Unraveling the Myth of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria

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Anti-Trans radical activists want you to believe that Rapid Onset gender Dysphoria ( ROGD ) is a legitimate condition. It isn’t.

The term, created by Lisa Littman, an Assistant Professor at Brown University School of Public health, was introduced in 2016 and posted on multiple websites in an effort to recruit parents for her survey. Inevitably, anti-transgender antagonists immediately hinged their activism to it in the hopes it was the “Science” they’d been waiting for that would invalidate transgender identities.

The culmination of Littman’s research was published in PLOS One, a peer reviewed science journal, in August of 2018 and detailed the plight of parents who said they had witnessed their teenage children suddenly demonstrate symptoms congruent with gender dysphoria and deciding to “self-identify as transgender simultaneously with other children in their peer group.” The original paper was so rife with bias and skewered approaches to the study that it resulted in the journal retracting it entirely before republishing with a lengthy, contextual disclaimer as Scientists worldwide debunked Littman’s conspiratorial theory.

Littman proposed that the gender dysphoria demonstrated in the teenagers of the parents surveyed was more similar to a social contagion than an actual condition, further presuming that symptoms of gender dysphoria were largely due to chronic underlying conditions such as anxiety and depression.

Ultimately, the publication hoped to dismiss transgender identities in teens as a social hysteria, a political rebellion or desire to fit in with others in their social circles. The paper implies that teens are so easily influenced by others who identify as trans, that they subconsciously adopt symptoms of gender dysphoria from each other.

Littman’s paper surveyed only parents with questions, concerns and possessing little to no information on the transgender condition, gender issues or gender dysphoria diagnoses. Remarkably, she also did not speak to any of the teens relative to her study.

Immediately, the study, and Littman herself were criticized by other scientists in the field of gender studies, as well as psychology for peddling junk science with a clear anti-trans bias and publishing an incomplete and improperly postured study designed to favor her opinions rather than objective results.

The esteemed journal, Archives of Sexual Behavior, strongly criticized Littman’s study. Not only did Littman never speak to a teenager of topic, she also never interviewed any of the medical professionals providing care to the them.

“Principles of research methods necessitate that a study’s design must be appropriate to the aims of the study and the context of the phenomenon (Cozby, 2012; Ruane, 2005). In Littman’s case, the majority of methodological and design issues stem from the use of a pathologizing framework and language of pathology to conceive, describe, and theorize the phenomenon as tantamount to both an infectious disease (“cluster outbreaks of gender dysphoria”) and a disorder (e.g., “eating disorders and anorexia nervosa”) (Littman, 2018). Consequentially, the study design and interpretation of the results are framed with this pathology framework. Specifically, the article begins with the premise of conceptualizing gender dysphoria and trans identification as partly a consequence of “social and peer contagion” that “spreads of affect or behaviors through a population… [and] where an individual and peer mutually influence each other in a way that promotes emotions and behaviors that can potentially undermine their own development or harm others” (Littman, 2018). The article continues to pathologize gender dysphoria and affirmation of trans identification through social network peers and online environments as an example of “deviancy training,” and describing it as an unhealthy pattern of reinforcement with trans-identified peers and linking it with a behavior that is “deceiving parents and doctors” (Littman, 2018). The pathologizing lens used by Littman to study this gender dysphoria-related phenomenon speaks to the researcher’s a priori bias that is manifested in the construction of measurements and methodologies deliberately chosen to investigate this phenomenon” — Archives of Sexual Behavior

Aside from pointing out Littman’s prejudices which would prevent an objective study, the critique goes on to remind the reader “Identifying as transgender is not a disease nor is it considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association (2013), the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH, 2011), and the World Health Organization (2018).

For a moment, Science aside, I will speak to you as a trans person who has had long and lengthy relationships with transgender children, teenagers and parents. There is no such thing as RODG. It is a myth couched in opinion-posed-as-science to demonize, dismiss and induce harm on young people navigating the very challenging terrain of their own gender and the consequences of self acceptance.

Trans children frequently demonstrate a desire to exist outside their assigned gender long before the concept of gender specific behavior is even clear to them. As they develop an understanding of the narrow social gender roles allowed and their inability to assimilate without severe repercussions such as loss of family, friends, reputation, personal safety and experiencing the intense alienation and abuse they have likely have witnessed others endure, more often than not, they attempt to hide anything that might identify them as being trans or expressing any trans characteristics in presentation.

The strength and tenacity required to come out a trans person, deeply aware of the personal sacrifices, would never likely be an impulse decision, nor would it be a choice one makes to satisfy expectations of a peer group. Quite the opposite in fact. Most trans teens try, often imposing upon themselves great emotional trauma, to appear “normal” and “uneventful.” I have not had a single encounter with a trans teenager who was excited to make themselves a lightening rod for social and political torment, rejection in a period of their lives when developing healthy interpersonal relationships is natural, and potentially risking displacement from the institutions such as family or church they have relied on for stability and support.

This study presumes transgender teens are unintelligent and explicitly unaware of the hostile and damning climate transgender people are forced to thrive in, including the brutal murders, beatings and unyielding abuse in person and especially online…

They are not.

In the same way there in no “Rapid onset homosexuality” there is no “Rapid onset gender dysphoria.”

In the same way anti-gay extremists would lament that “Gay men would recruit their children into the homosexual cult” we see the exact same radicalized intolerance promoting the same propaganda to incite fear, distribute disinformation and hypothesize on the very existence of transgender people as if we an an anomaly.

We are not.

Our antagonist is the unnatural hate we experience from those who have been taught, with no merit, to dispute our humanity, thereby disputing our rights and compromising our ability to function, thrive safely and peacefully coexist. This fact is what manifests the depression, anxiety, social phobia, paranoia and disproportionately high rates of suicide ideation in the transgender community. It is not the result of our being transgender at all. We have been forbidden to develop naturally, required to immediately conform to constructs of gender ideology that, in reality, do not exist in order to pacify others who enforce them. That is the mass hysteria. That is the social contagion. The divorce from reality to manifest false rules and guidelines and socially persecute and punish those who fall outside the goal posts.

It requires tremendous bravery to break out of that matrix and live in one’s truth despite the rampant opposition that exists, not on any fixed law or rational reasoning, but just because it can.

No teenager is waking up, dewy eyed one morning and saying, “I’d like the world to hate me today. I’d like it be harder to find friends who accept me or a life partner. I’d like to be attacked going into a restroom. I’d like my pathway to potential parenthood to be more challenging. I’d like to hear my president refer to me as a burden. I’d like to be misgendered. I’d like to fight myself to believe I deserve to be loved as much as my cisgender counterparts. I’d like to hear religious zealots blame me for hurricanes, famine and plagues. I’d like to be met with so much ignorance that I have to provide an explanation of what I am every single day before anyone is interested in who I am, or even my name. I want to be stared at in department stores, watch bystanders laugh at my clothes as I pump gas. I want to cry because my face hurts from shaving three times a day terrified the slightest indication of a stubble will give me away. I want to feel scared when I’m pulled over by a police officer and my name or photo doesn’t match my present appearance. I want to be judged and deemed a threat to innocent children, a rapist or a pervert by people who are picturing me having sex. I want to be routinely interrogated by those assuming entitlement to information on the status of my genitals, my surgery, when or if I’ll have any as if it’s a prerequisite.” And on, and on…

When we talk about the controversial subject of detransitioners- those individuals who began the journey and abruptly stop — another wagon that anti-trans activists have hitched their hate to — these are the emotionally perilous reasons they cease transition… their objectification and the stresses induced by relentless ignorance prevent them from coping, thus they retreat and try to conform into their assigned gender role. It simply hurts to badly to do otherwise.

The societal decay of any kindness, compassion or pursuit of knowledge that expands our awareness of the natural human condition in all of its diversity has been hindered by self righteous, self appointed gatekeepers and rule-makers that determine the Have’s and have Nots. The baseless prejudices have, historically, victimized every minority that fell beneath a make-believe standard of acceptability- from women, to Jewish people, to gay and lesbian folks, Native Americans and other communities of color, to non-Christians, (Burn the witch!) and even those predisposed to favoring their left hand over their right hand… we have allowed hate to propel dangerous, entirely unwarranted crusades of vilification of the innocent- even children.

The fictitious concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dyshoria is a utility to serve that singular purpose. It is not science, nor rooted in any reality, but instead a complete divorce from it to crutch up another lie and further harm transgender humans.

Written by

Actor, Filmmaker, LGBTQ+ & Women’s Rights Activist All work copyright phaylens@gmail.com https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co

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