An Alabama-based pediatrician “glorified” teen suicide during a panel talk at the American Academy of Pediatrics annual conference in Southern California on Saturday.
Video of the disturbing commentary surfaced online on Tuesday of Dr. Morissa Ladinsky, professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alabama, describing the suicide of a trans-identified teen as a gesture of bravery.
“And in the final days of 2014 … a local 16-year-old young lady, Leelah Alcorn, of trans experience, stepped boldly in front of a tractor-trailer, ending her life,” said Ladinsky, referring to trans-identified male Alcorn using female pronouns.
“Her suicide note, written to post on social media about an hour after her death, went viral around the world. Now, Leelah was not my patient. But I took care of hundreds of her classmates at Kings Mills High School. But each day, on the way to work, I passed that spot — where this teen boldly ended her life,” Ladinsky said, twice referring to the teen’s tragic death as a “bold” act.
Here’s my iPhone video of Dr. Ladinsky glorifying suicide in a 16 year old. In case you were thinking I misunderstood. pic.twitter.com/zrlSU2puVZ
— Julia Mason MS MD (@JuliaMasonMD1) October 11, 2022
Josh Alcorn, who called himself Leelah, was a male 16-year-old in Ohio who identified as transgender, and committed suicide by stepping in front of an oncoming semitrailer on a highway near his home. Activists frequently point to Alcorn’s death as a justification for administering “gender affirming care” as suicide prevention, a myth that has been debunked by data analysis.
The session, hosted by Ladinsky and Dr. Raymond Catteneo, an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, was called “Standing up for Gender-Affirming Care in the Statehouse, Courts, and Places of Employment.” The American Academy of Pediatrics held its annual conference at the Anaheim Convention Center on Oct 7-11.
Portland-based pediatrician Dr. Julia Mason attended the conference and shared the clip she took on her phone with her followers on Twitter. “Glorifying suicide is unprofessional and dangerous,” said Mason of Ladinsky’s comments. Mason has been an outspoken critic of “gender affirming care” and the rush to medicalize children and adolescents who do not conform to sex-based stereotypes.
“As pediatricians, we’ve forgotten what we’ve been taught about childhood development,” Mason continued. “We’ve forgotten what we’ve been taught about suicide prevention. We’re ignoring what our colleagues in Sweden & Finland & the United Kingdom have realized. We’re concretizing gender ideation.”
Mason was one of five AAP members to request a thorough and systematic evaluation of the available evidence to update the AAP’s 2018 policy that uncritically endorses “gender-affirmation” care, while rejecting other forms of treatment for minors experiencing gender distress, including the more cautious “watchful waiting” approach.
The formal request, called Resolution #27, was submitted in March. In response, the AAP made a new rule that shut down member comments, preventing pediatricians from contributing to the discussion, and stifling debate of the AAP’s controversial policy.
Mason helped form the Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), an international group of over 100 clinicians and researchers who advocate for a “safe, compassionate, ethical and evidence-informed healthcare for children, adolescents, and young adults with gender dysphoria.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a free hotline for individuals in crisis or distress or for those looking to help someone else. It is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255.