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Medical Organizations Call for End to Gender Ideology in Pediatric Care

The American College of Pediatricians and many other influential medical organizations and doctors have signed the Doctors Protecting Children Declaration.
Grant Atkinson
Written by
A group of doctors and other health-care professionals sit around a table

In recent years some activists and medical associations have made a concerted effort to push the idea that boys can become girls and vice versa. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has advocated for dangerous interventions on children as young as 14, and organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign have attempted to intimidate, shame, and scare anyone who questions radical gender ideology.

Thankfully, many reputable medical associations, individual doctors, and other health-care providers are speaking up about the harm that gender ideology can cause.

The Doctors Protecting Children Declaration

In June 2024, pediatricians from the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds) and other medical organizations signed the Doctors Protecting Children Declaration. The declaration affirms that there are only two sexes and that recognizing the biological differences between males and females “is critical to the practice of good medicine and to the development of sound public policy for children and adults alike.”

The declaration urges major American medical institutions to “adhere to evidence-based research,” as well as employ “comprehensive evaluations and therapies” for youth with gender dysphoria instead of following the failed protocols of WPATH, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Endocrine Society.

Multiple Alliance Defending Freedom clients, including the Alliance for Hippocratic Medicine, the Catholic Medical Association, and the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, co-signed the declaration.

The Doctors Protecting Children Declaration correctly points out that most children who experience gender dysphoria or similar unhappiness about their bodies before puberty typically become comfortable with their sex after puberty—as long as no one interferes with that natural process.

Instead of letting children go through this normal development, activist organizations like WPATH have encouraged children as young as 14 years old to start taking cross-sex hormones. WPATH has also advocated for potentially sterilizing surgeries to be performed on children as young as 15 years old.

Advocates of gender ideology have wrongly described these harmful interventions as “gender-affirming care.” In reality, they are the opposite. They aren’t care at all. “Affirming a gender identity” doesn’t equal affirming a child’s inherent value or doing what’s best for the child in the long term. Instead it “affirms” the destructive falsehood that people can be born in the wrong body, leading to the subjection of children to harmful, often irreversible interventions with serious consequences.

In addition to calling out these dangerous procedures, the declaration also recognizes the harms of so-called “social transition,” which involves treating children as if they are a gender different than their sex, often by encouraging the use of new names, inaccurate pronouns, and clothing associated with the opposite sex.

“Youth who are socially affirmed are more likely to progress to using puberty blockers and cross-sex (masculinizing or feminizing) hormones,” the declaration states. It adds that these puberty blockers “permanently disrupt physical, cognitive, emotional and social development.”

The tide is turning on gender ideology

European countries were among the first to adopt standards of care that embraced gender ideology rather than biological reality. But as the Doctors Protecting Children Declaration notes, some of these countries are reversing course.

A review from Dr. Hillary Cass, former president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health in England, found “remarkably weak evidence” to support providing puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and irreversible surgeries to children with gender dysphoria. Dr. Cass recommended using “extreme caution” when providing cross-sex hormones to minors and exploring other possible solutions like evidence-based psychological treatment.

The declaration noted that Scotland, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland have all joined England in pausing protocols related to “social, hormonal, and surgical interventions.”

Meanwhile, internal WPATH discussions leaked in March 2024 revealed that the activist group was pushing ideology over science. The “WPATH files,” as they came to be known, included one doctor admitting that “it’s out of [children’s] developmental range sometimes to understand the extent to which some of these medical interventions are impacting them.” A leaked set of online forum entries featured WPATH doctors discussing ways to downplay concerns about people who come to regret undergoing life-altering procedures.

All this evidence points to one central truth: medical care should be based on scientific facts, not just thoughts and feelings. The Doctors Protecting Children Declaration recognizes this truth and calls on major American medical institutions to do the same.

Grant Atkinson serves as Jr. Digital Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom
Grant Atkinson
Digital Writer
Grant serves as a Digital Writer at Alliance Defending Freedom.