PFLAG Statement on the American College of Pediatricians (ACP)

Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) Gainesville has taken an interest in the recent controversy surrounding positions espoused by the American College of Pediatricians (ACP). The mission of PFLAG includes promoting the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, their families and friends through: support, to cope with an adverse society; education, to enlighten an ill-informed public; and advocacy, to end discrimination and to secure equal civil rights. In support of the national mission, PFLAG Gainesville felt a response to the positions of the ACP regarding best practice in the fields of medicine and mental health was appropriate. 

The position statements of the ACP include: discouraging the adoption of children by same-sex couples or single parents; support of abstinence only sex education rather than comprehensive sex education; and denouncing parents and school personnel who in their view “encourage students to come out as gay which may lead them into harmful homosexual behavior that they would not otherwise pursue.” Their positions further hold that “gender identity disorder” will typically disappear if it is not reinforced. Reparative or conversion therapy is advocated as an effective means of treatment. The ACP has been declared a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center due to repressive policies, promotion of ineffective and harmful practices, and for anti-lesbian, gay, and transgender literature and mailings.

 The ACP has based their positions on both out-dated and discredited research as well as on religious beliefs. Criticism of these positions is based on harmful and ineffective medical practice. Reparative or Conversion Therapy has been discredited by American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, and the American Academic of Pediatrics. Abstinence only sex education has long been viewed as ineffective. The inclusion of contraceptive measures promotes both teen health and lowered birth rates.  Further, there is no support in scientific literature for the assertion that same-sex and single parents should be prohibited from adopting or being parents. Even our state government prohibits discrimination in adoption proceedings based on marital status and sexual orientation. 

It is disingenuous to claim that criticism of the ACP has been based on local politics or in misinterpretation of the facts. The ACP message of intolerance is harmful to children and families. The position that being LGBTQ is a disorder, is a result of bad parenting, or is due to a moral failing causes real distress and pain. It promotes an atmosphere that is hostile to individuals and families. These positions are not based on current, well researched scientific investigations, and, as such, have no place in the medical or mental health communities.

Submitted by: The Board of PFLAG Gainesville