American anti-trans activist invited to give Singaporeans a ‘better understanding’

Quentin Van Meter. Photo: Quentin Van Meter/Facebook
Quentin Van Meter. Photo: Quentin Van Meter/Facebook

An American doctor who believes transgenderism as a “myth” and has supported the forced “conversion” of homosexuals has been invited to lead a discussion of the issue Saturday in Singapore. 

After details of the Transgenderism: Science vs. Ideology webinar drew criticism over Quentin Van Meter’s documented history of homophobia, the event’s organizer, Focus On The Family Singapore’s Jason Wong, told Coconuts yesterday that he believes Van Meter will provide a better understanding of the matter which recently became a hot topic of debate.

“Given that different people hold different views about sexual orientation and gender dysphoria, I can understand why certain speakers will be deemed controversial by those who do not hold the same views,” Wong said. “Hence the topic for the webinar is Science vs Ideology. To have better understanding of the issues, it is important that we know what’s the difference.”

The panel promises to be anything than a neutral forum for the issue given the long history Van Meter, a pet of the American far right fringe, has advocating against gender identity.

As president of the American College of Pediatricians – which despite its innocuous-sounding name has been classified as a “fringe anti-LGBTQ hate group” – Van Meter has backed attempts to make hormone therapy a serious crime in his home state of Georgia.

Singaporean conservatives who’ve argued against “importing” Western culture wars unlikely even paused over the irony of flying in an American to tell Singaporeans what they should think. After all, importing Van Meter for a nuanced debate of transgenderism is like inviting rabid anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy for a good-faith discussion of inoculations.

Van Meter’s group has rejected that it is anti-trans, saying that it has never attacked anyone and only promoted “positions rooted in science that dispel their ideology and agenda.”

That has meant backing discrimination, such as the anti-trans bill that, had it not failed, would have made gender reassignment a felony crime. The pediatric endocrinologist has referred his own patients to “conversion therapy,” a discredited practice of forcing the gay out of people that’s been rejected as bad medicine.

It would be wrong to describe Van Meter as influential outside of a small political margin; he is little known otherwise and his videos lending a science-adjacent imprimatur to discrimination have drawn little interest online. 

Just last year, a Texas court ruled that Van Meter was not an expert on the issue in a case over whether a transgender teen should be given puberty blockers. The University of Western Australia in 2018 canceled an event that featured the doctor following public outcry.

But Wong said that Van Meter was in demand by some Singaporeans, including parents, professional mental health workers and educators, who Wong said had requested Van Meter join the three-hour Zoom event. 

“This event is organised at the request of a number of parents, professional mental health workers and educators. They hope to be educated on this issue,” he wrote.

Focus on the Family is a global fundamentalist Christian organization that promotes socially conservative values by opposing things like same-sex marriage and reproductive rights. Wong also founded the Yellow Ribbon Project in 2004 and the Dads for Life movement in 2009.

Several people expressed disappointment that Van Meter would be bringing his activism to Singapore. 

“Is there a way we can report this event to the authorities as hate speech? We have a law that includes protecting lgbtq folk from hate speech right?” Janani J wrote on Facebook.

“Revolting. So disappointing that he’s being given a platform in Singapore,” another named Paul Urgh wrote.

Other stories you should check out:

Singapore pastor says girls should cover up to spare men from ‘lustful thoughts’
Singaporean actor Pierre Png signs with two Hollywood agencies

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