In an interview yesterday on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” radio program, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry to explained why he is urging public schools in his state to defy the Obama administration’s guidance on the rights of transgender students.
Landry, a former GOP member of Congress, said that his office would intervene to help any school that tries to defy guidelines from the Departments of Education and Justice letter on how Title IX protects transgender students. He repeatedly twisted the facts on issues related to transgender rights, citing a fringe medical group and claiming that LGBT nondiscrimination policies have empowered child predators, to support his decision.
“Look, the American Pediatrics put out a statement that basically says that transgender identity is a mental illness,” he said. “You cannot change biology, you cannot say you were a female and now we’re going to make you a male simply by some sort of operation. It doesn’t work that way. The good Lord doesn’t build us in that particular way. They’re trying to change our sex, who we are, and basically claiming that gender identity can be biological as well as psychological. And if you look at study after study from some of the leading psychologists, Johns Hopkins University put out one, American Pediatrics, all of them said that this is a mental state, you cannot change a person’s biological identity.”
The group that Landry referred to as “American Pediatrics” and whose opinion he cited is a small fringe group called the American College of Pediatricians, not the leading pediatrics group, the American Association of Pediatricians.
As Zack Ford of Think Progress noted, “The 36,000-member American Psychiatric Association, which defines mental illnesses through its Diagnostics and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), says the exact opposite, explaining, 'It is important to note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder.' It is only distress associated with such an identity that should be treated — and treated with affirmation.’”
Meanwhile, the AAP — the leading pediatric group — called for the repeal of North Carolina’s anti-LGBT facilities law, HB2, and said in 2013: “For transgender youth, pediatricians should provide the opportunity to acknowledge and affirm their feelings of gender dysphoria and desires to transition to the opposite gender. Referral of transgender youth to a qualified mental health professional is critical to assist with the dysphoria, to educate them, and to assess their readiness for transition. With appropriate assistance and care, sexual minority youth should live healthy, productive lives while transitioning through adolescence and young adulthood.”
After citing the fringe ACP while passing it off as a legitimate group, Landry told Perkins, a vocal anti-LGBT activist, that nondiscrimination policies have a “tendency” to “create safe harbors for people who want to prey on children.”
“What happens is it supports their criminal behavior, it makes it difficult for people like me and law enforcement agencies out there to take people who prey on children off of the street,” he said.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Landry is relying on debunked arguments to make his case against transgender rights, since that’s seemingly all the anti-LGBT movement has left to rely on.