Why we should ignore the American College of Pediatricians (and Miranda Devine)

Miranda Devine

Last month columnist Miranda Devine published a column suggesting that the growing number of transgender children is due to the Safe School Coalition program confusing children about their gender.

Quoting a dubious group from the USA, the News Corp columnist wrote that the medical profession are too afraid to speak out against the growing number of transgender children.

In Australia children who are transgender and their families must apply to the High Court to be able to access hormones that stop puberty.

The costly legal process has been criticised recently with advocates labeling it unnecessary, expensive and distressing to transgender youth and their parents.

In her article, ‘Trangenderism, has anybody seen my girl?’ Devine describes the current legal process as a “minor hurdle” and argues against calls from the Australian Human Rights Commission for the laws to be updated.

To back up her argument Devine quotes a statement from the American College of Pediatricians who authored a statement in March declaring ‘gender ideologies harm children’.

Echoing the medical groups assertion that allowing transgender children to access medical treatment is a form of child abuse, Devine suggested that parents allowing their children to transition is beyond the boundaries of common sense.

Devine is not the only voice pushing the report from the American College of Pediatricians.

Conservative group The Australian Family Association has also been promoting the articles published by the group, and the Australian Christian Lobby has begun calling for people to listen to the advice of pediatricians.

But who are the American College of Pediatricians?

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) are a small group of doctors in the USA who broke away from the larger and much more widely recognised American Academy of Pediatrics.

The Southern Poverty Law Centre, the leading body for identifying hate groups in the USA, describes the group as only having around 200 members, and notes that they often publish complete falsehoods about the LGBT community.

The American Academy of Pediatricians by comparison has around 60,000 members and their view of transgender children and teenagers is the complete opposite of the smaller group.

Over at Crikey Josh Taylor highlighted that Devine had made use of the largely discredited statement from the American College of Pediatricians. Taylor noted that website Think Progress had already highlighted the ACPeds statement was the complete opposite of what the much larger and more widely recognised professional organisation advocated.

In the June edition of Star Observer transgender activist Elizabeth Duck-Chong highlights the many inaccuracies in Devine’s article and suggests that the writer is living in a fantasy world.

The News Corp columnist is not the only journalist relying on the statements from the American College of Pediatricians.

US commentator Glen Beck shared the a story quoting the same research earlier this month but presented it as being from the much more widely recognised American Academy of Pediatricians. Beck’s incorrect assertion was picked up by myth busting website Snopes.

Parents of transgender kids share their frustration

Author Jo Hirst spoke to OUTinPerth and said it was frustrating that conservative voices turn to the American College of Pediatrians to back up their arguments.

“It’s habitually done by people like the Australian Christian Lobby and Cory Bernardi, and Americans who are very anti-LGBTI.” Hirst said.

The author of the children’s book ‘The Gender Fairy’ is mother to a transgender child and was inspired to write the well known book to help other families.

Hirst said the statement authored by three doctors representing the American College of Pediatricians is the go to quote for conservative groups.

“It’s the same quotes every time, John Hopkins Hospital and Paul McHugh and this new college of pretend doctors who have to sign up to a deal that says that they will ignore medical and scientific facts if it goes against their ideology. It’s just a joke.”

Hirst said it was frustrating when the groups opinions were presented as fact.

“It just adds to the misinformation out there about our kids.” Hirst said.

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Last month just as I hung up the phone after speaking to Jo Hirst, we got the sudden and unexpected news that the company that owned OUTinPerth was closing down. 

Now, a few weeks later I was able to return to this article, update it and share it with everyone.

Today as OUTinPerth returns to the streets with our June edition we’re slowly getting back on track under our new ownership which is thanks to the generous support of everyone who has helped us through the GoFundMe campaign.

We’ve still got a long way to go, but we’re slowly getting back to our full strength. 

Graeme Watson

Update: 29-05-16 The article was updated to correct an error, in part of the article the American College of Pediatricians was incorrectly referred to as the American Pediatrics Society. 

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