By Christina Buttons
A parent-led group organized a protest outside the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) conference in Southern California on Saturday to object to the medical transition of trans-identifying minors, a position the AAP has uncritically adopted.
More than 150 peaceful protesters belonging to the First Do No Harm Unity Rally wore matching purple t-shirts and carried signs outside the Anaheim Convention Center, where the AAP’s Oct 7-11 annual conference was held.
“Our mission was to speak with doctors and educate them,” said Erin Friday, the organizer of the rally, who put together brochures of information to hand out to doctors attending the conference. Friday told The Daily Wire that while counter protestors representing trans advocacy groups were disruptive, they did their best to avoid confrontation. “We just stood there silently holding our signs and passing out information,” Friday said.
Representatives from the organizations Advocates Protecting Children, Gays Against Groomers, Lesbians United, MOM Army, Our Duty, Partners for Ethical Care, and Genspect attended the demonstration.
“I was disappointed in the fact that the AAP leadership told their participants to steer clear of us,” said Friday, who was hoping to interact with more physicians at the conference. “But we did manage to send a team over to a separate section away from the rest of the protesters that handed out bags full of information to doctors.”
At noon, the protestors gathered on the sidewalk near a hotel parking lot to hear from scheduled speakers, which was live-streamed online. Counter-protesters began shouting insults and mocking Abigail Martinez, their first speaker, who tearfully shared the story about how her teenage daughter was taken from her custody after adopting a transgender identity, and eventually commited suicide after beginning to medically transition.
To avoid further escalation with the counter-protestors, who were becoming increasingly more hostile, Friday announced the group would be enacting “Plan B.” The group picked up their signs and moved indoors to a conference room at the Clarion Hotel, where the livestream resumed. Counter-protesters tried to access the conference room, but were stopped by hotel security, Friday said.
Inside the conference room, the scheduled speakers commenced with their talks. Abel Garcia, Chloe Cole, Cat Cattison, and Scott Newgent all spoke of their medical transition journeys that ultimately led them to regret their decisions, and caused them to speak publicly about the doctors who rushed to “affirm” their trans-identities.
Cole, an 18-year-old young woman who began puberty blockers and testosterone at 13 and had a double mastectomy at 15 on the advice of her doctors, announced a new support network and advocacy group she formed for detransitioners called Detrans United.
Cole read aloud a letter addressed to Attorney General Merrick Garland signed on behalf of Detrans United, that was written in response to a letter sent the previous week from the AAP, American Medical Association, and Children’s Hospital Association, urging Garland to investigate and prosecute “high-profile” individuals who they claimed were spreading “disinformation” about the “gender affirming” medical model they endorse.
“We are writing as a group of individuals who formerly identified as transgender,” Cole said. “Many of us were young teenagers when we decided on the direction of medical experts to pursue irreversible hormone treatments and surgeries to bring our bodies into closer alignment with what we thought was our true gender identity.”
“Many of us had extensive history as a mental illness, many of us had experienced significant childhood trauma. But all of this was ignored because we uttered the word ‘gender,’” Cole continued. “This utterance placed us on a narrow medical pathway that led us to sacrifice our healthy bodies in future fertility and obeisance to the claim that our suffering was a result of having a gender identity that did not match our biological sex.”
Lastly, Dr. Julia Mason, a Portland-based pediatrician and member of the AAP, got up to the podium to speak to her own experience requesting a thorough and systematic evaluation of the available evidence to update their policy that uncritically endorses “gender-affirmation” care, while rejecting other forms of treatment for minors experiencing gender distress, including the more cautious “watchful waiting” approach.
The formal request, called Resolution #27, was submitted by five AAP-affiliated pediatricians in March. In response, the AAP made a new rule that shut down member comments, preventing pediatricians from contributing to the discussion, and stifling debate of the AAP’s controversial policy.
Mason helped form the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), an international group of over 100 clinicians and researchers, who advocate for a “safe, compassionate, ethical and evidence-informed healthcare for children, adolescents, and young adults with gender dysphoria.”