Rainbow Pins in Pediatrics: Politicizing Patient Encounters

When is it appropriate for a pediatrician to politicize the examining room? Hmm, let's see. I would say, “Never.” I imagine a hefty proportion of average people would as well.

That occurred to me as I read a post by a pediatrician on a blog sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In a June 11, 2021 post entitled, “Pediatricians Must Provide Safe Spaces, Help Prevent Trauma Among LGBTQIA Children” the writer seems oblivious to the fact that much of the article is about himself and that gay pride rainbow pins are not neutral items of attire. So much for the emotional needs of children who might feel most comfortable seeing a doctor who is not pushing his sexual politics agenda.

The doctor says:

In many patient encounters like this one, I have established a trusting relationship with my queer symbol -- the rainbow

What about the kid who just wants a non-politicized patient encounter and does not feel comfortable with having symbols of the medical provider’s sexual preoccupations shoved in her face during a medical appointment? What about her safe space rights? Is her medical care enhanced by being treated by a crusader who says of himself:

I am a gay, cisgender man who is also a pediatrician and I pride myself in being an active and committed member of the queer community.

That is all well and good—outside of the examining room.

Are there pins that symbolize support for heterosexuality and, say, traditional marriage or chastity before marriage and can those with those views, which are common enough, sport them throughout pediatrics? Fair is fair, after all.

It is surprising that the American Academy of Pediatrics did not notice this rather alarming passage from this highly self-centered post:

all aspects of gender play and exploring sexuality are acceptable

All? Would most parents go along with that? Don’t think so…

He refers to “queer children” as if it is a given that children regard themselves as such and does not seem to reflect for a moment that by being so embracing of the supposed joys of queerness he might be confusing children rather than assisting them. He blithely talks of asking pronouns and normalizing all sexual and gender identities. It simply does not occur to him that by engaging in this highly intrusive, politicized and bewildering to many children practice of “asking pronouns” he is inserting his own agenda into what should be a neutral setting.

And, Doc. Just so you know--many parents don’t want all sexual identities “normalized.”

I have to hand it to this doctor. One seldom gets to read such a sterling example of self-involvement or the touting of one’s own heroism. He argues that his own ever so impressive courage justifies turning patient encounters into opportunities for proselytizing of the queer pride agenda. He says he is proud of himself and is embracing his strengths and so forth. How that helps a heterosexual child get through chicken pox is beyond me.

Is it asking too much for doctors to not drag their own resentments into clinical settings and not use the word “trauma” so broadly in their practice of medicine? Being bullied is a drag. But it is always “trauma?”

Maybe pediatricians could concentrate on medicine and not identity politics. Wild notion, I realize.

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