Groundbreaking study: Kids mean what they say

The clinic advised that Rudy should start to make his own choices and, specifically, recommended that he was allowed to pick an item of clothing. ‘He chose a Disney princess nightie and skipped around the house in it, laughing,’ recalls Kathryn. Towards the end of Year 1 at school, Rudy started wearing girls’ clothes at home. ‘Of course, he chose to dress as a girl. I watched him at the disco, chatting to girls, wearing a pink glittery dress. That was a turning point.’ Back home, Rudy chose a girl’s school uniform for the new term and asked to be called Ruby.

–Parenting a transgender child: The day my four-year-old son told me he was a girl

 


When Ana was five years old, her mother Cathy organised a birthday party with one rather unusual condition: No girly presents, please. ‘I felt awful doing it, but I knew Ana would be devastated if anything pink or fluffy turned up.’

‘I knew when I was growing up,’ says Alfie now, ‘that I didn’t want to do the things that girls did. I was the sort of kid who ran around and got dirty. … People thought me being a tomboy was a phase, but I knew I wouldn’t change. I didn’t want to wear girl clothes. I hated the way they fitted to me. … I was told I would change and get interested in make-up, but I could never see it happening.’ The paediatrician then brought up the topic of gender transition. So in the car on the way home, I said to mum: ‘I think I’m transgender.’

–My child had a boy’s brain in a girl’s body


Trans activists and gender specialists don’t have much in the way of well controlled, peer-reviewed research to support their core assumption that “gender identity” is innate and immutable. The latest brain science shows very little difference between male and female brains. If this is the case, what is the scientific basis for believing there is an innate “gender identity,” baked in at birth, that would be worth turning young people into sterilized, permanent medical patients as adults?

Recently,  in the activist blogosphere, the transgender press, and on the WPATH Facebook page, there have been excited proclamations that data to prove “true identity” has emerged in the form of a paper published a few months ago in the journal Psychological Science. The study of 32 “transgender” children and the same number of non-trans controls, entitled “Gender Cognition in Transgender Children,” [abstract; full study here] was conducted by University of Washington assistant professor of psychology and director of its TransYouth Project  Kristina Olson (not to be confused with LA Children’s Hospital gender specialist Johanna Olson), along with transgender activist Aidan Key and Stony Brook University assistant professor of psychology Nicholas Eaton.

I’m going to start with the punch line and work backwards from there: The study demonstrates only that 32 socially transitioned children (that is, kids who are being “supported” by their families and “gender specialists” in being referred to by an opposite sex name, pronouns, and assumedly, though the authors don’t tell us, sporting opposite-sex-stereotyped clothing and hairstyles), really, truly do prefer the playmates, hairstyles, and clothing more typical of the opposite sex. Further, these “transgender” children really and truly do prefer and “identify with” the same playmates and physical attributes as the control group of “cisgender” children (yes, the study authors use that term) of the opposite sex.

Who were the “transgender children” recruited for the study?

To be included in the current study, children had to be 5 to 12 years old and live in all contexts as the gender expression “opposite” of their natal sex. These requirements resulted in the exclusion of 4 additional gender-nonconforming participants

And the control group?

Thirty-two control participants (20 female, 12 male; mean age = 9 years) … matched to the transgender participants were recruited through the first author’s research lab from a database of families interested in participating in developmental psychology research studies. They were required to have no significant history of gender nonconformity.

[Note: A group of “cisgender” siblings of the “transgender” children were also part of the study, but time and space in this blog do not allow a full analysis of their responses, which were similar to but not the same as the non-familial “cisgender” control group.]

What do the authors mean by “gender nonconforming” or “no significant history of gender nonconformity”? This is never defined, although we can guess that the “transgender” children dress, play, and appear differently from generally recognized gender stereotypes. But the control group? Do the authors mean these children entirely conformed to stereotypes—i.e., the girls all wore dresses, played with dolls, and had long hair, while the boys played with trucks, had short hair and wore rough-and-tumble   trousers?

Olson et al don’t tell us. And what about the four excluded “gender nonconforming” subjects, who apparently did not “live in all contexts” as “opposite” to their natal sex? Did these children occasionally indulge in sex-stereotyped play and behaviors, so they weren’t “trans” enough?

The study stimuli consisted of questions coupled with pictures of boys and girls, “matched for approximate age and attractiveness.” (And what does “attractiveness” mean? There is an even bigger question vis-à-vis these pictures, which I will get to in a few moments).

Olson and colleagues tested the children in 3 areas:

  • Gender preference (for play/friendship)
  • Object preference (associating a nonsense word with a picture of a boy or girl,  saying this was the name of a toy or food that the pictured child was using)
  • Gender identity (whether the child feels they are a boy or girl)

Each of these three variables were addressed via explicit (i.e., responses to direct questions)  and implicit measures.

What’s the difference between explicit and implicit measures? In psychology research, it has been posited that “implicit” measures

 may resist self-presentational forces that can mask personally or socially undesirable evaluative associations

In other words, “implicit” measures are meant to get at how someone really thinks and feels, whereas a reliance strictly on explicit “self reporting” might be tainted by what a subject thinks someone wants to hear (or other motives).

So, for the “gender preference” part of the Olson et al study, the explicit measure was to ask the child, “who would you rather be friends with?” when shown a pair of pictures of a boy and girl. The implicit measure was to show the children pictures of a boy and girl and ask to label them “good” or “bad.”  (The underlying premise here is that most pre-pubescent kids prefer their own “gender” as playmates).

For gender identity, the implicit measure consisted of asking the research subjects to label pictures of boys and girls as “me” or “not me.” The explicit corollary was

telling them that people have outsides (their physical body) and insides (their feelings, thoughts, and mind). They were told that some people feel like they are boys on the outside, and some feel like they are girls  on the outside, and that those people might feel the same way or different on the inside. They were told some people feel, for example, like a boy on the outside and inside, and that others feel like a boy on the outside but a girl on the inside. Further, they were told that some people feel like both or neither, or that their feelings change over time.

Children were asked whether, on the inside, they felt like a boy, a girl, neither, or both; whether their gender identity changed over time; or whether they did not know.

For “object preferences” the authors didn’t assess preference for actual objects, but only whether the research subjects chose the same preferences as pictured  boys or girls. They were

shown pairs of photographs of children and told that each one had a preferred toy or food. The names of these items were in fact novel words (e.g., “This is Amanda and she likes to play flerp. This is Andrew and he likes to play babber.”). Our interest here was whether children would use the gender of the person endorsing the item to inform their own preferences.

It’s difficult to see how this adds any more information than asking kids what sex playmates they prefer. If a child who “identifies” as a boy sees a picture of a boy playing “babber,” that child would likely prefer to do what the pictured boy is doing.

Be that as it may, what exactly did Olson et al set out to prove with these probes?

… if these children are not confused, delayed, or pretending, and in fact their expressed gender represents their true identity, we would expect them to respond   similarly to gender-matched control participants not only on self-report measures, but also on implicit ones.

We reasoned that if children are confused by the particular questions posed to them….[or] if they are merely self-reporting the “wrong” gender identity… or even if they are just oppositionally reacting to the question of their gender identity— …these children should show one of two patterns of confusion. First, they could be truly confused, as indicated by random responding and no systematic  response across measures and participants. Alternatively, they could implicitly identify as their natal sex (because they actually understand gender and are merely self reporting this “incorrect” gender).

And the results of the study? Surprise—the socially transitioned “transgender” children did indeed respond similarly to the “cisgender” control group.

But what does this actually demonstrate?

First, let’s consider the stimuli, consisting of pictures of age-matched boys and girls. What would distinguish a picture of a prepubescent boy from a picture of a prepubescent girl,  apart from clothing and hair styles? Not much.

Prior to puberty and the influence of estrogen or testosterone, school-aged kids look much the same. So unless the pictured boys and girls had identical haircuts and clothing, the 32 “transgender” children labeling a boy or girl picture as “me” or “not me” would have been identifying with a boy or girl based on stereotyped dress and appearance—haircuts, clothing, and the like. How could it be otherwise?

Put another way, if the pictures of the boys and girls did all have the same haircut and clothes, irrespective of biological sex, would the research subjects have been able to identify the sex of the child they identified with? Likely not.

Now, to the question of whether these kids were confused, delayed, or pretending, the authors did show that these kids are not likely to be knowingly pretending to be the opposite sex, nor are they “confused” i.e., they just don’t know what they think or feel. But why is this of much significance?  What would be the motivation for these children to “merely” self report the “incorrect” gender, or to “oppositionally react”? The fact that these kids are sincere in their convictions is reported by Olson et al as an important finding, but does anyone, including critics of pediatric transition like me, doubt that dysphoric or trans-identified kids really mean their gender nonconformity?

Further,  deliberately “pretending” in order to deceive is not the same as conflating fantasy or desire with objective reality–an aspect of normal childhood development which activists, gender specialists, and researchers like these seem never to have heard of. Just because a child  sincerely sees him or herself as the opposite sex does not make it true.  Child psychologists have known for decades that children’s firmly held beliefs do not always comport with reality.

 Research indicates that children begin to learn the difference between fantasy and reality between the ages of 3 and 5 (University of Texas, 2006).  However, in various contexts, situations, or individual circumstances, children may still have difficulty discerning the difference between fantasy and reality as old as age 8 or 9, and even through age 11 or 12. For some children this tendency may be stronger than with others.

The authors seem not to have thought of the most obvious conclusion: That these kids DO believe they are the opposite sex but that doesn’t make it so—especially since even the implicit measures the authors seem to think are so meaningful are nothing more than identification with gender-stereotyped activities and appearances which they happen to prefer.

By demonstrating that the “transgender” children aren’t just being obstinate or dishonest, Olson et al seem to believe that their study indicates (in their words) “true identity” in the children they have labeled “transgender.”

But what is “true identity?” Is it the elusive Holy Grail of inborn, unchangeable gender, something no one has come remotely close to proving, yet is the unquestioned assumption from which all the current medical and psychological and legal decisions about “transgender children” have flowed in the last few years?

That the authors even use the term “true identity,” which they themselves admit is unproven, is all we need to show the study is fatally tainted by confirmation bias.

 Confirmation bias, as the term is typically used in the psychological literature, connotes the seeking or interpreting of evidence in ways that are partial to existing beliefs, expectations, or a hypothesis in hand.

–Confirmation Bias: A Ubiquitous Phenomenon in Many Guises, by Raymond S. Nickerson,  Tufts University

It’s quite clear that the authors’ “hypothesis in hand” is that there is such a thing as “true identity.” Further, they interpret the evidence that “transgender” children feel as strongly about their identity and gender nonconformity as “cisgender” children do as somehow confirming this hypothesis. Even though they themselves in their Notes section  of the study assert:

  1. We avoid using common colloquial phrases such as “born as a boy” because they suggest that transgender identities are not innate (an unresolved scientific question) and are thus offensive to some individuals.

 On the one hand, because they don’t want to be “offensive” to “some individuals” (and I think we can guess who they are), Olson et al don’t want to “suggest” that gender isn’t innate (and in fact present their study as evidence that their “transgender” research subjects have a “true identity,”). But at the same time, the authors explicitly acknowledge that the question of “innate” gender identity is an “unresolved scientific question.”

But while being careful not to offend “some” people, they don’t have any trouble splattering the term “cisgender” throughout this article,  despite the fact that some other individuals find “cis,” well—offensive. Certainly Olson et al aren’t living in such a bubble that they are unaware that the label “cisgender” is repugnant to many of us who the transgender community apply it to.

And in point 2 in the Notes, we have a further indication that the authors’ work is riddled with confirmation bias:

2. We use the term “opposite” for clarity but acknowledge that gender is not binary.

They “acknowledge” that gender is not binary. But as with “innate  gender identity,” who has proven that “gender is not binary?”  No one. This jargon comes straight from the trans activist lexicon.

In peer-reviewed research, investigators always indicate the limitations and possible flaws in their study.  The weaknesses I’ve pointed out in this post are not even marginally addressed by the authors. What limitations do Olson et al concede?

 All of the participants tested here identified and lived life as one gender at the time of assessment, choosing names consistent with that gender and preferring those pronouns as well. Future studies along the spectrum of childhood transgender experiences will be needed to clarify how generalizable these findings are to children who have different degrees of identified gender expression or to those with different life experiences.

Apparently what’s next is seeing whether their study measures can also be used to prove the “true” identities of “gender fluid,” “genderqueer,” and “nonbinary” children. I wonder what exclusion criteria they’ll have in future studies? Hopefully they will be more precise in their definitions of what constitutes  gender (non)conformity in their next paper.

In their summary, Olson et al reiterate their key finding that these kids really mean it when they say they prefer the lifestyle of the opposite sex:

In summary, our findings refute the assumption that transgender children are simply confused by the questions at hand, delayed, pretending, or being oppositional. Instead, transgender children show responses that look largely indistinguishable from those of cisgender children, who match transgender children’s gender expression on both more- and less-controllable measures. Further, and addressing the broader concern about transgender individuals’ mere existence raised at the outset of this article,the data reported here should serve as evidence that transgender children do indeed exist and that their identity is a deeply held one.

“Do indeed exist.” Of course children who believe they are, or want to be, the opposite sex “exist.” And of course such children are going to exhibit preferences for the appearances and activities of the opposite sex, in a “deeply held” way. But it doesn’t follow that those children are somehow innately the opposite sex.

All Olson and colleagues have demonstrated is that some children really, really, really want to be the opposite sex; even to the point of saying they are the opposite sex. They want to look and dress like the opposite sex—a girl, for instance, might want a short haircut and to wear comfortable boys’ clothes. They like playing with children of the opposite sex. And they like doing things that the opposite sex likes to do. In other words, these kids are don’t conform to the stereotypes of their birth gender. But does it then follow that they should be groomed and conditioned to believe they are the opposite sex, leading them in the near future to puberty blockers and on to sterilization and surgeries?

If the stakes were not so incredibly high, a study like this could simply be filed away under “strongly held beliefs and desires of gender nonconforming children.” But given the fact that so many activists and gender specialists are in the business of promoting medical transition, this study should instead be filed under “confirmation bias rationalizes non-evidence-based medical experimentation on vulnerable children.” What Olson et al have not proven is innate gender identity. All they have shown is that these kids really mean it when they say they are or want to be the opposite sex.

This study, instead of being promoted as a rationale for pediatric transition, should carry no more weight than any of the thousands of media articles trumpeting the unsubstantiated yet continuously promoted idea that children who refuse to conform to gender stereotypes—yes, who really mean it when they say they want to look and play and dress like the opposite sex—are “transgender.” Like the ones quoted at the beginning of this article. Or the thousands of others that have been published in the last few years. Like this one:

Tom charges about in a Batman costume, brandishing a sword. …Tom loves dressing up. “Normally as a superhero,” Cassie [his mom] says.

“Batman and Superman,” Tom adds. “And Wolverine!” He also likes to play cowboys or policemen with his best friend, Charlie. “Sometimes we arrest people. Remember when we did it yesterday to the dog?” He grins. “He wasn’t putting the ball down.” He shows me his bedroom. There’s his treasured Playmobil pirate ship, his Marvel poster featuring Ironman, Captain America and the Hulk, and his pencil case shaped like a football boot.

When Cassie took three-year-old Tom to the barber for the first time, she wept. “That was the final thing. If I let him get his hair cut short, that was me accepting he is a boy.” The hairdresser was bemused. “I was crying and I had this little boy with me who had hair down to his arse. She asked him: ‘Has your mummy never let you get your hair cut?’ And he loved it, because she thought he was a boy with long hair.” After that, Tom never got mistaken for a girl, and became much happier.

Transgender children: ‘This is who he is – I have to respect that’

 

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28 thoughts on “Groundbreaking study: Kids mean what they say

  1. When Ana was five years old, her mother Cathy organised a birthday party with one rather unusual condition: No girly presents, please. ‘I felt awful doing it, but I knew Ana would be devastated if anything pink or fluffy turned up.’

    This quote struck me as particularly disturbing. Why is specifying what your child likes for presents an “unusual condition?” Why did she feel awful doing something that parents have done for years- especially in western/wealthy countries, or if the gift-buyers don’t know the child well? Why would a five year old be devastated if she got a present she didn’t like?(which is all that line about “pink and fluffy” really means…) If your child has a meltdown over a present they didn’t want, that’s the sign of being spoiled and selfish… not transgenderism. I received plenty of presents I hated as a child. I said thank you and shoved them into the back of my closet

    Liked by 7 people

  2. What the “study” fails to recognize is that there are many people (like myself) who felt as if they were a “boy” (or opposite sex) throughout early childhood and struggled with gender dysphoria well into adulthood yet, eventually came to the understanding that nothing was “wrong” with them at all and that the “problem” was rooted not in themselves but in the intolerant and sexist society in which they were born.

    In adulthood, with maturity, I realized that my gender/body dysphoria was not an innate characteristic or a “mismatch” of brain/mind and body. I discovered, after I had time on my own – in my own home – in my own skin – out from under “parental” pressures – that my discomfort with being “different” and my subsequent confusion about my anatomical sex was an early childhood response to extreme societal insistence that I must conform to a restrictive definition to what it is to be female.

    Fortunately, I did not compromise my identity as a child and I do not meet a gender stereotype today. What you see is what you get. I am a strong female and I wear what I like and I say what I think and feel. (However, unpopular.) And the irony is that not everyone will like – it is true – but the people who come into your life love you for who you really are. There are no secrets between you.

    I will never be ashamed of my short hair, my body, may past, my refusal to wear make-up or any other choice that I make that is in alignment with my living authentically.

    I define my sex as female according to my own truth and not according to some cultural “norm.”

    Thankfully, more people are standing up to be counted. We refuse to be drowned out by the extremist noise of transgender propaganda that promotes the belief that we do not exist, that we have never existed. We are speaking against the “gender specialists” that tell young people and children that they are sick, a mistake, or a deformity in need of correction.

    It may not be convenient for psychiatrists and plastic surgeons who earn a living in this new specialty in treating “transgenderism” but strong women and sensitive men exist and we are here to stay. The boys who wear dresses and the girls who climb trees have been in this world far before the term transgenderism was coined. We have lived good, long and honorable lives without the need to be “fixed” and will continue to do so.

    l want young people today to have the chance to live in a way that empowers them to make real choices for themselves when they are mature enough to sort out the facts – When they are old enough to realize that it is outliers in society who bring change, magic, innovation, art, scientific discoveries and hope to a world where conformity is valued over human imagination – even over human lives.

    The world is not flat, after all.

    Liked by 19 people

    • Absolutely beautiful, Juniper. And so very true.

      When I heard the David Bowie had died I thought about how he was gender nonconforming, bisexual and that was that. Oh and tremendously entertaining. Not a failed man just a different kind of one. And perfectly defiant in that. Unfortunate that he’s gone but the transgender ideology is still here.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for sharing. I love what you’ve said. It makes so much sense (can’t say that about the trans narrative).

      I’ve personally always gravitated to and very much admired people who are non-conforming. Maybe it is because of their confidence. Or, maybe just because they are different from me. Not really sure. But I think it is wonderful to have variation. It makes life more interesting, more enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Below is an email I wrote to Oxford University Gender communication professor Deborah Cameron author of the great important book,The Myth Of Mars and Venus Do Men and women Really Speak Different Languages?.

      Dear Deborah,

      I recently read your great important book, The Myth Of Mars & Venus. I read a bad review of the book, The Female Brain on Amazon.com US by psychologist David H.Perterzell he called it junk science.

      I also thought you would want to know that John Gray got his “Ph.D” from Columbia Pacific University which was closed down in March 2001 by the California Attorney General’s Office because he called it a diploma mill and a phony operation offering totally worthless degrees!

      Also there is a Christian gender and psychology scholar and author psychology professor Dr. Mary Stewart Van Leewuen who teaches the psychology and Philosophy of Gender at the Christian College Eastern College in Pa. She has several online presentations that were done at different colleges from 2005- the present debunking the Mars & Venus myth.

      One is called , Opposite Sexes Or Neighboring Sexes and sometimes adds, Beyond The Mars/Venus Rhetoric in which she explains that all of the large amount of research evidence from the social and behavorial sciences shows that the sexes are very close neighbors and that there are only small average differences between them many of which have gotten even smaller over the last several decades and in her great even longer article that isn’t online anymore called,What Do We Mean By “Male-Female Complentarity”? A Review Of Ronald W.Pierce,Rebecca M.Groothuis,and Gordon D.Fee,eds Discovering Biblical Equality:Complentarity Without Hierarchy, which she says happened after 1973 when gender roles were less rigid and that genetic differences can’t shrink like this and in such a short period of time, and that most large differences that are found are between individual people and that for almost every trait and behavior there is a large overlap between them and she said so it is naive at best and deceptive at worst to make claims about natural sex differences. etc.

      She says he claims Men are From Mars & Women are From Venus with no empirical warrant and that his claim gets virtually no support from the large amount of psychological and behavioral sciences and that in keeping in line with the Christian Ethic and with what a bumper sticker she saw said and evidence from the behavioral and social sciences is , Men Are From,Earth ,Women Are From Earth Get Used To It. Comedian George Carlin said this too.

      She also said that such dichotomous views of the sexes are apparently popular because people like simple answers to complex issues including relationships between men and women. She should have said especially relationships between them.She also said when I spoke wit her in 1998 and 1999 that human beings don’t have sex fixed in the brain,she said human beings adapt to their environments,and they develop certain characteristics in response to those environments but they are not fixed and unchangeable. Dr.Van Leeuwen also said that I’m correct that the human female and male brain is more alike than different and she said the brain is plastic and easily molded and shaped throughout life by different life experiences and environments.She said humans have a unique highly developed cerebral cortex which animals don’t and this enables people to learn things and make choices that animals can’t.

      Sociologist Dr.Michael Kimmel writes and talks about this also including in his Media Education Foundation educational video. And he explains that all of the evidence from the psychological and behavioral sciences indicates that women and men are far more alike than different. He also demonstrated with a lot of research studies and evidence from the behavioral and social sciences that the sexes are more alike than different in his very good 2000 book,The Gendered Society which he updated several times in more extensive academic volumes called,The Gendered Society Reader.

      Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen says that there are no consistent large psychological sex differences found.

      I have an excellent book from 1979 written by 2 parent child development psychologists Dr. Wendy Schemp Matthews and award winning psychologist from Columbia University, Dr.Jeane Brooks-Gunn, called He & She How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity.

      They thoroughly demonstrate with tons of great studies and experiments by parent child psychologists that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike than different with very few differences but they are still perceived and treated systematically very different from the moment of birth on by parents and other adult care givers. They go up to the teen years.

      I once spoke with Dr.Brooks-Gunn in 1994 and I asked her how she could explain all of these great studies that show that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike with few differences but are still perceived and treated so differently anyway, and she said that’s due to socialization and she said there is no question, that socialization plays a very big part.

      I know that many scientists(the good responsible ones) know that the brain is plastic and can be shaped and changed by different life experiences and different life time environments.

      Also there are 2 great online rebuttals of the Mars & Venus myth by Susan Hamson called, The Rebuttal From Uranus and Out Of The Cave: Exploring Gray’s Anatomy by Kathleen Trigiani.

      Also have you read the excellent book by social psychologist Dr.Gary Wood at The University of Birmingham called, Sex Lies & Stereotypes:Challenging Views Of Women, Men & Relationships? He clearly demonstrates with all of the research studies from psychology what Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen does, and he debunks The Mars & Venus myth and shows that the sexes are biologically and psychologically more alike than different and how gender roles and differences are mostly socially created and how they are very limiting and emotionally damaging to both sexes mental and physical health and don’t only allow are encourage them to become more than only a half of a person instead of a whole human person with all of our shared*human* qualities!

      Anyway, if you could write back when you have a chance I would
      really appreciate it.

      Thank You

      Like

    • PSYCHOLOGIST MARY STEWART VAN LEEWUEN’S EDUCATIONAL VIDEO MEN ARE FROM EARTH,WOMEN ARE FROM EARTH

      Christian psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leeuwen’s college course presentation Beyond Malacandra and Perelandra:Men are From Earth,Women Are From Earth where she demonstrates what a large amount of psychological research studies shows,that most of the psychological sex differences are really small and there is a large overlap between the sexes.

      Like

    • In these extensive studies by psychologist Dr. Janet Shibley Hyde and others that is still on the American Psychological Association’s web site since 2006 and that was published in American psychologist the journal of The American Psychological Association,Think Again:Men and women Share Cognitive Skills.

      It’s reported that Psychologists have gathered solid evidence that boys or girls or men and women differ in very few significant ways– differences that would matter in school or at work–in how,and how well they think.

      http://www.apa.org/research/action/share.aspx

      Like

    • In 2014 Psychologist Dr.Janet Shibley Hyde updated her 2005 major meta analysis that found that the sexes are more alike than different in 80% of their psychological traits,behaviors and abilities including personality.In this 2014 article by Curt Rice he says that by the end of her article Gender Similarities and Differences,she has you convinced that the sexes are more similar in almost every way and he says that she she says this is not surprising since the sexes share 23 of the same chromosomes and only one of them is different.

      http://curt-rice.com/2014/03/04/2-ways-men-and-women-arent-different-and-1-way-they-are/

      Like

    • I have an excellent book from 1979 written by 2 parent child development psychologists Dr. Wendy Schemp Matthews and award winning psychologist from Columbia University, Dr.Jeane Brooks-Gunn, called He & She How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity.

      They thoroughly demonstrate with tons of great studies and experiments by parent child psychologists that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike than different with very few differences but they are still perceived and treated systematically very different from the moment of birth on by parents and other adult care givers. They go up to the teen years.

      They also show that surveys show that boys are overwhelmingly preferred over girls,(sadly nothing has changed and sexist woman-hating,girl-hating Tee shirts that say( I’m Too Pretty For Homework So I Let My Brother Do It For Me) (and other sexist anti-female ads,pornography,etc do too) like these both reflect and contribute to this injustice.They also explain that when people guess if a pregnant woman is having a girl or a boy,and they list a whole bunch of false unproven sexist, gender myth,gender stereotyped,old wives tales,that assign all negative characteristics to a woman if they think she’s having a girl,and the imagined girls or given all of the negative characteristics.

      For example they say that author Elana Belotti(1977) explained these examples, The man and woman each take hold of one end of a wishbone and pull it apart.If the longest part comes away in the man’s hand,the baby will be a boy. If you suddenly ask a pregnant woman what she has in her hand and she looks at her right hand first ,she will have a boy;if she looks at her left hand it will be a girl.If the mother’s belly is bigger on the right-hand side a boy will be born,and also if her right breast is bigger than her left,or if her right foot is more restless.

      If a woman is placid during pregnancy she will have a boy,but if she is bad-tempered or cries a lot,she will have a girl.If her complexion is rosy she’s going to have a son;if she is pale a daughter. If her looks improve,she’s expecting a boy;if they worsen,a girl.If the fetal heartbeat is fast,it is a boy;if it is slow it is a girl.If the fetus has started to move by the fortieth day it will be a boy and the birth will be easy,but if it doesn’t move until the ninetieth day it will be a girl.( Belotti 1977,pp.22-23)

      Dr.Brooks-Gunn and Wendy Schempp Matthews then say, now rate each of the characteristics above as positive or negative. A woman expecting a girl is pale,her looks deteriorate,she is cross and ill-tempered,and she gets the short end of the wishbone,all negative characteristics. They then say,furthermore ,a girl is symbolized by the left-the left hand,the left side of the belly,the left foot,the left breast. They say,left connotes evil,a bad omen,or sinister,again the girls have all of the negative characteristics.

      They then say,that sex-role stereotypes about activity also characterize Belotti’s recipes:boys are believed to be active from the very beginning and girls have slower heartbeats and begin to move around later.They then say,the message although contradictory(girls cause more trouble even though they are more passive) is clear in that it reflects the sex-role stereotype that boys “do” while girls “are” and the belief that boys are more desirable than girls.

      They also say that parents have gender stereotyped reasons for wanting a girl or a boy,obviously if they didn’t it wouldn’t matter if it’s a girl or boy.When my first cousin was pregnant with her first of two girls people even strangers said such false ridiculous things to her,that they were sure she was going to have a boy because she was carrying low or how stomach looked.

      I once spoke with Dr.Brooks-Gunn in 1994 and I asked her how she could explain all of these great studies that show that girl and boy babies are actually born more alike with few differences but are still perceived and treated so differently anyway, and she said that’s due to socialization and she said there is no question, that socialization plays a very big part.

      I know that many scientists know that the brain is plastic and can be shaped and changed by different life experiences and different environments too and Eastern College gender and Christian psychology professor Dr.Mary Stewart Van Leewuen told this to me too when I spoke to her 15 years ago. Dr.Van Leeuwen also said that human beings don’t have sex fixed in the brain and she told me that humans have a unique highly developed cerebral cortex that allows us to make choices in our behaviors and we can learn things that animals can’t.

      There was another case in Canada that I read about online some years ago about another case in which a normal genetic male baby’s penis was destroyed when he was an infant and in this case he was raised as a girl from the much younger age of only 7 months old,not as late as 21 months as was David Reimer,and research shows that the core gender identity is learned by as early as 18 months old.

      In this other case,it was reported in 1998 he was still living as a woman in his 20’s but a bisexual woman. With David Reimer they raised him as a girl too late after he learned most of his gender identity as a boy from the moment he was born and put into blue clothes, treated totally differently, given gender stereotyped toys, perceived and treated totally differently than girls are in every way(in the great book,He and She:How Children Develop Their Sex Role Identity it explains that a lot of research studies and tests by parent child psychologists found that they give 3 month old babies gender stereotyped toys long before they are able to develop these kinds of preferences or ask for these toys. They also found that when adults interacted with the same exact baby they didn’t know was a girl or boy who was dressed in gender neutral clothes,they decided if they *believed* it was a girl or boy.

      And those adults who thought the baby was a boy,always handed the baby a toy foot ball ,but never a doll and they never gave an infant they perceived to be a girl a toy football, were asked what made them think it was a girl or boy and they said they used characteristics of the baby to make the judgement . Those who thought the baby was a boy described characteristics such as strength,those who thought the baby was a girl described the baby as having softness and fragility,and as the Dr.Jeanne Brooks-Gunn and Wendy Schempp Mathews explain,Again remember that the same infant was being characterized as strong or soft,the actual distinction by sex characteristics being only in the minds of the adults.

      They also explain that in the toy preference studies,girl toddlers often show an initial interest in the trucks,but eventually abandon them for a more familiar type of toy. Also check out Kate Bornstein’s books,Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook,and recently a co-written book,Gender Outlaws. Kate used to be a heterosexual married man who fathered a daughter and then had a sex change and became a lesbian woman who now doesn’t identity as a man or a woman. I heard Kate interview in 1998 on a local NPR show and she totally debunks gender myths,and rejects the “feminine” and “masculine” categories as the mostly socially constructed categories that they really are.She even said,what does it mean to feel or think like a woman(or man) she said what does that really mean.

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  3. “children who have different degrees of identified gender expression” (From this study.)

    Different degrees of gender expression. So the trans kids have “gender expression”. Not gender expression of a particular sort. Gender expression is only for trans apparently. Which also suggests that this is a bogus concept. Gender expression by its nature has to be something that everyone has. Ditto for gender identity. But I think most of us ‘ciswomen’ are aware that we don’t have a gender identity. We don’t ‘feel like women’. It’s like asking what’s the flavor of water? And we are women, and that is the thing at issue in the transgender/sex change operation regime, despite there being huge variation across all women in how much or how little we participate in female stereotypes. That diversity of dress and activities by women alone proves that innate and especially unchanging, gender in the head simply doesn’t exist.

    Let’s remember science is supposed to try to find out the truth of things. It’s not supposed to be an ax for researchers to grind. It’s not supposed to be like a legal case, say a criminal defense, where you pull together all the bits and pieces you can to support your position. Your position is supposed to arise from your knowledge of reality. It sure as hell didn’t in this research. 👎🏼

    Thank you 4th for a beautiful piece of work.

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  4. I think it is so sad these kids are being categorized so rigorously. You know the researchers had to have very specific ideas about what would constitute living “in all contexts as the gender expression “opposite” of their natal sex.”

    I can just imagine the conversations they had about deciding what kids to include in the study. What about Billy/Brenda who likes dolls, nail polish and knitting? Yes, sounds like a good candidate. What about Jennifer/John who likes playing in the mud, climbing trees and Legos? Yes, sign him up. What about Samuel/Samantha who likes pink, unicorns, and football? No, she isn’t transgender enough for this study, let’s just classify her as gender non-conforming. We don’t want her to potentially mess up our results. We want to show that transgender kids only identify with opposite sex stereotypes. The narrative needs to be promoted.

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  5. How homophobic are these researchers that they can’t include any gender non-conforming children in the control group? No little boys who love dressing up as princesses (but don’t identify as girls) and no little girls in overalls with muddy knees and short hair. Of course a GNC girl who never sees another GNC girl is going to look for the “next best thing” and say yes, of course, I’m a boy. That’s exactly the mentality that’s keeping all this running. Let’s ignore the existence of gay and GNC people and just work with the same old strict gender roles.

    That’s simply infuriating to see from actual researchers, because any adult KNOWS butch women and “effeminate” men exist. And they exist from childhood, if they are allowed to. It’s radical homophobia at the core, painting the world pink for girls and blue for boys. Unbelievable in 2016.

    Children so desperately need to see a variety of expressions in adults and other children. I remember very well one summer afternoon in my brother’s backyard, when my niece was was maybe three or four. She came up to me and thoughtfully asked, “Are you a girl or a boy?” I was in jeans and a t-shirt and sneakers, my hair was pretty short at the time, no make-up as always. And I looked at her and said, “I’m a girl, just like you.” As the kids have grown I’ve watched them compiling gender roles in their little heads, the girls their brother he can’t do this because he’s a boy, or him telling the girls they can’t do that because they’re girls. But I always think, at least they’re seeing their Auntie doing whatever she wants to do. At least they see someone existing outside the pink and blue boxes, so if they get to 14 and don’t want to wear makeup they can invoke my name. (I don’t see that happening right now but hey, I live in hope. 😉 )

    Anything built on the doctrine of exclusion is on very shaky ground. You can say all all fossils before homo erectus are fakes and there’s no way humankind evolved from earlier primates. And you can say GNC children and adults simply aren’t relevant or don’t exist and claim kids are innately “transgender”. But we’re here. The facts of the matter just have to come out someday, hopefully sooner rather than later, before the medical and health effects of all this come crashing down on a whole generation of kids.

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  6. I agree with the statement that gender is not binary, for two reasons: Performative gender in European-derived culture is a spectrum, with “masculine” and “feminine” as its poles, but degrees of masculinity and feminity exist between them; and secondly, there are cultures which recognise more than two genders (there are cultures which have three, such as the hijra in India; four such as in some Native American/Canadian cultures, and there are six genders recognised in the Talmud).

    Personally, I think that if we’re going to stick with this stupid “gender” concept in the first place, rather than just letting people do whatever they want in terms of the clothes they want to wear and so on, there should be more than two options.

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  7. I think you’re wrong about the gender binary thing. First of all, performative gender in our culture is a spectrum, with “masculinity” on one end, and “femininity” on the other, and — as with any linear set — a nearly infinite number of points in between. Secondly, there are lots of cultures which recognise more than two genders: For example, South Asian cultures recognise three, some First Nations cultures recognise three or four, and the Talmud recognises six.

    Personally, I think if we’re going to stick with this notion that the kind of genitalia you have should dictate what you wear, how you act, who your friends are, what and how it’s socially acceptable for you to eat, and so on, I think there should be more than two broad options.

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  8. What a ridiculous study! At least in the old days, good teachers and professors taught their students the importance of vetting sources and not citing, e.g., a tabloid as a serious reference. Now we have a legitimate journal accepting a study with such a shoddy execution.

    I remember the story of Tom/Melanie from that Guardian article. It was ridiculous how 2-year-old Melanie shouted that her name was Tom now, and her mother just rolled over and “fully transitioned” her. It was even more disturbing how this child was quoted as saying “When I am older and start taking medicine to grow a willy.” How dare anyone make a 5-year-old even think about something like that! It’s ridiculous how we now live in a world where toddlers are presumed to know exactly who they are already, as though it’s completely unheard-of for a toddler to change her mind.

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  9. Juniper gets my vote for Woman of the Year. Thank you for telling your story Juniper and for being you – an honest and real person.

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