Pathologising Coming Out – Rapid Onset Of Gender Dysphoria


Since the foundation of psychopathology, the
study of mental illness, there has been one disturbing and recurrent trend of human history.
The desire to label that which is perceived as wrong by one demographic, often those in
power but not always, as a form of psychopathology. Again, this is not something any one group
is solely guilty of doing. I a member of the secular community have seen this attempted
with religion. I’ve seen people with no understanding of mental illness beyond what
they’ve seen on TV make a few spurious links and thus proudly declare that religion must
be a form of psychopathology. Now whilst in that specific instance its impact
will likely be relatively small, perhaps pissing off the one or two religious people present
effectively halting any chance of a discussion in good faith, there are times where doing
this has greater impact outside of generally reinforcing mental health stigma. This of
course leads me to today’s topic, so called ‘Rapid Onset Of Gender Dysphoria’. But
first, let’s travel back to the 1960’s. In the 1961, only five years after the discovery
that a typical human had 46 chromosomes, a group of scientists first described the intersex
condition known as XYY syndrome in which carriers present with an extra Y karyotype. Naturally
there was an interest in the effects this had on the individual so people began to investigate.
Sadly through a lack of ethics and shoddy methodology, soon the idea that people with
XYY chromosomes were more aggressive than those who lacked the extra Y chromosome began
to make the rounds. Then came along Mary Telfer. Now I need to be clear, Mary is not the originator
of the XYY aggression myth which was already alive by this point. No. What she did was give the media a name
that they could latch on to. She dubbed those with XYY syndrome as ‘supermales’, blending
ideas as benign as acne scars with the genetic disposition to becoming a mass murderer. The
media found out about her term and ran with it, drawing spurious links between various
murderers and even outright lying in claiming to know that specific killers had the syndrome.
By the year 1968 in which Michael Court Brown published the first review article in the
Journal of Medical Genetics and found there to be zero basis for the overrepresentation
of XYY individuals in prison for criminal acts, violent or not, concluding that the
original studies had likely been guilty of selection bias, it was far too late. The genie
had been let out of the bottle and the media ate it up. In 1969 an article was published by the American
Psychiatric Association which found that quote; “While a more extensive and thorough study
of this new minority group is needed, it now appears that in general the XYY male
has been falsely stigmatized. The frequency of his involvement in antisocial behavior
and crime may not be appreciably different from that of the average citizen.” end quote.
To her credit it should be noted that Mary Telfer was part of said research team. But
whilst the science had discovered its mistake, the stigma did not end. The syndrome was still
discussed at various levels, even entering discourse on race and violence. It was referenced
in the 1992 film Alien 3 which was set on a prison planet. Most surprisingly however,
upon talking to my partner I learnt that it was still being taught as fact when she was
at school. But it also survived in another form. It acted as a cautionary tale for all
budding social science students. It taught us the importance of avoiding premature conclusions
and the power of giving a phantom condition a name. In 2017 a story began making the rounds online
about how a researcher by the name of Lisa Littman had published an article discussing
a new condition. The condition in question was referred to as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria,
or ROGD for short. The truth was that she’d presented preliminary results at a conference
which had been summarized in the accompanying journal. In it Littman noted that groups of
parents online were discussing their surprise when their child came out as transgender post
puberty. There were also a variety of other claims noted surrounding said adolescent’s
coming out. One was the way in which said parents made assertions about other adolescents
and young adults in the same peer-group apparently coming out in a similar fashion. Another thing
parents noted was a sudden increase in online consumption of trans focused media. Now to study this this Littman would continue
to conduct a 90 anonymous question anonymous survey which had been posted to a total of
three websites, at that time unnamed, that were known to discuss said topics. The surveys
were targeted at parents who claimed to have a child displaying rapid onset gender dysphoria
which raised a number of concerns about the methodological integrity of said research.
One of those issues supplied by human rights activist Zinnia Jones was the lack of operationalisation,
converting concepts or terms into an empirical standard which can be measured. Zinnia noted
that the definition offered in the preliminary report which read as quote; “Parents online are observed reporting their
children experiencing a rapid onset of gender dysphoria appearing for the first time during
or after puberty.” end quote, really failed to distinguish itself from already existing
principles found in the current understanding of gender dysphoira. For example the DSM 5
had already noted the following as early as 2013, quote; “Late-onset gender dysphoria occurs around
puberty or much later in life. Some of these individuals report having had a desire to
be of the other gender in childhood that was not expressed verbally to others. Others do
not recall any signs of childhood gender dysphoria. For adolescent males with late-onset gender
dysphoria, parents often report surprise because they did not see signs of gender dysphoria
during childhood.” end quote. Now some may say that this was simply Littman
using rapid onset gender dysphoria as synonymous with late onset gender dysphoria, sometimes
referred to as adolescent onset gender dysphoria, but Littman herself suggested otherwise in
her preliminary report with quote; “The purpose of this study is to document this
observation and describe the resulting presentation of gender dysphoria inconsistent with existing
research.” end quote. This was a point further substantiated in 2018 when the full report
was published, including the line that quote “More research is needed to determine the
incidence, prevalence, persistence and desistance rates, and the duration of gender dysphoria
for adolescent-onset gender dysphoria in general and for rapid-onset gender dysphoria, specifically.”
end quote. So how did the full report differentiate rapid onset gender dysphoria from late onset
gender dysphoria? Well it didn’t. The only difference that seems to exist is
the very subjective terms of rapid or sudden which at no point does the study even attempt
to quantify. Defining such terms is key when you’re conducting an exploratory article.
So why didn’t Littman go ahead and do so? Personally I think a large part of that has
to do with the extra baggage inherent to the phrase rapid onset gender dysphoria and how
it was being used in the very online forums Littman was on about as a means to delegitimize
the experiences of transgender individuals. Littman’s work seems to be a way of sneaking
said assertions past the peer-review process by linking them to a similarly defined yet
very real phenomenon. I am of course on about the notion of social contagion and maladaptive
response. To understand the baggage attached to rapid
onset gender dysphoria, we must first of all understand where Littman sourced her ideas
from. At the time of the preliminary report Littman had not officially named the websites
to which she’d posted her research. Though Zinnia Jones on the case quickly found three
likely candidates, 4thwavenow, Transgender trend, and Youth Trans Critical Professionals.
When the full article was published it turned out that not only had Zinnia been correct
but that these three websites had been the only websites Littman had posted the survey
to. The survey itself consisted of 90 questions of which out of the 274 respondents 256 were
used in the final analysis, each reporting to have had a child who came out as trans
between the ages of 10 and 21. Out of those 256 a total of 195 stated that they did not
accept the declared gender of their child yet rather interestingly 225 selected that
they held the belief that quote “transgender people deserve the same rights and protections
as others” end quote. Now I say rather interestingly due to the
sources in question. 4thwavenow, Transgender trend, and Youth Trans Critical Professionals
are websites centred around organized harassment of human rights activists seeking to obtain
and protect the very rights said people claimed to fully accept. As a specific example Transgender
Trend published resource packs intended for schools which attempted to justify the torture
of transgender children through the exact same practices of so called reparative or
conversion therapy as has been and still is used on lesbian, gay and bisexual people to
this day. Their only excuse was that there wasn’t a consensus on the matter since one
or two individuals held to the tortures effectiveness. The lie here is exposed of course when one
realizes that a consensus is not revoked on the whims of a couple of disgraced physicians
who place personal prejudice before clinical trial. Indeed the American Psychological Association,
American Academy Of Pediatrics, the UK Council for Psychotherapy, and the World Psychiatric
Association stand unanimous in their condemnation of so called ‘reparative’ or ‘conversion
therapy’. And these are but a few of the largest such
medical institutions which upon reviewing all evidence available have reached a consensus
that to deny it is to lay insult to reality. What these people attempted to forward in
packs, reminder, intended for schools, are a violation of human rights. So do forgive
me if I seem a little cynical in stating that I see this as a calculated move designed to
give the appearance of a false midground and thus undeserved fairness. However these are
the people that Littman set out to study in attempts to first of all validate the existence
of so called rapid onset gender dysphoria as well as discuss Littman’s hypotheses
designed to explain what the data shows. And it’s in this that we return to the aforementioned
baggage. Littman offers us two hypotheses. Hypotheses 1. Social contagion is a key determinant
of rapid-onset gender dysphoria. Hypotheses 2. rapid onset gender dysphoria is a maladaptive
coping mechanism for AYAs. Now the first thing I noticed upon realizing these was the fact
that Littman completely skips a step. Like before we can begin to dissect rapid onset
gender dysphoria , surely we must first define it in a clinical sense, demonstrate it to
exist, and only then investigate it? Because currently there’s Hypotheses 3. What was
reported as being rapid onset gender dysphoria was not an accurate description of what actually
occurred. And this is by far the most likely explanation given the current evidence of
the current scientific consensus when held up to Littman’s choice in method and sample. And this has been one of the major issues
taken with the study. The fact that it presents rapid onset gender dysphoria as a genuine
condition distinct to late onset gender dysphoria on nothing more than the words of a heavily
biased sample. The conclusion of Littman’s article states quote; “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. Rapid onset gender dysphoria appears to represent an entity
that is distinct in etiology from the gender dysphoria observed in individuals who have
previously been described as transgender. It is plausible that rapid onset gender dysphoria
represents an ego-syntonic maladaptive coping mechanism for some adolescents and young adults
and that peer group and online influences may contribute to its development. It is unknown
whether the gender dysphoria of rapid-onset gender dysphoria is temporary or likely to
be long-term. 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 rapid onset gender dysphoria.
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.” end quote. Note how nowhere in the conclusion is the
existence of rapid onset gender dysphoria ever questioned or doubted. Only the auxiliary
points display any such consideration and even then they still overstate the studies
validity. Why? Well because how can you hope to even begin to investigate what’s apparently
a complex psychological phenomenon without ever having talked to the person supposedly
affected by said phenomenon? What’s more is how can you argue that a sample with clear
hostility to the very existence of at least a segment transgender people is a valid and
unbiased sample when it comes to investigating a phenomena that could undermine the existence
of at least a segment of the trans community? The truth is you cannot. You may as well approach
anti-vaxxers about their personal opinions of vaccines and its relation to autism. Of
course they’d use said opportunity to assert that vaccines cause autism outbreaks. And
I’m sure that if you asked them the question ‘do you hold to the scientific method?’
they would answer yes. But they very clearly don’t. The sad thing is, I don’t think Littman’s
study was ever intended to do anything else. As noted there is nothing new about rapid
onset gender dysphoria when compared to late onset gender dysphoria, even though Littman
repeatedly asserts there is. Why? Well because the communities she sourced the very idea
of rapid onset gender dysphoria from can now use her study to claim that rapid onset gender
dysphoria is a genuine condition accepted in science. And through that they can sneak
in their extra baggage, the two hypotheses noted in the study. It’s true, Littman notes
that said hypotheses currently lack basis in the article. But the wording of the conclusion
isn’t as explicit in noting such and that’s without considering that 4thwavenow, Transgender
Trend, and Youth Trans Critical Professionals are not attempting to have a scientific discussion
on the matter. As evidenced earlier these sites are designed to spread misinformation
to stall and even strip back transgender rights through any means necessary. Their target
audience is not academic, it’s general. Aware of this fact they can utilise this article
as a justification for their anti-science views in the exact same way the anti-vaxxer
movement utilizes the long discredited Andrew Wakefield study to this day. But it goes deeper
than that. Why do you fight god if he doesn’t exist?
It’s a question I get a lot on this channel and it seems to draw from a certain fallacy
a lot of people are susceptible to. We tend to think of ourselves as perfectly rational
beings when we’re really not. One of the oddities of human behaviour is the way in
which criticism can be seen as validating of the original claim. And I don’t mean
surviving criticism in the sense that we tested a piece of knowledge and it held fast. I mean
people outright see any attempts at criticism no matter how damaging to only prove that
the original statement must be true. Now there’s another idea building on from this, the idea
that a lie cannot hurt you and therefore to fear a lie is unreasonable. I think this idea
was best summed up by George RR Martin with quote; “When you tear out a man’s tongue,
you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might
say.” end quote. Now whilst this is pretty accurate, the reality
is a lie can do a great deal of harm. And this is especially true for a lie which is
platformed one what seems to be credible source. This is one of the things that makes religion
so dangerous since it claims to come from the ultimate source. As a result hundreds
of millions have lost their lives to it over the millenia. A lie can be harmful and attempts
to challenge or suppress it it are not validation of said lie. And yet that’s the argument those in support
of said study are currently making. Since its publishing Littman’s University, Brown
University have retracted their news article and the PLOS One team has begun a review of
her study with the possibility of retraction. One thing a lot of people don’t know about
PLOS One is that whilst it’s a peer-reviewed journal, it doesn’t really look into the
conclusions made by an article’s author. It mostly reviews the way in which a method
is written up to ensure that it is at least replicable. This is part of their quantity
over quality approach to science publishing. And whilst a person who genuinely believes
said article to have good methodology that supports its conclusions would welcome further
scrutiny of said research, those who support the article are up in arms over the whole
process. They’re claiming that what Brown University
and PLOS One are currently in the process of doing is nothing more than self censoring
to appease the trans CABAL. Because apparently further review of the science is the most
unscientific thing one could do. Which is stunningly short sighted for many these same
people as they’re often the ones arguing that what Littman did was virtuous because
she was reviewing the scientific consensus at the time. So reviewing the science is good,
unless you’re reviewing the science in which case it’s bad. Fact is this of course echoes
what we see with the anti-vaxx movement surrounding Wakefield. In light of his failure to declare
conflict of interest and diabolical methodology the anti-vaxx movement rushed in to claim
that they were the victim of the establishment, effectively turning them into a martyr. Now
in the exact same vein the very websites from which Littman sourced her data are now claiming
that the trans CABAL has the power to silence entire journals whilst still having to jump
through dehumanizing hoops just to get a GP referral. Because consistency is apparently
for beta cucks or something of that sort. However whilst Littman’s paper in no way
does what these groups are pretending it does, these parents are witnessing something that
they’re reporting back as rapid onset gender dysphoria. So I’m going to take this opportunity
to discuss a number of things I’ve wanted to talk about in the past but never really
felt I had the chance. So let’s take a look at the skeletons in the closet. The thing that immediately spoke out to me
upon reading Littman’s article and the way in which it presented rapid onset gender dysphoria
was the way in the ‘rapid’ or ‘sudden’ aspects had a completely mundane explanation
that’s been well established for decades. What parents were witnessing wasn’t a sudden
change in who their child was, it was them reaching a point where they felt the need
to come out to their family whether it be out a sense of comfort, obligation, or simple
desperation. The study in effect was trying to do something I’d seen attempted countless
times with sexuality, but on a quasi-scientific level to give itself the appearance of having
some level of legitimacy. We were witnessing the pathologisation of coming out. To understand
this better let us look at the two hypotheses the article forwards. The two hypotheses offered by Littman build
on the unfounded claims made by the parents she surveyed. Hypothesis 1: Social contagion
is a key determinant of rapid-onset gender dysphoria. Hypothesis 2: rapid onset gender
dysphoria is a maladaptive coping mechanism for adolescents and young adults. Again, these
are not something new. This is simply the repackaging of homophobic talking points as
an attempts to direct them at trans people. Hypothesis 1. doesn’t differ in the slightest
to the claim that allowing gay and bisexual people to live openly and teaching about their
existence in class will infect heterosexual people and turn them gay and bisexual. Meanwhile
Hypothesis 2. is just the same old ‘gay people exist as the result of childhood trauma
such as rape, and therefore it’s a symptom of said childhood trauma and should be treated
as such.’ The maladaptive aspect really drives that home as said term is often used
to describe harmful attempts at coping such as alcohol abuse. Therefore Hypothesis 2.
is not only attempting to suggest that being trans can result from trauma, but being trans
is harmful. And yes, the article doesn’t confirm these
hypotheses. It does however draw back on them in the reflection, stating quote “The conclusion
of this exploratory study is that clinicians need to be very cautious before relying solely
on self-report when adolescents and young adults seek social, medical or surgical transition.
Adolescents and young adults are not trained medical professionals. When adolescents and
young adults diagnose their own symptoms based on what they read on the internet and hear
from their friends, it is quite possible for them to reach incorrect conclusions. It is
the duty of the clinician, when seeing a new adolescents and young adults patient seeking
transition, to perform their own evaluation and differential diagnosis to determine if
the patient is correct or incorrect in their self-assessment of their symptoms and their
conviction that they would benefit from transition.” end quote. Now there are several things that
need addressing here. First is the fact that Littman notes this
as a conclusion but never brings it up in her actual conclusion. That right there is
highly dubious. It seems that she wanted to forward her hypothesis as having more merit
than she can actually declare in the actual conclusion, so resorts to doing so earlier.
Second, it’s forwarding that the opinions of parents who are also not trained professionals
and certainly don’t know what their child is going through are equal, if not superior
to the individual themselves. Third it suggests that specialists are not careful at the current
and are simply running with the pure whims of people referred to them. And that’s how
it’s being used by those who partook in the study. The groups who were sourced don’t separate
rapid onset gender dysphoria from the two hypotheses forwarded by Littman. To them rapid
onset gender dysphoria is defined by social contagion and/or maladaptive response to abuse.
And Littman’s mockery of science in failing to differentiate rapid onset gender dysphoria
from our current understanding allows them to do so. Littman repeatedly asserts rapid
onset gender dysphoria to be a genuine phenomenon, and yet that very assertion is dependent on
hypotheses 1 or 2 being correct. So Littman would have to validate said hypotheses before
being able to honestly state that rapid onset gender dysphoria is genuine. But she doesn’t.
That allows whoever wants to use this poorly conducted study to run off with it and use
it as a political ace to harass human rights activists. Under social contagion Littman
even compares trans people to those suffering from anorexia. A common bigoted response that
has no basis at all yet is meant to harm human rights for trans people. Without actual study of the people in question,
assessing the claims of the parents rather than taking their very clearly biased perspective
as gospel, neither hypothesis AS WELL as the very condition they are attributed to can
be claimed to have any basis whatsoever. Because let’s be real. What do we actually have
here and are the two hypothesis Littman forwards the only or even the most likely explanations
as to what’s being reported? We ultimately have a group of parents hostile
towards trans people, their rights, and their existence. That’s the fundamental beliefs
of the three websites which were the focus of the survey, completely voiding their attempts
to present themselves as reasonable through answering that they agreed with trans rights.
This is clear social desirability bias. We have these parents suddenly becoming aware
that their adolescent or young adult child is trans. How does this differ in any way
to a gay or bisexual person coming out? And yes, homophobic parents often argue that their
child turned gay or bisexual overnight, sometimes making reference to past partners or no previous
signs. But here’s the thing, children can pick up on latent hostility and learn to hide
who they are to avoid ostracisation. I am talking of course about being in the
closet. This is a phrase that describes a well documented occurrence not only with sexuality
and gender, but many things including beliefs. Suddenly becoming aware that someone is a
certain way does not mean we can ascertain that this is a change in that person. That’s
not a valid conclusion. At most it’s a change in the parent’s knowledge. Let’s take
the example of online media designed to supply trans people with information that they’re
currently denied through poor education. How can said parents claim that their child ‘all
of a sudden’ started to consume said media unless they monitor their child 24/7? Clear
browsing history exists. It’s how my mum had no idea of my bisexuality even though
we only had a wired internet connection at the time I was figuring it out for myself.
The only access I had to such media was my mum’s laptop and she had no clue when I
finally came out to her about it. Once a child is out or coming out however, why would they
hide it? So the change isn’t consumption of media, it’s a change in simply no longer
hiding said consumption of media. But that’s not the only factor that was likely involved. We also have to acknowledge the fact that
figuring out this stuff takes time, especially when you’ve been kept in the dark all your
life. A trans person who has never had an accurate explanation of what being transgender
is may never make the connection that this describes who they are. Secondary factors
such as anxiety and depression stemming from gender dysphoria may take the spotlight, causing
them to seek palliative cures rather than identify the underlying cause. This could
all change however when they become aware of the existence of fellow trans people. This
is especially true of people who go off to university or simply move around in life. However that doesn’t mean they weren’t
LGBT+ before. It just means that they were previously unaware of their gender or sexuality
because they’d been raised in a hetero and cisnormative world that does everything it
can to try and force them to conform. It’s what happened to me. I first realized my sexuality
around 13 years of age and my gender soon followed, though it took me far longer to
come out about the latter. It wasn’t until I met a fellow trans person and befriended
them that I finally had someone I could confide in and from there my strength grew. That’s
how confidence works. You nurture it, it grows. Which leads me onto another one of the ‘observations’
these parents had apparently made which Littman pushes in defense of her social contagion
hypothesis. Quote; “One of the most compelling findings supporting
the potential role of social and peer contagion in the development of a rapid onset of gender
dysphoria is the cluster outbreaks of transgender-identification occurring in friendship groups. The expected
prevalence of transgender young adult individuals is 0.7%. Yet, more than a third of the friendship
groups described in this study had 50% or more of the adolescents and young adults in
the group becoming transgender-identified in a similar time frame, a localized increase
to more than 70 times the expected prevalence rate. This is an observation that demands
urgent further investigation.” end quote. For a start I’d like to know how parents
went about finding this out. Did they actually ask said friend or did they just assume they
were trans? But more importantly I need to note once again that the children of said
parents came out as trans between the ages 10 and 21 with an average of 15.2. Now most
schools have several hundred students if not more, a fact that typically increases into
the thousands as one enters college or university. My university had over 15,000 attendees meaning
that at 0.7% we could estimate 105 trans students were in attendance. But even a small school
consisting of a couple hundred students would mean that it’s not at all unreasonable for
two or even more to be trans. Now this wouldn’t guarantee that they’re friends or that they’re
even aware of one another. However we need to acknowledge the existence of LGBT+ support
groups. At university all of my friends pretty much came from three different societies.
There was the Atheist, Humanist, & Secularist Society, the Feminist Society, but the most
important one to me was the LGBT+ Society. Again I’m very curious about the methodology
in how the parents estimate over 50% of the friendship groups had turned trans. Because,
how do they know how many friends their children have? Especially when it’s adults. You know,
you don’t meet every friend your child has. My mum may have met one or two, that’s really
it. But to jump from two trans people coming out whilst supporting one another as friends
to there being a contagion is a chasm to large to cover. And that’s assuming that the 0.7%
statistic is the actual prevalence of trans people throughout the adolescent population. If there’s anything that we’ve learnt
from lesbian, gay, and bisexual history it’s that known numbers of a stigmatised demographic
seem to grow as society becomes less hostile and minority groups feel safer in coming forward
to be counted. 0.7% is likely an underestimate. This is simply a result of said demographics
no longer feeling as if they have to keep the reality of their existence hidden to protect
themselves. And when one trans person in a specific area or school comes out this may
act to embolden others in that area to do the same, resulting in what looks like breakouts
of being trans when really we’re seeing a breakout of confidence and support. In schools
where one trans person takes that plunge, the 0.7% may be over represented in that school
but in another school where no trans person takes the plunge, that is underrepresented. Of course this fact doesn’t stop the bigots
rushing forward to claim that growing numbers of people feeling safe enough to come out
is really the result of said sexuality and gender spreading like a disease. But that
argument is just baseless. All evidence tells us that it’s impossible to actively change
a person’s gender or sexuality. In all likelihood being trans isn’t as rare as we currently
think and we’re starting to see a snowball effect of people inspired by the stories of
others coming out only to in turn inspire others. I reflected on my own experience of
coming out at school. I say coming out, I was actually outed by a so called friend I
thought I could trust. Before that nobody knew of anyone else in our school being LGBT+
and this was a school that had several years and to those years had a couple hundred individuals
to each year. And yet no one else had come out. A few months after I was outed however,
things started to change. Not in my own year but in the years below me, suddenly I started
hearing about this individual and that individual coming out, willingly coming out. People I’d
never talked to, let alone talked to about my sexuality. It seemed just my mere existence
in being out, even if it was unwilling and there’s a lot of horrific experiences I
suffered as a result, emboldened some people to come out themselves, willingly. This is
why representation matters. And unlike Littman’s hypotheses, all of what I’ve stated here
is based on past observations and first hand accounts by LGBT+ people themselves. Not the
perception of some hate-fuelled mob looking to abuse science to justify the abuse aimed
at trans people. But focusing specifically on the second hypothesis
and I have to be blunt. This psychoanalysing of young trans people via talking to their
parents makes me sick. So to does the way in which this is often parroted by Feminism
Appropriating Reactionary Transphobes. The attempt to gaslight trans people into questioning
their own sanity on the basis that they were once abused does not strike me as a particularly
ethical or feminist thing to do. As someone who opened up about their childhood abuse,
I have to live constantly not only with the impact of said abuse, but the way in which
people attempt to poach my experience as a means to silence me. So I’m bisexual, that’s because I have
a broken understanding of love. So I’m an atheist, that’s because I’ve come to hate
god for what happened to me. So I’m trans, that’s my attempts to cope with the memories
I live with. I’m fucking sick and tired of such crap, especially from so called researchers
that can’t be bothered to contact the person directly but relies on the parent who rejects
their child’s very existence to even suggest that what they forward may be the case. And
the responsibility for that falls firmly on Littman’s shoulders. So in drawing this whole thing to a close
I already know that a number of people have likely commented under my video that Littman
noted her studies limitations, be it in a rather obscure segment of her paper that wasn’t
made clear in the summarising conclusion. I can also predict that I’ll likely be told
that the way in which the people Littman reached out to and made every effort to accomodate
use her research is in no way any fault of hers. To which I’d like to end how I started,
with another analogy. Those of you familiar with anti-vaxxers likely
know they gather online, sharing stories about how family members or people they know ‘suddenly
became autistic’ after receiving a vaccination. If a researcher were to come in and read the
posts they were making before conducting a survey which concluded that ‘rapid onset
post-vaccine autism’ was a real phenomenon in need of explanation and forwarded the hypothesis
that ‘vaccines are a likely cause’ without making any attempts to even corroborate what
these anonymous posters were saying, how long do you think said study would last? It would be devoured in an instant, the researcher
would most likely lose any position they had, and the scientific community would have to
spend decades undoing said harm. Yet again I’ve seen people who consider themselves
rational first of all defend Littman’s study because it questions the current body of knowledge,
only to attack those critical of the study itself because if the review finds said study
to be deeply methodologically flawed, that’ll be the misapplication of science. That’s
the pinnacle of special pleading. The idea that the consensus may be thoroughly assessed,
but the evidence of this one paper may not. And this of course is forwarded alongside
the various claims that the criticism which has focussed extensively on the methodology
is simply the trans CABAL lashing out ideologically. The reality however remains, Littman’s study
was poorly conducted and worse, poorly written in such a way that it allows people seeking
to harm the general trans community to run off with it and do exactly that.

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