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Trans Tweens & Social Contagion

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and those who would prefer you not to know about it
Trans Tweens & Social Contagion

A reader writes:

This is how crazy it is: my 12 yo niece attends a public middle school in a medium-sized Texas city. I learned yesterday that she says that most of her friends at school have come out as “bisexual”. I am talking about kids as young as 10 and 11.

The way they say it is telling: while one boy apparently has a boyfriend (and the liberal family is quite proud), he is the exception (and has an unusual home situation). Most of these super-woke tweens phrase it in terms of “I mostly like (opposite sex) but would date (same-sex)”. So this is not plausibly a genuine discovery, this is obviously kids adding a qualification so as to be acceptable.

Think about that, kids are afraid to say that they only like the opposite sex. I do not think the school pushed this, I think this is just in the youth culture atmosphere. I don’t think it is even false consciousness, more just complimenting the emperor’s clothes.

A different reader writes:

Here in Austin I see the occasional ‘trans’ person, especially living here in the even more progressive, Bernie-loving east side of town (almost always male to female), but for the first time yesterday I saw while out at dinner what was obviously a young boy, I would guess 12 or 13, in a skirt with painted toenails and dyed hair.

I obviously do not know this boy or this family’s history or context, but this seems more and more clearly to be an issue where social contagion is at play. It seems pretty clear that in these so-called progressive enclaves that this is more common, partly, I’m sure, because people come here so that they can live in a ‘non-judgmental’ place, but with young people it just seems to be catching on as kids are encouraged to be ‘open-minded’ (read accepting) of this choice and to consider it as a possibility.

How disorienting for a young person at that age to be asked to question if they really are the sex they were born and how insulting to parents if it is asked by someone at a school or other institution they are a part of. Maybe it’s already happening more than I realize – I know you’ve mentioned so much – but there is going to be a lot of damage that results from this a decade or two on if this is indulged to the point of taking hormones or (God help us) surgery, when these kids reach adulthood and are past childbearing physically and perhaps beyond healthy relationships emotionally. Ours are still toddlers and not quite aware of these things, but I really don’t want have this conversation at such an early age, though I fear it’s coming – and I know I’m not just going to act like it’s normal and acceptable. ‘Heading for the hills’ doesn’t sound that bad right about now.

You watch: in five years, I’ll write a book saying: “I was wrong. Let’s head for the hills.”

Readers, you need to understand the dynamics at play here. Here’s a piece on 4thWaveNow, a website for parents (of all political backgrounds; some are atheist, some are gay) who are skeptical of the trans child/teen phenomenon. Author Brie Jontry claims that activists in the medical community, and The Advocate magazine, are suppressing research findings that question the trans narrative. Excerpts:

The dismissal of [researcher Dr. Lisa] Littman’s work, and the move to suppress it, is unconscionable. For one thing, some young people (like my daughter)  who experienced ROGD [Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria] have already desisted. Others, who were supported in procuring medical intervention, have already experienced regret. Many more desisters and detransitioners are sure to follow.

This trend has not gone unnoticed by at least some in WPATH. For example, veteran WPATH clinician Rachael St. Claire, in a Facebook post on January 5 of this year, made this comment (notice that commenting was turned off immediately after St.Claire posted):

WPATH jan 5 2018 detrans therapist

This concern is echoed by UCSF clinical psychologist Erica Anderson, herself a transgender woman, in a recent Washington Post article:

“I think a fair number of kids are getting into it because it’s trendy,” said Anderson, who was married for 30 years and fathered two children before transitioning seven years ago.

I’m often the naysayer at our meetings. I’m not sure it’s always really trans. I think in our haste to be supportive, we’re missing that element. Kids are all about being accepted by their peers. It’s trendy for professionals, too.”


In fact, Littman’s work is the first to study this new presentation of gender dysphoria, and she collected information from the people who know these children and teens better than any transgender advocate, endocrinologist, psychologist, or therapist ever could — their parents.

But you’re not listening to us.

Littman’s study, according to its critics, is contentious for a few reasons, but most notably for using the term “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” as a descriptor for a new kind of trans-identifying youth, primarily natal females, who during or after puberty, begin to feel intense unhappiness about their sexed bodies and what it means to feel/be/present as a woman.

Let me emphasize: What is “rapid onset” in this population is the dysphoria, not the gender atypicality. What distinguishes these young people from the early-onset populations studied previously is that they may have been happily gender nonconforming throughout childhood (though some were more gender typical), but they were not unhappy (which is all “dysphoric” really means), nor did they claim or wish to be the opposite sex. The unhappiness set in suddenly, in nearly every case only after heavy peer influence, either on- or offline.

Read the whole thing.   Seriously, spend some time on the 4thWaveNow site. What these parents and their children are living through is something out of Kafka — and the mainstream media will not cover it. Brie Jontry writes:

Finally, the fact that ROGD is being discussed by the conservative media is not, no matter how many “incriminating” links Tannehill dropped in the Advocate piece, a legitimate reason to discredit the data. The irony is not lost on many 4thWaveNow parents that our stories are covered by media outlets we typically avoid. In this politically charged climate, it is important for researchers, clinicians, and parents to work together to “first do no harm” even when those we otherwise disagree with call for the same cautions.

UPDATE: Here’s a really thoughtful comment from reader Mitch:

I haven’t commented here in quite awhile, but generally do keep up with your blog. Since it seems to be Trans Day here, I’ll jump in.

First, to start by saying I’m a female-to-male transman, 51, transitioned 19 years ago. I don’t say that very often, because I live what’s called “stealth,” in that I’m not publicly open about my trans “status”. No one outside very close circles knows about my history. Trans folks who live stealth are often looked upon with some combination of pity and disdain for not having the courage and self-pride, I guess, to live openly.

We’re also disdained I think because we don’t do anything to advance the cause. We just live and benefit from the blood, sweat and tears of those selfless martyrs. And that’s true, actually. I have benefited enormously in many ways from the work of trans activists – not the least of which is insurance coverage of surgery, and other medical services.

The paradox in this though, is that the very rationale for requiring insurance companies to cover transgender surgeries is that it’s a medical condition, and we ought to be able to have coverage to treat a genuine medical condition. So, it’s either a genuine medical condition – an “abnormality” that needs treatment – or its a natural identity that should be embraced and celebrated. It *can’t* be both.

I have been alarmed for the past 15 years, watching this accelerating trendiness of transness. Back when I used to mingle in trans circles more, I met many people that caused me to wonder about their “need” to transition. On a personal level, it’s none of my business of course, but I saw many of these same people struggle intensely post-transition.

I have not struggled intensely. Relatively speaking it was a piece of cake, and I simply cannot imagine not having done it. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it saved my life, but I am sure I wouldn’t be functioning anywhere near the level I do now. (I pay a lot of taxes, I’m married to a traditional, conservative woman, and if I might brag for a minute, I coach Special Olympics volleyball and basketball, and my teams are 3/3 in winning gold medals at the state games)

But children is a whole other level. I am really torn about this. I am one of those trans people (relatively rare I think) that has *known* this – at a very very deep level – about myself since i was about 4 years old. How does a 4 year old know this? Well, how does a 4 year old boy know he’s a boy? Or girl? Once he understands what a boy is, he understands that about himself or herself. He *knows*, and for most people gets to move on and not question it again because his *knowing* is confirmed by society at every turn, for the rest of his life. I don’t know any other way to describe it.

I don’t know how you could scientifically prove or disprove something like that. But how much easier would it have been for me if this were able to have been diagnosed accurately at an early age and been given the appropriate treatment? I didn’t have that available to me, but you can bet your sweet bippy that if I’d had any information whatsoever about trans treatment growing up that I would Not.Have.Shut.Up about it. (And I can be very, very tenacious, my parents would have had NO Peace.)

Still, until science can manage to diagnose this accurately – and i don’t know how that could be possible – I have to come down on the side of prohibiting treatment in children. And doing everything possible to help gender dysphoric (ok, calling it another word for “not happy” is trivializing something very serious) children find a way to make peace with living in their own God-given bodies, because that has got to be the least-cost (to children’s well-being), least-risk, least-invasive, most humane way to address this.

Wrt the other topic – I can’t stand tranny whingers like Jennifer Boyle. It literally makes me sick to my stomach, and people like her are absolutely why I have never gotten involved in “the cause.” (Not true, i tried once and left disgusted by the obnoxious, childish, self-righteous posturing of the other trans folk working on a basic non-discrimination ordinance in my city).

However, I have not read Ryan T. Anderson’s book – maybe I’ll have to, but maybe someone can help me out – does his analysis contain stories or examples of trans people whose lives have improved as a result of treatment? Does he allow for the possibility that folks like that (like me) exist? Or is that also a slander by Boyle? Because that seems like a central point of her article.

I do understand and am sympathetic to Anderson’s larger point about trans identity as not something that ought to be normalized and celebrated, fwiw.

I’m just asking, because if it’s true that Boyle has been unfair to Anderson (and I’d agree that she has), has Anderson been fair to trans people? By fair I mean is he pushing his own narrative, does he cherry pick to support his ideological position? For example, relying heavily on Dr. Paul McHugh as a source sounds like some really biased cherry-picking to me.

UPDATE.2: This is very late (I’m writing on September 7), but Dr. Zinnia Jones has written me about this post:

I recently read your post on the newly released study on rapid onset gender dysphoria, and wanted to draw your attention to some additional issues with the study’s claims. Briefly, the author cites my own work as an example of “vague and nonspecific symptoms called signs of GD”, but misattributes this to “Tumblr” and selectively quotes this to give the impression that the symptoms I described were wholly unrelated to gender dysphoria. This is categorically false, as I was describing symptoms of depersonalization disorder, which are highly elevated in untreated gender dysphoria, and frequently remits after transitioning. This condition has been well-documented for decades. The author either neglected or refused to acknowledge this, and does not appear to realize this is a real condition experienced by trans people. As this was her sole example of such “vague” symptoms causing non-transgender youth to believe falsely that they are transgender, this compromises her hypothesis of this new “condition” and its spread. I’ve written an article explaining these issues in more detail (https://genderanalysis.net/2018/08/rapid-onset-gender-dysphoria-study-misunderstands-trans-depersonalization-ends-up-blaming-zinnia-jones/), and would be happy to share any further information or insight with you. Thank you for your time 🙂



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