currently on an “extensive leave” from Oak Park Pediatrics after the practice became aware of her various homophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-mask and anti-trans tweets.
The tweets, which have been circulating on social media, including local Oak Park parent groups on Facebook, include reposting of posts with the hashtag #BoycottTarget for allegedly “grooming kids,” commenting “ abuse” on a picture of a toddler in a mask, replying “illegal immigration doesn’t reflect my values” on a tweet from Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s tweet that included the phrase “DACA reflects our values as a nation,” and showing support to anti-drag queen story time and anti-trans activism.
When asked if “SuzySidewalk” was her Twitter handle, Thompson declined to provide comment to Wednesday Journal.
Oak Park Pediatrics, 1107 Chicago Ave., addressed the situation on its social media page on July 5 with the following statement:
“Oak Park Pediatrics does not support, endorse or otherwise agree with any statements that are non-inclusive and hateful in nature. We pride ourselves on being an all-inclusive, safe space where everyone, regardless of their race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is welcomed and can feel comfortable.
“Many of you may be aware of some recent posts on social media by Dr. Thompson that Oak Park Pediatrics does not support. Dr. Thompson has stepped away from clinical practice and will be taking an extended leave of absence to address this matter in an appropriate way.”
The same message was seen as a pop-up announcement on its business website.
On July 6, the pediatrics practice posted a follow-up on Facebook, saying that all patients who had an appointment with Thompson would be called to reschedule with a different doctor and will receive a letter with follow up information in the near future.
According to the Illinois Secretary of State, Thompson was listed as the vice president of Oak Park Pediatrics in 2022 as well as a director alongside Dr. Erin Taback, who is credited for founding the practice in 2011 on their website, and Dr. Tara Brito.
Thompson’s profile has been removed from the practice’s website.
Multiple calls to Oak Park Pediatrics from Wednesday Journal were not returned.
While Thompson might not have disclosed her identity via her Twitter handle, many Oak Park families were already aware of her anti-mask views as her son made headlines in 2021 for hosting an anti-mask protest at his elementary school in Elmhurst, where the family resides.
The then fifth grader held a protest outside of Emerson Elementary School in Elmhurst, after the school required him to do his schoolwork in the principal’s office if he chose to remain maskless. According to previous reports by Patch.com, nearly 100 people attended, holding up signs that read “Don’t tread on me” and “Follow the Science: Unmask the Kids.”
Photos circulated of Elizabeth Thompson holding up a sign with words in support of her son.
According to a review left on May 6, 2021 on vitals.com, a parent said Thompson refused to communicate for scheduled appointments for their teenage daughter, instead “making a moral judgment and refused to provide medical help.”
“It was like being transported to the misogynistic days,” read the anonymous review.
A local Oak Park parent, who has asked to remain anonymous for their child’s safety, spoke with Wednesday Journal, expressing sadness and the sense of betrayal when they realized their transgender child’s physical and mental health had been in the hands of someone who held anti-trans beliefs.
While the time that their child was in Thompson’s care, the parent said there were no indications of her viewpoints affecting her medical decisions. However, for the parent, knowing now that Thompson held those beliefs while caring for members of the trans community felt like a betrayal.
“This child can be in a fragile state sometimes and gaining trust has been a long journey for all of us,” said the parent. “We told him [when they were transitioning] that this is somebody they could trust, you can talk to them, you can be in the room with them, they will listen to what you say, they will not harm you, and will not guide you in the wrong path and will allow you the space to express yourself however that needs to be, and I don’t know yet how to say to my child that that person had these beliefs. It was a big breach of trust.”
An Oak Park mom of two children who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, who has also asked to remain anonymous for fear of their children’s safety, said her family members have been patients of Oak Park Pediatrics for more than 10 years. Her children have seen Thompson for sick visits over the years, with one child being one of her established patients.
While the mom said she felt confident in the care Thompson provided and she never picked up anything “off” during visits that made her feel uncomfortable, she felt it was important to address the content of the tweets and social media comments “defending” Thompson, saying her views are relevant and she was doing harm.
“She was out there speaking on social media as a pediatrician under this mantle of authority and spreading misinformation that gives credence to these harmful views,” said the mom. “This misinformation of the appropriateness of gender-affirming care, the impact of misgendering transgender people, the idea that gender is purely biological and that people who are transgender are pretending to be the opposite sex. All of that is used to push hateful laws. [It’s] used to invalidate trans identities and it causes direct and measurable harm to children in this community that she is supposed to be helping.”
The mom said she was not sure how to address the situation with Oak Park Pediatrics and is trying to decide whether or not they will stay with the practice, acknowledging the great care they provide the community.
She said she was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, based on their response and hope the hesitation to announce Thompson’s official departure is due to legal reasons.
Wednesday Journal has received information that patients of Oak Park Pediatrics are asked to sign a Code of Conduct agreeing to not make disparaging remarks about the practice on social media or through reviews; however, no parent was willing to go on record to confirm. Calls to Oak Park Pediatrics and messages were not returned.
Some, however, are coming out in Thompsons defense, mostly anonymously, through social media, saying that she, just like everyone else, is granted the freedom to hold her beliefs and expressing how local communities attack moms with conservative beliefs.
Others have expressed their frustration with the “reckless disregard” for the damage the “vicious and destructive” posts can cause to Thompson.
While the debate continues, the moms of children who identify as part of the communities highlighted in Thompson’s tweets are trying to find a way to address the real-life consequences and feelings of betrayal left behind.
“While she is in a room treating my children, looking at us, talking to us, being somebody that we trust in these very vulnerable situations you are in during a patient provider relationship, to know that in her mind and in her heart, she feels really horrible and disgusting things about my children and who they are, that was just extremely upsetting to me,” said one of the moms.