As the American Academy of Pediatrics gets set to host its annual national conference and exhibition in Orlando starting Friday, some parents are protesting the group’s controversial treatment recommendations for LGBT youth, which the conference will promote.
“Our own children have become obsessed with the notion that they need powerful puberty blockers and hormones and bodily surgeries to transition to the opposite sex,” wrote the anonymous group of over 1,100 parents in a press release opposing the treatments. “The American Academy of Pediatrics fully supports this. We do not.”
The AAP released new guidelines last month for parents and teachers of children who say they identify with a gender other than the one they were born with.
In a policy statement entitled “Ensuring Comprehensive Care and Support for Transgender and Gender-Diverse Children and Adolescents,” the group recommended “gender-affirming” health care for minors who do not identify with their birth sex. In some cases, this includes “surgical intervention,” as well as using gonadotrophin-releasing hormones to delay puberty up to age 16 and prevent the development of some sex characteristics, such as breasts or a deeper voice.
In a statement, the group of parents expressed “serious concerns” about the new AAP policies, which they believe will “continue, and possibly worsen, the harm brought to many children by the recent radical changes to treatment guidelines for transgender-identifying youth.”
“Many parents and caregivers have been coerced into thinking these treatments are necessary,” the parents wrote, before warning that the rights of parents to choose what medical treatment they want for their children are being eroded.
The conference will feature a talk called “Caring for Transgender Youth” by pediatric endocrinologist Norman Spack of Boston Children’s Hospital, who advocates hormonal puberty blockers for transgender teenagers.
“The child who says they are in the absolute wrong body is almost certain to be transgender and is extremely unlikely to change those feelings no matter how anybody tries reparative therapy or any other noxious things,” Spack said at a TED talk in 2013.
Others in the field have disagreed. In 2016, Dr. Kenneth Zucker was fired after decades at the prestigious Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic over his more cautious treatment of gender-dysphoric children, including his reluctance to immediately prescribe hormone or surgical therapy.
“What Dr. Spack discounts is that when puberty blockers cause sterility, a child will never actually become fertile because puberty is not delayed but halted altogether,” the parents said. “The true victims in all of this are America’s children.”