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A fake medical group is lobbying Trump. It’s actually a hate group in disguise.

The American College of Pediatricians masquerades as a medical association, but is really an anti-LGBTQ hate group.
The American College of Pediatricians masquerades as a medical association, but is really an anti-LGBTQ hate group.Photo: logo

A hate group sent a letter to the Trump administration supporting its anti-transgender policies.

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) picked a name that sounds like “American Academy of Pediatrics.” The difference is that the American Academy of Pediatrics is a professional association for doctors, while the American College of Pediatricians is an SPLC designated hate group.

ACPeds is so far outside the mainstream that they once claimed that the American Psychological Association was a “gay-affirming program” that “devalues self-restraint.”

The signers of the letter “applaud” the Trump administration for rescinding protections for transgender people. They claim that Trump effectively reinstated “sex-based legal protections” for women by attacking transgender equality.

The letter is full of pseudoscience and myths about transgender people. It cites other hate groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom and conservative tabloids like the Toronto Sun.

Related: New HRC guide on trans children by pediatricians busts myths, offers support

The letter argues that gender identity can be changed.

“Gender identity is an awareness of, and comfort level with, one’s physical body,” the letter states. “Gender identity may be factually correct or factually incorrect, and, unlike sex, may change.”

Usually transphobic screeds claim that gender identity cannot be changed and falsely accuse transgender activists of saying that it can be changed on a whim.

Perhaps this is because the letter is signed by organizations that support conversion therapy for sexual orientation and gender identity. The National Task Force for Therapeutic Equality is an organization devoted to promoting conversion therapy and its co-founders signed the letter.

ACPeds also promotes conversion therapy for gay, bi, and transgender people.

The letter states that the high suicide rate among transgender people as a reason to rescind supportive policies. Citing a Swedish study that found a high suicide rate among transgender people, the letter says, “Transgender affirmation does not prevent suicide.”

The study’s author has already denounced the “misuse” of her study, saying that it did not show that transitioning led to an increase in suicide but that “cultural oppression and outright hate” are the more likely culprits.

The letter is signed by the leaders of several religious organizations, as well as groups that promote anti-LGBTQ bias, like the Alliance Defending Freedom, Liberty Counsel, and the Catholic Medical Association.

Also of note is J. Michael Bailey’s signature. Bailey is a professor at Northwestern University who wrote the transphobic and pseudoscientific book The Man Who Would Be Queen.

For years, Bailey has responded to criticism by claiming that he was simply practicing science in order to promote “true acceptance of the transgendered [sic].” Putting his name next to the Alliance Defending Freedom’s in order to attack legal protections for LGBTQ people, though, suggests otherwise.

Update: Transgender activist Brynn Tannehill wrote to point out another interesting name on the letter: University of Toronto professor Susan Bradley.

“She and Ken Zucker partnered for years at CAMH [the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health] in Toronto,” Tannehill wrote.

“Zucker always vehemently denied that they were running a reparative therapy clinic. However, note that Bradley signed on to this, along with David Pickup [of the National Task Force for Therapy Equality], who has repeatedly sued California for a right to practice reparative therapy, and whose primary occupation is reparative therapy.”

Pickup claims to not only be a conversion therapist, but also someone who says he conversion therapy helped him become ex-gay.

The letter is focused on the Trump administration’s policies and doesn’t get into conversion therapy much.

But it does mention in passing that the signers believe that gender identity can be changed because that belief is integral to the message. If transgender people can’t become cisgender through prayer or therapy, then it’s harder to justify policies that marginalize trans people.

There are a few conversion therapists on this list because a belief in conversion therapy is necessary for anti-LGBTQ politics. Most people don’t want to admit that they’re advocating for the oppression of a minority.

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