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American College of Pediatricians

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The American College of Pediatricians (abbreviated ACPeds) is a wingnut collection of pediatricians who espouse a socially conservative and "family values" agenda in opposition to the pediatric mainstream that, in their view, has a liberal bias. The SPLC has described it as a "fringe anti-LGBTQ hate group" that pushes junk science.[1][2]

They adopted the strategy of picking a very official-sounding name so that conservative information outlets could cite them and still sound smart, and to provide confusion to unsuspecting people. For those looking for a more mainstream body of pediatricians, one can turn to the similarly-named American Academy of PediatricsWikipedia (AAP), which is the group the ACPeds split from.[3] It should also not be confused for the American College of PhysiciansWikipedia (ACP).


The group was founded in 2002 by a group of pediatricians including former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Joseph Zanga. Initially, they (a mere 60 of the AAP's 60,000 members at the time) split over the issue of gay adoption when the AAP endorsed it, and have gone on to take wingnut positions on every social issue involving children, including hysteria about "violent and sexual" media. Zanga described ACPeds as "Judeo-Christian" and "traditional values" oriented.[2]


Their political positions include, but aren't limited to:[4]

Long story short, they try to provide an academic voice for those terrified that the "gay agenda" (or, more recently, "transgender ideology") is corrupting their children.[2] Emphasis on "try", because academically supporting a viewpoint based entirely on irrational hatred is impossible, which should be obvious to anyone who graduated from a properly-functioning educational system.[citation NOT needed]

Distortion of facts[edit]

Other than promoting conversion therapy, ACPeds have twisted facts in a number of other ways. They have spread some unsupported claims about the HPV vaccine, such as a claim that it causes infertility in young girls.[11][9][12]

They were involved in a major controversy for using a decidedly pro-gay pediatric study and twisting the content to support their anti-gay agenda. The study concluded that kids who come out as LGBT earlier are more likely to commit suicide due to the social stigma in school and the long-term impact that has on someone's life. The study also suggested the most people sort out their sexuality by age 25. ACPeds used the study to conclude that homosexual feelings should be discouraged for as long as possible, and that most homosexual feelings disappear by 25, two things the study in no way supported.[13] The author of the study, Francis H. Collins, released a statement with the backing of the National Institute of Health repudiating the ACP's statements on the matter.[14][3] Other pediatricians have also claimed their research has been misused by ACPeds.

The group has erroneously claimed a link between homosexuality and pedophilia; one of the group's leaders also compared transgender status to Gnosticism.[2] Unsurprisingly, ACPeds has also claimed that homosexuality is environmentally-caused. Likewise, they have circulated the Littman 2018 ROGD study as evidence for the same, but for transgender people.[2]

In attempting to undermine the case for gender transition as effective care, they misrepresented the findings of Dhejne et al. (2011), a paper erroneously cited for this sort of thing so often that it has become cliché.[15] Citing studies they haven't read really seems to be a habit; ACPeds also cited one paper that claimed transgender participants' "identity was much more influenced by their genetics than their rearing" as purported evidence that transgender identity has no biological basis.[16]

2023 leaks[edit]

ACPeds was one of the many anti-trans organizations affected by an email leak in March 2023, showing for instance one ACPeds member's correspondence with South Dakota state Rep. Fred Deutsch.[7][17]

In May 2023, the group suffered a more serious leak of over 10,000 confidential internal documents. This included a full roster of the group's members both former and current (along with some accompanying info on each such as how they heard of ACPeds); based on one such document, the group had slightly more than 700 current members in early 2022. According to Wired, "past and current members are mostly male and, on average, over 50 years old." (Quelle surprise). Elsewhere: "One document outlining recruitment efforts states in bold, red letters: 'TARGET CHRISTIAN MDs.'" Other contents indicated that the SPLC's designation of ACPeds as a hate group had seriously impacted the group's ability to fundraise.[18][19]

Around the same time as the May leak, their GuideStar/Candid (a nonprofit registry) profile appeared to have been defaced (or improved, depending on how you look at it), listing the organization as the "AMERICAN COLLEGE OF doodoo fartheads."[18] Perhaps to indicate that the organization is suspicious,[20] a crewmate from the video game Among Us was also added to the page.[21]

The internal documents revealed that the organization attempted to overcome its two-decade long struggle to gain significant number of members by leveraging the conservative media megaphone to make them look legitimate and gain influence in lobbying for state laws that support their positions.[22] The documents also showed that their positions were driven by religion and morality, rather than the 'settled science' as they claim in public.[22]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. Ryan Lenz (March 1, 2012). "American College of Pediatricians Defames Gays and Lesbians in the Name of Protecting Children". Intelligence Report. Southern Poverty Law Center.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 "American College of Pediatricians". Extremist Files. Southern Poverty Law Center.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Jack Turban (May 8, 2017). "The American College of Pediatricians Is an Anti-LGBT Group". Psychology Today.
  4. "Alphabetical Listing of Position Statements". ACPeds.
  5. (November 16, 2012). "In re: Gill - About the American College of Pediatricians". ACLU.
  6. Ellena Erskine (November 30, 2021). "We read all the amicus briefs in Dobbs so you don’t have to". SCOTUSblog.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Madison Pauly (March 8, 2023). "Inside the Secret Working Group That Helped Push Anti-Trans Laws Across the Country". Mother Jones.
  8. Rachael Robertson (April 20, 2023). "Who Are the Doctors Suing FDA Over the Abortion Pill?". Medpage Today.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Kim LaCapria (May 20, 2016). "Did American Pediatricians Issue a Statement That Transgenderism Is 'Child Abuse'?". Snopes.
  10. Samantha Allen (April 6, 2016). "The Religious Right’s Favorite Medical Association Is a Hate Group". The Daily Beast.
  11. David Gorski (February 29, 2016). "One more time: There's no evidence Gardasil causes premature ovarian failure". Respectful Insolence. ScienceBlogs.
  12. Michael Simpson (September 27, 2020). "Gardasil harms girls says American College of Pediatricians". Skeptical Raptor.
  13. Nick Pinto (May 26, 2010). "University of Minnesota professor's research hijacked". City Pages.
  14. Francis S. Collins (April 15, 2010). "Statement from NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., in Response to the American College of Pediatricians". National Institutes of Health.
  15. Zachary Zane (December 12 2018). "Known Hate Group Uses Fake Science to Support Trump's Anti-Trans Policy". Out.
  16. Zack Ford (August 19, 2016). "Fake Medical Organization Publishes Lie-Ridden Manifesto Attacking Transgender Kids". ThinkProgress.
  17. Mikael Thalen (March 9, 2023). "Massive cache of leaked emails details coordination between anti-trans groups, politicians". The Daily Dot.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Dell Cameron and Dhruv Mehrotra (May 2, 2023). An Anti-Trans Doctor Group Leaked 10,000 Confidential Files. Wired. (Archived).
  19. Mikael Thalen (May 3, 2023). "Anti-trans medical group leaves entire membership list exposed online". The Daily Dot.
  20. Sus Know Your Meme.
  21. "AMERICAN COLLEGE OF doodoo fartheads". Candid (Guidestar).
  22. 22.0 22.1 Documents show how conservative doctors influenced abortion, trans rights by Lauren Weber (June 15, 2023 at 6:00 a.m. EDT) The Washington Post.