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Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria: An Attack on Affirmative Transgender Treatment

  • Broadcast in LGBT
The Transgender Scientist

The Transgender Scientist


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This episode provides a critical review of the recent by Lisa Littman of Brown University which claims that gender dysphoria originates in childhood trauma and can be triggered by information "contagion" from peers and the Internet in adolescence.  The episode also provides the historical and scientific on background on this claim which indicates that it constitutes a non-scientific attack on affirmative treatment for transgender children and adults.  The paper involved a survey, ostensibly from surprised and disgruntled parents which was used to claim based on flawed methodology that their children were not dysphoric in childhood but became dysphoric in adolescence. Littman cannot prove that the children were gender dysphoric because the parents were not asked about a critical criterion of debilitation and distress which is required for gender dysphoria and typically is used as a billing code for transgender transition. Two results were described which support hypotheses for more rigorous study: (1) because the transgender children had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression it is possible that this resulted from living in secrecy as being transgender from earlier childhood  (2) because parents of natal female children were surprised by the emergence of their children as being transgender but were not surprised by earlier declarations of lesbian, bi or sexual orientation, the children may have deliberately come out with declarations of alternative sexual orientations that were more socially correct to prepare their parents for transgender emergence.