Culture Beat / August 31, 2018

Brown University Caves to Rainbow Mafia

The Ivy League school pulls a study after receiving backlash from transgender activists.

A recently released study conducted by a Brown University professor was pulled after transgender activists objected to its conclusion about children and gender dysphoria. The study, entitled “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports,” was published in the scientific journal Plos One. The study was conducted and authored by Lisa Littman, a behavior and social sciences professor at Brown, who is also an OB-GYN. In introducing her study, she explains what motivated her to initiate her research:

Parents have described clusters of gender dysphoria outbreaks occurring in pre-existing friend groups with multiple or even all members of a friend group becoming gender dysphoric and transgender-identified in a pattern that seems statistically unlikely based on previous research. Parents describe a process of immersion in social media, such as “binge-watching” Youtube transition videos and excessive use of Tumblr, immediately preceding their child becoming gender dysphoric. These descriptions are atypical for the presentation of gender dysphoria described in the research literature…

In other words, Littman had received a lot of feedback from parents of children experiencing gender dysphoria, and their observations were not matching up with views widely disseminated by the politically correct social justice warriors. And lest it be thought that these parents reflected only traditionalists with culturally conservative views, Littman notes that 86% of the parents involved in the study expressed support for same-sex relationships, with 88% believing that “trans people deserve the same rights and protections as everyone else.”

The reason for all the controversy was that Littman’s conclusion flies in the face of the tiny but vocal transgender lobby. It turns out that encouraging children to indulge gender dysphoria actually leads to “the worsening of mental well-being and parent-child relationships and behaviors that isolate AYAs (adolescent and young adult) from their parents, families, non-transgender friends and mainstream sources of information…” Littman noted that more research needed to be done to “better understand this phenomenon.”

Clearly, Littman’s study derails much of the transgender activists’ foundational argument, thus the backlash. But what was more troubling was the Ivy League school’s response. Brown issued a statement essentially apologizing for the study: “Brown community members express[ed] concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.” So for Brown, feelings, no matter how out of touch with reality they may be, must trump any objectively collected and conducted scientific research if the conclusion of that research doesn’t reinforce political correct ideology. Evidently, distinguishing fiction from fact is a bridge too far.

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