How a theory of transsexual contagion went viral

The ROGD article is not sponsored by anti-transgenders. But it comes at a time when people with bad intentions are looking to science to form their opinion.

The results are in line with what one might expect with those sources: 76.5% of parents surveyed “believe their child does not believe to be transgender”. More than 85% said their child had increased Internet use and/or had transgender friends before identifying as transgender. The young adults themselves had no say in the study, and had nothing to say if they had simply kept their parents in the dark for months or years before their debut. (Littman admits that “parent-child conflict may also explain some of the findings.”)

Arjee Restar, now an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, didn’t hold back her words. 2020 methodological critique of the article. Restar noted that Littman chose to describe the “social and peer contagion” hypothesis in the consent document she shared with parents, opening the door for biases about who chose to pay. surveys and how they do so. She also emphasized that Littman has asked parents to provide a “diagnosis” of their child’s gender dysphoria, which they are not qualified to do without professional training. It’s even possible that Littman’s data could contain multiple responses from the same origin, Restar wrote. Littman told MIT Technology Review that “targeted hiring” [to studies] is a really common practice. She also called attention to the corrected ROGD article, which noted that a pro-gender parent Facebook group with 8,000 members posted the study’s job posting on its page. — although Littman’s study was not designed to be able to distinguish whether any of them answered.

But politics is blind to the nuances of methodology. And the paper was quickly seized by those who had resisted the growing acceptance of transgender people. In 2014, a few years before Littman published his ROGD article, Time magazine brought Laverne Cox, the transgender actress from Orange is the new black, on its cover and claims to be a “transgender tipping point.” By 2016, bills across the country to ban transgender people from bathrooms consistent with their gender identity had failed, and a successful bill, in North Carolina, prompted the Republican governor, Pat McCrory, pay the price. his job.

In 2018, however, a new backlash was underway – a backlash that has affected transgender youth. The debate about sports competition among transgender youth go to countryas well as a The battle for custody in Texas is widely publicized between a mother who supports her child being transgender and a father who is not. Working groups to further eliminate transgender people, such as Freedom Defenders Alliance and the Family Research Council, has begun “printing out the bills and presenting them to state legislators,” said Gillian Branstetter, a communications strategist at the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ROGD article is not sponsored by anti-transgenders. But it comes at a time when people with bad intentions are looking to science to form their opinion. The article “washes away what was previously plaudits of online conspiracy theorists and lends it to a serious scientific study,” Branstetter said. She believes that if Littman’s paper had not been published, a similar argument would have been made by someone else. Despite its limitations, it has become an important weapon in the fight against transgender people, largely through its dissemination online. “It is quite surprising that such a blatant attempt of bad faith is taken so seriously,” says Branstetter.

Littman dismisses that trait altogether, saying her goal is simply to “find out what’s going on.” “This is a very well-intentioned effort,” she said. “As a person I am liberal; I support LGBT. I have witnessed a phenomenon with my own eyes and I have researched that it is different from what is in the scientific literature.”

A reason for success Littman’s article is that it validates the idea that transgender children are new. But Jules Gill-Peterson, associate professor of history at Johns Hopkins and author of The History of the Transgender Child, saying it is “empiricalally incorrect.” She said that transgender children have only recently begun to be discussed in the mainstream media, so people assume they haven’t appeared before, but “there have been children who have been trans for free.” is having medical technology involved in the transition”, and children have been socially transitioned — living as the other sex without any medical or legal intervention — long before that.

Many transgender people are young children when they first observe the difference between how they are identified and how they are identified. The transition is never straightforward, but their identity can be explained.

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