Bias Watch

Anti-LGBTQ+ hate group accidentally leaks membership & other sensitive records

A shocked man looks at a laptop computer
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The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) — a Christian anti-LGBTQ+ hate group that uses its professional-sounding name to push transphobic and anti-abortion propaganda — recently “suffered a significant data breach” that leaked 10,000 of its confidential files, including its membership list.

An unsecured Google Drive published on the group’s website allowed people to access a decade’s worth of ACPeds’ membership records, including its complete member list, its board members’ Social Security numbers, and the usernames and passwords of over 100 of its online accounts, Wired reports. The leak also revealed financial and email records that provide insights into the group’s strategies for gaining influence.

The Google Drive link was removed from ACPeds’ website shortly after Wired contacted the group to ask about it. However, the publication noted ACPeds’ internal records revealed that the group targeted Christian medical doctors to join its ranks, sending out over 10,000 mailers to physicians nationwide between 2013 and 2017. 

The leak also showed that ACPeds created junk science literature to convince school officials that transgender youth have a “pathological disorder” that can cause their peers to adopt similar thoughts and behaviors. This echoes transphobic claims that teens temporarily experience “rapid onset gender dysphoria” that subsides without medical treatment — such claims have been debunked by a recent Fenway Health study.

The American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) picked its name to deliberately sound like the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) after the AAP said that same-sex marriage benefits children’s well-being. ACPeds even admitted this in a recently published video.

However, while the American Academy of Pediatrics is a professional association for doctors with over 67,000 members, ACPeds has been described as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and only has 700 members. One of ACPeds’ recently leaked documents showed that the group sought to discredit the SPLC to cast doubt on its hate group designation.

ACPeds has fought to “deprive gay couples of their parental rights and encouraged public schools to treat LGBTQ+ youth as if they were mentally ill,” Wired noted. The group was also central to a recent federal court challenge seeking to ban mifepristone, a widely used abortion pill. The legal challenge was funded by Alliance Defending Freedom, another group that has long opposed any expansion of LGBTQ+ civil rights.

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