On the Science of Changing Sex

The Gender Dysphoria Epidemic in Teens

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on April 26, 2019

female_scientistIn the media and in clinical circles, there is a perception that there is a growing epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers.  But is there really?  A recent paper set out to test this perception using a survey of 318 male and 401 female youth participated in 2012–2013, and 326 male and 701 female youth in 2017 with up to 3.6% of the boys reporting gender dysphoria in the later survey.  That’s twelve of the boys.

Right from the start, I have to question the utility of this study because these numbers are FAR too small to detect clinical gender dysphoria in statistically valid numbers given that we know that only three out of ten thousand individuals experience gender dysphoria sufficient to drive them to socially transition.  And that counts “late onset” gender dysphoria which would not occur in teenagers.  If we count only “early onset”, we would expect to see only one out of ten thousand.  So, with less than two thousand subjects this study couldn’t possibly detect any change in the incidence of severe gender dysphoria.

Lying on survey instruments is common in the general population.  It also occurs in the transsexual population and has been shown to be heavily driven by social desirability bias in which autogynephilia is strongly downplayed or outright denied in the “late transitioning” / gynephilic transsexual population.  But another form of misrepresentation occurs, especially in teenagers, as the authors point out,

“Validity screening is a novel approach in GD research. Social desirability has been recognized as a methodological problem resulting in the concealing of information perceived as stigmatizing in clinical encounters and research studies. Anonymous survey studies appear to offer a forum to disclose sensitive information without such inhibition, but particularly among adolescents, surveys have also been shown to be susceptible to exaggeration of such information. The proportion of those who admitted to giving incorrect responses was low, but missing information on this item was decidedly common. Comparisons between those reporting responding honestly with those who were not honest and those omitting to answer the honesty question revealed first that among male youth, admitting incorrect responding was strongly associated with reporting GD as measured by the GIDYQ-A. Unfortunately, no validity screen was included in the earlier data. The prevalence of GD detected among males in the earlier data may also be an overestimation. However, not responding to the honesty question was likewise associated with vastly increased prevalence of GD. This may indicate that adolescents felt uneasy after mispresenting themselves when faced with the honesty question and chose to ignore it. However, it may also be that adolescents exaggerated their gender-related dissatisfaction due to assuming that such feelings are expected. GD has recently attracted extensive media coverage in Finland. Adolescents may perceive that they should problematize their gender, and this may influence their responses. When confronted with the validity question they perhaps nevertheless hesitated.”

The odd thing about this study is that their validity screening was conducted with just a single question item in the survey at the end, “Did you respond  honestly?”  While one can imagine that some who had previously been dishonest would now admit to “Yeah, I’m just messing with you.”  Can we assume that all who had been dishonest would suddenly be totally honest just because they asked?  Seriously?  Still, answering the question that they had not been honest or not answering that question both correlated with a higher GD score.  This tells us that we can not trust these scores.

Simply put, there is no credible evidence that there is such a serious epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers.  Underpowered studies such as this will not answer the question.

For myself, I don’t see any evidence of any increase in the incidence of severe gender dysphoria, only an increase in the visibility and acceptance of transfolk, and of the trendiness of claiming to be transgender.

Further Reading:

Essay on teenagers falsely claiming to be transgender

References:

Katiala-Heino, R., et al, “Gender dysphoria in adolescent population: A 5-year replication study” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359104519838593

Advertisements

Comments Off on The Gender Dysphoria Epidemic in Teens

ROGD Redux

Posted in Editorial, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on April 22, 2019

female_scientistA paper published online today in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by a young transwoman, Arjee Restar, tears apart the Littman paper purporting to be about a phenomena called Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria which Littman claims is an example of “social contagion” in which teenagers, most of whom are female bodied, develop gender dysphoria purely because of exposure to what many are calling “transgender ideology”.  Restar’s paper admirably questions Littman’s paper on it’s poor methodology which failed to follow good science practices.  The critique shows that rather than testing a hypothesis, Littman’s entire study was designed to produce a predetermined result and pass it off as science, as Restar explains,

“Participants recruited into a study should never be selected based on a researcher’s a priori knowledge of how the results of the paper would appear and confirm their premise. As noted earlier, Littman recruited specifically on three Web sites solely because these venues are attracting a specific demographic group of parental-respondents who are already subscribed into, are selecting into (i.e., self-selection bias), are promoting the concept of “ROGD,” and agree via consent form with the premise of the study. By choosing a specific population of interest and selecting cases and venues where cases can be found, an a priori motivation that favors the investigator’s premise and specific perspectives is likely to be gathered from the sample and thus likely contributing to systemically biased results.”

Fortunately, both Littman’s revised paper and Restar’s critique are openly published, not behind a paywall, so anyone can read both and come to their own conclusions.  However, I do have a few of my own comments to make here.

First, the idea of social contagion of minority human sexual orientation has previously been put forward.  In fact, it became a center piece of homophobic political activism that used such slogans as “Save Our Children” from the “homosexual agenda” of “recruitment”.  That Littman and her ilk recycle this thoroughly debunked trope in a new guise should be no surprise (ref: Brakefield, 2014).

Second, the idea of social contagion (ROGD as a form of “conversion disorder”) focused on girls smacks of the misogynist concept of “hysterical women” found in sexist medical literature of the past.  It’s use here as a “just so” explanation is one that transphobic parents would happily cling to in their denialism.

Third, I’ve already shared my thoughts on transphobic parental denialism in a previous essay.

Finally, I look forward to seeing more of Ms. Restar’s academic work in the future.

References:

Restar, A. J., “Methodological Critique of Littman’s (2018) Parental-Respondents Accounts of “Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria” “, Archives of Sexual Behavior (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1453-2

Littman, L. L. “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports.” PLoS ONE, 13(8) (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202330

Brakefield, T. A., et al, “Same-sex sexual attraction does not spread in adolescent social networks.” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2014)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0142-9

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

Further Reading:

Essay on ROGD and Parental Denialism

Further External Reading:

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/shannonkeating/rapid-onset-gender-dysphoria-flawed-methods-transgender

Tagged with: , ,

Comments Off on ROGD Redux

Oppressive Rituals of Ceremoniously Announcing One’s Gender Pronouns

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on April 8, 2019

Kay BrownBefore I jump into the deeper topic of this essay, I need to share an anecdote in the hopes that reading it will help any non-trans person reading this to understand it.  (Note: I normally avoid the use of the term “cis” as it is deeply problematic, but that is an issue for another essay.)

About a decade ago, I accompanied a young protégé, a 20-something transwoman to Trinidad, Colorado so that she wouldn’t be all alone as she underwent SRS and the painful first days afterwards.  I stayed at a B&B owned by a lesbian.  It was billed as a very trans friendly place where transfolk and their families / friends could stay during and after their hospitalization.  Perfect, I thought.

Well… not so perfect as it turned out.  The first few days went well as I got along well with the relatives of the transfolk, who except for exactly one 17-year-old, were all classic autogynephilic transwomen.  The non-transfolk, all female, staying at the B&B were clearly self-congratulating themselves for how supportive they were of their transgender relative.  The owner of the B&B was friendly, and tried to get me to partake in smoking grass and staying up late to get more than tipsy on hard liquor with her lesbian friends.  As I never drink more than a few sips of wine with dinner, never use pot, and am habitually an early to bed, early to rise type, she was very disappointed in me.

But, after being there several days, as my young protégé lay in the hospital bed recovering, there was some rather animated discussions among the family members of the transfolk at the B&B, it became clear to me that they all thought I was my young protégé’s mother.  Further, it became clear that even though all of these people had transfolk as relatives, spouses, or lovers, they didn’t really have a clue as to certain aspects of trans-life, history, or medical etiology.  I said something that could only be properly understood if one knew that I was trans… Oopsie!

The owner of the B&B suddenly turned to me and said, “But YOU aren’t transgender!”.

“Yes, I am.  I had SRS in this very same place twenty-eight years ago.”

“But you are so womanly!”

Yes, that is a verbatim quote, which tells volumes of her perception of and attitude toward the many transwomen that she had met over the years of operating her B&B.

It took several more minutes of question and answers before they actually believed me.

But this was a very bad move on my part, outing myself… even to this ostensibly trans friendly environment.  Where before I had been simply a woman to them… suddenly, I was no longer in that social category.  I was the “other”.

Oh, they never misgendered me or stupidly asked me to divulge my “real name”.  And they still used feminine pronouns.  But, it had a different accent, a different emphasis, when they used it.  Further, I wasn’t to be involved in the same conversations, or invited to the same activities.  I was the “other”.

I spoke with my husband on the phone every evening and told him how icky it all felt.  How I felt deeply unhappy, lonely, even weepy at times.  He spotted it.  He got it even before I did, “You are the n!gg@r again!”

“Yes, that’s exactly it.  I’m the lowly n!gg@r to them.”  I feel that same awful icky, sick to my stomach, sinking feeling that I had as a child and teenager before I socially transitioned and lived mostly stealth.  Back when even my own siblings called me, “It”.

Non-transfolk, often without realizing it, have a condescending attitude toward transfolk.  We are “those people”… the “other”.  And even when they are socially liberal and think of themselves as oh so hip, transfolk are never normal people to them.  We are “those unfortunate people”… and of course as privileged “cis” folk, they must be nice to us by using the correct pronouns.

About Those Pronoun Reveal Rituals

apa_pronoun_stickersSo now I turn to the heart of this essay.  There has been growing for several years, a practice that when I first encountered it made me feel that same icky feeling.  I was in a room with other, mostly LGB and non-trans straight allies.  I was the only trans person in the room.  Because I was there as a representative of the transcommunity, everyone in the room KNEW that I was the only &^%$#@! trans person in the room.  Yet, as is often done, they went around the room in a circle to “check in”.  I’m very used to the traditional check-in, one introduces oneself and says how they are feeling or some other appropriate to the meeting statement.  Cool.  But this time, a very NOT cool addition had been made.  It was socially expected… you know how that works… expected that one would announce one’s ‘pronouns’.  When it got to me, I did the socially unexpected thing and after announcing my name, said “Pass.”

I had hoped that they would get the hint.  No… because at a later meeting, they did the same thing.  Once again, I was very obviously the only trans person there.  Once again, I simply said, “Pass”.  After this… it seemed that they got the hint and this ritual stopped.

But, a year later, we have a new addition to the organization, a middle-aged, but recently transitioned, gay identified FTM transman.  And, we have a non-transwoman organization building professional consultant coming in to lead the group through a long and much-needed planning meeting.  She, knowing that there are transfolk in the group, does the now socially obligatory “check-in” with the same oppressive pronoun announcements.  Given that part of the check-in was to say how we are feeling, I spoke up and said how irritated, angry, sick to my stomach, and condescended to, that this ritual of having to announce our “pronouns” made me feel.  This was NOT a welcome statement as everyone but the other trans person got defensive, really defensive.

Here’s the thing.  Would any group of non-trans-folk be performing this ritual if they knew, KNEW, that they weren’t any transfolk in the room?  Then why the ^%$#@! are they doing it when they know that there is?  Why the &^%$#@! do it when they already KNOW what the gender presentation of that trans person means for their pronouns?

Here’s the other thing.  Having to tell everyone their pronouns is superfluous to non-transfolk, a ritual that they perform to virtue signal to each other and mistakenly believe that they are signaling “welcome” to those who are trans.

One of the rationales I’ve heard for this ritual, “But how are we to know what pronoun to use?”  To transfolk that feels like, “If I have to tell you what my pronouns are, my transition has failed.  Please don’t make me feel like that.”

Another rationale I’ve heard is that it is helpful for those just starting transition, especially young people.  Interestingly, a young transwoman, S. Alejandra Velasquez, wrote about this very issue 15 years ago in her essay on recommendations regarding therapy for transkids,

“Transkids who have not transitioned socially are unlikely to put a great deal of importance on what pronoun you use for them or what name they’re called. This is not a sign of having ambivalence to their gender or feeling conflicted about which gender they want to be; given that their gender is already at issue they may simply not care how a health care provider addresses them. Showing ‘sensitivity’ by trying to respect their ‘gender identity’, or worse insisting that they declare their ‘gender identity’, will only make them feel embarrassed. Transkids are practical about identity issues so don’t make a bigger deal about it than they do.”

blerp-d9aa89fd_pronoun_stickers

If someone wants you to use a pronoun that doesn’t match their appearance and obvious intended gender presentation, they can simply inform you of it privately.  No muss, no fuss.

Can we please just let transfolk be folk?  Can we please stop this shallow virtue signaling that makes non-transfolk feel that they are cool and welcoming while in truth, they are telling us that we are “the other”?  Don’t expect us to participate by wearing label stickers.  Don’t expect us to participate by putting announcing pronouns on our social media pages.  Get to know us as human beings.

Addendum 7/12/2019:

I recently saw a posting that was widely shared calling people who don’t need nor want to participate in this ritual of announcing one’s gender pronouns, “transphobic”.  Given that a fair number of transsexuals have been refusing to participate, this is non-transgender identified people calling transsexuals, transphobic.

Further External Reading:

Treatment Recommendations For HSTS Transkids by S. Alejandra Velasquez

 

Comments Off on Oppressive Rituals of Ceremoniously Announcing One’s Gender Pronouns

Autogynephilia Debunked !!!

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on April 1, 2019

In this essay I show definitive proof that Autogynephilia does not lead to late onset gender dysphoria, transsexuality, or transgenderism…

 

APRIL FOOLS !!!

No, autogynephilia most definitely leads to late onset gender dysphoria!

For decades now, a vocal minority of self-styled “transactivists” have sought to “debunk” the well documented phenomena of autogynephilia that underlies the eitiology and sexual histories of late onset / late transitioning / non-exclusively androphilic transwomen’s need for transition.  But all attempts to “debunk” the phenomena have failed for the simple reason that autogynephilia both exists and is near universally acknowledged by late onset transwomen.

Further Reading

Essay demonstrating that autogynephilia is the cause of late onset gender dysphoria.

Essay on the nature of autogynephilia and expressions

Comments Off on Autogynephilia Debunked !!!