Medical student aims to block endocrinologist’s transgender talk

A WA medical student is trying to stop his university hosting a US endocrinologist with controversial views on transgender people.

Dr Quentin Van Meter, a paediatric endocrinologist in Georgia, claims there is no scientific evidence for transgender identity, which he describes as being “a social movement”

He is  due to speak at the University of WA on Friday 17 August as part of an Australian speaking tour sponsored by the conservative Australian Family Association.

In his talks, Dr Van Meter claims that transgender identity is a result of childhood emotional trauma, not biology, and can be cured with counselling.

But his claims have offended many, including UWA medical student Thomas Drake-Brockman, who started a petition calling on UWA not to host Dr Van Meter’s on its campus.

“As a UWA student doctor, and as a member of the LGBTIQA+ community, I’m disgusted to see UWA hosting Quentin Van Meter, president of the anti-LGBT American College of Pediatricians (a splinter group born from hate, unlike the actual American Academy of Pediatrics),” he wrote on the change.org petition page.

“This organisation shamelessly promotes their ultra-conservative agenda at the expense of the health and well-being of trans kids.

“Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and hosted by the equally dubious Australian Family Association – who consider marriage equality worthy of ridicule, and equivocal with pedophilia – this is misrepresentation at its best. I expect my university to see through this false façade and see this harmful, anti-science, anti-LGBT monstrosity for what it is.”

The petition had gained 7400 signatures by Thursday 16 August. But this level of support has not been enough to sway UWA authorities, who said barring Dr Van Meter would create “an undesirable precedent for the exclusion of objectionable views from the campus”.

“It would also give rise to arguments that the values we hold are supported by intolerant and repressive policies against those who do not share those values,” said a statement by vice-chancellor Dawn Freshwater and chancellor Robert French, according to the West Australian.

Dr Van Meter told the Catholic Weekly that the purpose of his tour was to explain that the concept of ‘gender identity’ [as opposed to biological sexual identity] being an inborn thing had no basis in science

“There are very few incidences in nature where there is a combination of both XY and XX cell lines in the same human being. And those patients very interestingly do not have any concern or question about ‘gender identity’,” he said.

According to Dr Van Meter, the events of puberty were “key and essential to heal the patient” and the use of ‘puberty blockers’ such as GnRh analogues was wrong

“If you block puberty at the onset of true puberty you’re going against the physiological nature of what puberty is meant to do.”

With counselling to address emotional trauma, “sexual identity confusion” could be cured in 98% of boys and 80% of girls, said Dr Van Meter, who was also speaking in Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Brisbane.

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