Following a review that lasted more than six months, the journal PLOS ONE has published a revised version of a controversial paper by a Brown University researcher on whether social media and the influence of friends lead some teenagers to identify as transgender — a theory that’s been dubbed Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.
The new version adds context and softens language that drew complaints from transgender advocates, but the primary findings in the paper remain unchanged.
When the original paper was published last August, those advocates objected to the methodology and to certain phrases, accusing its author, Lisa Littman, an assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences at Brown, of using “transphobic dog whistles” and engaging in hate speech. Among the objections was that only parents of transgender-identified children were surveyed, rather than the children themselves, and that phrases like “cluster outbreak” made it sound as if identifying as transgender were like contracting a disease. In a widely discussed article on Medium, Julia Serano, a biologist and author of Outspoken: A Decade of Transgender Activism and Trans Feminism, called the concept of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, or ROGD, “scientifically specious” and questioned the quality of Littman’s research….