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 — has unveiled a new website encouraging parents to send their trans kids to conversion therapy. The website tells mothers not to be “dominant” and not to be “critical” of nor “display hurt or angry emotions” towards their husbands.
The website, called the “Biological Integrity Initiative,” offers outdated and non-clinically backed “resources” for parents, teens, physicians, schools, and policymakers, all geared towards denying the identities of trans youth, particularly those of trans girls. It introduces gender-questioning teens to the tale of right-wing de-transitioner Chloe Cole, tells teachers to oppose trans-inclusive school policies (referred to as “gender interventions”), and tells policymakers that they must pass bans on gender-affirming healthcare to “protect civilization” and “human dignity.”
But will the administration see through the charade?
The website’s advice to parents is especially concerning.
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It tells mothers not to be critical of their husbands or “overly sensitive” to their sons. Mothers are advised to frequently “compliment the father” and to refrain from showing their children any “angry emotions” towards their husbands. It also tells mothers to “set a good example of womanhood” for their daughters because, if they don’t, their daughters may “develop a wrong perception… and may resist embracing a female identity.”
“A mother who is not emotionally connected to her daughter may leave her daughter craving motherly love. Likewise, a father who is not closely connected to his son may leave a son craving fatherly love,” the site’s handout on “Affirming Your Daughter’s and Son’s Sexual Identity” states.
“Mothers should not favor a son over his father, even if the son is more responsive and compassionate than the husband,” the handout continues. “If mothers make this mistake, the son may identify with the mother and fail to bond with the father.”
This concept — that emotionally distant and physically unaffectionate parents create gay or “gender-confused” children — is a popular but widely debunked concept from 19th-century Freudian psychology. While psychologists have observed that neglected and abused children may risk their personal safety to find support and affection from other sources, there’s zero proof that parental distance causes homosexuality or trans identity.
Similarly, the handout says that molestation, sexual abuse, and graphic pornography can cause trans identity. The same has been said of homosexuality, and there is no proof to back up either claim.
The group tells fathers to be “physically active” and “wrestle on the floor” with their sons, “play tackle and praise him for being tough when he is knocked down,” and also to go on “man time” dates with the boy. It also tells dads to have their sons help mow the lawn, fix the toilet, shovel snow, build model cars and benches, go hunting to kill animals, and “throw, kick and dribble a ball… even if he chooses not to play sports.”
Under the website’s “Teen FAQ,” it states, “There is no evidence that opposite-sex hormones make you feel better,” even though a large-scale 2023 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that hormone therapy improves mental health for trans youth. The FAQ also claims that “opposite sex hormones can increase thoughts of hurting yourself,” “increase unhealthiness,” “may cause permanent infertility,” and “will make teens ‘a medical patient for life.'”
The site backs up some of its claims by referring to a 12-year-old Swedish study of data on 324 trans people collected from 1973 to 2003. The study found higher rates of suicide and criminal convictions among trans individuals, but such actions may be explained by transphobia and the fewer economic opportunities and social support resources for trans people.
As for “infertility,” trans journalist Erin Reed noted that fertility counseling is a regular part of any medical care for trans youth. Reed said that the ACPeds site pushes gender exploratory therapy, “a new type of conversion therapy which seeks to persuade transgender individuals that their gender identity stems from anything but authentic transness.” The ACPeds website’s “Find a Therapist” section links to numerous Christian and Catholic conversion therapy groups.
In her newsletter, Reed wrote, “The Gender Exploratory Therapy Association frequently denies that it engages in conversion therapy. They assert that their therapeutic approach is ‘neutral in nature’ and ‘does not prejudge outcomes.’ Yet, this association opposes bans on conversion therapy, submits public comments in favor of blocking Title IX protections against gender discrimination for trans students, and its official account has been observed endorsing tweets like ‘trans healthcare is the latest in a long line of medical fads.’ Such actions hardly mirror the claims of a ‘neutral, non-prejudiced’ entity.”