Fresh trans myths of 2017: “rapid onset gender dysphoria”

From Gender Analysis:

by Zinnia Jones
July 1, 2017

If, like me, you make a habit of trawling through the darker side of opinion pieces on trans issues, you might have come across a peculiar new term: “rapid onset gender dysphoria”. This supposedly recent occurrence is described by the National Review, the right-wing Alliance Defending Freedom, Robert Stacy McCain, and others as a phenomenon of teenagers “suddenly” coming out, sometimes “in groups”, after “total immersion” in social media related to transitioning. Even a recent article in The Stranger made reference to this alleged trend:

Increased visibility and societal acceptance are also logical explanations for the perceived growth in the trans population: More people are aware it’s an option now. But, as a study published this year in the Journal of Adolescent Health notes, parents have begun reporting “a rapid onset of gender dysphoria” in adolescents and teens who are “part of a peer group where one, multiple, or even all friends have developed gender dysphoria and come out as transgender during the same time frame.”

If researchers have potentially discovered a previously unknown type of gender dysphoria, this would certainly be a fascinating development. There’s just one problem: there is no evidence to suggest that this is any kind of distinct clinical entity. The various features of this purported phenomenon can already be explained within existing models and currently available evidence. And more than that, it appears that the very concept could have originated with a specific group of transphobic activists.

Let’s take a closer look at the “study published this year in the Journal of Adolescent Health”. As the full study does not appear to have been released yet, only a poster abstract is available in the February 2017 issue (Littman, 2017). The study is introduced as follows:

Parents online are observed reporting their children experiencing a rapid onset of gender dysphoria appearing for the first time during or after puberty. They describe this development occurring in the context of being part of a peer group where one, multiple, or even all friends have developed gender dysphoria and come out as transgender during the same timeframe and/or an increase in social media/internet use.

Obviously, “parents online” encompasses a rather large portion of the population, and further details on what distinguishes this particular group of parents and their online activity would certainly help to clarify this phenomenon. However, the occurrence of “gender dysphoria appearing for the first time during or after puberty”, as well as the surprise of parents, is already widely recognized in literature, to the extent that it is explicitly mentioned in the DSM-5’s description of gender dysphoria (American Psychiatric Association, 2013):

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.

The study’s abstract also does not provide definitions that would delineate a “rapid” appearance of gender dysphoria from a “non-rapid” appearance: how fast is rapid? Its methods have an additional weakness – only parents were surveyed, and not the children allegedly experiencing this “rapid onset”.

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Criticism Is Not Censorship

From Slate:

A poorly designed study of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” deserves serious scrutiny, not protection from “activist interference.”

By Alex Barasch
Aug 30, 2018

Rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a term that might be familiar from anti-trans op-eds and blog posts, but despite the clinical-sounding name, it doesn’t have much of a place in the scientific literature. Earlier this week, the journal PLOS One published a paper that sought to change that, formalizing the idea of ROGD as a distinct, observable phenomenon in which dysphoria appears, with seeming abruptness, during or after puberty, likely (so the hypothesis goes) as a result of peer-pressure and “social contagion.” In ascribing trans identities to the influence of friends or the internet, the phrase is almost universally used to cast suspicion on teens’ claims about who they are.

When the author’s dubious data collection practices and conjectural conclusions came under rightful criticism, PLOS announced that it would be reassessing the study’s methodology. Good practice, right? You wouldn’t know it, based on the furor that’s erupted. Some have taken the very mention of an editorial review in response to readers’ concerns as evidence of censorship, with PLOS ostensibly caving to activists (as one tweet put it, “This is literally an attempt to destroy a scientific study solely on the grounds that it conflicts with a political narrative, these are truly Orwellian times indeed”). But re-evaluating a study’s content and methodology doesn’t stymie the scientific process; it’s a natural and necessary extension of it.

The study, conducted by Brown University’s Lisa Littman, is purportedly about 256 trans-identified “adolescents and young adults” (ranging in age from 11 to 27). But it’s perhaps fairer to say that it’s about their parents, who participated in a 90-question survey about their relationships with and perceptions of their children—with no input from the kids themselves, and no controls to speak of.

Indeed, Littman’s study is marred by errors and omissions, starting with its very premise: Though the introduction treats the emergence of dysphoria around or after puberty as something new and unusual that should be treated with suspicion, the existence of late-onset gender dysphoria (defined as exactly that) is already recognized by both the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the DSM-5. Littman doesn’t provide evidence to suggest that “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a discrete phenomenon—she just asks self-fulfilling questions of parents who already believe in and fear it, including those who have described the effects of medical transition as tantamount to “human rights violations.”

More worryingly, Littman does not account for the way this opposition to transition might skew her findings. The fact that the majority of parents said they believed “transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as others” is treated as proof that those surveyed aren’t disproportionately transphobic, but as Brynn Tannehill pointed out in the Advocate, even basic non-discrimination protections are regarded not as “the same rights” but as “special rights” by those who oppose them.

And you hardly need to know to look for such semantic distinctions; the sites that participants were culled from are full of damning evidence of bias. One, 4thwavenow, hosts long missives from parents who have strenuously denied their children’s identities for years, and its founder notes how she created the site “after much research and fruitless searching for an alternative online viewpoint,” as a platform for “her deepening skepticism of the ever-accelerating medical and media fascination with the phenomenon of ‘transgender children.’ ” Transgender Trend is similarly explicit in its mistrust of “recent theories of ‘transgenderism’” and anxieties about trans people seeking access to public bathrooms and changing rooms. Littman expresses concern over the possibility that trans youths are “isolat[ing themselves] from … mainstream sources of information” even as she deliberately seeks out parents who have done just that.

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‘TERF’ War

Sort of like Nazis and KKKers objecting to being called Nazi Anti-Semites and Racist KKKers.

TERFs object to being point out as bigots and supporters of right wing anti-LGBT hate groups.  Wow who would have thought.

I would have thought they would wear their bigot label proudly.

From Inside Higher Ed:

Philosophers object to a journal’s publication of a term referring to radical feminists who don’t necessarily count trans women among their ranks. Is it a slur?

By Colleen Flaherty
August 29, 2018

For some, using the word “TERF” means calling out transphobia where they see it. For others, the word is a slur that has no place in academic discourse. And those points of view are currently clashing in philosophy, a journal of which recently permitted use of the term.

Still, to others, “TERF” sounds like a foreign word. So, first, a primer: TERF is an acronym meaning “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” While the term has become controversial over time, especially with its often hateful deployment on social media, it originally described a subgroup of feminists who believe that the interests of cisgender women (those who are born with vaginas) don’t necessarily intersect with those of transgender women (primarily those born with penises).

To some feminists, that notion is obvious: the experience of having lived as male for any period of time matters. But some trans scholars and allies say that notion is in and of itself transphobic, since it means that trans women are somehow different from women, or that they’re not women at all.

This debate has been simmering for some time in public life in Britain, which is considering updating its Gender Recognition Act to allow for gender self-identification. (New Zealand also is moving toward self-declaration). But it has not reached such a pitch in academe, especially in the U.S. — at least not until now. As Kathleen Stock, a professor of philosophy at the University of Sussex, in Britain, wrote on Medium in May, “Beyond the academy, there’s a huge and impassioned discussion going on, around the apparent conflict between women-who-are-not-transwomen’s rights and interests, and transwomen’s rights and interests. And yet nearly all academic philosophers  – including, surprisingly, feminist philosophers  –  are ignoring it.”

This month, though, a group of scholars registered a public complaint with Philosophy and Phenomenological Research’s editorial team. In a guest post for the Daily Nous philosophy blog, the scholars said that in a recent issue of the journal, the term “TERF” was lobbed in “ad hominem attacks” rather than in mere discussions.

In question is a symposium on the noted 2015 book How Propaganda Works, by Jason Stanley, Jacob Urowsky Professor of Philosophy at Yale University. In an article called “The Epistemology of Propaganda,” Rachel McKinnon, an assistant professor of philosophy at the College of Charleston, uses Stanley’s work to analyze what she calls “a modern form of propaganda where so-called trans-exclusionary radical feminists (TERFs) are engaged in a political project to deny that trans women are women — and thereby to exclude trans women from women-only spaces, services and protections.”

Noting that the phrase “trans-exclusionary radical feminist” was coined by two cisgender radical feminists in 2008, McKinnon argues that “this point is important, since many contemporary feminists accuse trans women of coining the phrase/term — and, ludicrously, claim that ‘TERF’ is a misogynistic slur.”

The scholars who complained — seven feminist philosophers from Britain and Australia — wrote in Daily Nous that TERF “is at worst a slur and at best derogatory. We are extremely concerned about the normalization of this term in academic philosophy, and its effect in reinforcing a hostile climate for debate on an issue of key importance to women.”

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Trans woman shot dead in Philadelphia is the 19th killed in the US this year

From Pink News:

A black trans women shot dead in Philadelphia on Wednesday morning has become the 19th reported case of a trans person being killed in the US so far this year.

6 September 2018

Shantee Tucker, who had celebrated her 30th birthday on Sunday (September 2), was found suffering from a gunshot wound by police at about 1am on a highway in the Hunting Park area of the city, according to local media reports.

She was taken to Temple University Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Police are reportedly looking for a suspect in connection with the murder.

According to local magazine Philadelphia, a police report state that Tucker had been arguing with an unidentified person or persons in a black Ford truck, who then started shooting at Tucker.

Philadelphia Police Department are appealing for any witnesses to contact the Homicide Unit on 215-686-3334.

Friends have paid tribute to Tucker on social media.

One friend, Samantha Jo Dato, wrote on Facebook: “R.I.P Shantee Tucker I was just on your live checking in on your birthday. May you forever live in our hearts and justice be swift and ruthless.

“This is so close to home Philly Stay Strong and wrap one another in love.”

Another friend, Tameer Harris, posted on Facebook: “Omg I can’t believe the news I just got R.I.P Shante !! you was really like another big sister to me!”

Harris added: “I really can’t even believe this phone call I got ❤️❤️❤️ this morning I woke up to a confirmation that I can’t even stomach to believe 😔 May you Rest In Peace baby 💋 I Love You So Much!”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, 16 of the 19 known killings of trans people in the US in 2018 have been women of colour.

Sarah McBride, national press secretary of the Human Rights Campaign, told PinkNews: “There is a growing epidemic of violence targeting transgender people, particularly Black transgender women.

“This is an urgent crisis that is a by-product of the toxic and violent combination of transphobia, misogyny, and racism. As a society, our policymakers and lawmakers must do more to combat this violence.

“Our hearts go out to the family—both blood and chosen—of Shantee Tucker, and we must never forget that behind the headlines was a real person whose life of love, hopes and dreams was tragically cut short.”

Tucker’s death comes just a week after two other black trans women were found dead on August 30.

Dejanay L. Stanton, a 24-year-old woman, was found on a street in Chicago on Thursday morning with a gunshot wound to the head, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

The other woman, 18-year-old Vontashia Bell, was also found in a street in Shreveport, Louisiana, with gunshot wounds to the chest and wrist.

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Transgender Woman Murdered in Chicago

Fifty years ago we never knew because everyone was misgendered in death.

From The Advocate:

Dejanay Stanton was shot in the head and left for dead in an alley.

By Trudy Ring
August 31 2018

A transgender woman identified by friends as Dejanay Stanton was murdered on Chicago’s south side Thursday.

Stanton was found in an alley about 12:30 a.m., Chicago police told Windy City Times. They were responding to reports of gunshots in the area, and they found she had been shot in the head. She was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

Police referred to her as “Jane Doe,” but friends who saw her photo on social media identified her as Dejanay Stanton Thursday evening, according to Windy City Times.

“So we lost another sister here in Chicago. Sending her family and loved ones peace and justice! Rest in power, Dejanay Stanton,” LaSaia Wade, executive director of Brave Space Alliance, wrote on Facebook:

“She was so sweet. Every time you saw her she had a smile on her face,” Wade continued. “She was just trying to live her best life as a young girl.”

Friends plan to remember her with a balloon release tonight at 7:30 at the crime scene. Police are continuing to search for a suspect, Windy City Times reports.

Stanton is the 17th transgender American known to have been murdered this year. The total is likely higher, given that some victims are misgendered in death or their murders not reported at all.

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‘Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria’ Is Biased Junk Science

From The Advocate:

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