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CRAWLEY, Western Australia, August 16, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – More than 6,000 students have demanded that the University of Western Australia (UWA) cancel an upcoming speech by Dr. Quentin Van Meter who is critical of transgender ideology, but the university is standing firm for the time being.

Van Meter is a pediatric endocrinologist and president of the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a socially-conservative group of children’s health providers and experts. He is slated to speak at the university Friday as part of a nationwide tour sponsored by the Australian Family Association.

Left-wing UWA students took exception to the speaking engagement, The Guardian reports, collecting more than 6,000 petition signatures demanding that the school disinvite Van Meter over his criticism of gender fluidity.

“Transgender is actually a delusional disorder,” Van Meter has said. “It’s a state of mind with no biologic basis for it that can be found.” He has also argued that using puberty blockers on gender-confused children was akin to child abuse.

The left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which was forced to pay $3.4 million to another group for defamation and may face additional defamation suits, calls ACPeds a “fringe anti-LGBT hate group.”

“The views which have been expressed by the speakers in the past, particularly with respect to transgender people, are at odds with the university’s values of respect for human dignity and diversity,” a UVA statement on the matter said. But UWA vice-chancellor Dawn Freshwater told staff and students in an email that canceling his speech “would create an undesirable precedent for the exclusion of objectionable views from the campus.”

UWA Student Guild president Megan Lee wasn’t satisfied with that explanation, however. She accused the administration of “hiding behind the skirt of free speech” to tolerate “pseudo-science not rooted in fact, which tries to deny the existence of a group of people.”

But while social liberals often accuse conservatives of peddling “junk science,” Van Meter and ACPeds argue they are the ones putting ideology above evidence.

In February, Van Meter detailed several problems with a National Institute of Health study on treatment of gender-confused children, including that it was based on a five-year window that failed to evaluate the mental and emotional health of “transitioned” children over the long term.

“The rubber will hit the road, Van Meter predicts, ten, twenty, or thirty years later, when the children become adults and realize they must live the rest of their lives struggling to fit into a society that will not reshape itself to accommodate their situation,” American Principles Project senior fellow Jane Robbins wrote, summarizing Van Meter’s analysis. “And they must do this with infertility and potentially even life-threatening medical conditions resulting from the hormone treatments and, if they go on to have sex-reassignment surgery, with mutilated bodies.”

Studies indicate that between 80-90 percent of children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence. In cases where it persists, even “identity” reinforcement up to and including full gender “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ heightened tendency to engage in self-harm.

The University of Cambridge’s 2017 Stonewall report found that 96% of trans students in Scotland attempted self-harm through actions such as cutting themselves, and 40% attempted suicide. 40% in the United States have attempted suicide, as well, according to a 2016 survey from the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE). According to a 2011 study out of Sweden, trans people remain 19 times more likely to kill themselves than the general population, even after sex-reassignment surgery.

“At best, cooperating with a child's fantasy or delusion of being trapped in the wrong body temporarily mutes the impact of significant underlying emotional and psychological problems that are ultimately causing the gender dysphoria in the first place,” ACPeds’ Dr. Michelle Cretella argues.

The American Psychiatric Association still classifies gender dysphoria as a mental disorder, as did the World Health Organization (WHO) until June.