Last week, the American College of Pediatricians announced that it had sent a letter to more than 14,000 school superintendents announcing its “Facts About Youth” project.
The ACP is an anti-gay organization that misuses science for political gain. It tries to confuse people, in my view, with the respected American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Warren Throckmorton (pictured) – a social conservative – reviewed the site and offered an on-point critique. He essentially said that the American College of Pediatricians was:
Using outdated studies:
The list of additional resources is anything but current. There are 13 references listed, all but two of them were published prior to 2001. Those older references have been updated by newer work but you wouldn’t know it by reading here. The most current facts are not here, nor are they referenced here….Some newer research could have been presented which would have supported at least a broader environmental set of influences but these too were omitted.
Misapplying his own work:
The section here repeats NARTH’ views about change therapy and lo and behold references my 1998 review of the literature on conversion therapy – except now the link isn’t live since I recently asked NARTH to remove my articles from the NARTH website.
Distorting the research of others:
An additional problem: The ACP website misrepresents Francis Collins. The website makes it seems as though Collins believes in sexual reorientation because he does not believe homosexuality is predetermined by a gene or genes. However, he actually said this to Exgaywatch.
Misleading schools by pretending not to have a bias
The essential claims are that the site is “a non-political, non-religious channel presenting the most current facts on the subject.” In fact, the presentation is one-sided, with dated research and reparative theory dominating the content.
Camouflaging their religious orientation:
I am confused by the denial of religious influence on this site. If done differently, I might support a conservative group of docs who wanted to encourage youth to consider the role of faith and family in making sense of their same-sex attractions. However, this site avoids that discussion and pretends that the resources listed are not associated with the religious right.
I still disagree, with Throckmorton’s view that, “Physicians should recognize the important role of religious faith and for those people who believe at their core that homosexual behavior is wrong, there should be alternatives.”
In my view, the likelihood of finding happiness in denying one’s sexual orientation and forgoing all possibility of sexual exploration and true love is remote. Still this is an honest disagreement and Throckmorton should be commended for urging honesty with clients. If people have all the facts, are not being misled or presented with bogus theories like “reparative therapy” than they are free to do as they please. (Although there is a legitimate worry that guilt and shame may harm clients)
The bottom line is we do not have to agree on everything to have an honest discussion. And truthfulness is what is sorely lacking from the Facts About Youth site.