American Academy of Pediatrics Updates Policy on Gay Youth

Updated: 06/27/2013 11:36 PM KSTP.com By: Josh Rosenthal



Nine years before the Supreme Court's landmark rulings on same-sex marriage, Michael Grewe, who's now getting ready for a summer wedding, came out as gay. He was 20 at the time and never considered talking about his sexuality to his doctor.

"I would never have thought to come out to my doctor because I would never have thought of that to be a safe place to come out or be out as gay," he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, or A.A.P., wants to change that. They represent more than 60,000 doctors, and for the first time in a decade, they updated their policy statement on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning -- or LGBTQ -- youth.

The policy recommendations include that pediatricians affirm that "LGBTQ is normal, just different." It's also recommended that they should support "zero-tolerance policies for homophobic teasing," and "support parents in working through adjustment issues."

"This is a place where they can feel welcomed and get care. That's the point of all this," explained Hennepin County Medical Center Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Julia Joseph-Di Caprio, who is also a board member for the Minnesota chapter of the A.A.P.

"If we look at it as being normal, just different," she said, "then perhaps we will be a part of decreasing the stigma that these youth face."

Grewe says that's big, and when you combine it with the Supreme Court's ruling -- he thinks it could help change lives.

"There's still a long way to go obviously," he said, "but I'm very cautiously optimistic about it."