The American College of Pediatricians (ACP) claimed last week that they sent out a letter to over 14,000 school superintendents inviting them to peruse and use information on a new site the group created, Facts About Youth.
However, the web page does nothing more than repeat the same lies and junk science that religious right groups have been pushing against the LGBT community for over 30 years.
Also, the American College of Pediatricians is nothing more than a shell group designed to give these same distortions a degree of "scientific credibility."
Much of their information, much like the information on the Facts About Youth web page, is the result of the distortion of credible research.
And now, one of those researchers is crying foul.
The watchdog group Truth Wins Out has published an exclusive letter from Dr. Gary Remafedi, M.D., M.P.H., a University of Minnesota researcher to the American College of Pediatricians accusing them of distorting his work. It reads in part:
I have previously encountered and confronted the problem of misrepresentation of research from other advocacy groups such as yours. However, this episode is especially troubling and egregious because it is led by colleagues within my own profession-- who certainly have the ability, education, and experience to access, review, and accurately summarize the Pediatric scientific literature.
Our professional code demands of Pediatricians nothing short of the highest standards of ethical conduct in medical education, research, and patient care. Knowingly misrepresenting research findings for material or personal gain is a flagrant violation of this code of conduct. Implicating me in this chicanery is doubly damaging to my professional reputation and career by holding me accountable for misstatements and by associating me with a cause that most ethical Pediatricians will recognize as misguided and hurtful to an entire class of children and families.
Please immediately remove any reference to our work from the website. As a suitable remedy, I also would urge you take the following actions:
1) Publicly retract your references to our research with a written statement posted on the home page of your website;
2) Until then, any donations made to your organization since the "Facts about Youth" website was launched should be either returned to the donors or contributed to the LGBT youth research fund of the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine.
On the heels of that came an official statement from a more legitimate medical group, the American Academy of Pediatrics:
In 2008, a diverse coalition of 13 national organizations, including the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) joined in a renewed effort to protect the safety and emotional well-being of students, including those who are at higher risk because of their sexual orientation. This group of education, health, mental health and religious organizations developed and endorsed Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel and sent the resource to public school superintendents across the US.
On or around March 31, 2010, school superintendents may have received another letter from the American College of Pediatricians, which is in no way affiliated with the American Academy of Pediatrics. The letter promotes another campaign titled "Facts About Youth," which professes to offer guidance to educators on "approaches to students experiencing sexual orientation and gender identity confusion." Their campaign does not acknowledge the scientific and medical evidence regarding sexual orientation, sexual identity, sexual health, or effective health education.
The AAP encourages school administrators and officials, teachers, parents, and youth to become familiar with and utilize the AAP developed and endorsed resources on this issue for reliable, sound, scientific, medical advice:
Just the Facts about Sexual Orientation and Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators, and School Personnel - A guide for employees who confront sensitive issues involving gay, lesbian and bisexual students. It is intended to help school administrators foster safe and healthy school environments, in which all students can achieve to the best of their ability. "Just the Facts" includes the most recent information from professional health organizations, as well as up-to-date information on the legal responsibility of school officials to protect students from anti-gay harassment.
Sexual Orientation and Adolescents - A clinical report from the AAP Committee on Adolescence.
Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Teens: Information for Teens and Parents - Questions and answers from the AAP for teens and parents about sexual orientation.
Gay and Lesbian Teens - Information on sexual orientation from the AAP's Caring for Your Teenager.
Gender Identity and Gender Confusion in Children - Information on gender identity, sexual stereotypes, gender confusion, and sexual orientation from the AAP's Caring for Your School Aged Child: Ages 5-12.
While not as full of fire as I had hoped, the statement, coupled with Remafedi's complaint (and a blistering review from professor Warren Throckmorton of Grove City College, a conservative Christian) does more than enough to expose the holes and faulty research of Facts About Youth and the American College of Pediatricians in general.
However, as Truth Wins Out points out, the ACP has not corrected its site and religious right groups continue to push the site's research as if it's credible.
Why should anyone be surprised? I guess they figure when one is fighting for God, truth and integrity are expendable casualties.
Hat tip to Truth Wins Out