The College appreciates that Dr. Remafedi contacted us directly to state his concerns. The College President replied to him via email and the reply to him is posted below.  

Dear Dr. Remafedi:

You sent the American College of Pediatricians an email on April 12 alleging that we misstated your research on our Facts About Youth (Facts) website. We appreciate your contacting us directly to state your concerns and respond below to your three complaints.

Concerning your research, Demography of Sexual Orientation in Adolescents, [1] we offer the following clarifications:

1.)    It appears that there is no conflict between us here.  You correctly indicate that the College “accurately reported” your research regarding the fact that “26% of 12-year-olds reported being uncertain of their sexual orientation.”  Then you agree with our statement that this “uncertainty” gradually declines as the adolescent becomes an adult.

2.)    You claim that we incorrectly report the results of your work in our statement that “adolescents who defer ‘coming out as gay’ decrease the risk of suicide at a rate of 20 percent for each year that they delay self-labeling as homosexual or bisexual.” We acknowledge that the decreased risk of suicide at a rate of 20% per year does not appear in your interpretation of your research. However, we derived that figure from your data.  We believe your statement that “the odds of a suicide attempt diminished by 80%” is inaccurate, as explained in the attached analysis by Dr. Neil Whitehead.

Concerning your research, Risk Factors for Attempted Suicide in Gay and Bisexual Youth,[2] we offer the following comment:

3.)    You are concerned that by citing your work (reference #15) at the end of the paragraph in the What You Should Know section of the Facts website, we have attributed the contents of the entire paragraph to your publication.  That is not so, but to address your concern, we have placed a new reference ( at the end of the first sentence of the paragraph.

We are sure you will agree that research, by its very nature, invites discussion, interpretation, commentary and critique. Thank you for your communication with us.


Tom Benton, MD, FCP
American College of Pediatricians

[1] Remafedi G, Resnick M, Blum R, Harris L. Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. Pediatrics. 1992.89:714-721.

[2] Remafedi G, Farrow JA, Deisher RW. Risk factors for attempted suicide in gay and bisexual youth. Pediatrics. 1991.87:869-875.