Brown University and PLOS ONE: Defend academic freedom and scientific inquiry

We are urging Brown University and the editors of the peer-reviewed journal PLOS ONE to continue to support the research of Dr. Lisa Littman. Her recently published paper, “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports,” explores the possibility that social contagion may cause some teens and young adults to incorrectly conclude they are transgender, and thereby undertake irreversible medical interventions that they may eventually regret.

Since its publication, there has been a concerted effort to suppress Dr. Littman’s groundbreaking study. Complete details can be found below. Readers who share our concern about this activist-driven attack on scientific inquiry and academic freedom are strongly encouraged to sign the petition at this link.

In addition,  please consider telephoning and/or writing a personal letter to the following individuals at Brown University and PLOS ONE. What’s at stake: The future of research into the unexplained increase in young people, particularly girls, presenting to gender clinics.

Bess Marcus, Dean of School of Public Health, bess_marcus@brown.edu, 401-863-9858

Christopher Kahler, Chair of Behavioral and Social Sciences, christopher_kahler@brown.edu, 401-863-6651

Brian Clark, Director of News and Editorial Development, brian_clark@brown.edu, 401-863-1638

Joerg Heber, PLOS ONE Editor-in-Chief, jheber@plos.org, 415-624-1200


Petition text

We, the undersigned, are writing in support of Dr. Lisa Littman of Brown University and her study on the topic of rapid onset gender dysphoria (ROGD).

Many of us are parents of teens and young adults who, having never expressed discomfort with their sex during childhood, experienced a sudden onset of gender dysphoria after exposure to the concept through peers and/or websites promoting transition. Some of the signatories to this petition are parents who completed Dr. Littman’s survey. The results of the study support the possibility that social contagion, rather than an innate, immutable sense of incongruence between body and mind, may be at work in some of these cases.

We are grateful that Dr. Littman’s research has been published and that this issue is finally beginning to get the attention it deserves. Although an abrupt adolescent onset of dysphoria has been mentioned previously in the scientific literature[1] , Dr. Littman’s study is the first to explore and document the phenomenon in detail. It describes what appears to be happening to many young people today.

We must be very clear: the parental reports in this study offer important and much-needed preliminary information about a cohort of adolescents, mostly girls, who with no prior history of dysphoria, are requesting irreversible medical interventions, including the potential to impair fertility and future sexual function. In any other group of children, these grave consequences would be seen as human rights violations unless there was significant and overwhelming evidence these procedures would be beneficial long-term.

Across the world in the last few years, researchers and clinicians have noted a sharp uptick in the number of young people, primarily females, who are requesting medical transition services. For example, in the United Kingdom gender clinic referrals have quadruped in the last five years. This constitutes an epidemic. As a leader in public health research, it is incumbent upon Brown University to investigate the causes and conditions leading to this sharp increase, as well as the long term outcomes.

Tavistock-referrals-of-boys-vs-girls-

Referral data from Tavistock GIDS: http://gids.nhs.uk/number-referrals

We are disheartened to see that Brown University has already removed a news release announcing the study from its website and replaced it with a letter to their community that states: “There is an added obligation for vigilance in research design and analysis any time there are implications for the health of the communities at the center of research and study.”

We, the undersigned, many of whom are parents who participated in Littman’s survey, agree wholeheartedly that the “scientific community holds an obligation for vigilance in research design and methodology.” There has yet to be a study that includes a cohort of youth offered mental health care in place of affirmation therapy. The glaring absence of a control group of youth who are supported by their families in their gender exploration but who are not affirmed in “wrong body” beliefs is a failure of the scientific community. As the number of girls and young women who desist from their trans identification grows, we must demand recognition for this cohort as members of the “communities at the center of research and study.”

The university has effectively caved to pressure from activists who claim that Dr. Littman recruited participants from “anti-trans” or “far right” hate sites. Similarly, the moderator of the PLOS One Twitter site promised to “investigate” the published study after trans activists mobbed their account. Trans activists  claim the parents who completed the survey were too transphobic to accept that their children were trans and too disconnected to have noticed that they had been suffering from dysphoria since childhood.

These claims are false in every respect. The three websites referenced are available for all to view, but the vast majority of contributors are secular, engaged, open-minded, mostly liberal-leaning parents.

These sites point to the probability that many kids who are today identifying as trans are in fact experiencing internalized homophobia. In other words, the contributors to these sites are concerned about the wellbeing of gay and lesbian kids, and they want to ensure that their children are not transitioning simply because they are ashamed of their sexual orientation.

Consider the study results:

  • 85.9% support same-sex marriage.
  • 88.2% believe trans people deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else.

Clearly, those who claim the respondents are from the far right are either misinformed or disingenuous.

And what of the claim that the parents were “unsupportive” or too disconnected from their children to recognize they had felt dysphoric during childhood? Dr. Littman acknowledges this possibility in her paper. However, she also notes that “the 200 plus responses appear to have been prepared carefully and were rich in detail, suggesting they were written in good faith and that parents were attentive observers of their children’s lives.”

Littman’s study offers, for the first time, a glimpse into families who hold space for their dysphoric children while also seeking out mental health care that focuses on underlying conditions. Consider some of her findings:

  • 204 out of 256 youth reported on in the study claimed alternative sexualities to their parents prior to coming out as transgender
  • Over 200 youth were supported in changing their presentation in terms of hairstyle and dress
  • 188 had changed their names
  • 175 had changed their pronouns
  • 111 youth told their parents they wanted to see a gender therapist; 92 were taken to see one

Moreover, of Dr. Littman’s respondents, there were only eight cases of estrangement: six by the youths themselves and two “where the estrangement was initiated by the parent because the AYA’s outbursts were affecting younger siblings or there was a threat of violence made by the AYA to the parent.” [AYA = “adolescent or young adult.”]

These are clearly parents who supported their children in their distress and through exploration of identity. Littman’s study also found that 119 youth requested medical interventions at the same time they announced their new gender identity or within the first month of their announcement. Remember, 100% of the youth discussed in her survey did not qualify for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria at any point in their childhood or  prior to coming out. Yet, 17 youth were offered an Rx on their first visit with a clinician. Perhaps even more concerning, “For parents who knew the content of their child’s evaluation, 71.6% reported that the clinician did not explore issues of mental health, previous trauma, or any alternative causes of gender dysphoria before proceeding and 70.0% report that the clinician did not request any medical records before proceeding.” This is in a cohort of young people of whom 62.5% had been diagnosed with at least one mental health or neurodevelopmental disability prior to the onset of gender dysphoria, which mirrors data from other affirmation-focused clinics.[2]

Another notable criticism of the study is that Dr. Littman sought input only from parents, not from their children. Here again she acknowledges the limitation: “Although this research adds the necessary component of parent observation to our understanding of gender dysphoric adolescents and young adults, future study in this area should include both parent and child input.” We understand that Dr. Littman plans future surveys specifically for dysphoric youth and we cannot emphasize enough how important this research will be for this particular group of young people and their families.

We, the signatories to this letter, overwhelmingly support the rights of transgender people, but we want better diagnostic and mental health care for youth who suddenly demand serious medical interventions, particularly in the absence of a history of dysphoria.  We believe that medical interventions that may benefit some individuals may not help, and may even harm, others, as already evidenced by the growing number of desisters and detransitioners, many of whom have already suffered from irreversible side effects of their earlier medical transition . We support more research to help distinguish between the two groups, and Dr. Littman’s study is an important first step.

We strongly urge Brown University and PLOS ONE to resist ideologically-based attempts to squelch controversial research evidence. Please stand firm for academic freedom and scientific inquiry.  We urge you to support Dr. Littman in this important line of research.


[1] See, for example, Bonfatto, M. & Crasnow, E. (2018) Gender/ed identities: an overview of our current work as child psychotherapists in the Gender Identity Development Service, Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 44:1, 29-46, DOI: 10.1080/0075417X.2018.1443150. Also see Byne, W., Bradley, S. J., Coleman, E., Eyler, A. E., Green, R., Menvielle, E. J., . . . Tompkins, D. A. (2012). Report of the American Psychiatric Association Task Force on Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41(4), 759-796. doi:10.1007/s10508-012-9975-x.

[2] “In all diagnostic [mental health] categories, prevalence was severalfold higher among TGNC youth than in matched reference groups.” http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2018/04/12/peds.2017-3845

 

 

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46 thoughts on “Brown University and PLOS ONE: Defend academic freedom and scientific inquiry

  1. I made the very difficult decision to sign under my real name, and append this note. Praying that my faith isn’t misplaced, and that others will find the courage to do the same:

    Dear Dr. Marcus, Dr. Kahler and Mr. Brown:

    Thank you for publishing Dr. Lisa Littman’s study of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria. Although my family was not a participant in Dr. Littman’s study, our story corroborates her research.

    I am writing you under my real name, at personal risk, to demonstrate my trust that you’ll join me in standing up for the truth.

    Please do not capitulate to the politically motivated and antiscientific hate mail you are getting about Dr. Littman’s study.

    My family’s experience is not anecdotal, nor are we “right wing.” Our X-year-old child had no gender nonconforming history before spending nine of the last twelve months believing she was “really” a man, simply because when she asked a counselor about kids at school becoming “trans,” that counselor–without any evidence or investigation, and with total disregard to a history of traumatic brain injury and other mitigating factors–suggested that wondering about trans things means you’re probably trans. Our family would not have known this was the content of their sessions if not for a smart-phone glitch sending us texts from the therapist intended for our child. The therapist was fired immediately and our original care team brought in to deal with the real issues. Within weeks our child stopped believing she was “really a man” and was immensely relieved.

    But, had it not been for the smart-phone glitch, my daughter could have been put on testosterone and had a double mastectomy within weeks, without my consent or knowledge, due to my state’s 15-year age of medical consent and very active trans lobby willing to provide funding and drugs, no questions asked.

    Under such circumstances, most ROGD families have not been as lucky as mine. I know firsthand, because I’ve met those families. I am a participant in the anonymous chat rooms, the underground railroad. Daily I provide support to families who have endured varying degrees of chemical and surgical damage before realizing that trans ideology is not the fix they were promised it would be. Believe me when I tell you that Dr. Littman’s data is only the tip of the iceberg.

    What more evidence do you need from us?

    Our stories are no more anecdotal than the spectral evidence by which thousands of children are being chemically sterilized and surgically altered. If it’s okay to rely on qualitative studies to justify transitioning children, then it’s certainly acceptable to use qualitative studies to question the transitioning of children. If it’s okay to rely on anecdotal feelings to medically experiment on children, then it’s okay to rely on anecdotal feelings to justify being cautious. Isn’t feeling cautious about proceeding without evidence the foundation of the scientific method?

    Alternatively, if you must hold gender-critical parents to a higher standard of evidence than you hold the trans industry, fine. Then allow us to present our evidence in the light of day. Make it safe for us to give our names, as I have here. Ensure that our honesty will not subject us and our children to harassment and threats of violence such as your institution and Dr. Littman are now subject to. Show the bullies that you will stand up to them, and that you won’t let them use threats to suppress evidence. Ensure that our families’ truth will receive true scientific scrutiny, without our having to seek refuge in the anonymous chat rooms and underground railroads from which Dr. Littman gathered her very real data about us. Take a stand for the truth, and you shall have all the evidence from us that you need.

    Dr. Littman is right. There is absolutely a social contagion in play. A contagion empowered by the effective gag order that institutions like Brown place on themselves, and on us, when capitulating to political groups’ demands that unpopular data be suppressed. A contagion that takes our children from us because scientists are more interested in political expediency than scientific rigor and the Hippocratic principal to first do no harm.

    I know you’ve gotten the following form letter from other families, because I know those families. My family is one of them. So please add me to the list of petitioners, and thank you for reading.

    As mentioned, I am using my real name, to show trust that you will join me in standing up for the truth. Please don’t let me down.

    [Signed real name, city & e-mail address]

    Attachment: Petition Below

    Liked by 14 people

    • Nice, well thought out reply! Sometimes I feel so discouraged by the trans community and their sway over the media and the universities. I don’t think we will see a turn in the tide until more parents come forward. Unfortunately, that puts us parents in quite the predicament. None of us want to compromise the identity of our children, nor be publicly called out as bigots.

      Without people like you, this site, I would be lost.

      Liked by 7 people

      • I agree. I recently asked my kid if we could have our picture taken together (faces not showing) for a gender critical article in Parents magazine or some other mainstream publication. Of course we’re not going to do that, it’s too risky. But I am SO SICK of the unquestioning affirmation and all the pictures of the smiling parents and their “transgender children”, of whatever age. Without 4thWave and my ROGD support group, I’d go nuts.

        Liked by 5 people

      • Thank you for the link to Gender Critical Resources! I use it frequently and don’t think I could have survived my own family’s crisis without the wonderful resources and engagement it provides. I hope others here will check in with it, if they haven’t already.

        Thank you all for the kind responses. It’s indeed infuriating how our own refusal to make spectacles of our children is used against us by a movement that’s perfectly comfortable using children as political tools. These YouTube vlogs and photo ops are disturbing, like the kinds of things you see excerpted on the local news after a body is found in a dumpster. Or like the Pulitzer-Prize-winning photographs that showed up after those poor children were driven off a cliff. “And they seemed so happy…”

        Being honest about that seemed to help with my family’s crisis. Saying, yes, I won’t lie, this is totally legal for you to do today, and there are totally people out there who would pay for it and encourage you to go behind my back and never see me again. ALl I ask is that you consider who has more to gain: the people who get your allegiance and your surgical insurance fee and your monthly testosterone business, or the mother whose only payment is an undying love that burns even when you shoot that dirty look that you’re shooting right now?

        That and the whole menopause thing. Oh, you thought that becoming a man would spare you what I’m going through? Oh, dear, no, Honey: it means you get to go through it now at 15 instead of enjoying your next 35 years of health. By all means, join me!

        We had some good laughs, actually. Hand-in-hand with sheer terror. The most surreal experience I hope to never have again.

        Nicole, and Davek699, you’re in my prayers.

        Like

  2. Is this correct?
    ‘ 9% support same-sex marriage.
    2% believe trans people deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else.’

    I filled out the survey and I’m am very liberal politically.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “88.2% believe trans people deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else.”

    This seems disingenuous to me. People can have anti-trans viewpoints while supporting superficially pro-trans policies like the above.

    I think the real question at hand is whether the participants would’ve supported transition if their kids were “really trans” (rather than “ROGD”), whatever that means, since the accusation is that parents at 4thwavenow and other groups simply try to rationalize reasons why their kids shouldn’t be allowed to transition. Perhaps an appropriate way to test this is by describing an extremely autogynephilic son who experiences dysphoria and wants to transition, and ask the participants whether they would support transition in such a case.

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    • tailcalled — the fact that there is no diagnostic protocol better than “consistent/insistent/persistent” means all we have to deal with here is “feels.” There is no clinical way to actually diagnose “really trans.” (Damn, I wish there WERE.)

      I don’t believe in transition for minors. I think the odds of screwing it up are too high and the medical downsides too great, long-term.

      For legal adults — they’re adults. Adults get to do what they want with their bodies. That’s the law. No matter what I think, as a parent. If it were my kid who had done a due-diligence consideration of all the potential paths, and who was utterly convinced there was no other way to live in the world — that is one thing. This new thing, of previously non-dysphoric adolescent females thinking they do not want to grow up to be women, in droves? That is another thing entirely.

      I feel like on the advocacy side there is unwillingness to accept the “last resort” nature of extreme physical modifications that pose significant long-term health risks. There is way to big of a push of the notion that “it’s all normal, it’s all a spectrum, it’s just another way of being human, we ought to be celebrating it, all paths are equal.” (Most of the celebrating is coming from people born male who still have all their “parts” and who enjoy talking about kinky sex. Not all the celebrating’s from there. But a lot of the loudest and most pushy variety of it.)

      Not on board with that. Not too stoked about letting these particular folks drive the conversation when it comes to my daughter — whose complicated mental health history I know, and they do not. Sorry if that gets me labeled a transphobic pearl clutcher.

      I think a lot of the parents here are in the same place. Obviously they can respond for themselves.

      Liked by 2 people

      • I mean obviously I’m bringing this up specifically because I expect this to be the attitude of people here. If the accusation is that you wouldn’t let your kids transition even if they were “legitimately trans”, and you indeed wouldn’t let your kids transition, then that accusation seems perfectly valid. It seems like the 88% number should be paired with a 14% number (or whatever the actual value is – this is just a wild guess) of how many of the parents would support transition. Onlookers could then make of this what they want.

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      • The accusation is not just limited to that. It’s that survey respondents would not let ANYONE trans, that we don’t think trans people “exist,” and/or that we want trans people to die, and/or have no basic human rights. That we’re like Nazis or white supremacists or whatever other evil parties people want to compare us with.

        Saying “I don’t think minors should transition” — because it is an experimental course of action with unproven long-term physical and psychological results, for which people who have undeveloped frontal lobes cannot actually give informed consent — is not saying all that stuff. Regardless of what some people maintain.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The important part of the accusation is whether you would let “legitimate” late-onset gender dysphoric adolescents transition, since this would be what has the biggest effect on whether you would be “in denial” and try to suppress their transness. I’m sure it might also be useful politically for you to have proof that you’re not Nazis or something, and you should feel free to collect data on that, but that’s not really what this specific issue of bias is about.

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    • You seem to imagine that there is a hypothetical (and monolithic) group of parents — let’s call them “never trans” — who would not support transition under any circumstances. Then there are the right-thinking people like yourself (let’s call them “always trans”) who would unquestioningly pursue transition for any kid who wants it.

      It’s a false dichotomy. I think you’d find this is a very varied group with a wide range of potential levels of support in their own families.

      Many people would probably support a transition if they believed their child was “really trans,” and if they thought that medical science had any actual idea about the safety and effectiveness of the puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries that are typically brought into play (it currently does not).

      Others take a more skeptical view of the whole phenomenon of transition. These include:
      – people who would not support transition for minors but would support it later if the person continues to want it into adulthood.

      – people who fundamentally think the wave of trans we are seeing represents an enormous amount of social contagion among young women and believe we need to understand better why that is happening before we rush these girls on to “T” and mastectomies.This does not mean some these girls are not “really” trans—they may be—although from this perspective, the suspicion is that a lot of them probably aren’t.

      – people who believe that part of understanding (and helping our kids understand) whether someone is “really trans” is related to a better understanding of gender identity itself, which we currently don’t have. I.e. what do our kids (or anyone) mean when they say they “feel like” the opposite gender?

      A lot of women seriously wonder, for example, what biological males can possibly mean by it or how they would know. Many of us are struck by how much it seems to mean liking to wear dresses and makeup or adopting other external trappings of stereotypical femininity—which have everything to do with looking like a woman, but little to do with being a woman (let alone being a woman who does not like to wear dresses or makeup, or who is flat-chested or athletic, or butch or un-“feminine” or whatever). But if being a woman, or a man, does not mean performing stereotypical codes, what does it mean? And are cross-sex hormones and surgeries really the magic bullet to reconcile it all for a teenager who has suddenly announced he or she “feels like” the other gender?

      And I have no doubt there are many other different and more nuanced ideas and positions represented here. I don’t want to take up too much space or speak for others. But before you accuse people of being anti-anything, know that we are thoughtful, liberal people who know and love our kids. Our serious questions about the current orthodoxy on this issue are entirely valid. Dr. Littman finally asked one of those, and the “always-trans” community, predictably, finds that to be not okay.

      Liked by 4 people

      • I’m not necessarily saying that you would have to support transition in any circumstance; this is why I’m proposing the threshold of acceptance of the transition of a very autogynephilic gender dysphoric son. Since the main argument is that 4thwavenow’s parents can’t tell the difference between ROGD and LOGD, it would be useful to know how many 4thwavenow parents would support transition at this threshold.

        I think it’s perfectly plausible that there are some nuances or different thresholds that it would be worth examining. However, that does not mean that Littman’s original threshold was set especially well (how many “never trans” people would say that trans people still deserve the same rights and protections, but just consider trans people’s demands to be “special rights”?), or that the threshold I’m proposing is irrelevant. I think it would be useful to see 4thwavenow do some work to document the general views of the members here, but support of the LOGD son seems to me to be the key question.

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    • tailcalled: Let me get this straight. Are you suggesting that parents who think that the risk always outweighs the benefit of medical transition for minors are “anti-trans” or, as you put it with more nuance in a later comment, are “Nazis?”

      Are parents who think that kids shouldn’t drink, have babies, or have cosmetic surgery before the age of majority also Nazis?

      Rental car agencies are TOTAL NAZIS for refusing to rent cars to those under 25.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think parents who think the risk *always* outweighs the benefit can confidently be categorized as anti-trans, but obviously I’m aware that this is a controversial viewpoint. I think it could be good to focus on the facts instead of the labels, since the labels are very vague. I think it’s a fact that 4thwavenow parents would not much distinguish between ROGD and other forms of dysphoria, especially not LOGD, and I there don’t seem to be many objections to this, only to what to make of this. I think the honest thing to do would be to state this in conjunction with the 88% number and make people make up their own minds.

        I did not call you Nazis, and I fully believe that you’re not Nazis. The word Nazi came into play from Puzzled bringing it up, and I agree that it’s a ridiculous argument.

        That parents delay their kids from drinking, having babies, or having cosmetic surgery generally does not have lifelong negative consequences. Delaying transition, however, can, at least if the person in question ends up transitioning later. Obviously, people here on 4thwavenow would argue that the risks of transition outweigh the permanent effects of puberty, and that’s where things get controversial. I’m don’t think there’s especially much value in debating that point right here right now, because my main point is about the honesty of the 88% number without additional context. If you think the specific test I proposed is too narrow, then that’s okay; I think it would be *excellent* if 4thwavenow could broadly document the attitudes of the parents here, I just think that the question of handling AGPGD would be a key item to include in this.

        Like

      • You seem to think you have some kind of “gotcha“ here. If some proportion of the parents who comment here believe transition should only occur in adulthood, it is absolutely false to claim that means they can be “confidently categorized“ as “anti-trans”. In addition, your assertion that not medically transitioning in youth constitutes “lifetime negative consequences” is just your opinion. The fact that you don’t also allow for the “lifetime negative consequences“ of becoming a permanent medical patient, possibly sterilized and with reduced sexual function, shows your own bias. This shouldn’t need to be stated, but a lot of different people come to this website to offer opinions and seek support. It’s not a monolith and the particular people who find their way here are constantly changing. That said, very rarely does anyone appear here who would say that trans people should be discriminated against in housing and employment, or who would wish to see harm done to trans identified people.What exactly is your motive in coming to this blog anyway? You often seem to have a thinly veiled motivation to somehow prove that a bunch of people commenting on the website are actually bigots. If that’s your motive, you are wasting a colossal amount of time. What’s your dog in this fight anyway, “tail called”? Instead of interrogating parents, why don’t you tell us something about yourself?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Since childhood medical transition wasn’t a thing until the last decade or so, I assume you can provide peer reviewed studies documenting the “long term harm” suffered by all prior generations of transgender children who weren’t able to transition… right?

        Liked by 2 people

      • “Anti-trans” and “pro-trans” are hardly well-defined words, but instead political markers that can be placed in a wide variety of ways. I think instead of focusing on the definition of something this vague, we should try to operationalize things in a more specific way:

        My parsing of the accusation by transactivists, once it’s translated from their framework to a more transparent one, is that they are claiming that parents on 4thwavenow are opposed to transition for LOGD/EOGD kids in general and that ROGD is merely an excuse that you have made up to fortify your case. If this is the correct parsing (and feel free to dispute this is you disagree), then it’s relatively irrelevant whether 4thwavenow supports protection from housing discrimination or similar; the key questions would be related to your reactions to ROGD/EOGD kids. Would you support their transitions? Would you call them ROGD? Etc..

        There may be other contexts where it’s relevant to operationalize anti-trans in a different way, and there may be other counterarguments to the transactivist concern than just looking at your position on how to treat trans people. But I think this is a more-reasonable first step than going by the 88% number.

        I’m not denying that the medical treatment associated with transitioning comes with it’s own downsides. I do disagree with your weighing of those downsides, but that’s an entirely different issue. I find it incredible that you dispute that it is better to transition earlier than later in the cases where you actually end up transitioning (rather than merely in cases where regret or desistance is on the table).

        I’m perfectly willing to believe the 88% statistic you quoted; I do agree with you that it is unlikely for people here to be in favor of the most overt forms of discrimination against trans people. That is precisely why I am saying that I think other questions than the one used would be relevant.

        I don’t know why you are asking me to say something about myself? I guess I can say that I’m an autistic gender dysphoric AGP person and that among other things I tend to argue that “ROGD” is much more similar to (a mirror image of) AGPGD than 4thwavenow usually takes into account.

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      • “I find it incredible that you dispute that it is better to transition earlier than later in the cases where you actually end up transitioning”

        I guess that’s all we will get for evidence of the lifetime of negative consequences of not transitioning early, then? I find it equally as incredible that any medical practitioner, anywhere, ever would consider a course of treatment in a child which had sterilization as a knows side effect unless that child has an otherwise terminal disease, like cancer. We can all find things “incredible.” Where’s the data?

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      • tailcalled: It seems like you just want to be heard and you are not listening to what others are responding to you. I think, due to the fact that you are not a parent, that it will be difficult for you to understand what we are dealing with. Making a decision for your own child, adolescent or young adult to become a permanent medical patient when the physical health of your child is fine, is never a decision that most parents will make. I think you need to speak to your own parents and have this conversation with them. This back and forth here is really going nowhere.

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      • TC, I just don’t think we can help you here. People have tried and tried to explain our views to you, and at this point your comments have a distinct flavor of you fighting with your parents by proxy. All your arguments assume that there is some bright-line test for the “truly trans,” and all I can say is… we’ll have to agree to disagree. Just as you would claim that we are invalidating your experience as a “truly trans” person, I’d ask that you not invalidate our experience as parents. Postulating some hypothetical situation in which (you say) a parent would have to be a sheer bigot not to “affirm” their child (questionable at best), and then assuming you know how we’d answer, and then attacking us for the answer, is a pretty sophomoric line of argumentation. And I for one don’t advocate wasting any more time on it.

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    • It’s not disingenuous to support treating existing transsexual patients as human beings while simultaneously holding the industry accountable for the things they’ve done to them. Those thingshave not always been stellar, and they’re now being thrown at children with even less caution than the previous 100 years of live human experimentation on adults.

      I’ve yet to meet a trans-industrial-complex skeptic who *wasn’t* motivated by compassion and concern for the plight of people who come under its auspices. But live experimentation on human children is necessarily going to raise humanitarian concerns.

      Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. If one wants to cut children up in the name of gender politics, one had better have airtight data, a falsifiable diagnostic test showing who should or shouldn’t get this alleged therapy, and some pretty good explanations as to why there are entire online communities of kids who are disfigured, disillusioned and disgusted with what one’s industry has done to them.

      A just cause backed by convincing data has no need to censor, doxx or de-platform those who ask questions.

      Like

      • 4thwavenow has stopped letting my other comments in this thread through moderation, so I’m only going to give a short reply and I’m unlikely to be able to reply again.

        As I’ve said in the other comments, I think the accusation is that parents on 4thwavenow are not able to distinguish ROGD from more legitimate forms. If you personally don’t believe in any legitimate forms of gender dysphoria, then ok, that’s a self-consistent viewpoint, but this also validates the original accusation about not distinguishing much.

        If there are large communities of detransitioners or regretters, then that’s news to me. I’ve been trying to search for places to collect information about detransitioners with very little luck. Regret is the less-common outcome, and seems to be extremely rare when considering those who transition more than just coming out to a small group of close friends. Posttransition FtMs exhibit high degrees of satisfaction and don’t really seem to show signs of regret. (That’s not to say that low regret rates disprove ROGD – conceivably, completing transition reduces gender obsession in such a way that dysphoria also disappears. In that case transition might still be wrong if less-invasive approaches are possible. But that assumes social contagion is the explanation.)

        Like

  4. I sent this note to Dr. Marcus a few minutes ago and plan to follow with notes to the others on the list. Hope this is helpful to others:

    Dear Dr. Marcus — I’m the mom of a Brown student. My other daughter fits the description in Dr Lisa Littman’s paper to a T. I’m not anti-trans or trans-phobic, but I think there is a huge and valid question to be raised about why so many young women are suddenly deciding, in mid-adolescence or later, that they are “really” men. And why we, as a society, are so quick to put them on testosterone and provide them with double mastectomies.

    Dr. Littman’s work may not be perfect, and she herself acknowledges some of its limitations. However, it would be contrary to Brown’s responsibility and stature as a leading research institution, to let these important questions be suppressed essentially because they offend the sensibilities and identity politics of people who believe that the only acceptable research in this area must begin and end with the uncritical affirmation of social and medical transition. I am not sure what kind of “robust research and constructive dialogue” Brown can hope to foster if it is going to react by immediately disavowing any work that diverges from this current orthodoxy.

    I hope that Brown supports Dr. Littman better than the recent public statements suggest, and that the school includes at least a few people on its proposed panel who question the current, deeply unscientific dogma on gender transition in adolescents.

    Sincerely,

    [Signature]

    Liked by 3 people

  5. So the detailed, long-term observations of parents whose adolescents display ROGD can’t be trusted, but those who insist their toddler is really the opposite sex because of toy or clothing preferences should be uncritically believed? Whether parents claim their child is trans or insist their child isn’t seems to be considered equal proof by the gender-industrial complex that the child must actually be trans. This is utter insanity!

    And what other condition is diagnosed purely on the patient’s initial claim? When clinicians suspect something like an attention deficit or autistic spectrum disorder in someone past childhood, they’re supposed to get input from at least one other person who’s known the individual long enough to have seen a pattern of behavior. If “gender” clinicians are ignoring these sorts of basic best practice principles, they’re either terrified of the trans community or primarily interested in their own income stream.

    Thank goodness there are parents who have the courage to fight back. I wish you all the best.

    Liked by 8 people

  6. My letter:
    I am writing to respectfully request that Brown University’s School of Public Health refrain from taking any additional steps to censure, suppress or otherwise limit the research on Rapid Onset Gender Identity Disorder recently publicized in Dr. Littman’s article. While I am not an expert on academic freedom, I believe that permitting all voices to be heard on sensitive issues, most especially the transgender issue, is critical to the future of research and science on campus. It just cannot be that one group is a “sacred cow” with complete immunity from scrutiny, and the ability to dictate all research into that group.

    I speak to you, at least in part, as the mother of a daughter who (at least so far as I know) is already lost to this phenomenon. [personal details omitted]

    If this were your child, and you were staring down the barrel of a possible mastectomy, hysterectomy, and permanent body changes caused by testosterone, you would want all possible alternatives explored before giving it your endorsement. Surely it cannot be that the most drastic and irreversible “treatment” for body dysmorphia is the only one that can be considered. Surely it cannot be that the politics and sensitivities of the situation over-ride any possible health or mental consequences for these young people.

    If Brown University does decide to go ahead and censure Dr. Littman’s research, it seems to me this will set similar research back by decades. Who would be brave enough, after this response, to even attempt to look into this field with a critical eye? And then – especially if, as I expect it will, teen transgenderism turns out to primarily be a fad – who will care for these boys and girls? Not the activists, and we both know that.

    I seriously do NOT care about the politics of this. Please allow this research to go forward and do not take any additional steps to censor it. The children of the future will thank you.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Thank you, QuestionPDX, Elizabeth, worriedmom–
    for sending in your letters with your personal stories and observations. People are much more likely to respond to an authentic personal story. Because of our personal situation, I used my gender critical name–not my real name. I did not hear back from Brown University. I did receive this general reply from the journal (that many others received as well):

    Dear____,

    Thank you very much for contacting us in support of the paper by Dr Littman, and for sharing your personal situation, as well as letting us know about your participation in the study. I appreciate that you took the time to share your views with us. As you may know, per our policy of reviewing all scientific issues brought to our attention on published research papers we are following up on scientific concerns raised on the study, and will have an update once this process is concluded.

    Sincerely yours,
    Joerg Heber

    Like

    • I got the same non-answer. So Littman’s study is being subjected to a second level of review that only applies when the journal needs to “follow[] up on scientific concerns raised on the study.” I wonder how many other papers published in the journal have received this same treatment in the past year? How about none?

      Liked by 1 person

    • Here is the response from Brown University:

      Thank you for your email regarding the University’s decision to take down a news article regarding a study on rapid-onset gender dysphoria that was published in the journal, PLOS One. Brown’s dean of the School of Public Health, Bess Marcus, issued a letter to the community on this matter, which you can review here.

      As Dean Marcus notes, on Monday, Aug. 27, PLOS One publicly acknowledged concerns about the study’s methodology. In addition, the journal’s staff indicated that per their policies and guidelines from the Committee on Publication Ethics, the journal would follow up on concerns and “seek further expert commentary of the study’s methodology and analyses.”

      In light of the questions raised about the study’s research design and data collection and the decision by the journal, Brown determined that removing the news article on “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” from distribution was the most responsible course of action.

      Brown is fundamentally committed to academic freedom, which protects our ability to fulfill our core mission of advancing knowledge in service to society. We also have a responsibility to be vigilant in research design and analysis, especially when there are implications for the health of the communities at the center of our research and study. It was this responsibility — not the subject of the research — that informed the decision to remove the article from news distribution as the journal further assesses the study’s methodology.

      Please know that faculty members at Brown in public health and many other disciplines publish original research on a wide variety of issues related to the experiences of members of LGBTQ communities. Brown will continue to encourage and support this vital scholarship.

      Sincerely,

      Brian E. Clark

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Meanwhile, I’ve seen no evidence of activists questioning the methodology or results of the Williams Reports on transgender discrimination and suicide — even though the report itself says plainly “…since the NTDS utilized convenience sampling, it is unclear how representative the respondents are of the overall U.S. transgender/gender non-conforming adult population.” Yes, the authors themselves disclaim their own conclusions! The supposed attempted suicide rate of 41% is constantly invoked to justify extreme interventions like hormones and surgery — shouldn’t someone look at their methodology too? The Williams survey was sourced from members of transgender organizations. Participants were exhorted to “share their stories of discrimination” (obviously this is leading phrasing). They were also rewarded with cash prizes for participating. Their methods were far more dubious than Dr. Littman’s — maybe that’s why the survey was not published in a peer-reviewed journal. Where is the outrage?

    Liked by 4 people

  9. The “additional review” by PLoSONE and the removal of the endorsement of Brown University — for research which was approved by Brown and which was peer reviewed by PLoSONE, is cowardly. The ONLY response should be that Brown approved the experimental methodology (which is in no way, shape, or form unique or unacceptable), the journal reviewed the paper and published it. Now, because transactivists are complaining, there’s an additional review process? Nonsense. How many people want to bet that if we started tweeting and contacting universities and journals about research done in support of transitioning people, we’d be told that the process to approve research design and publication criteria is already in place and was adhered to?

    I’m going to call this exactly what it is — sexism. A survey and paper designed, conducted, and presented by a woman which was based on the observations of primarily mothers about their mostly daughters. And who’s complaining?

    Biological males. Color me completely unsurprised.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You put your finger right on it – sexism. I have seen this pattern play out many times. After a legitimate piece of research or journalism that does not support their agenda the trans-activists become shrill and academia censors. The real question is “who are the adults in the room?”

      Like

    • So, one of my kids goes to Brown, and she told me that the students flipped OUT about this paper. There is an online facebook group for students and it went absolutely crazy. Obviously, the kids were not raising questions about “methodology.” It was all at a completely visceral level of their feelings and who gets to say who they are—themselves or their parents. This is what Brown was reacting to.

      It is super lame that a major research institution cannot bring itself to tell a bunch of undergraduates some version of: “Listen kids, science may raise questions that do not affirm your feelings.” This is where we are as a society right now, alas. It is right up there with our seeming inability to talk straight with our girls, and tell them that no matter what they do to their pronouns and their bodies, no matter which bathroom they use or how convincingly they “pass,” they cannot turn themselves into boys, or vice versa.

      Liked by 4 people

  10. I don’t know how committed Brown is on this; obviously, not very.

    But if I’m remembering this right — Dr. Littman started the work not at brown but as Assistant professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, yeah? It’d have been Mount Sinai giving the green light, if I’m understanding it right. Unless she was holding both posts at the same time.

    Brown may have inherited the work in progress. (No excuse for their suppression of it, but … possibly an explanation for how the work ever got OK’d in the first place, as it would surprise me if Brown would ever have signed off on it to start with.)

    Like

  11. My letter:

    Dear Dean Marcus,

    I am writing to urge you to stand behind the work of your researcher Dr. Lisa Littman. I did not participate in her survey, because the social contagion of ROGD did not hit my daughter until the month after it closed. However I can tell you as a parent and as a practicing physician, this is a very concerning trend which ABSOLUTELY deserves scrupulous study, unimpeded by politics.

    I am a lifetime leftist of the most progressive variety, a bisexual who married another woman before gay marriage was legal anywhere in this country. I fully support the rights of all people to dress, act, live and love in any way they choose, and have no tolerance for those who would deny someone civil rights on the basis of any characteristic, including a transgender identity.

    The question here is not whether transgender-identified people deserve full civil rights and lives free of violence and discrimination. Of course they do. The question is whether children who have not yet had a chance to reach physical and psychological maturity should be allowed or encouraged to make life-altering irreversible medical decisions before they are old enough to drink, smoke, vote, join the army or consent to sex. Many of us who have watched this unprecedented trend grab hold of our previously happy children feel that they should not be encouraged to do so. However, we will never actually know what the best course of action is for a gender dysphoric child if we refuse to allow anyone to study the situation.

    By supporting your own researcher and standing by the publication of her work, you are not endorsing hate speech, denying anyone’s “right to exist” or even declaring a point of view on the matter. You are supporting scientific inquiry and academic freedom, and allowing the facts to be revealed.

    If, in fact, expedited medical transition is the best course of action for all transgender-identified people, including 13 year old girls who suddenly come out after bingeing on YouTube, then we need studies to show that this is in fact the case, rather than just deferring to popular political opinions. And if it turns out that important factors are being overlooked by the current gender affirmative model of care in this population, it is imperative to know this before more kids receive potentially harmful treatment.

    I would refer you to your own statement:

    “The University and School have always affirmed the importance of academic freedom and the value of rigorous debate informed by research. The merits of all research should be debated vigorously, because that is the process by which knowledge ultimately advances, often through tentative findings that are often overridden or corrected in subsequent higher quality research. The spirit of free inquiry and scholarly debate is central to academic excellence. At the same time, we believe firmly that it is also incumbent on public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives and to recognize and articulate the limitations of their work. This process includes acknowledging and considering the perspectives of those who criticize our research methods and conclusions and working to improve future research to address these limitations and better serve public health. There is an added obligation for vigilance in research design and analysis any time there are implications for the health of the communities at the center of research and study.”

    Please do not cave in to threats and bullying when scientific freedom and the safety of children are hanging in the balance. Publish all research and encourage discussion, not censorship. Right now any and all concerns about the safety or appropriateness of medical transition for anyone, of any age or situation, are being actively suppressed and people’s jobs are being threatened for daring to ask perfectly reasonable questions about this new treatment paradigm. Please do not add your institution to the tsunami of silencing which is occurring on this topic. We need to hear ALL perspectives.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Sexism it is. I have seen this scenario played out a many times. When the trans-activists become shrill, academia cowers to the demands – it is censorship in the most raw form. I was not a part of the survey but I find the results concur with my experiences and those of friends in the same situation.. The people who really need to be taken to task are the therapists, mental health professionals, endocrinologists and the seriously flawed DSM-5. Where are the adults in the room?

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I have to say it absolutely infuriates me that the parents that engage on this website are being pegged and dismissed by some as either bigoted or in denial. This is the same attitude I have encountered over and over by therapists working w my adult child. I KNOW what gender non conformity is. I have a gay son who exhibited far more cross gendered behavior at a very early age and consistently throughout his life. I have supported and accepted and loved him for who he is always. That is why he is not distressed by his preferences. The ONLY consistent cross gender behaviors my daughter exhibited was a preference for clothing either labeled as androgynous or masculine. So I should believe that my daughters clothing choices warrant a hysterectomy,double mastectomy and cross sex hormone treatment that may have serious side effects?? Call me crazy but I think this is barbaric!! Their is an emerging pattern of over diagnosing and over treating normal human emotions (especially in females) by the mental health profession in the US. I have witnessed it w my own eyes for everything from bipolar disorder to depression to anxiety to now transgenderism. Pills are given like candy and many therapists seem to be enabling rather than empowering individuals. This is not intentional however it IS dangerous. The mental health and medical profession have a duty to neither under diagnose or over diagnose those they treat. I sympathize with this difficult task but this is EXACTLY why we need research that isn’t centered around ideology but best practice.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. Also sorry but Gender angels and devils and double helix rainbow kids sounds like something from an LSD trip rather than from a professional with the power to treat thousands of patients. Who the hell can believe this crap? Really. How can doctors and therapists listen to this shit and not be highly alarmed?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Pingback: Explosive Ivy League Study Repressed For Finding Transgender Kids May Be A Social Contagion · AntiMSM

  16. What has shocked me the most is the Rapid Onset of Medical Treatment With Total Overlook of Underlying Issues & Motivations. Wow, what a shock. The other thing has been the What the Heck Does Transgender Even Mean Anymore?…it’s anyone who feels strongly that they don’t want to abide by social expectations for their sex and so that suddenly makes them the other sex.

    My daughter wasn’t trying to scrub off her breasts until AFTER learning the transgender concept….that is what this is all about to me, she is using the transgender concept to escape what is essentially a poor self image from years of not understanding social cues. I’ve always felt strongly that she has something else going on that unfortunately didn’t get diagnosed and treated before she learned the trans concept. Once she latched onto the idea that she could escape life “as a woman” by identifying as transgender, her breast binder became a jetpack and off “he” went with the help of affirming college counselors and an informed consent clinic.

    Like

  17. Pingback: ACTION: Special Mid-Week Follow Up on Brown University: Sign Petition in support Dr. Lisa Littman’s study, in protest of Brown University’s Repression of Academic Freedom – Gender Critical Action Center

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