GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Christian Examiner) – A group of conservative, family-friendly pediatricians released a statement recently that says practices that teach biological changes related to sexual orientation are "normal," may actually constitute "child abuse."
The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) has issued a paper calling "all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex" child abuse.
The ACP, founded as a conservative alternative to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in 2002, made the statement March 21 following the AAP's continued efforts to liberalize treatment of children who may be experiencing the psychological phenomenon known as "gender dysphoria."
"Being a boy or a girl, for most children, is something that feels very natural. At birth, babies are assigned male or female based on physical characteristics. This refers to the 'sex' of the child. When children are able to express themselves, they will declare themselves to be a boy or a girl (or sometimes something in between); this is their 'gender identity.' Most children's gender identity aligns with their biological sex. However, for some children, the match between biological sex and gender identity is not so clear," a guide from the AAP states.
The AAP also encourages parents to avoid attempting to "mold" their child's gender, but to "help him or her fulfill his or her own unique potential."
"Don't become excessively concerned with whether your child's interests and strengths coincide with the socially defined gender roles of the moment," the AAP guide advises.
The ACP, however, rejects that stance, claiming instead that "human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: 'XY' and 'XX' are genetic markers or health – not genetic markers of a disorder." While the ACP recognizes that there are some "exceedingly rare" genetic disorders of sex, none are related to the need to choose a sexual identity or gender.
That is why the conservative pediatricians claim "no one is born with a gender."
"Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one," the ACP said in its statement. "People who identify as 'feeling like the opposite sex' or 'somewhere in between' do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women."
The ACP also said boys or girls who believe they are of the opposite gender are plagued by "confused thinking" known as "gender dysphoria" – a mental disorder Dr. Paul McHugh, a retired psychologist from John Hopkins University wrote in 2014 cannot be "fixed" by altering the body with surgery.
"At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered," McHugh wrote in the Wall Street Journal. "'Sex change' is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."
McHugh also signed the statement published by the ACP March 21.
The statement from the conservative pediatricians also claims efforts to prevent boys from becoming men and girls from becoming women by attempting to alter their progression through puberty inhibits the growth and fertility of a "previously biologically healthy child."
"Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer," the statement said.
It may also lead to greater suicide rates – as much as 20 times higher than those who avoid cross-sex hormones and undergo a sex change operation.
"What compassionate and reasonable person would condemn young children to this fate knowing that after puberty as many as 88% of girls and 98% of boys will eventually accept reality and achieve a state of mental and physical health?"
The ACP has been labeled an anti-LGBT hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its stance on the traditional family and its belief that forcing gender therapy on children is wrong. The SPLC says ACP's claims about greater levels of promiscuity among lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders is also false and unproven.
The ACP claims hundreds of members in 47 states and outside of the United States. The AAP, founded in 1930, has more than 60,000 members.