ACPeds has released a statement in conflict with the public statements of its president.

American College of Pediatricians
“Best for Children?” This hate group’s primary concern is conservative Christianity.

Late Sunday the American College of Pediatricians group released a statement titled: Sex Change isn’t Child’s Play. The intent is to cast doubt on the benefits of gender affirmation for children with gender dysphoria. This comes on the heels of a statement from the real professional peer group, the American Academy of Pediatrics, recognizing the importance of gender affirming care.

The American College of Pediatricians is a small hate group with an annual budget around $100,000. While the group’s leader, Michelle Cretella, has been very outspoken on LGBT matters (among other things she promotes conversion therapy), the group has been trying to pose as a legitimate medical organization.

Recent statements from ACPeds have been in regard to things like childhood obesity and calming a crying baby. Hate groups cannot help themselves. Eventually they do what got them designated as hate groups in the first place:

According to Sunday’s statement:

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) calls upon the pediatric profession to exercise caution in following the recent recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to indiscriminately validate all “gender identities” in children. Without addressing the possibility of a child being transiently or pathologically confused, the AAP instructs pediatricians to always validate such feelings as normal, even to the point of prescribing dangerous hormones and performing surgical sex changes on young children.

Caution? The president of ACPeds, Michelle Cretella, has said that gender does not exist. At the Values Voter Summit Cretella told her audience that every being has a biological sex, not something additional called a gender or a gender identity hardwired into one’s brain or DNA. The ACPeds statement urges doctors not to “validate all ‘gender identities.’” That is at odds with Cretella’s statements. According to Cretella pediatricians should never validate a child’s gender unless it is congruent with their natal sex.

ACPeds is trying not to look like a group of religiously crazed crackpots that hate LGBT people. In point of fact it is a group of religiously crazed crackpots that hate LGBT people.

The AAP statement concerns “TGD” (transgender and gender diverse) children. These young people are well past the “I think I’m a girl” phase. A natal male trans youth, by the way, will assert “I am a girl!” No one has talked these kids into transitioning. They have not been influenced by others. These children, desperate for relief from their suffering, feel irresistibly compelled to express their gender.

Furthermore, nothing in the AAP statement suggests that children should not be evaluated. Before a child receives what ACPeds refers to as “dangerous hormones” he or she will have first been evaluated. Then the child might have been taking puberty blockers for a period of time. This gives the kid an opportunity to present as their gender without much risk. Puberty blockers are fully reversible. By the time a child receives hormones in their teens there is a certainty regarding their gender.

No one has claimed that hormones do not have the potential for dangerous side effects. The fact that some trans teens are taking these drugs actually confirms that the severity of their gender dysphoria outweighs concerns for the possible toxicity of the drugs.

Surgery is generally out of the question for kids. Cretella found a study with a 13-year-old who might have had a double mastectomy. Aside from the fact that this is very unusual, it would not have been necessary if the child had been taking puberty blockers.

Transgender boys experience substantial distress from the growth of breast tissue. If believed, ACPeds’ statement will increase the need for youthful surgery. We can directly understand this distress by watching PBS/Frontline’s Growing Up Trans. The full 2015 episode is available online. When I discuss trans youth with someone, the first thing I ask is whether or not they have seen this 1.5 hour video.

The media contact for ACPeds’ statement is Dr. Quentin Van Meter. Van Meter is an endocrinologist whose supposed treatment of gender dysphoric children is to withhold the treatments that he specializes in. Van Meter has said that there is “zero point zero zero” evidence that the concepts of gender fluidity and gender identity have any scientific basis. In other words, based on his conservative Christian beliefs, gender does not exist for Dr. Van Meter. For him, the science is irrelevant.

The ACPeds statement goes on to quote Dr. Joseph Zanga, one of the group’s founders. Zanga, along with Gerry Boccarossa, both conservative Christians, founded the group in 2002 as a means of protesting AAP’s support of adoption by gay couples:

“Do No Harm” is a basic tenet of the medical profession. In his recent Op-Ed, former AAP and ACPeds president, Dr. Joseph Zanga, pleads with the pediatric profession to fully embrace this principle in the care of children who identify themselves as transgender. Dr. Zanga states,

Endorsing sex change for children as normal will inevitably lead more children to puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures they will “choose” a lifetime of toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider surgical mutilation of healthy body parts all for a condition that – in the vast majority of cases – would have resolved naturally by late adolescence.

He concludes, “The pediatric health profession has arrived at a crossroads. Do we stand firm in the practice of good ethical Medicine or do we follow the crowd? This is a simple question. First, do no harm.”

“Do no harm” includes not spreading falsehoods in order to conform science to scripture. “Do no harm” includes not misinforming people about research. Zanga is distorting the science. According to the peer-reviewed research, by the time a kid transitions, he or she is very unlikely to desist. Keep in mind that children do not transition because of anything that parents or health care workers do. They transition because they are inexorably compelled to do so in order to obtain some relief from the stresses of gender dysphoria.

In other words, the gender transition reflects the seriousness of the condition. Zanga is saying just the opposite. He is claiming that the transition creates the condition which commits the child to being transgender for life. It is a theme that was floated by McHugh and Mayer in their non-peer-reviewed piece in The New Atlantis. They called is plasticity. I call it babble.

In the final analysis, the American Academy of Pediatricians’ statement cites 94 peer-reviewed studies. ACPeds? None. Sometimes “the crowd” is the majority of a group of people who have formed a view based on evidence. Those who are not in accord with the evidence-based majority are at the fringes of their profession and society. The American College of Pediatricians is clearly at the fringes.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.