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Transgender advocates protest ‘transphobic lecture’ at St Pius V Church in Providence



Michelle Cretella, a member of the American College of Pediatrics (ACPed), gave a lecture Thursday evening at St Pius V Church in Providence on the dangers of the “transgender agenda.” In response, nearly 50 people supportive of transgender rights held signs protesting Cretella outside the church. They pointed out that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) considers Cretella’s organization, ACPed, “a fringe anti-LGBT hate group that masquerades as a premier United States association of pediatricians to push LGBT junk science…”

“Our presence at St Pius tonight achieved exactly what we hoped to achieve — to provide information to our community and support the transgender youth who deserve to know that their experiences are valid,” said protest organizer Galen Auer. “I don’t believe that St. Pius teaches hatred for the LGBTQ community, or that tonight’s event was motivated by hatred, but we know that factually misinformed rhetoric like Michelle Cretella’s has the potential to harm trans kids regardless of her intentions, which is why every major medical association in the country disagrees with her position on this subject.”

Here’s Cretella’s presentation, as described by the Rhode Island Catholic:

“Last year, the State of Rhode Island made it illegal for a licensed medical professional to counsel a child away from the desire to change his/her gender identity, yet it remains legal to inject that same child with hormone blockers and cross-sex hormones. Currently, Rhode Island public schools are deciding how to implement statewide transgender policies that would open up bathrooms, locker rooms, and sports teams to anyone who claims to be the opposite gender from their biological sex. Dr Cretella has been on the front lines of the fight against the transgender agenda for 25 years. She has seen firsthand the severe mental and physical abuse that children have endured at the hands of medical professionals who are willing to “transition” a child from boy to girl or girl to boy, a feat that is biologically impossible.”

ACPed is not the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), founded in 1937 with 64,000 members. ACPed was founded in 2002 and has less than 500 members. Whereas the AAP supports the idea that transgender children, adolescents and adults should be affirmed and supported in their gender identity and expression, Cretella’s ACPed supports practices, such as forcing children to hide their gender or sexuality and corporal punishment, that are harmful to children’s health. ACPed places a premium on heterosexual parents, and falsely claims that same sex parents harm their children.

In addition to the AAP, the American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Medical Association all support and affirm the gender identity and expression of transgender children adolescents and adults. The SPLC goes on to say that Cretella’s ACPed, “opposes adoption by LGBT couples, links homosexuality to pedophilia, endorses so-called reparative or sexual orientation conversion therapy for homosexual youth, believes transgender people have a mental illness and has called transgender health care for youth child abuse.”

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The protest itself was entirely peaceful. Protesters held signs and handed out flyers to those entering the church. In a kind gesture, the church put out a table with coffee and hot chocolate for the protesters. The Providence Police Department was on hand but did not interfere with the protest. A few minutes before the lecture was due to start, several protesters went inside the church to hear Cretella’s lecture. Signs being prohibited, some of the protester-attendees expected to be ejected from the lecture when they held up signs emblazoned with the word, “LIE!”

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About the Author

Steve Ahlquist is Uprise RI's co-founder and lead reporter. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.