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Are All Transgender People Born that Way?

One Brown University researcher thinks "maybe not" and got thrown under the bus for it by the university.

A few days ago Lisa Littman, a Brown University assistant professor who wrote about "rapid-onset gender dysphoria," found herself and her work getting more attention than she bargained for.

In her study, she asked questions of the parents of teens and young adults who suddenly, after no previous history, identified as transgender. About 21% of those parents reported that their children had one or more friends who came out as transgender at around the same time; 20% reported an increase in their child's social media use; and 45% reported both. In addition, 62% reported their child had been diagnosed with one or more psychiatric disorders or neurodevelopmental disabilities before the transgender issue suddenly arose.

Note that Littman's finding applies only to "rapid-onset gender dysphoria" and not to all cases of gender dysphoria. Her study also had various limitations that stem from the difficulty of finding a large sample of parents whose children had experienced rapid-onset gender dysphoria. But the problems were not out of the ordinary for this kind of research, and she acknowledged them, calling for more research on the topic.

Transgender activists were apparently irate at the suggestion that maybe not all transgender people are just "born that way" (as the slogan goes). They cranked up the outrage machine. Brown University, which had published a new note highlighting the study, caved in to pressure to withdraw the news note and issued what was essentially an apology.

This reminded me of when I drew the ire of transgender activists two years ago. You can read about that whole ridiculous incident here. I got all sorts of nasty emails for about a day and a half. One charmer, who claimed to be in San Diego, wrote, "Your days are numbered and we're coming after you! UCSD will soon be free of your ignorant bigot ass!" (Of course, I don't work for UCSD; I teach at USD, but whatever.) Another wrote, "Can't wait for the shaming to begin, Gail. You will never be off the hook, you will always be shamed for being a racist ignorant bigot. Kill yourself now because these next years will be brutal. You will be fired professor [c-word]." And there were plenty more. (And this fuss was for testimony that was generally supportive of the idea that one's unwillingness to conform to conventional notions of masculinity or femininity is no business of the government's. My main point relating to transgenderism was simply that Title IX's prohibition on sex discrimination does not require schools to assign transgender students to any particular locker room or bathroom. But mobs tend not to have read the things that they claim set them off.)

One difference between my case and Littman's is that, despite numerous calls for my firing, USD never did anything other than quietly support my academic freedom. But here's something that probably won't be different for Littman: By the second day, supportive messages from around the country started rolling in for me. My law school even got a lovely contribution from an alumnus. Pretty quickly those supportive messages vastly outnumbered the critical ones. I suspect they will for Littman too. Brown, on the other hand, needs to learn that not everyone thinks it covered itself in glory.

If you've a mind to you can register your support for free inquiry (or your lack of support for a university that caves to howling mobs) by signing this petition. There is also contact information there if you would like to send your own message.

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  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    To quote a great American troll:
    "Choose reason, every time".

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm convinced that a frighteningly large percentage of transgenderism is actually Munchausen by Proxy. But I expect suggesting that would enrage transgender activists even more.

  • ThePublius||

    I'm glad you mentioned that. I have suspected that for a long time, especially in cases of pre-pubescent trans kids. I have been hesitant to suggest this, or otherwise express my views on this topic because of the "big hate machine."

  • VinniUSMC||

    What else could it be? Who seriously thinks that children, who barely even know who they are, can grasp whether or not they are 1 gender or the other?

    A 5 year old boy who plays with Barbies is not "really a girl".
    A 5 year old girl who plays with Hot Wheels is not "really a boy".

    There's not way that a prepubescent child even understands the concept yet, beyond their own parents forcing stereotypes down their throats. It's child abuse.

  • bernard11||

    Who knew there were so many psychiatrists on this blog, all ready to offer diagnoses of people they haven't even met, and of whom they know little or nothing.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Psychiatrists are medicine men. They offer bad diagnoses of people they actually meet.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You don't believe in the clinical practice that is psychiatry, you instead believe in...your own feelings?

    Come on, man!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You trolls sure are calling all cars, aren't cha?

  • VinniUSMC||

    Psychiatry is nothing more than legitimized snake oil sales. Pseudo-science whose primary purpose is to peddle drugs.

  • Sarcastr0||

    My dad was a shrink.

    Pretty sure you're wrong.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Sure he was. Anecdotes all around.

  • Sarcastr0||

    ...are you saying I'm lying about that? Why would I...

    Anecdotes about the validity of a branch of medicine aren't how you should decide whether it's worth believing in.

  • VinniUSMC||

    My dad was a shrink.

    Pretty sure you're wrong.

    To be clear, I don't think the entire field of psychology is malarky. I think psychiatry (or more specifically, psychopharmacology) is malarky. There's plenty of evidence that we, as a people, are too drugged up. Ok, so maybe my problem is with pharmacology in general...

    Yes, drugs can alter moods, and alter brain chemistry, but when there are 75 different drugs (not at the same time) to treat 1 diagnosis, because every person reacts differently to different drugs (not to mention the placebo effect) we're reaching a point where it's just a crap shoot. It's not healthy. Psychiatry is snake oil.

    I'm super interested in neurology and psychology though (even though I generally denigrate psychology for being a soft science) because it's fascinating stuff.

  • Sarcastr0||

    My dad was a psychiatrist. (Amusingly, he thought psychology was largely malarkey)

    He would agree with you on overdiagnosis.
    Just because we overuse something doesn't mean it's clinically false as a discipline.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Psychiatry is nothing more than legitimized snake oil sales. Pseudo-science whose primary purpose is to peddle drugs.


    The disaffection is deep here.

    Show of hands from those who reside in caves?
  • VinniUSMC||

    Irrefutable logic, as always Artie. I can see why you're the head of the Church of Exalted Reason.

  • M.L.||

    Nobody is diagnosing. This is basic logic.

    If some 8 year old mistakenly thinks they are the opposite sex of what they actually are, then their parents probably didn't teach them what "boy" and "girl" means.

    If some 8 year old mistakenly thinks that just because they conform to some social norms (i.e. "gender" if we accept the transgenderist definition) that are typically associated with the opposite sex, this means they should identify as the opposite sex, then they and their parents are just buying into the de rigueur, wholly unscientific radical transgenderist ideology.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Nobody is diagnosing. This is basic logic

    Your fellow millennials must not know what to make of you.

    Appeals to incredulity don't fly when you're not preaching to the choir.

    Specifying transgenderism to eight year olds is pretty convenient framing.

  • M.L.||

    They were talking about parents & kids above. Do you have any actual substantive responsive comments today, Sarcastro?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Who is talking about parents & kids? Your disgust about the deviance of transgenders is pretty clearly for all ages. So why are you hiding behind a tendentious hypo?

  • M.L.||

    Come on, at least scroll up and read the posts we have been responding to. There's nothing tendentious about this, and I have no problem discussing adult transgenders.

    Anyway, I have a great deal of sympathy for transgenders. I have disgust for a certain ideology known as transgenderism, which actually has little to do with transgender people except that it harms them.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Oh, I can scroll. I can also see how one guy mentioned 5-year olds, nothing anyone else said required that particular extreme scenario, and you returned to that well.

    Your sympathy seems to include a lot of calling them bad and wrong.

  • VinniUSMC||

    I can also see how one guy mentioned 5-year olds

    Did you just assume my gender? #triggered /sarc

  • Sarcastr0||

    I usually find that joke eye-rolling, but in this thread, at this time, I chuckled at work.

    Well done, Vinni.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Thanks Sarcastro. I was hoping that would prove to be good timing. :)

  • Sarcastr0||

    How will me move forward when telling people that you are personally convinced that their identity is actually the result of child abuse makes them angry?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    They are already angry. They are angry brain-damaged kids who need real medical help not just coddling their delusions.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Your evidenceless certainty seems a lot more cultural than medical.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We'll wait for a medical opinion.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Except you've discarded all medical opinions as biased by fear of liberals or by being psychiatrists so...

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yeah, I want a medical opinion arrived at via scientific method.

    Lefties produce FEELZ opinions that are anti-science.

  • Sarcastr0||

    And, of course, you won't do any research on your own, and anyone who shows you a study is probably biased, and any studies you don't like are probably biased so you are conveniently unconvincable.

    I see an evidenceless FEELZ opinion here, but it ain't in a medical study...

  • Harvey Mosley||

    I'm not defending loveconstitution1789, but isn't the point of the OP that studies and researchers that actually, ya know, study the issue are attacked because they actually questioned the issue?

  • Sarcastr0||

    She didn't prove it very well, but that was her point.

    Which, even if properly supported, doesn't prove all studies in field are distorted to the point you should preemptively discard them.

  • bernard11||

    That's her claim.

    No specifics are provided, and Heriot's link is BS.

    There is also the issue of what exactly was the nature of these attacks. Were they personal or threatening? Were they legitimate criticisms of her work?

  • D-Pizzle||

    Think about it. The very apex of virtue signaling among leftists is being supportive of one's transgender child.

  • D-Pizzle||

    I know someone who already had two male children with a third child on the way who very badly wanted the third child to be a girl. When the child turned out to be another boy, the now middle boy became transgendered yet showed no sign of this prior to the birth of the third child.

  • ||

    the now middle boy became transgendered

    Very smart of him/her: that's a very effective way to secure parental resources for a child who is in the unenviable position of being the middle kid.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    It's not very smart if it gets him his balls chopped off.

  • D-Pizzle||

    He'll be over it in a couple of years. Or not since his mother wrote a damned children's book about it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Transgenderism is a mental disease. Transgender people have a delusional sense of self and delusions of grandeur. They think that changing their sexual organs will make them happy.

    Homosexuality is some kind of mental condition too. It would seem that some young kids have this brain issue since some show signs early in life. If everyone was homosexual, the human race would likely die out without people pairing up just long enough to have sex and produce kids.

    Either way, few scientists will study these two variations from normal for fear of being attacked. Normal sexuality for humans is to have pro-creation intercourse. Unfortunately humans are complex organisms and defects happen. Heterosexual men and women are unable to have children, etc.

  • Sarcastr0||

    'Sadly, few scientists study this, but luckily I know the truth!'

    Also props for pro-creation.

    'Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.'
    -Richard Feynman.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Clearly YOU know the truth.

    Luckily, I based this on observations that can be replicated over and over and over.

    Nice quote from some goober like you. "Sex feels great for some reason... I dont know why it feels good. It must be because sex is all there is in life" -Sarcastr0

  • Sarcastr0||

    I mean, I've read some studies I believe. More than it looks like you've donw.

    I wouldn't be surprised if not all transgenders are born that way. Same with homosexuals. Behavior is complicated and various.

    We evolved these amazing brains to be kickass cavemen. But now we use them to drive cars. This is clearly aberrant, diseased behavior.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Of course you have.

    Homosexuals and Trans people are X-Men now? They are evolving into super humans with the super abilities to feel self-loathing, be depressed, and want to harm themselves.

  • Sarcastr0||

    ...Where in my post do you think I argued for trans people to be more evolved?

  • gormadoc||

    Good thing non-trans people never exhibit those behaviors, am I right?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Non-trans people want to cut their penises off and have their vaginas pulled out into penises?

  • gormadoc||

    Woah, that's quite the goalpost move there. You must be quite the winner at hurling competitions.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Does your goalpost moving machine operation on 1 or 2 'AAA' batts?

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I'm sure some people are born that way. People are born with all sorts of deformities, why should the brain be the only organ not subject to birth defects?

    But nothing justifies "transitioning" children. Heck, the only justification for "transitioning" adults is that people are entitled to screw up their own lives, if that's what they want.

    Studies have, shown, if you've actually been reading them, that gender "reassignment" surgery doesn't actually increase happiness, or reduce suicide rates. It's therefore clinically unjustified outside of rare "intersex" conditions.

    That's why Johns Hopkins stopped doing the surgery back in '79: It didn't really HELP anybody. There's still no evidence that it actually HELPS people.

    I see that Johns Hopkins has recently resumed doing the procedure. But even then they didn't resume as a result of the clinical record changing, but only on the basis that if somebody wanted to ruin their life, why should Johns Hopkins refuse their money?

    But making irreversible bad decisions for children? Monstrous.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You are calling it a deformity because...you've decided what the baseline is?

    Anyhow, if someone is paralyzed through some neurological reason we don't just tell them it's all in their head, we get them a wheelchair.

    We don't demand clinical proof for all sorts of medical procedures, why this one?

    And it's really hard to draw a line to still being unhappy when there are yahoos like you doing all you can to assure their misery continue.

    I don't disagree that parents insisting on pre-puberty transitions for their kids is not something we should allow. But your hostility to some people not harming you at all is also problematic.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "We don't demand clinical proof for all sorts of medical procedures, why this one?"

    If X thought that cutting off his hand would get the Devil out of him, do you think a doctor should do that?

  • Sarcastr0||

    We're not leaving it up to X, we're leaving it up to Johns Hopkins.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "We're not leaving it up to X"

    Do you think a doctor at John Hopkins should cut off the hand?

    After all, "clinical proof" is not required for medical procedures.

  • Sarcastr0||

    So you are wondering if a mere appeal to experts is enough in the face of recommending absurd actions.

    No it isn't. But neither is an appeal to absurdity. You guys are the ones rejecting evidence as liberal bias and insisting your common sense about gender should control.

    So I'd counsel humility - expertise isn't everything but you are not even an expert.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "absurd actions"

    Why is the cutting off a hand to remedy a belief about the Devil inherently more "absurd" about cutting off a penis because of a belief that one is really a woman?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Same to you, why is it just as absurd?

    That's the whole point - your appeal absurdity is just covering up your preferences. You need to dig deeper than an analogy not everyone will agree with.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    "You are calling it a deformity because...you've decided what the baseline is?"

    I'm calling it a deformity for a number of reasons:

    1) It represents a fundamental deviation from normal functioning as found in the vast majority of the population.
    2) It interferes with a critical biological function: Reproduction.
    3) All forms of dysphoria represent a failure of self-image to conform to objective reality, which is something self-image does when your brain is working reasonably well.

    It's rather absurd, and a measure of the degree to which left-wing ideology demands one refuse to acknowledge real world facts, that we even have to discuss whether a guy thinking he's a girl is an instance of mental illness. How many fingers AM I holding up, Winston?

  • Sarcastr0||

    1) so does being left handed

    2) Reproductive function of specific of individuals is not critical.

    3) Self-image disagreeing with what you are now isn't really a disorder, Brett. That definition includes confidence, for instance.

    Your final bit about how the left is absurd because it doesn't agree with you is a great example of a failure of perception to conform with reality, for instance!

  • Lee Moore||

    2) Reproductive function of specific of individuals is not critical.

    Not critical to what ? It's certainly critical to whether those individuals pass their genes on to the next generation.

    3) Self-image disagreeing with what you are now isn't really a disorder, Brett. That definition includes confidence, for instance.

    I understood the first sentence, which is obviously nonsense. Unless you are attempting some subtle distinction between a psychological disorder and mere error. But what was the second sentence intended to convey ?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Passing on your genes is not critical to living a good life, Lee.
    ----------------------------
    Your issue with 3) is begging the question about what's a disorder.

  • Lee Moore||

    Of course passing on your genes is not critical to living a good life. Having two feet is not critical to living a good life. Not having congenital heart disease is not critical to living a good life. All depending on wher eyou choose to place "good" on the dial. And I sssume your point about wha a disorder is, is the same point.

    But it's a very silly point when we're discussing biological function.

    Of course, a bridge that collapses on its first day of work may represent a marvellous, if flawed, engineering idea. It may serve as a wonderful monument to human folly, its ruins may be very beautiful. They may provide a great habitat for the endangered Minnestoa hopping vole. There are many value metrics that one could educe under which the bridge would be a success. But under the value system that is commonly, and rationally, applied to bridges, and which is used to justify expenditure on constructing them - that they help travellers get over some obstacle - it's a failure.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Self-image disagreeing with what you are now isn't really a disorder, Brett. That definition includes confidence, for instance.

    Wait, now gender dysphoria isn't a disorder? So, you get to reject psychology, but I don't?

  • Sarcastr0||

    All I know is that Brett's definition of disorder is overinclusive.

  • swood1000||

    3) All forms of dysphoria represent a failure of self-image to conform to objective reality, which is something self-image does when your brain is working reasonably well.

    Dysphoria is simply the opposite of euphoria and describes a profound state of unease or dissatisfaction but by itself it doesn't specify the reason. "Gender" dysphoria limits it to a particular cause. (Euphoria also can involve a failure of self-image to conform to objective reality.) Your position is that objective reality and objective biological reality are the same thing, and this is the crux of the dispute.

  • D-Pizzle||

    A Johns Hopkins professor was a co-author of a study involving the identical twins where one or both twins were transgender. The basic finding was that in only 1/3 of the cases were both twins transgender, thereby indicating that transgenderism was influenced by environmental factors, not genetics. Of course, the transgender activists came calling with torches and pitchforks. I'm not sure if they managed to suppress the study.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Did they come with torches and pichforks, though? I've heard of the study, never heard about any pushback.

  • D-Pizzle||

    No pushback? Are you serious? Google "transgender study johns hopkins pushback." As an aside: It's sad that I have to teach you remedial Google. Do I also need to teach you that "torches and pitchforks" is a figure of speech?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I believe I learned (decades ago) that in a substantial fraction of identical twins one twin is right-handed and the other left-handed. This seems similar.

    Perhaps more important, are the left-handers the "abnormal," "deformed," and "defective" ones?

  • D-Pizzle||

    Doesn't change the fact that they are substantially genetically identical, you science hating, ignorant bumkin. I guess I can add illiterate to that since I mentioned genetics.

  • bernard11||

    People are born with all sorts of deformities, why should the brain be the only organ not subject to birth defects?

    This is a "deformity?" Why?

  • M.L.||

    Gender dysphoria is literally a disorder, because the individual is unhappy in some way or even delusional about the biological facts of their body. If you are going to say that this disorder is the result of some biological circumstance in the brain, then you might arguably call that a deformity.

    But DSM-5 helpfully clarifies that "gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder."

    Gosh, so good to know that Sally doesn't have a mental disorder because she likes to ride dirt bikes.

    This is why transgenderist ideology is a supremely sexist ideology.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    See my response above to Sarcastro.

  • swood1000||

    This is a "deformity?" Why?

    It might be argued that throughout human history a characteristic that rendered the person unable to or less likely to reproduce was not passed on to future generations, and could be put into the category of characteristics that were 'mistakes' from the viewpoint of natural selection. Maybe 'deformity' says it too harshly but such a characteristic was a liability that disfavored that person's ability to pass on his traits, and 'deformity' is used to describe this category.

  • Leahfy||

    http://pediatrics.aappublicati......2013-2958 "After gender reassignment, in young adulthood, the GD was alleviated and psychological functioning had steadily improved. Well-being was similar to or better than same-age young adults from the general population. Improvements in psychological functioning were positively correlated with postsurgical subjective well-being." so it looks like parents who support transgender offspring in transitioning are helping, according to this study (unlike what is stated in several other comments)

  • Absaroka||

    "Nice quote from some goober like you"

    Dang, Sarcastro - it's not every day you get a compliment like that!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    MAGA!

  • M.L.||

    His statements seem like truisms. Where would a scientific study be relevant to this?

    'Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.'

    Heh, good one. But actually, from an evolutionist's point of view, that is why we do it.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Don't essentialize natural selection. That's how you get the dumb paleo diet.

  • Lee Moore||

    Physics is like sex. Sure, it may give some practical results, but that's not why we do it.'
    -Richard Feynman.

    It's an amusing line, but quoting it as a counter to the argument that deviations from "normal" sexuality are disabilities is pretty lame. The issue is the "why" and at what level of resolution it is being addressed. Feynman is obviously talking about motivations that are front and center in the conscious mind. But even theoretical physicists, while ostensibly climbing Physics mountains "because they're there" are also pursung status, in the form of fame and recognition, driven by motivations that have their roots deeper in the brain. The battle for priority is not a scientific endeavor it's an endeavor to scrabble to the top of the hierarchy.

    Sure we pursue sex because we like it. That's the immediate "why." But the deeper "why" directly contradicts Feynman's witticism. The deeper why derives precisely from those "practical effects." We are descended from a long line of creatures that liked having sex. If our ancestors had not liked (normal, ie heterosexual) sex or had wished to live ther lives in roles that contradicted their baby making parts, they wouldn't have become our ancestors.

    In that sense, sexual "abnormality" is not just another way to be, with no way to measure its value, against "normality." It's a way not to leave descendants - a path to failure in the struggle for life.

  • Sarcastr0||

    OK, so no more condoms.

    Evolution does not create value, nor is it an optimizing process. It is a collective threshold process devoid of morality or utility once the threshold is met.

    Scoping it down to each individual living their life to minimize the cavemen selection pressures we evolved under is meaningless and arbitrary.

  • Lee Moore||

    Evolution does not create value, nor is it an optimizing process.

    Likewise gravity. Nevertheless gravity provides a convincing "why" for all sorts of happenings in the world. The "why" we like sex is similarly an inexorable consequence of evolution. We don't have to know that it produces babies, we don't have to care whether it produces babies (which is why we're quite happy to have sex wearing condoms) , but the fact that it does produce babies is why we like doing it. Not the conscious why - but the why our brains are constructed in such a way that we do like it.

    You're confusing value with cause and effect. Of course whether survival, reproduction, avoidance of pain, disease, starvation etc are "valuable" is indeed a value question (see re bridges below) - but whether we like sex because our ancestors did so is not a value question. It's a fact question.

    It is a collective threshold process devoid of morality or utility once the threshold is met.

    Very gnomic. What does it mean ?

  • Sarcastr0||

    You are confusing evolutionary value with social value. And further confusing a collective optimization process with individual optimization.

    The end result of what you are saying if you don't reproduce you're doing it wrong. That's not how we've worked for a very long time.

  • Lee Moore||

    You are confusing evolutionary value with social value.

    Nope. I'm not discussing "social value" at all, since that's purely subjective. Until now of course. I quite accept that you may see social value in someone chopping his feet off. I don't - except to the extent that I see social value in people doing what they want, so long as they don't interfere with others.

    I see no social value in diseases and disabilities that impair physical or mental function. Certainly some departures from the norm - eg left handedness - may have pluses and minuses that don't obviously arrive at a net disability.

    But what I have been discussing so far is biological effectiveness - whether the machine works or not. Reproduction machines that don't reproduce don't work. They may have social value for some people as objets d'art, but not for others. But as biological machines, they're failures.

  • Lee Moore||

    And further confusing a collective optimization process with individual optimization.

    No. You're confusing cause and effect. It's the individual's optimising of his or her reproduction opportunities that result in selection that may (or may not) optimise the collective - ie the adaptation of the species to its environment and population growth. If the individual optimising fails to optimise the collective then the species will shrink and may die out. But there's no road to optimising the collective that doesn't lead through individuals being slected for their better breeding performance as against their peers.

    The end result of what you are saying if you don't reproduce you're doing it wrong. That's not how we've worked for a very long time.

    But actually it is, biologically. No kids and you're a biological dead end.

  • nonzenze||

    If everyone was homosexual, the human race would likely die out without people pairing up just long enough to have sex and produce kids.

    Chiming in because this was in a related topic to my graduate research, but there are actually many traits observed in the wild that are beneficial only at some fraction of the population.

    For instance:

    (1) On some small ocean islands, there is intense competition for breeding spots but considerable food resources. Because of this, some birds don't mate but rather raise their sibling's children and so promote their half-offspring. In essence, fewer high-quality offspring outcompete more lower-quality ones.

    Of course, we can't have 100% of birds help their siblings' kids, but still the most successful bird-grandparents have some fraction of breeding children and some fraction of helper-uncle children.

    (2) In various species, there are free-loaders that will steal from the group without doing any work. Freeloading is beneficial when it's a small % of the population, but not beneficial at 100%.

    (3) In some birds, there is a strong mate-selection pressure towards outlandish and impractical plumage, even when it impedes the male birds' movement or makes them targets for predators. So it's not beneficial for 100% (because it doesn't stand out anymore) but is beneficial at lower incidence.

    The conclusion: natural selection sometimes promotes traits that would be bad/fatal if 100% of the population had 'em.

  • jph12||

    I'm not following #3. You seem to be saying that there are bird species where only some of the males have outlandish and impractical plumage. That doesn't match my understanding, but I am far from an ornithologist.

  • Lee Moore||

    Yeah, 3's a crock. The fact that nonzenze can't tell the difference between the magnificence of Birdy A's plumage and Birdy B's plumage doesn't mean that Madamoiselle Birdy can't. In fact she can - we know this because cruel scientists have cut tail feathers off much fancied male birds and used them as "extensions" on unfancied male birds. The lady birdies switch their favors accordingly.

    ...even when it impedes the male birds' movement or makes them targets for predators. So it's not beneficial...

    This is just wrong. Being able to move freely or avoid predators is no use if you can't father a few chicks. Just keeping your head down and living a long birdy life is pointless, evolutionarily, if you can't get laid. It's worth the risk of an early demise to get sex. Why exactly some species of female birds particularly fancy male birds laden with splendid but impractical plumage we don't know - there are plenty of speculations about signalling health and strength - but that they do prefer them and allow them more mating opportunities is not in dispute.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Lee, sexual selection is a thing, and it's killed off species before (see the Irish Elk, for instance).

    This is like, evolution 201 here.

  • Lee Moore||

    Obviously sexual selection is a thing, though whether it made a significant contribution to the extinction of the Irish Elk remains a matter for speculation.

    In the meantime, though, what has your point got to do with mine ? Whether there may be a way to reach an evolutionary cul de sac by a runaway sexual selection process detracts nothing from the obvious point that pursuing a lifestyle that does not involve mating is a much quicker road to an evolutionary cul de sac for the genes that you're carrying.

    Except in the rare case that your non mating lifestyle helps others who carry a good chunk of your genes to breed more successfully that they would have done if you didn't exist.

    If there's research out there demonstrating that non mating humans somehow manage to increase the successful reproduction rate of their siblings by at least the requisite 4 chidren, I've missed it. Likewise the research on sad sack peacocks whose drab plumage somehow manages to provoke lots of extra peahens to mate with the sad sacks brothers. But feel free to link it.

  • Jerry B.||

    Sounds like a lot of teenage girls suddenly decide they're transgender because their friends did. Is it just another attempt to be "cool"?

  • DavidTaylor||

    "A lot" might, but not according to this study, in which only 21% did. Or, to put it the other way, 79% of respondents did NOT report that their child had friends who were transgendered.

  • Rossami||

    That's not what the report actually says, DavidTaylor. In fact, that's exactly opposite of what the researchers said. You have to add the 21.5% who had friends AND the 45.3% in the both category. In other words, 66.8% of the total studied had friends who came out as transgendered at about the same time.

    And, by the way, that categorization is based on parental reporting of in-person friends. If you count the social media connection as "friends" (it is, after all, social media), then as the underlying report concludes, all three categories should be "combined and called 'social influence' (86.7%) and the last two [neither and don't know] combined as 'no social influence' (13.3%)."

  • DavidTaylor||

    Thanks for drawing my attention to my error -- but you assume that the 45% in the "both" category do not include the 21% in the "friends" category. I assume that 45%, tops, had a friend who was transgendered, which is still fewer than half, not 66.8%

  • Rossami||

    It's not an assumption; it's explicitly stated. Granted, not well in the summary above but quite clearly in the actual paper (which is linked in the article above). 66.8% of the people surveyed had a friend who not only was transgendered but who "came out as transgendered at about the same time".

  • Mesoman||

    When the incidence in the population before the new transgender craze was well below .1% of the population, these numbers suggest dramatically higher numbers are likely. I predict that we will see the incidence of transgenders increase because of the publicity.

    Human brains show a lot of ability to change - plasticity. I think a significant percentage of homosexuals and transgenders "caught it" like contagion. Others did not - I know male homosexuals who discovered their tendency when it was not "cool" - it was very bad - and felt they had no choice but to be attracted to men and not women. Females show more fluidity in their choice of mate sex - moving back and forth from lesbian to straight is not at all uncommon.

  • AdyKron||

    Seeing as how the suicide rate or attempted suicide rate for people with "transgenderism" is somewhere around 40-50%, I think no part of your suggestion holds up to reason. I personally know people who are afraid to send their children to school (and the children are afraid to go to school) because they've had their lives threatened on a weekly basis. Not quite sure what's "cool" about that.

  • D-Pizzle||

    Many schools, and the communities where they are located, are very supportive of transgenders. Your anecdotal evidence does not apply universally, not even close.

  • AdyKron||

    Your comment means absolutely nothing. Just because a school is supportive doesn't mean the suicide rate isn't what it is, it doesn't mean that harassment isn't experienced to a much larger degree vs other groups of people, and it doesn't mean that these people still aren't fearful for their lives. So "cool" indeed.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Now show correlation between the suicide rate and harassment.

  • D-Pizzle||

    "Just because a school is supportive doesn't mean the suicide rate isn't what it is..." Yes, and that should tell you something. See Unicorn's comment.

  • Joe_dallas||

    This study highlights what should be obvious

    First - Most likely a high percentage of the cases (a majority), it is a mental health issue falsely diagnosed as transgender.

    Diagnosis of transgender has become a fad in the mental health profession. Similar to the represssed memory syndrome . Except the false diagnosis of transgender is doing far greater harm to the patient (including the mutilation) than the false repressed memory diagnosis.

    A ten fold increase in the diagnosis of any disease over a short period such as a decade should set off alarm bells.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    These mental diseases are not really studied using scientific method. The premise is that homosexuality and transgenderism is 'normal', so you cannot investigate as if its abnormal. Instead the shaman use hypnosis, group therapy, and enablement to create a whole new generation of patients.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Maybe at least Google a bit before you declare they are not really going on, loveconstitution.

    It's quite the topic for neurological studies, as it turns out!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    We'll see.

    The last time Lefties ran the show, they gave black people syphilis to see the results.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Haha, OK dude.

  • gormadoc||

    Lefties ran the show for 40 years? From 1932-1972 there was nobody from the right involved? And it seems weird to me that leftists somehow haven't been in any power for 46 years. Usually you complain they've had power the whole time.

    Also, the ethical problem was that they explicitly chose not to treat the subjects even as they told them they would. You might be thinking of the early 50s, in which researchers injected people with cancer cells and infants with radioactive material. Most of those tests were done under the direction of Republicans.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I almost forgot about the Socialist Nazis who just exterminated mental ill people.

    Lefties sure have a loving touch with mentally ill people, like Transgender folks.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Your complete lack of effort is telling me you don't even really care, you're just reveling in hostility.

    Way to go, chief.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    you're just reveling in hostility.

    That's a bingo, Sarcastro!

    My card shows "mindless belligerence," "profound disaffection," "spectrum inhabitation," anti-social goobery," and (fittingly, because this is largely a faux libertarian crowd) the free square.

  • M.L.||

    When I see the left point of view that transgender delusions should be encouraged, barbaric mutilations and chemical treatments performed, but oh let's not ask about child abuse or speak bluntly about scientific facts or get to the root of the issue because someone's feelings might be disturbed . . . . I feel like that is telling me that some don't really care, and are just reveling in virtue signaling.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Delusions...barbaric...you are the one signaling, methinks.

  • Joe_dallas||

    Yes - the left is encouraging the transgender delusions instead of addressing the underlying mental and medical illness.

    Again the left is vastly more concerned with the soft social sciences "feelings"

  • Sarcastr0||

    Yeah, Joe, your blanket generalization, unsupported contradiction, and scare quotes truly make it clear who is the sober objective one here.

  • Rigelsen||

    Yeah, Joe, your blanket generalization, unsupported contradiction, and scare quotes truly make it clear who is the sober objective one here.

    Pretty specious argumentation there for someone whose whole shtick on this topic has been unevidenced contrariness and vague references to studies that exist somewhere in the ether.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    When I see the left point of view that transgender delusions should be encouraged

    Are superstitious beliefs the sole delusions you believe to be worthy of encouragement?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    The Lefties hate me. They follow me around.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, duh.
    Follow the money.
    Tax payer funded grants go to where the socialists say it goes, so that is what applicants say they are going to study.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Well, you've just disproved all federally funded science as biased and suspect.

    Way to keep your own reality clean from outside influences!

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Much of it is.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Science has it's accuracy problems, but outcome distortion towards some government agenda due to the source of funds is not one of them.

  • Rigelsen||

    Do you really not know how funding decisions are made? It's been a simmering topic in scientific research going back decades. Or are you just pretending ignorance to annoy people.

  • swood1000||

    Science has it's accuracy problems, but outcome distortion towards some government agenda due to the source of funds is not one of them.

    Is that because the scientists performing experiments are not subject to bias in the direction that will provide them with greater funding and notoriety? Or is it because the standard experiment controls have been shown to be flawless in preventing a false finding?

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Much of it is.

    No wonder conservatives are losing the culture war. All of modernity and science is against them.

  • swood1000||

    No wonder conservatives are losing the culture war. All of modernity and science is against them.

    Do you think that it has been conclusively shown scientifically that homosexuality is innate and genetic? If not, do you acknowledge that laws mandating that it is do not have a foundation in science but rather in politics?

  • DavidTaylor||

    Well, I wouldn't presume to dispute the pronouncements of a psychiatric expert -- I'm a cardiologist, not a psychiatrist -- but I know enough about epidemiology to raise a caution about the suggestion that the mere increase in incidence of a condition is the same as an increase in the prevalence of the condition. For example, with autism spectrum disorders, better diagnostics, increased understanding of autism (which is now less likely to be considered a form of mental retardation), and greater parent willingness to have kids evaluated (a study in the 1960s showed that many parents put their kids in Catholic schools rather than have then face assessment in public schools....) have resulted in an increase in the incidence of diagnosed autism, but the assumption is that the prevalence has remained stable for years (an issue for the anti-vaxx crowd...). It is quite possible that the prevalence of transgenderism has been stable for decades, but only within the past few years have medical and social conditions allowed for transgenderism to be 'normalized' for people who would have hidden it in the past.

    "repressed memory" is a symptom, not a diagnosis, but was associated with dissociative identity disorders -- that became fads, but the confusion is that the diagnosis, which may have been faddish, is different from the condition that it was supposed to be labeling. That is: people were in distress; therapists may have misinterpreted that distress, but the distress was real.

  • apedad||

    Thanks for adding an expert point of view to the discussion.

    But be forewarned...some people on the blog (e.g. ignorant Republicans) don't believe in experts.

  • WJack||

    "[E]xperts" "guys from out of town carrying briefcases."

  • Bob from Ohio||

    He is a cardiologist, not an expert in either the mind or statistics.

  • Joe_dallas||

    David - thanks for the coherent response - You make several good points.
    My point is that the increase in the diagnosis seems to be greatly out of proportion to what would be expected from factors such as better diagnosis, increased understanding of the range of transgenderism. Whereas the current increase in diagnosis seems to stem from the fad/false diagnosis ie individuals wth mental illnesses, being tagged with "transgender" because it is the "de jour" diagnosis.

    I concur with your comment - "That is: people were in distress; therapists may have misinterpreted that distress, but the distress was real."

    Again with my point - the individuals are suffering a mental illness and are in stress - therapists are misinterpreting/diagnosising that stress as transgender - yet the stress remains real, just not transgender.

    In response to your comment on autism - granted this is off the topic. My sense is that the rate of autism has been relatively stable accross the various age of the parent sub groups. Since the rate of autism is much greater as the age of the parent increases at the childs birth. I have found any stats comparing the rate of autism segregated by the age of the parents at time of birth compared across decades (ie what is the rate of autism in the early 1900's for children born of parents at age 35 vs children born in the late 1900's / early 2000's. Same with children born of parents at age 30 , age 25, etc

  • Joe_dallas||

    Sorry typo -

    the following should have said
    I have not found (not I have found)

    I have found any stats comparing the rate of autism segregated by the age of the parents at time of birth compared across decades (ie what is the rate of autism in the early 1900's for children born of parents at age 35 vs children born in the late 1900's / early 2000's. Same with children born of parents at age 30 , age 25, et

  • DavidTaylor||

    @Joe_dallas: One concern I have is that, over the past 20 or 25 years, we've seen a significant rise in... I'll call it the flexibility of sexual identity among adolescents, especially adolescent girls. This got to the point that the somewhat tongue-in-cheek phrase "LUG" was being used often for young women in college: Lesbian Until Graduation. Experimentation with sexuality is probably an inevitable consequence of the opening up of sexuality in all realms of life, and it looks like it can easily take entry into adulthood for many people to settle into a stable sexual orientation. I would be concerned, that is, that the transgender kids reported on here (average age was 16 in the study) are simply experimenting with sexual and gender identity in an era in which that is increasingly allowed. Your point may well be correct, that therapists enable this by latching on to a fad dx when they should be aware that sexual and gender identity is something that kids feel more free to play with now than in my generation!

  • VinniUSMC||

    @DavidTaylor, I very much agree with this, and your previous response.

    I think it's partly because it has become fashionable, in some groups, to label people "properly" (what good is "intersectionality" if you haven't gotten labeled?) So, in their haste, they ignore the complexities of human sexuality (ironically they can identify 57 "genders" though) in order to put them into the right box.

    As was mentioned earlier, if transgenderism was the underlying problem, then we would see some improvement in the outcome of those who fully transitioned. Yet, we don't. As long as this disconnect goes unaddressed in favor of the current "well, you're just transphobic" slurs, we will continue to see negative outcomes.

  • David Bremer||

    I'm going to tell an anecdote to make a point (I'm not claiming my experience is the rule).

    When I was in middle school, a person in my immediate family was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. For a few years, she'd suddenly claim to be a different person. It came complete with repressed memories supposedly recovered during hypnosis sessions.

    As I grew older and more critical of the word, I began seeing the whole thing as quite a it of acting--often to get attention. She could tell her friends about how she suffered this or that (and she did love to tell people, even people she just met). And personalities coincidentally appeared just when she was going to spend time with sympathetic friends. When there wasn't attention to be gained, the personalities weren't an issue. Years of therapy didn't fix it. Rather, once she ended therapy, took up some new hobbies, and entered a new relationship, suddenly everything was fixed never to return.

    I'm not saying it's not a real syndrome. Nor am I saying she didn't have issues. But I do think attention exacerbated it. I also think the shrink getting weekly checks wasn't too keen on ending that income stream.

    So it's quite reasonable to me to be skeptical and spend time studying whether transgender issues are driven--even in part--by social influences. Particularly when the cures have involved invading the private spaces of other genders or, worse, surgically altering the body.

  • Joe_dallas||

    David B - thanks for the comment

    Good antedote to what I have been mentioning.

    The actual physical Transgender disease does exist - just not at the level / prevalence promoted by the activists.

    David Taylor also has some very good points that he mentioned above which I agree with. My only quibble is that the spike in diagnosis has the hallmarks of a fad, similar to the repressed memory syndrome, only with much worse effect on the patient.

  • Katherin Kirkpatrick||

    Thanks for the comments; I'm enjoying this exchange. The phenomenon does indeed have all the hallmarks of a fad.

    One question: Could you be more specific about what you mean by "the actual physical Transgender disease does exist"?

    In all my reviews of the last century of transgender experimentation, I've never come across anything that even approaches a testable/falsifiable theory of transgenderism as a disease, let alone a workable test for it. Indeed, the trans lobby just had it declassified in the DSM-V so that it's no longer even considered a disorder.

    That doesn't stop them from teaching school kids that they can be born "in the wrong body." But despite 100+ years of live experimentation on humans (first adults, and now children) we're no closer to proving that can happen than we ever were.

  • Joe_dallas||

    katherine - I may have overstated my comment - I suspect there are cases of actual physical transgender disease - though extremely rare - ie very extremely and exceedly rare.

    As I had mentioned above, there are numerous halmarks of a fad / "de jour" diagnosis.

    A few other points - The repressed memory syndrome was also a fad diagnosis. I have a two shrinks as clients, both mentioned a local shrink who pushed the repressed memory syndrome diagnosis on numerous patients, all with bad results with the patients, false accusations, etc.

    The false diagnosis with transgender is even worse for the patient than the false diagnosis with repressed memory.

  • Rigelsen||

    Yes, intersex is indeed a real condition, but, it is indeed very very rare. There was some suggestion that hormonal imbalances could explain some subset of transgenderism, especially in gay/lesbian cases, IIRC, but I don't know what the current data is on this.

  • bernard11||

    Well, Brown didn't cover itself with glory here, but let's not overlook the fact that Littman's methodology sucked out loud.

    It's an online survey of 256 self-selected respondents, about whom the researcher knows nothing. Drawing any kind of statistical conclusion from that is foolish. The numbers are meaningless.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    In the current legal climate, a claim of religious imperative seems to offer a reasonable and effective strategy for a transgender person.

    You gotta believe.

  • gormadoc||

    That's why she explicitly called for more research. It is difficult to get research coordinators at universities to actively support topics they aren't interested in, doubly so if they fear repercussions. You see it no matter the kind of science, hard or soft. In such situations researchers often do initial studies to get their foot in the door so that funding comes a little easier.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    How do we know determine the incidence of transgenderism to start with?

  • Joe_dallas||

    A) she called for more research - including the statement to the effect - that the ability to collect reliable data was limited to various factors and limited sample size.

    B) she also noted that there were clusters of peers/friends that had similar diagnosis. This disease (whether it is a mental illness or a physical illness) is very rare. To have multiple diagnosis within the multiple peer groups is even more rare - near statistically impossible. Which leads to question of how many are false diagnoses.

  • gormadoc||

    For B), that's only true if the incidence is a random distribution. Nobody believes that's true, where they believe in transgenderism or not. Far more likely is that people who are likely to be transgender and up in the same peer groups for a variety of related reasons.

    Think about it like this: it's not surprising when gay people have more gay friends than the average, so why would it be surprising for trans people? Both are caused by a mixture of choice, genetics, and hormonal issues and exhibit themselves as lifestyle choices.

  • Joe_dallas||

    gormadoc

    The physical illness is very likely randomly distributed in the population. The mental illness is less likely to be totally random due to the tendency to for similar people to associate with similar people. Since the mental illness occurs more often in clusters as noted in the study, that indicates there is strong likelihood of the false "de jour" diagnosis.

  • bernard11||

    Joe,

    The problem is that the survey respondents are not by any means a random sample. There are all kinds of problems here. Hence, no statistical conclusions of any kind can be drawn - not about percentages, not about clustering, not about anything.

    The results are simply a tabulation of the actual responses. They cannot be generalized, not even roughly.

    At most they suggest hypotheses such as patterns of behavior that might be explored by well-designed studies. That's not nothing, of course. One question worth looking at is how many of these kids "desisted," to use the term Littman uses to describe deciding they were not transgender after all. It seems that some did within a year or so.

    Now, it's hardly surprising that teenagers emulate their peers, and may seek inaccurate explanations for emotional problems. So the degree to which that may cause them to identify as transgender is worth knowing, but researching it looks awfully tricky. Once you start with an attitude of any kind towards the topic you are at extreme risk of distorting your results.

  • bernard11||

    Two further points on Heriot's post:

    First, she complains about the "outrage machine." Well, how about an example? Her link goes to an article by Ben Shapiro(!!), not to anything written by transgender activists, and that article incorrectly states that Littman "talked to" her respondents. She does not describe any of the complaints, but certainly complaints based on the methodology of the study are perfectly legitimate. The numbers are nonsense.

    Second, of course, the study focused only on "rapid-onset gender dysphoria." It is entirely plausible that that this is a different matter entirely. We don't know what the long-term outcome of these cases is.

    So the headline and subhead, implying that the results apply generally to all transgender individuals, are somewhat deceptive.

  • jph12||

    "So the headline and subhead, implying that the results apply generally to all transgender individuals, are somewhat deceptive."

    That's not what the headline and the subhead imply at all. At least not to anyone who isn't a moron.

  • swood1000||

    First, she complains about the "outrage machine." Well, how about an example?

    In the referenced DailyWire article was this from the official Brown statement:

    the School of Public Health has heard from Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.

    This describes pressure from a political interest group, i.e. outrage machine. In any event does proof really need to be supplied that transgender activists are quick to loudly exhibit their outrage toward any statement that conflicts with their party line, and in fact caused this study to be taken down because they disagreed with its findings? (I do not mean to imply that "outrage machines" do not also exist on the right.)

  • swood1000||

    Second, of course, the study focused only on "rapid-onset gender dysphoria." It is entirely plausible that that this is a different matter entirely. We don't know what the long-term outcome of these cases is.

    So the headline and subhead, implying that the results apply generally to all transgender individuals, are somewhat deceptive.

    What was suggested by the study was that it is worthwhile to formally examine whether influences other than genetic ones might be determinative in the case of Rapid-onset gender dysphoria. She suggested social influences, the normal difficulties of puberty, psychiatric disorders and drug use as worth examing. To the extent that these influences prove to have been determinative then the title of the article "Are All Transgender People Born that Way?" can be answered in the negative. Where is the deception?

    I agree that there is a risk that unscrupulous researchers will use studies of this kind to intentionally leave a false impression that the study proves more than it actually does. Where does this study do that?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "First, she complains about the "outrage machine." Well, how about an example?"

    There's plenty of examples if you search for them. Unfortunately, most outrage happens on twitter nowadays, and both Brown and PLOS ONE deleted the tweets announcing the study. Much of the outrage was traceable through those threads.

    "So the headline and subhead, implying that the results apply generally to all transgender individuals, are somewhat deceptive."

    I think you're misreading the headline and subhead. They don't imply any such thing.

  • Joe_dallas||

    We all concur that the methodology was less that optimal -
    She explicidly recommended more research into the issue - a very good acknowledgement of the limitations of this initial study.

    The key point is that the data shows a lot of attributes that are consistent with social pressures and having attributes that are inconsistent with transgender spectrum of mental illness.

    This raises the question -
    Should we jump on the bandwagon supporting and encouraging individuals to believe they are transgender or should we devote our efforts to resolving and addressing the underlying mental illness.

    my preference is to development a true understanding of the mental issues so that a valid and viable protocal can be development instead of kowtowing to agenda driven activists.

  • swood1000||

    Well, Brown didn't cover itself with glory here, but let's not overlook the fact that Littman's methodology sucked out loud.

    It's an online survey of 256 self-selected respondents, about whom the researcher knows nothing. Drawing any kind of statistical conclusion from that is foolish. The numbers are meaningless.

    Maybe not entirely meaningless.

    "This kind of descriptive study is important because it defines a group and raises questions for more research," said study author Lisa Littman, an assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences at Brown's School of Public Health. "One of the main conclusions is that more research needs to be done. Descriptive studies aren't randomized controlled trials -- you can't tell cause and effect, and you can't tell prevalence. It's going to take more studies to bring in more information, but this is a start."

    The question is whether Brown could have adequately distinguished this study from a randomized controlled trial without withdrawing it. It obviously thought that it could not. Are all "descriptive studies" to be denied publication or only ones on sensitive subjects?

  • bernard11||

    I didn't say the study was meaningless. I said the numbers are.

    To the extent the paper identifies issues having to do with rapid-onset gender dysphoria that might be profitably explored, I agree it is not meaningless. It might have been wiser not to emphasize the numbers so much with all the charts and so on.

    It would also be wiser for those citing the study not to quote so many numbers. Heriot says,

    Her study also had various limitations that stem from the difficulty of finding a large sample of parents whose children had experienced rapid-onset gender dysphoria. But the problems were not out of the ordinary for this kind of research, and she acknowledged them, calling for more research on the topic.

    The problems go way beyond having a small sample size. There are giant self-selection issues, not to mention accuracy of responses and so on. Making a terrible sample bigger doesn't change the fact that you have a terrible sample. Acknowledging problems doesn't make them disappear, and it doesn't make error-laden results accurate.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "I didn't say the study was meaningless. I said the numbers are."

    And the study reflects that. Despite folks (including the OP) citing numbers from the study, the researcher is quite clear about the limitations of her methodology, and only concludes that,

    "ROGD appears to represent an entity that is distinct from the gender dysphoria observed in individuals who have previously been described as transgender. ... More research is needed to better understand this phenomenon, its implications and scope."

    The methology is sufficient to support this conclusion.

  • jph12||

    "I didn't say the study was meaningless."

    Yes you did. This is you: "let's not overlook the fact that Littman's methodology sucked out loud."

  • Rigelsen||

    The numbers are not meaningless. They are merely suggestive, not dispositive.

  • AustinRoth||

    So which is it - you are born that way or gender identity is a fluid social construct. The LGBT(etc) community and their supporters want it both ways, it seems, so they can freely attack anyone that tries to do research or have an opinion they don't like.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    They use "fluid" to make the initial thrust and then "born" to convince a broader group of peopple.

    It worked for gays, start with "orientation" and then switch to supposed genetics.

    Its all tactics.

  • Bob from Ohio||

    "Transgender activists were apparently irate at the suggestion that maybe not all transgenders are just "born that way" (as the slogan goes). They cranked up the outrage machine. Brown University, which had published a new note highlighting the study, caved in to pressure to withdraw the news note and issued what was essentially an apology."

    Of course, libs love science until it conflicts with ideology.

    See "when life begins".

  • Abdul Abulbul Amir||

    If gender isa social construct the answer must be no, as it is the immersion is society that is determinative.

  • ||

    The only way to stop these people's movement to destroy Western civilization is to put them in concentration camps, where they can't harm anyone.

  • Eddy||

    Look, goobers, if that egghead "professor" wants to publish findings which contradict our great liberal/libertarian traditions, she would be more comfortable at Bob Jones University or something, not in a science-loving university like Brown.

  • Longtobefree||

    No.
    Next question? This is "all to easy".

  • Sarcastr0||

    The overlap between those who are eager to let us know that they have transgenders all figured and those who say psychiatry is a sham is kinda revealing.

    Related is those who perceive gender studies though a blog darkly but are pretty sure they have it figured out as well.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    Transgender activists were apparently irate at the suggestion that maybe not all transgenders are just "born that way" (as the slogan goes). They cranked up the outrage machine. Brown University, which had published a new note highlighting the study, caved in to pressure to withdraw the news note and issued what was essentially an apology.


    I wonder why these trannists are so obsessed with the idea that trannies are always born that way. I have not heard claims from NEDA that some babies are born anorexic. Nor has NEDA led an educational campaign that all anorexics have been so since birth.

  • ||

    I suspect it's a defense mechanism against those who deny that it's even a legitimate situation. That, and a lack of perspective. If you are trans, you might certainly feel that it's an absolute certainty and that everyone else must experience that same sense of certainty. The reality is of course far more complex, thus providing the basis for this type of research.

    It's a shame that such research is immediately painted as simply a conspiratorial plot to revoke the rights (or even more revoke the legitimacy) of an individual. It shows how often there's a lack of willingness to seek an understanding beyond a preset narrative.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Sample bias alert, but I see a lot more certainty here on the position that transgenders aren't a thing at all, not that every single one is born that way.

  • ||

    S^4 ... small sample size syndrome

    And the perspective divide on this issue is much more a function of religious beliefs than political beliefs.

    Which I find shocking. It's observationaly undeniable that there's variability in gender identity and sexual preference. The nature vs. nurture foundations of that variability are surely debatable/researchable. Anyone on either side who denies that (i.e. believes it's either 100% nature or 100% nuture) is embracing some sort of "truth" that simply serves to reinforce their faith.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Yeah, we are in accord. At this point, anyone claiming anything in this area is universal has an agenda they're seeking.

  • M.L.||

    If by "this area" you mean the nature vs. nurture question, then yes. That also applies to everything outside of transgenders.

    But as far as transgenderist ideology itself, it is patently unscientific. It's gobbledygook like "there's variability in gender identity."

  • ||

    "gender identity" itself is unscientific, insofar as it has no rigid boundaries. "identifying as male/female" has no meaning outside of the social constructs of male and female identity. Being born with particular genetic/physical characteristics is certainly not immutably equatable with identity.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    It is likely there are people who deny that eating disorders are legitimate situations.

    and yet, we do not witness this same defense mechanism from NEDA.

    Could not transgenderism and anorexia be like diabetes?

  • ||

    It's a hard one to answer. I mean, alcoholism is a "disease" and alcoholics are "born that way" and any attempt to dispute that conventional wisdom is met with similar uproar. For whatever reason, anorexia never fell into that trap...likely because there isn't much evidence of there being a familial pre-disposition towards it.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Like the "born this way" movement for gays, people's lives are significantly affected by the perception that they are "born this way". For reasons that don't make it necessarily make sense, gay people's ability to marry the person of their choice hinged on whether or not gayness was an immutable characteristic.

    Transgender folks are legitimately worried that their quality of life will be reduced if people believe that some people transition for reasons other that innate brain chemistry. Transgender activists quite reasonably seek to improve their quality of life by seeking to drive the science in the direction that will reach that result.

    This makes it very difficult to gather data about the underlying conditions.

  • M.L.||

    Astute and grounded comment.

    Jumping off from this point, the abdication of responsibility for one's actions, or the refusal to acknowledge one's agency, is a common theme throughout the history of mankind. I have opined that sociology is an entire academic field devoted to explaining human behavior as if it were the result of anything other than the human himself.

  • ||

    worried that their quality of life

    I'm not sure if it's quality of life as much as it's stability of identity. If you find yourself having a hard time finding a societal box that you fit into, I suspect that be very debilitating depending on your understanding of how an individual should fit into such boxes. If you can then definitively absolve yourself of Agency and state that there's simply not alternative other than Box X, you can avoid some of the debilitating aspects of not being able to easily fit into the box.

  • M.L.||

    If you find yourself having a hard time finding a societal box that you fit into, welcome to the party. You're just like everyone else, but the developmental idea is to stop caring about "societal boxes" once you're not in high school any more.

  • ||

    the developmental idea is to stop caring about "societal boxes" once you're not in high school any more

    That seems a wee bit utopian...and also a rejection of a core aspect of humanity, that being a general need to find commonalities within groups.

    But I guess the problem is really more distinct in regards to the gender boxes. Those boxes have certain "common sense" immutable properties that simply don't hold up in light of the evidence. Yet the commonality of the belief that those boxes have immutable properties is surprisingly large.

  • M.L.||

    Fair first point, but...Yeah, it's like transgenderism is premised on not quite "getting" the idea that guys can do typical girl things, and vice versa.

    It's really deeper than that, though. Note that it's a critical gateway to transhumanism. It's born of a ill-fated desire to transcend (or deny) biological reality -- to become god.

  • ||

    Biological reality only gets you so far. It determines physical form reproductive characteristics. But even hormonal balance is not rigidly determined. And then certainly not feelings and desires. Such things are influenced by biological reality, maybe even strongly or exceptionally influenced in most humans, but they aren't absolute.

    So I reject your notion of transhumanism. That implies that there is a rigid definition of male and female, as if shaving one's legs is somehow a biological reality.

  • Sarcastr0||

    You're good.

  • M.L.||

    Well, there is a rigid definition of male and female. Biological sex is a very clear binary classification.

    Your confusion is that you are bringing in other factors such as feelings, desires, and hormonal balances which, while correlated with sex to various degrees, are not remotely definitional to sex or relevant at all to the classification.

    You want to imagine that because John is a sensitive emotional male and Jill is a female who is attracted to stereotypically male activities and maybe even other women, therefore "male" and "female" have lost any clear rigid meaning. But that's only because you're buying into the overtly sexist stereotyping ideology of transgenderism, and ignoring the basic facts of science. You were closer to the correct observation in your first sentence -- "biological reality [i.e. sex] only gets you so far." That's right. Put another way, your sex doesn't tell us everything about who you are. (Perhaps relatively little of importance, even).

  • ||

    Well, there is a rigid definition of male and female. Biological sex is a very clear binary classification.

    Why is there such an obsession with chromosomal identity? Yes, humans are born either XY or XX. Is anyone anywhere debating that? The discussion is in regards to sexual identity, of which chromosomal identity is only a component.

    Take the concept of gender traits. I'm sure you could list masculine and feminine traits. And I'm sure that you would also see tremendous variability within those traits. And I strongly doubt that you would ever believe that all members of a particular chromosomal sex will always have a particular trait.

    So as soon as you accept variability, you also have to accept margins. There will be people who skew far from "very masculine" or "very feminine". Why? Unknown. It certainly seems like it has a lot to do with hormonal situations of the mother while the child is in the womb. And certainly genetic variability plays into it. And potentially, although I'm not particularly convinced of this, cultural situations can play into it.

  • ||

    Regardless, the variability exists. Then it's a matter of accepting that an individual has to deal with that in the context of the society they exist in. If you're XX, yet everything you're attracted to tends to be something that the general population of XY is attracted to, then it's pretty reasonable to see that one might want to make their physical existence more closely match the existence of the population whose traits yours tend to be closest to.

    OR...you can certainly reject the option of a physical transformation and simply live out your life as you will. That's generally where the choice lies. The traits you exhibit? The innate desires you have? Those aren't choice based. You can chose to embrace/reject traits. But they don't simply vanish. They're just consciously managed.

  • M.L.||

    You want to talk about identity, social norms, behavior, all of which constitute "gender" under the new definition.

    That's fine, but "male" and "female" are generally understood to refer to sex.

    If you are arguing that hormones may play a role, due to observed correlations, in variations in "gender traits," identification with the opposite sex, and the various feelings and desires of "gender," I agree.

    But none of that changes one's sex. Recognizing this fact has nothing to do with "obsession" over chromosomes, reproductive systems, or the other traits that together constitute sex. In my opinion, the transgender ideology obsesses over sex: Falsely suggesting that it is possible to change your sex, making up 78+ genders because of its manic preoccupation with sex-based stereotypes, and suggesting that people should falsely identify as the opposite sex. Denial of basic biology.

  • Krayt||

    I've always felt it sad this society apparently requires remotely sexual-related traits to be congenital just to knock down laws against them.

    Properly speaking, one would never authorize government the power to regulate adult sexuality to begin with. Then people are free, and all this becomes merely of academic interest.

  • ||

    What laws are there against transgenders? They can do whatever they want. They just can't force the rest of us to buy into their delusions.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    They can do whatever they want.

    [Conservatives' teeth grinding furiously]

  • M.L.||

    Born what way? They were born a certain sex like everyone else.

    But furthermore, like everyone else, they were born with a limited and finite cognitive ability and a capability to develop delusions and commit all manner of cognitive errors, and even what you might call a sinful nature that is selfish and prone to doing things that shouldn't be done. Particular propensities and characteristics vary from person to person, of course.

    Some would even maintain that we all, every one of us, was born exactly the way we end up, that there was never any choice about it, and that each and every one of our actions was always a predetermined result of a materialist system.

    So the real question may be what difference does it make?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Unfortunately, some states have passed laws against medical treatments that seek to reduce identification with the opposite gender. This might be bad if some gender dysphoria is a coping mechanism for other issues and not an innate problem.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Gay conversion therapy has been kind of a horrorshow; I can see the rationale behind the laws, even if a blanket ban would an overreaction.

  • ||

    Agreed. It would be better to learn how to identify people with disorders in utero, so that they could be aborted.

  • ||

    Speaking of which...

  • swood1000||

    Gay conversion therapy has been kind of a horrorshow; I can see the rationale behind the laws, even if a blanket ban would an overreaction.

    Suppose the implications of this study turn out to be true, and that "rapid-onset gender dysphoria" can be caused by social influences, the normal difficulties of puberty, other psychiatric disorders and/or drug use. And suppose a teen in the midst of this struggle comes to see a psychiatrist or psychologist. Should the therapist be allowed to tell the client that this is a matter over which he or she has a choice? If so, and if the client decides against transgenderism, should the therapist be allowed to suggest how these influences might be surmounted?

  • Sarcastr0||

    Why did you ask this question if I said (and you quoted!) that a blanket ban was an overreaction?

    Of course, I would want a clinically vetted procedure not some hokey claptrap. And I would want a legit diagnosis before blithely saying 'there is a choice' but I don't think I'm anywhere near the trap you think you set for me.

  • ||

    Putting libertarianism aside, there's tremendous risk in codifying clinical diagnosis into law, particularly psychiatric diagnoses. Just look at the history of the DSM and imagine making that into a legally binding set of conditions.

    Those diagnoses are best unconstrained, even if it leads to a preponderance of quacks, shams, or simply ill-informed (as they might be judged by others) practitioners.

  • swood1000||

    Why did you ask this question if I said (and you quoted!) that a blanket ban was an overreaction?

    I overlooked your "blanket ban was an overreaction." I guess I read it too quickly and assigned you to a category without cause. Reading back over your posts I see that your position is not unreasonable. Maybe it's because your dad was a shrink.

  • Sarcastr0||

    :-P

  • swood1000||

    Unfortunately, some states have passed laws against medical treatments that seek to reduce identification with the opposite gender. This might be bad if some gender dysphoria is a coping mechanism for other issues and not an innate problem.

    The argument is made that conversion therapy has not been successful and so it should not be tried. In the first place, if they outlawed all psychiatric therapies that have not been shown to be successful most therapists would be out of a job. In the second place, you don't outlaw all therapy for a condition simply because harmful therapies have been tried in the past. You don't abandon the search for an effective treatment for psychosis just because they used to perform prefrontal lobotomies. Furthermore, the fact that no successful therapy has been found for a particular mental condition does not prove that the condition is genetic in origin or that no therapy is possible. Psychotherapy is still in its infancy. Third, these laws make it certain that no successful therapy will ever be found, and they mandate (without proving it) the viewpoint that sexual orientation can never be primarily the result of social influences. Finally, shouldn't it be up to the individual? If a person wants to give therapy a try why shouldn't he or she be allowed to do that?

  • Sarcastr0||

    The argument is that it's been largely done by zealots and has been not just useless but cruel and abusive.

  • Michael Cook||

    A treatment that is voluntary (as is by far the norm anymore) can be cruel and abusive if the customer doesn't feel it is cruel and abusive to him or her. Remember, people seek out the conversion therapists because for whatever reason the LGBTQ lifestyle is not bringing them the automatic pathway to happiness that was promised.

    Someone once told me that all human behaviors tend to be cult based and they all follow the same stages. First they tell you that it is natural, everyone is doing it, you may have been destined to do it, and it won't harm you anyway.

    Then they inform you that once you are one of us, you can't go back again.

    My experience in life is that desperately unhappy people will try any magic answer--drugs, chain smoking Marlboros, skydiving, playing video games all night while drinking Coors beer (my personal cross to bear), having sex with goats, whatever.

    It has always seemed to me that the cautions in the Bible about Sodom and Gommorah were about pockets of local cultural practices that got carried away, which I have noticed in San Fran and Seattle in our own times. Humans certainly are pack critters

  • ||

    Remember, people seek out the conversion therapists because for whatever reason the LGBTQ lifestyle is not bringing them the automatic pathway to happiness that was promised.

    That's still a perception issue. In this particular case, such "unhappiness" is generally rooted in a conflict between what they feel vs. what they believe they should feel. Since their belief in what the should feel is entirely learned, the unhappiness is a pure product of environment.

    The fundamental issue with conversion therapy is it starts from the premise that there is some sort of truth regarding what one should feel. It discounts reality. That being said, plenty of individuals form their whole identity around how they should feel/act, so the therapy can have an impact that leads one to a better state of feeling, depending on how deeply rooted those should principles are.

  • swood1000||

    The fundamental issue with conversion therapy is it starts from the premise that there is some sort of truth regarding what one should feel.

    Not necessarily. A person may be conflicted about his sexual orientation, this could cause depression, and he could go to the therapist to resolve the depression. Or an adolescent could be confused about different urges he is feeling so he goes to the therapist to examine these issues. If sexual orientation for some people actually is determined by factors other than genetics then the person might be able to make a conscious choice as to the direction he wants to go.

    It discounts reality.

    Is the reality that sexual orientation is genetic?

  • ||

    A person may be conflicted about his sexual orientation

    Organically? Such conflict almost certainly arises as a result one comparing their own desires to cultural norms. Independent of such norms, why would any desires lead to conflict? You desire a male. You desire a female. You're indifferent. You're indifferent but tend to prefer. Regardless, you are what you are. Conflict arises only when you think that you should be different than who you are. And that should is almost certainly a cultural definition.

    Is the reality that sexual orientation is genetic?

    The reality is that there's substantial variability in sexual orientation. The cause of said variability has yet to be determined. There's little evidence that the cause is even all that important. But Science is about curiosity, so if someone wants to see if they can isolate causality behind sexual orientation, then by all means go for it.

  • VinniUSMC||

    +1 MP

  • swood1000||

    Conflict arises only when you think that you should be different than who you are.

    No. Conflict arises when the person feels pulled in two different directions, as when he feels drawn both to homosexuality and to heterosexuality, which can happen in adolescence. In this situation who is he really?

    And that should is almost certainly a cultural definition.

    Cultural definitions can be very powerful, as when the culture defines resisting homosexuality as wrong or embracing homosexuality as wrong. But the choice can also be practical. A person who believes that having a father and a mother is a healthier environment for children can reach this conclusion empirically.

    so if someone wants to see if they can isolate causality behind sexual orientation, then by all means go for it.

    But if that investigation involves a manipulation of environmental influences in order to discover the effect on sexual preference and orientation he should be prepared to lose his professional license and/or to be sanctioned criminally.

  • ||

    No. Conflict arises when the person feels pulled in two different directions, as when he feels drawn both to homosexuality and to heterosexuality, which can happen in adolescence. In this situation who is he really?

    Both of those constructs, homosexuality and to heterosexuality, are entirely artificial. There would only be conflict if one perceived that they needed to define themselves within those constructs. Absent those constructs, if you found yourself attracted to the same sex, the opposite sex, or both sexes, why would there be conflict? What you're attracted to is simply what you're attracted to. You don't need to resolve anything.

    The conflict that arises is societal, based on societal norms of what a typical human should do based on their XX / XY composition.

  • swood1000||

    Both of those constructs, homosexuality and to heterosexuality, are entirely artificial.

    Not really. There are practical consequences, for example, whether or not children do better with both a mother and a father. Furthermore, it seems reasonable that if sexual orientation is innate and biological, that a person is likely to be happier in life if he decides to go with that and not fight it. If so, and if it is possible to induce homosexual desires into an innate heterosexual (or vice versa), then a person may want to discover his innate orientation and avoid those influences that conflict with it. People can be drawn into behaviors that are not in their best interest.

    Furthermore, your formulation assumes atheism. Even if you see religions as imaginary belief systems not everybody does.

  • Leahfy||

    @swood It does not assume atheism. It assumes religions are societally influenced and are themselves a source of societal influence. If you believe they are not, well, rational argument may be lost on you. But gender roles as societally influenced (or even instinctively) are often destructive to individuals who don't fit them well, and in some cases to society as a whole.

    @mp However, there's another source of conflict which is not societal. Many (not all, I'm not sure what the percentage is, but a large number of individuals) people seem to have an innate sense of gender identification. I'm not sure where this comes from but it may be instinctive and other animals may also have it. This makes transgender people have a different base issue which isn't about their culturally dictated femininity or masculinity, but simply what they feel themselves to be. Since our bodies develop under the influence of hormones, and the specific hormones may vary in the womb, it's likely that hormonal imbalances during gestation may lead to such effects in some cases. So it's not really genetic, but it is inborn.

    @both That at least a portion of our culture has decided to acknowledge this and allow people to self identify their gender rather than dictating it to them based on their physical body seems reasonable to me. It also seems reasonable that some religions, especially those caught up most closely in their gender-specific traditions, find this threatening.

  • swood1000||

    @Leahfy

    It does not assume atheism. It assumes religions are societally influenced and are themselves a source of societal influence.

    By saying that religions are societally influenced aren't you denying that there can be a religious teaching that comes from God, which is a fundamental teaching of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam? If someone says that homosexuality and heterosexuality are entirely artificial constructs isn't he at least claiming that one of the traditional beliefs of these three religions does not come from God? Although such a person could still believe in God it's not the God of traditional Christianity, Judaism, or Islam.

  • swood1000||

    The argument is that it's been largely done by zealots and has been not just useless but cruel and abusive.

    That's an argument for prohibiting cruel and abusive treatment. The laws, however, seem to say that any treatment will necessarily be cruel and abusive. Since the evidence that sexual preference and identification can only be the result of innate, genetic factors has clearly not be demonstrated, laws mandating that approach have their foundation in politics rather than science. Do you agree?

  • Katherin Kirkpatrick||

    Thank you for your thoughtful analysis, Professor Heriot. I think you're right about the backlash against Brown. As the public becomes more aware of the medical experimentation being done on children in the name of gender politics, it's going to become harder to support political correctness (Brown) over cautious protection of childrens' bodily autonomy and future reproductive health (Littman). Particularly when disabled children are disproportionately represented in the pool of children being sterilized.

  • VinniUSMC||

    (1/1)The root of the problem is that we are not evolved enough yet to move past these old fashioned stereotypes of what is masculine/feminine.

    There are very few truly inherent biological traits that make one male or female. Primarily being sex organs, mammary glands, uterus, testes... If we were to somehow manage to completely ignore these physical traits, how would we ever be able to distinguish a male from a female? Behavioral traits. But what makes behavioral trait A male, and trait B female? Why can't a male exhibit trait B, or a female exhibit trait A?

    Being a male who likes makeup doesn't suddenly make one a female. You're not supposed to be a female just because you like makeup. Females aren't somehow the only people who are allowed to like makeup.

  • VinniUSMC||

    (2/2)I think that gender dysphoria is a real disorder, but that most people who think they are the opposite sex aren't suffering from it, rather they're suffering from "society won't accept that I like things that aren't 'traditionally' my sex, so I must not be the right sex." And it's this perverse logic, being forced on us by "progressives" (any forward movement is right, no matter what), that is causing this current situation.

    We should be raising children to be themselves, and not forcing them to choose. Let them play with Barbies and GI Joes.

    So, my problem isn't with transgenders, it's with everyone around them forcing them to conform to some antiquated notions of masculinity/femininity. Obviously something is fundamentally wrong with our current notions if transitioning isn't making the situation better.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Word, Vinni - this is some good stuff.

    Though I don't know that you or I know enough to posit whether most people who think they have gender dysphoria do or not, especially since I suspect this is a moving target as the culture's relationship to gender is moving as fast now as it ever has.

    In general, being out and transgender is usually pretty tied up with someone's identity these days (something of a parallel to being gay in the 1980s here). Until that changes, I have a hard time telling someone whether one-on-one or as a group generalization that a large part of their identity is based on a misaprehension without individualized evidence.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Thanks Sarcastro. I figured it was time to get serious, at least for once. Back to being a dick after this message... :)

    I'd say you're right that we have no real way of knowing at this point what number of people are really and truly in the wrong body, versus people who are confused about their sexuality, or conflicted by peer pressure, or friends coming out, or just plain confused. Maybe most was the wrong word to use, but the --ahem-- study that this article is about at least seems to suggest it. As DavidTaylor mentioned above, incidence and prevalence are not necessarily correlated.

    This is why I'm not an advocate for things like shared bathrooms for teen-aged transgendered people (I think adults versus school-aged, captive audience, children is an important place to draw a distinction). At least, until we get to the point of universally unisex restrooms/showers/etc --think Robot Jox--, which may happen someday. Post-religion probably. Eventually the whole puritanical thing will go away, right? It's just a fad... lol

  • ||

    Separate restrooms were fundamentally due to male chauvinism and not Puritanical attitudes. See here.

  • VinniUSMC||

    Interesting read. I'm not sure its rightly labeled as "chauvinism", but I don't think that's a quibble worth wasting much time on.

    It makes sense, logistically, as long as urinals are a thing (and efficiency, men's versus women's bathrooms at a stadium, definitely makes me glad to be able to stand up to take a leak) for public, multiple occupancy restrooms to have some segregation.

    The article doesn't really address the historical public restrooms. Were they generally single occupancy unisex? I think that's where the real hiccup lies. Single occupancy versus multiple occupancy. Laws preventing single occupancy restrooms from being unisex instead of segregated are what I would classify as supremely stupid.

  • swood1000||

    Separate restrooms were fundamentally due to male chauvinism and not Puritanical attitudes.

    You don't think that women prefer to exclude males from women's restrooms?

  • ||

    The article doesn't really address the historical public restrooms. Were they generally single occupancy unisex?

    No idea. And not really interested enough to read the article's underlying source material. ;) But I suspect that multi-occupancy is a 20th century invention and that historically, a bathroom was a bathroom until women became more involved in work and other extra-curricular activities. Then men said "Time Out...we can't have ladies in OUR bathrooms" and thus gender specific bathrooms were born.

    You don't think that women prefer to exclude males from women's restrooms?

    I think that if people were raised in a culture of unisex bathrooms that they'd likely find the idea of a "women's bathroom" as some sort of bizarrely sexist concept that serves no obvious purpose.

  • swood1000||

    I think that if people were raised in a culture of unisex bathrooms that they'd likely find the idea of a "women's bathroom" as some sort of bizarrely sexist concept that serves no obvious purpose.

    It's probably worth remembering that up until World War I people used outhouses (those who could not afford servants to handle the chamber pots). Somehow I have trouble believing that multiple person outhouses were used by men and women at the same time. Are you saying that it is only a modern phenomenon that women avoid being nude in the presence of men not their husbands?

  • ||

    that women avoid being nude

    Last I checked, multi-occupancy bathrooms have stalls with doors.

    Unless you're referring to lesbian bathroom orgies. Those are the best.

  • swood1000||

    Last I checked, multi-occupancy bathrooms have stalls with doors.

    But did multi-occupancy outhouses throughout history have doors around each hole? If not, are you saying that men and women sat next to each other?

  • M.L.||

    I don't think there's any such thing as being "really and truly in the wrong body." That doesn't make any sense.

  • ||

    I don't think there's any such thing as being "really and truly in the wrong body." That doesn't make any sense.

    It might. It's dependent on how much gender specific traits (if one is willing to accept the existence of such things) are hormone based vs. gene based.

  • M.L.||

    Same here, Vinni.

  • swood1000||

    So, my problem isn't with transgenders, it's with everyone around them forcing them to conform to some antiquated notions of masculinity/femininity.

    Or to conform to modern notions of transgenderism. For example, a biological male who experiments with transgenderism being urged to embrace transgenderism and not sell out by reverting to a male self-image.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Activism has a terrible effect on research in general. For example, just about every Gender Studies piece written on the topic claims that percentages of false accusations of rape are down in the single digits, but when you look that the studies, these conclusions are quite clearly bogus. The number may well be that low, or much higher, but we have no data either way.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Are you talking about pieces or papers? I agree that pieces written by activists propagate that and a bunch of other errors but I don't know if that extends to academia.

    Though I also don't buy the idea that science should turn a blind eye to social values - see Fritz Haber.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    I've found that both the activists and the studies they cite don't do a very good job in distinguishing the rate of allegations found to be false (which is a fairly useless data point) and the actual rate of false allegations, which is unknown.

  • ReaderY||

    Here is the original article in PLOS 1:

    https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article? id=10.1371/journal.pone.0202330

    It seems to me that a fair and unbiased review of this article might find some methodological problems. If based on surveys of parents, not children, and reflects what parents think and believe about their children, not what think themselves. It is an open internet survey, which can easily be swamped by people favoring a particular point of view. And the authors recruited at three websites in which parents had complained about their children suddenly deciding they were transgender.

    Such a study is essentially designed to find evidence of rapid onset, so perhaps it's not surprising that it did. It deliberately attempted to recruit from a population that might be much more attuned to the issue than the general public.

    And it's not that hard to imagine kids who've thought a certain way all their lives deciding to tell their parents - and the parents believing these ideas were brand new and never in their children's head before. It's easy, it's the proverbial tree falls in the forest fallacy, for researchers as well as parents to think that something first came into being only when they first observed or heard about it, and never existed before.

  • ReaderY||

    (Cont)

    Given all this, think an unbiased reviewer could fairly argue that this research had serious flaws that cast doubt on its conclusions. It deliberately sought out parents worried about rapid onset as the basis for its conclusions. Worried parents might possibly not fully understand their children, and might have biases of their own that might prevent an accurate picture. What was suddenly told to parents might have existed without telling them for a long time before. Rather than creating any rapid onset, groups might have merely encouraged teenagers to tell their parents what they might have already long believed. And because the sample reported on may have contained a much higher proportion of worried parents then the general population, the percentages that it reports may be much higher than in a survey of general parents, let alone a survey of children.

    In short, it's not so clear to me, after reading the research article, this situation is really nothing more than ignorant political bias suppressing science. The people objecting to the article might only not be quite so ignorant as is being reported, they might even have a point.

  • swood1000||

    Given all this, think an unbiased reviewer could fairly argue that this research had serious flaws that cast doubt on its conclusions.

    The following were the conclusions of the study. Which ones have doubt cast on them because of the study's flaws?

    1. Rapid-onset gender dysphoria describes a phenomenon where the development of gender dysphoria is observed to begin suddenly during or after puberty in an adolescent or young adult who would not have met criteria for gender dysphoria in childhood.

    2. ROGD appears to represent an entity that is distinct in etiology from the gender dysphoria observed in individuals who have previously been described as transgender.

    3. It is plausible that ROGD represents an ego-syntonic maladaptive coping mechanism for some AYAs and that peer group and online influences may contribute to its development.

    4. It is unknown whether the gender dysphoria of rapid-onset gender dysphoria is temporary or likely to be long-term.

    (continued)

  • swood1000||

    (continued)

    5. The elevated number of friends per friendship group who became transgender-identified, the pattern of cluster outbreaks of transgender-identification in these friendship groups, the substantial percentage of friendship groups where the majority of the members became transgender-identified, and the peer group dynamics observed all serve to support the plausibility of social and peer contagion for ROGD.

    6. The worsening of mental well-being and parent-child relationships and behaviors that isolate teens from their parents, families, non-transgender friends and mainstream sources of information are particularly concerning. More research is needed to better understand rapid-onset gender dysphoria, its implications, and scope.

  • bernard11||

    1. This is a definition, not a result.

    2. As noted previously, no statistical conclusions whatsoever can be drawn from the study. If "ROGD appears to represent an entity that is distinct in etiology" means "it might represent," well, it might. But if this is a conclusion drawn from the survey results then it is completely unwarranted.

    3. Lots of things are plausible. See also #2.

    4. OK. It is unknown. But this is just a statement about the state of knowledge. Again, it is not remotely a conclusion of the study.

    5. Numbers again. If Littman wants to argue that this might be the case, she can do so. But the study does not support it.

    6. Yes. These things are concerning. But, the worsening of mental well-being and parent-child relationships and behaviors that isolate teens from their parents, families, non-transgender friends and mainstream sources of information are particularly concerning. That would be true for any teenager.

  • swood1000||

    As noted previously, no statistical conclusions whatsoever can be drawn from the study.

    The point is that the study clearly did not attempt to draw any statistical conclusions.

    "This kind of descriptive study is important because it defines a group and raises questions for more research," said study author Lisa Littman, an assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences at Brown's School of Public Health. "One of the main conclusions is that more research needs to be done. Descriptive studies aren't randomized controlled trials -- you can't tell cause and effect, and you can't tell prevalence. It's going to take more studies to bring in more information, but this is a start."

    The announced results only define a group and raise questions for further research. It is absurd to say that such conclusions are not justified.

  • ReaderY||

    There is a big, big gray area that lies in between showcasing a professor's research - proudly displaying it as a shining example of the sort of high-quality, state-of the-art science that goes on at the place - and what is normally meant by throwing a professor under the bus, disciplining the professor etc.

    The Science Direct article linked to emphasized Professor Litman's quantitative results , including findings that children who joined certain groups started identifying as transgender at much higher rates than the general population.

    For a clearer explanation of the general critique, perhaps an analogy might help: Imagine an alcoholism study that finds that people who join AA start identifying as alcoholics at much higher rates then the general population, and then concludes this demonstrates the existence of sudden-onset alcoholism, with AA suspected of causing sudden-onset alcoholism status. Perhaps the researcher might be justified in presenting these conclusions as tentative hypotheses. But I think a university would nonetheless be justified in concluding that this isn't necessarily show-case worthy, state of the art science.

  • swood1000||

    Imagine an alcoholism study that finds that people who join AA start identifying as alcoholics at much higher rates then the general population, and then concludes this demonstrates the existence of sudden-onset alcoholism, with AA suspected of causing sudden-onset alcoholism status.

    For your analogy to be apt, most of those in your study who joined AA would need to have shown no prior inclination toward alcohol abuse.

    Most of the parents (80.9%) answered affirmatively that their child's announcement of being transgender came "out of the blue without significant prior evidence of gender dysphoria."

    Furthermore, according to the study, peer contagion has been shown to be a factor in several aspects of eating disorders.

    Yes, it's not possible without a controlled trial experiment to conclude whether the group drew the trans people or the group instilled the trans behavior. Your argument seems to be that the university would be justified in concluding that there is nothing significant to learn from any study short of controlled trial, but I think you would concede that the university's actions here were influenced by political considerations.

  • ReaderY||

    The study showed the parents who participated believed it was coming out of the blue. As noted in my initial comment, this is by no means the same thing as showing that it came out of the blue.

    Just as your comment about AA is based on your prior beliefs about what alcoholics do, so here the question of whether parental beliefs are informative would depend on how closet transgender children tend to relate to parents of this type, and what one believes about this. But we don't know.

    To a transgender activist, it might seem obvious that the parents here have ignorant, perhaps willfully ignorant, about what has been going on with their children, and the AA analogy might seem completely apt. Of course, this hypothetical transgender activist might be wrong as well. We just don't know. I think, however, it's reasonable here to distinguish between how parents saw things and how (for example) the children themselves might have seen things, and both from how an outside observer might have seen things. I think conflating these perspectives does represent a potential flaw in the study.

  • swood1000||

    I think conflating these perspectives does represent a potential flaw in the study.

    But isn't it the case that anything short of a full randomized controlled trial will not be able to tell cause and effect? This is a descriptive study, and so such "flaws" are inescapable. Is there no role for the descriptive study in this area? Isn't the value of such a study to raise the possibility that peer contagion might play a role, as it does in the area of eating disorders? The purpose of the study was simply to suggest various possibilities and to point out that peer contagion is not excluded by the data and in fact works quite well within the data. This kind of limited finding still has value and I fail to see an objection to it that is not politically grounded. This study didn't make a finding that peer contagion played a role and its failure to make a definitive statement is not a "flaw." It is a feature of this type of inquiry.

  • rsteinmetz||

    I don't know much about the science behind the politics of sexual identity. I suspect it's not a simple as many people with different values believe. There is a certain rigidity that suggests the constructs are artificial.

    For example:

    Gay and Lesbians are born that way.
    Transgender individuals are born that way.
    Pedophiles are not born that way but are made abuse.
    Men have certain inherent characteristics.

  • Semesa Brown||

    As a graduate chemist(thus admittedly I'm professionally quite far removed from social sciences) it often amazes me how many assertions find their way into the "standard model" for psychology and social sciences on seemingly such shaky ground.

    Generally in science, for something to become widely accepted, it needs to be well studied(which your examples certainly have been) but more importantly, be able to consistently and accurately predict relevant future experiments.

    An analogy in physics;
    Newtons laws of motion are generally accepted for non-relativistic reference frames. They have been confirmed ad nauseum through reproducible experimental results that can be predicted.
    If even a fraction of reputable experiments gave anomalous results, this certainly wouldn't be the case.

    Yet here:
    "Gay and Lesbians are born that way.
    Transgender individuals are born that way.
    Pedophiles are not born that way but are made abuse.
    Men have certain inherent characteristics."

    Excluding the last sentence, none of these points meet that criteria.

    I'm not saying they are incorrect, I'm saying it's absurd that they are considered "a given" in this context.

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