[Ed. – Tracinski is right: this needs politically neutral study and evaluation. Those who angrily reject the idea of study have already formed an intolerant moral judgment: in favor of gender dysphoria as a proper mindset or reaction. It should be obvious that that is neither “scientific” nor wise.]
Brown University Professor Lisa Littman recently published a blockbuster study on the “transgender” phenomenon, presenting evidence that parts of it might be a “social contagion”—a maladaptive coping technique for troubled teens, spread by peer groups and the Internet. Brown issued a press release about the study, then promptly retracted it and replaced it with a weasely non-statement that just drew more attention to Littman’s research. This was in response to a furious outcry from transgender activists, and I can see why they find this study such a threat.
The study itself is not actually about “gender dysphoria” as it has previously been defined in the scientific literature. Rather, it is about the newer phenomenon of “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD). Prior to about ten years ago, cases of gender dysphoria typically involved a long history of a child rejecting identification with his or her biological sex, going back before puberty.
By contrast, “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” involves a post-pubescent child, usually a girl, with no history of dysphoria suddenly claiming within a period of weeks or months not to identify with her biological sex. Not only is rapid-onset gender dysphoria sudden, but it tends to occur in clusters.