New study challenges dangerous ‘social contagion’ and myths of trans youth – SheKnows
A study we can all celebrate: Wednesday, the newspaper Pediatrics published research that shows that seriously misguided “social contagion” is not driving increasing numbers of young people identifying as transgender. In other words, social influence does not contribute to a child’s gender identity.
According to the study authors, the origins of their research stem from a 2018 study published in PLOS One which indicated that adolescents may experience “rapid onset gender dysphoria” [ROGD] by “social contagion”.
As one might imagine, this gross misinterpretation of the origin or discovery of gender identity caused enough backlash that the authors of PLOS One eventually released a statement noting that “gender dysphoria at rapid onset [ROGD] is not a formal mental health diagnosis at this time. It should also be noted that for the study, the authors did not interview transgender or gender-diverse youth or clinicians, but instead collected data through online parental surveys.
“The assumption that transgender and gender-diverse youth assigned female at birth identify as transgender due to social contagion does not stand up to scrutiny and should not be used to argue against the providing gender-affirming medical care to adolescents,” the Pediatrics said. the study’s lead author, Dr. Alex Keuroghlian, director of the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Gender Identity Program, said in a press release.
Keuroghlian and his fellow researchers also noted that PLOS One’s assumption that adolescents who were assigned female at birth are more likely to become transgender due to so-called social contagion is false.
Using a national sample of transgender youth in 16 states in 2017 and 2019, the study authors reported that there were more males assigned at birth than females assigned at birth. “Furthermore, the total percentage of [transgender] adolescents in our sample fell from 2.4% in 2017 to 1.6% in 2019. This decrease in the overall percentage of adolescents identifying as [transgender] is incompatible with a [rapid-onset gender dysphoria] hypothesis that postulates social contagion.
In other words, take your “social contagion” claims and push them… well, you get the memo.
The findings of this study are extremely important to highlight, especially since social contagion theories – despite the myriad ways in which they have been discredited – continue to be used in political and social platforms to prohibit or restrict gender assertion. health care for trans youth. In June, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration released a statement prohibit gender-affirming measures for children or adolescents, including changing a child’s name or hair or providing hormone therapy.
“While utterly unnecessary, this legislation is also extremely harmful,” SheKnows writer Emilia Mense Caby wrote of her experience speaking with Debi Jackson, mother of a trans child and trans rights advocate and founder of Kind Inc.
“It’s mentally and emotionally devastating,” Jackson said. “No child, no teenager should have to fight every day to be seen as a whole person deserving of love and respect. Lawmakers are sending them the message that they don’t matter. But they do. They do it a lot.
Something else that young trans people don’t deserve? Shitty studies that allow lawmakers to build on those decisions and write laws that hurt families.
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