The American College of Pediatricians mailed a letter this spring to 14,800 U.S. public school superintendents urging them to avoid prematurely labeling children as “gay” or “transgender.” The letter announced a new website called FactsAboutYouth.com to provide factual information to educators, parents, and students about sexual development. The letter stated, “As pediatricians, ... we are increasingly concerned that in too many instances, misinformation or incorrect assumptions are guiding well-intentioned educators to adopt policies that are actually harmful to youth dealing with sexual confusion.” The letter reminded superintendents that adolescence is “a time of upheaval,” when young people are confused about many things, including sex" and may be “vulnerable" to encouragement by school personnel to “come out” and “be affirmed.”
The letter cautioned that studies show that most adolescents who experience same-sex attraction no longer do so by age 25. One study reported that, while 26% of 12-year-olds feel uncertainty about their sexual orientation, by the time they are adults, only 2-3% identify themselves as homosexual.
The purpose of the College of Pediatricians' letter was to prevent premature labeling that may lead some kids into harmful homosexual behaviors they would otherwise not pursue. Increased health risks include higher rates of sexually transmitted infections, alcohol and substance abuse, anxiety, depression and suicide. At least one superintendent responded positively. He called the letter “refreshing,” and a help to school personnel who “do not want to get involved,” in this issue." The College of Pediatricians agrees that schools should not try to diagnose or treat any student’s medical condition or try to ‘affirm’ a student’s perceived personal sexual orientation.
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