Atlanta doctor who backs anti-trans bill leads hate group

The Atlanta doctor who vouched for legislation that would deny medically-necessary healthcare to transgender minors is the leader of an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

Dr. Quentin Van Meter is the president of the American College of Pediatricians, a group with a long history of anti-LGBTQ activity, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. He runs Van Meter Pediatric Endocrinology in Northwest Atlanta.

Van Meter supports a bill by state Rep. Ginny Ehrhart that would make it a felony to give hormone treatments or perform gender affirmation surgery on minors. He called such treatments “medical experimentation based on wishful social theory” in a press release from Ehrhart’s (photo) office released Wednesday.

The bill “reflects a stunning lack of knowledge, coupled with an enormous amount of prejudice,” according to Beth Littrell, senior staff attorney for SPLC.

“Not only does it contradict the overwhelming medical consensus on treating gender dysphoria by professional medical organizations such as the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association, among many others, but it also puts children at risk of irreparable harm,” she said in a statement.

Van Meter is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics at Emory University and Morehouse School of Medicine, according to his website. He’s also affiliated with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Van Meter has spoken out about trans-affirming healthcare at events throughout the world. He gave a speech called “The Travesty of the Current State of Transgender Medicine” at the International Federation for Therapeutic & Counseling Choice in November 2018 (see video below). The IFTCC is a London-based conversion therapy organization. 

'Withholding care should be criminalized'

 

The bill Van Meter supports gives no consideration for the well-being of the children it supposedly protects, according to Izzy Lowell, a physician with Decatur-based Queer Med.

“I treat several hundred minors with hormone therapy and puberty blockers in my practice. All of them are happy with the results,” she told Project Q. “We ask at every visit if patients are pleased with the effects and if they want to continue treatment, which can be discontinued at any point.”

Lowell (second photo) said the effects of hormone therapy will become irreversible over time, but it’s a long process that could take years, which would allow ample time for a patient to change course if they wanted.

“Parents are not pushing their children toward this treatment,” she said. “Typically it is quite the opposite, with the child advocating for themselves for a long time before the parent(s) agree."

“In my extensive clinical experience, many, many families return saying how much better their child is doing at home, in school, with friends, emotionally, socially, etc. once they start hormone therapy. For children who need these treatments, withholding care should be criminalized,” she added.

Gender-appropriate hormones are “vital” to the affirmation of trans minors, according to True You Southeast, an LGBTQ-affirming mental health practice in Decatur.

“At True You Southeast, we call on lawmakers to do the right thing by affirming transgender, non-binary and gender non-conforming children and teenagers by showing disapproval of this bill and advocating for the rights of the transgender community by voting no on this bill if it comes up for a vote in legislation,” the group said in a press release.

The 2020 legislative session begins in January.