New paper purports to refute “social contagion hypothesis” for transgender adolescents

August 4, 2022 • 11:15 am

Here’s a medical paper reported on the NBC News site as showing that the “social contagion” hypothesis for the increase in transgender adolescents (i.e., young people acquire gender dysphoria because of social pressure) has been refuted.  In fact, I’ve read the paper and don’t know what to make of it, since the data are at odds with other data, and some claims don’t seem to support the authors’ hypothesis.  The author’s claims clearly need further testing.

First, let’s see what NBC News says:

“Social contagion” is not driving an increasing number of adolescents to come out as transgender, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics.

The study also found that the proportion of adolescents who were assigned female at birth and have come out as transgender also has not increased, which contradicts claims that adolescents whose birth sex is female are more susceptible to this so-called external influence.

“The hypothesis that transgender and gender diverse youth assigned female at birth identify as transgender due to social contagion does not hold up to scrutiny and should not be used to argue against the provision of gender-affirming medical care for adolescents,” study senior author Dr. Alex S. 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 statement.

You can see the short paper in Pediatrics below for free; the pdf is here (you may have to revisit the page below if you want to go back to the pdf), and the reference is at the bottom.

Psychiatrist Jack Turban is known as a big advocate of “affirmative care,” which assumes that an adolescent’s self-identification is correct, and then affirms it both through therapy and eventually through puberty blocking (if needed) and surgical and other medical interventions. And indeed, as I’ll show below, this paper seems a wee bit tendentious, pushing hard to refute the “social contagion” hypothesis. But it may be justified if social contagion is used as a way to block any kind of affirmative therap—which sometimes is the appropriate therapy.

I’ve thought (based largely on anecdotes) that social contagion may be one cause of the increase in gender dysphoria that may lead to transsexuality, but there are of course other causes, like a lessening of the stigma of being transgender, so I don’t have much of a dog in this fight. But there is other evidence for social contagion in the literature, including that cited in Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage as well as the video at the bottom, which is being shown in some elementary schools.

But what’s the evidence that “social contagion” is bunk?  First, let’s look at the hypothesis of Turban et al. regarding “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD), a form of quick realization that you were born in the wrong body. But Turban et al., as well as NBC News, discuss the hypotheses below as if they work for both ROGD (a condition that is controversial) and  “normal” gender dysphoria (GD). The hypotheses tested by Turban et al. are these:

a.) If the social contagion hypothesis is correct, the number of gender dysphoric adolescents should be increasing.

b.) Further, most of the adolescents who become dysphoric would be female rather than male (I’m not sure where that came from a priori, as it’s not necessary for a “social contagion” hypothesis.)

c.) If the social contagion hypothesis is correct, then those who identify as transgender should not be bullied more than those who identify as cisgender. For if you get gender dysphoria as a way of gaining social approbation, an increase in bullying would seem to contradict that mechanism.

The authors then used data taken from 91,937 adolescents surveyed in two years: 2017 and 2019. They determined if they were biologically male or female, giving them the acronyms AMAB (“assigned male at birth”) and AFAB (“assigned female at birth”) respectively. One problem is that these designations came from asking the adolescents “What is your sex?”  That is not the same as asking “What sex were you assigned at birth?”, especially for young people who feel that they are members of the other sex.  But we’ll let that slide.

They then decided whether or not a child was transgender using this method:

Participants were asked, “Some people describe themselves as transgender when their sex at birth does not match the way they think or feel about their gender. Are you transgender?” Response options were “Yes, I am transgender,” “No, I am not transgender,” “I am not sure if I am transgender,” and “I do not know what this question is asking.” Youth who chose “I am not sure if I am transgender” and “I do not know what this question is asking” were excluded from analyses.

This sounds fine, and note that it’s based on self report. Note as well that there’s no way of knowing whether any gender dysphoria was of the “rapid onset” or “non-rapid-onset” form.

I’ll give the three results of Turban et al.’s analysis:

1). The proportion of transgender adolescents who were biological males is higher than those who were biological females in both years, supposedly contradicting the social contagion hypothesis.

2).  There was no increase in the number of transgender adolescents between 2017 and 2019.

Here are the data from which these conclusions are drawn.(“YRBS” is the “Youth Risk Behavior Survey” used to collect the data).

Note that the number of AMAB (biological male) transgender adolescents formed a higher proportion of the population than did AFAB (biological female) transgender adolescents (2.8% vs 1.9% in 2017 and 1.7% versus 1.4% in 2019, contradicting hypothesis b. The numbers of transgender adolescents of both types also fell from 2017 to 2019, contradicting hypothesis a.

This is in stark contrast to the data from the UK, which was gathered by looking at adolescents referred for gender treatment to the Tavistock Clinic in London (soon to be dismantled). That data (and other data cited below) show not only a stark increase in numbers over 8 years, but a stark increase in the proportion of biological females with gender dysphoria compared to males.

Here are those data, which I’ve shown before:

Why the disparity? One obvious clue is that Turban et al.’s data are self reports for surveys, while the data just above are individuals referred to a clinic for treatment. One hypothesis for this is that females suffer from gender dysphoria more than males, and thus are driven to seek treatment more often. In other words, biological females suffer more seriously from the dysphoria. And that neither supports nor contradicts the “social contagion hypothesis”. As for the rise over time, it could be explained either by the social contagion hypothesis or a rapid de-stigmatization of transgender people.

Remember that, besides the very different way adolescents were identified, the Turban et al. data are from the U.S., while the data above are from the U.K.  Given this disparity, and other reports of disproportionate increases in AFAB vs AMAB dysphoric patients (references 9 and 10 in the Turban et al. paper), what we have here is a mass of conflicting data. My own view is that AFAB adolescents experience the dysphoria more strongly than AMAB, and thus seek out treatment, as the Tavistock data and the two references just mentioned all come from clinics. Sex differences in the seriousness of dysphoria could explain these disparities, which aren’t mentioned by Turban et al.; they dismiss references 9 and 10 because their data came from smaller and less representative populations than other studies, though Turban et al.’s studies are not from adolescents reporting to clinics, but surveys of high school students.

Indeed, if you’re concerned about causes of transitioning, the clinical data might be more relevant than the self-report data, for it is those adolescents who go to clinics who are the ones that actually transition. People are worried not about “feelings of being transgender,” but actually changing your gender in an irreversible way.

One person I sent this draft to suggested I add this:
“This study was conducted when the trans numbers at school were already quite widespread and reaching a plateau.  At this stationary period it won’t be as evident that there is a social spread, since all schools already have the “contagion” and you won’t see local increases in numbers.  To see the contagion more clearly they would have to follow cohorts of children from 4th to 7th grade, when most of the gender identification happens.  Does it happen in groups of friends?  In schools that are emphasizing gender identify?  In schools that have extensive pride celebrations and secret LGBTA clubs?”
I’ll leave you to judge that for yourself.

3.) There is a higher self-reported rate of both bullying and suicide attempts in transgender-identifying children than in cisgender-identifying children.  

Here are the data from Turban et al.’s paper (click on screenshots if you can’t read this).  The take-home lesson is that there’s substantially more bullying (both at school and electronically) in children self-identifying as transgender than cisgender, as well as a higher suicide rate. To the authors, this confirms that social contagion cannot be a factor, for transgender people face more bullying than cisgender children.


Although I’m not wedded to a social-contagion hypothesis, I don’t think these data rebut it very strongly. In terms of bullying, being bullied more does not automatically mean that you also don’t get more approbation, particularly on social media. There is no affirmation from peers examined; the question wasn’t asked. Further, many children with gender dysphoria may act differently from others because they’re mentally distressed, going through a period of turmoil as they figure out who they are; and that would explain the bullying as well as the suicide.  While the bullying statistics suggest that there may be some disapprobation connected with feeling transgender, the authors really need to see as well how much affirmation these adolescents got, particularly online, which is where it usually happens. (There is no doubt about that kind of affirmation; it’s been reported widely.)

All in all, the sex disparity between clinical and self-report data gives rise to a hypothesis that women experience dysphoria more strongly than men, which can’t be seen as a refutation of the “social contagion” hypothesis. The bullying data may have some relevance, but I’d like it leavened with data on affirmation—the other side of the coin. How often did these dysphoric adolescents receive support online?  Finally, the suicidal data seems irrelevant to me, as it may be connected with feelings of dysphoria themselves, regardless of its cause. It may have absolutely nothing to do with the bullying.  We know that mental illness or mental distress often accompanies gender dysphoria.

One thing that bothered me was how readily Turban et al. as well as NBC News saw this study as dispositive (he is an “affirmation guy”), and didn’t mention the Tavistock data. And of course we have only two years’ worth of data here, which is a limited time span to make such broad generalizations. To Turban’s credit, though, he’s trying do correct legislatures overstepping by trying to eliminating any form of “affirmation” in treating dysphoric adolescents.

Turban et al.:

The deleterious effect of unfounded hypotheses stigmatizing TGD youth, particularly the ROGD hypothesis, cannot be overstated, especially in current and longstanding public policy debates. Indeed, the notion of ROGD has been used by legislators to prohibit TGD youth from accessing gender-affirming medical care, despite the considerable methodological limitations underlying the generation of this hypothesis, as well as the unequivocal support for gender-affirming medical care by multiple major medical organizations, including the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and the American Psychiatric Association. Multiple studies have revealed that prohibiting TGD adolescents from accessing gender-affirming medical care would be expected to have detrimental impacts on TGD youth wellbeing. The current study adds to the extant research arguing against the ROGD hypothesis by providing evidence inconsistent with the theories that (1) social contagion drives TGD identities, with unique susceptibility among AFAB youth, and (2) that youth identify as TGD due to such identities being less stigmatized than cisgender sexual minority identities.

In the end, whether the social contagion hypothesis is true should have nothing to do with how gender dysphoric youth should be treated. What causes dysphoria tells us very little about what form of therapy is needed. Although politicians may prohibit affirmative care, they shouldn’t, but neither should care be envisioned as completely affirmative at the outset. Given the consequences of premature transitioning, the care should be empathic but not tendentious, not trying to push children to change their gender.

NBC News bought this study whole hog, and doesn’t mention any potential problems or the three sets of contradictory data.  That’s because they don’t have reporters who are familiar with this controversy, and certainly can’t adjudicate science.

As for affirmation, here’s a video a reader sent me which was shown at his/her children’s elementary school. I see this as affirmation, and I’m not that bothered by it. (Here’s an article about this kind of affirmation in other schools).  But if there’s bullying, at least we must admit that there’s also constant affirmation in the classroom and, as this video shows, on social media (look at all the social-media “likes” for coming out as you feel).

By the way, this comes from the AMAZE outfit, devoted to wokeist indoctrination of children. Check out this series of videos, for example.


Jack L. Turban, Brett Dolotina, Dana King, Alex S. Keuroghlian. 2022. Sex Assigned at Birth Ratio Among Transgender and Gender Diverse Adolescents in the United States. Pediatrics; e2022056567. 10.1542/peds.2022-056567

36 thoughts on “New paper purports to refute “social contagion hypothesis” for transgender adolescents

  1. I don’t know about “social contagion”, but if I’d lived in a world full of social media that told me, when I sprouted tits and began my periods at the age of 11 and felt just wretched about my body and myself in general, that this all meant that I was really a boy and could get rid of those problems I’d have jumped at the chance (especially as I was a total tomboy at the time, who never played with dolls, etc.).

    1. I grew up in a household in the 1960’s that revered men and denigrated women. I would have given anything to have been born male back then. Opportunities were unlimited for men but there were few opportunities for women. I was told that women were mostly restricted to being a wife, mother, teacher or nurse. That was pretty much it. Thank Ceiling Cat for Women’s Liberation.

    2. For an interesting look from a marketing perspective, first go here :

      Type in “action figure”. Observe the first local peak in 1977.

      I don’t know about the year 1973, when the rise started, but I know the summer blockbuster Star Wars was released in theaters in 1977.

      For additional interest, type “action figure, doll”.

      I’ll try to put a chart in later, but it isn’t pretty and gets eaten.

    3. My children tell me about their classmates who suddenly identify as non binary, trans, or something else after delving into social media. These children are too young to even know what sex is, but the ideas planted take hold, at least until they get bored of it and switch pronouns again. It’s much more pervasive than when I was in school, but the internet didn’t exist then.

      1. Also what didn’t exist back then was people pushing impressionable children into medical treatment for their supposed “condition”

  2. Turban is notorious for his advocacy. (As a note, it’s interesting that the paper is getting public airing around the time that Tavistock was closed down.)

    It’s going to be interesting to see how widely reported that paper is. And for anyone who has followed this topic, you will know that many of the studies put forth supporting ” gender affirmative care” are of absolutely dismal quality. The writer Jesse Singal has done fantastic work exploring their failings as has Lisa Selin Davis.

    BTW, I have not read this yet, since it just popped into my inbox, but thought I would share:

    “How Tavistock Came Tumbling Down
    I was a nurse working on a team that recklessly prescribed puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones to kids. I blew the whistle in 2005. Now the government is finally listening. ”

    1. I just forced myself to read it. The TL:DR (as the kids say) is that referrals in 2019 are similar to 2017, so social contagion is nonsense. The author might have got a different result if he had compared 2019 to 2009.

  3. Via Andrew Sullivan I just saw this twitter thread about the discussed paper:

    “A quick thread on this new paper which it has been claimed refutes the notion of social contagion in trans adolescents. Even by the poor methodological standards of this topic it’s remarkable how weak the evidence is compared to the claims being made. 1/x”

  4. I’m not totally opposed to analysis of self-reported data like this study. Sometimes it’s the best one can do. Jerry’s correspondent who commented on this post suggested field work in schools etc., but that’s hard work that folks like Jack Turban are not equipped to do.

    Turban himself knows how unreliable self-reported survey data can be. This analysis by Jesse Singal shows many examples from Turban’s own work.

    The best example is the many instances in which survey respondents who could not have received puberty blockers said “yes” to a question about getting blockers.

    Another big problem is inferring causation from survey data. Turban’s work has often focused on associations between youth mental health and gender-affirming medical care. Turban showed that youth who remembered getting puberty blockers remembered having better mental health (lower depression etc.). Singal pointed out that during the period of that survey medical practitioners often declined to prescribe puberty blockers to patients who had significant mental health problems (this was best practice), so the causation ran the other way: mental health affected puberty blocker prescriptions, but pbs didn’t affect mental health.

    Singal himself is pretty even-handed: he doesn’t oppose affirmative care, but he criticizes the flimsy evidence for its effectiveness especially in young people. Turban otoh is an unabashed advocate for finding and medically treating gender-nonconforming kids. Grain of salt needed.

    1. Re ” … self-reported data like this study. Sometimes it’s the best one can do.” Indeed, in this case it is really all one can do, since it is a matter of subjective feelings and thoughts, which obviously can only be self-reported.

      Getting to the bottom of such phenomena will always be extremely difficult, among other reasons because it is essentially impossible to control for the innumerable variables that may come into play.

      It is also well known that the answers one receives on such survey questionnaires can depend to a great degree on how questions are phrased.

      1. Yes for sure. But one could at least get direct data on medical treatment (from medical caregivers or from records) rather than self-reported memories of treatment. Singal reported that in other Turban studies some survey respondents clearly did not know the difference between puberty blockers (taken by teens) and cross-sex hormones (teens or adults), and instead respondents in their self-reported medical histories just lumped those two classes of drugs together into the category “hormones”.

        Ok enough commenting by me.

  5. The take-home lesson is that there’s substantially more bullying (both at school and electronically) in children self-identifying as transgender than cisgender, as well as a higher suicide rate. To the authors, this confirms that social contagion cannot be a factor, for transgender people face more bullying than cisgender children.

    What the study really means is that gender-nonconforming children get bullied at higher rates than gender-conforming children. (Sadly, that’s not really a surprise.)

    So a gender-nonconforming (possibly gay) youth will already be facing difficulties. They may thus see transition as a solution, and social contagion could be a large part of that decision to identify as trans.

    Thus Jack Turban’s study means nothing here, what would really be needed is a comparison of gender-nonconforming youths who socially transition with gender-nonconforming youths who don’t. (Not a comparison of gender-nonconforming youths who socially transition with gender-conforming youth.)

    1. Turban is also known to be not especially honest in reporting his own findings. Jesse Singal reported one remarkable instance that was discovered by the Oxford sociologist Michael Biggs in the data from Turban’s PLoS One paper published in January this year. See the comment by Biggs here

      Biggs used the Turban data to show that transwomen taking cross-sex hormones (males on estrogen) had “a higher probability of planning, attempting, and being hospitalized for suicide.” OTOH, transmen (females on testosterone) reported better outcomes related to suicidal ideation or attempts.

      None of this appears in the analysis by Turban or in his January 2022 paper, but it’s hiding in plain sight in Turban’s own data and it’s consistent with well-known mental-health side effects of hormone replacement therapy: estrogen often makes people feel terrible and testosterone often makes them feel terrific.

  6. I see that the singer Demi Lovato has had a change of heart and reverted from they/them pronouns to she/her. Luckily for her, she didn’t do an Elliot Page in the interim.

    I agree with the person Jerry sent the paper to about the time-frame of the study. We know there was a huge take-off in trans identification in the mid-2010s. How are we to explain that except by social causes? Why else are the Woke pushing transgenderism in the schools?

  7. I’m not qualified to evaluate the paper scientifically, but several thoughts occurred on reading this:

    The take-home lesson is that there’s substantially more bullying (both at school and electronically) in children self-identifying as transgender than cisgender, as well as a higher suicide rate. To the authors, this confirms that social contagion cannot be a factor, for transgender people face more bullying than cisgender children.

    1.) Do children who identify as trans then become bullied and/or suicidal — or do bullied and/or suicidal children then become more likely to identify as trans? The answer to that may matter, and those two possibilities teased apart somehow.

    2.) What is included under “bullying?” If “verbal bullying” includes people expressing skepticism that they’re no longer a boy or girl or referring to them by their old name, that would undoubtedly be higher for the trans-identified.

    3.) Is religion among schoolchildren a social contagion?

    The child of parents with relaxed religious beliefs encounters some intense proselytizing online or from peers and suddenly has a personal encounter with God. They convert & are ridiculed and bullied; their parents try to talk them out of it. The child doubles down, receiving encouragement only from people & sources outside the family & the majority of the school/electronic environment.

    What happened here? Was it social contagion or did God really reveal Himself to them? “Social contagion can’t be a factor, for (devout mystics) face more bullying than (secular) children.” Must be God.

    1. Pertinent questions indeed.
      Another aspect that should not be neglected, is that being a victim of bullying gives ‘victim status’. Victimhood might be a ‘desired’ effect.
      Abigail Strier pointed that out. It would explain why the phenomenon is so common among middle class white -hence ‘privileged’- girls.

  8. Since the teen years are often a tough and confusing time, even if everything is turning out more or less OK, I wonder if “gender dysphoria” will occur to some who feel lost and confused as the “cause” or “diagnosis” of their frustrations, even though they’re actually just going through the normal turbulent and confusing emotions of growing from a child to a teenager to an adult. I have no idea, since I had never heard of any such thing when I was a teen (I’m now 53), growing up in western Colorado. So I suppose that those who felt that something wasn’t quite right back then “diagnosed” themselves in some other way, e.g. like Christine (above at #1), who says she felt like a “tomboy”. Perhaps others eventually came out as gay or lesbian. Probably most just felt like they “didn’t fit in” or that they were in some way that they could not exacty define “not normal”. Perhaps many of the same people, if they grew up today, would see themselves as having gender dysphoria. I find it difficult to believe that we should entirely disregard the power of suggestion here, which is not necessarily a negative.

  9. [ comment prior to thorough reading ]

    One dimension of this phenomenon I am looking for is the parental.

    Parents have problems that do not go away. There is an impulse to medicate problems away. A day in the United States should show signs – literally – to this effect : take this you’ll feel better

    ^^ actual quote from a bottle I just picked up!

    OK I’m done.

  10. Firstly, sex is not arbitrarily “assigned” at birth. Sex is observed at birth. With very few exceptions (such as intersex babies), most people are male or female. So that is already a problem in how the researcher used language. Second, the author is in favor of affirming surgery, which means he is biased and suspect to write about this issue. Finally, the period and sample covered (2017-19 high school students) may not be indicative of the pattern we are looking for. The increase in transgender-identifying youth likely began before 2017, so we would need a longer period to observe the increase (at least 10 years). I don’t think we can learn much from the paper at issue.

  11. I read somewhere that there’s a problem here, in the study’s limitation section:

    …the question through which the sex of participants was ascertained did not use the established 2-step method of asking about gender identity.19 Although our results should be understood in the context of this limitation, we posit that TGD youth are likely able to accurately differentiate between sex and gender identity, given that these characteristics are foundationally salient to their identities.

    And then Turban gives some more unconvincing reasons why, in the absence of a question asking about “gender identity,” a teenage male who passionately believes he’s female would check “male” instead of “female.” Because otherwise the study data on who’s male and who’s female is messed up and it’s hard to conclude anything.

    We have seen the mass confusion around all the definitions involved in gender doctrine, including the creeping appropriation of sex terms (male;female) int the category Gender and subsequently claimed by the transgender (“But Lea Thomas IS female!”) I really doubt that teenagers have some razor sharp clarity and sense of consistency which escapes so many adults.

  12. One would need case-hardened steel data to argue against the social contagion hypothesis. Wake me up is anyone comes up with it.

  13. The primary data come from the biennial wide-ranging Youth Risk Behavior Survey administered by the CDC, the most recent being 2019. The middle-school surveys are done in 16 states. There have been two years of pandemic schooling since then. I can’t tell from the CDC’s website if a survey was done in 2021. A strength is that response rates are much higher than for many surveys because the selected schools who agree to participate arrange for their students to take the surveys in class. Over-all it’s about 80% of students in 80% of schools but we don’t know the proportion of non-responders to the gender identity questions specifically.

    I note that bullying is commonly reported—once is all it takes to answer Yes—, even among straight cis-gendered adolescents and, as Jerry points out, no questions about positive support were asked. This is always a problem working with data collected by another entity who did not have your (or any) hypothesis in mind when it formulated its questions and collected the responses.

    Overall it seems that about 2 – 2.5% of middle-school students in the 16 states that participate in this version of the YRBS stated they are trans. That would be about one in every class at every school. I don’t have a sense of what fraction of these kids end up referred to gender clinics in those states.

  14. I suppose I should give my take on this one.
    Turban is not an unbiased source. He is an activist, and holds very strong opinions that affirmation is the only solution.” There’s no psychiatric intervention for gender dysphoria. There are medical interventions for gender dysphoria, if you will.”

    Every trans kid I know believes strongly that they are their chosen sex. They say “I am a boy” or “I am a girl” like a mantra. Asking them their sex will not yield useful information.

    To address social contagion, I can give my personal observations. We have two school districts in my area. The ranch covers both, and each of my kids were able to go to different districts, so that they could attend with their friends.
    One school produced no trans kids that I know of, while my child attended. The other school had several trans kids, including one of mine.
    Lets look for commonality . None of them, according to their parents, showed any tendency towards gender confusion before attending the school in question. The kids came from an spectrum of economic backgrounds. They were a mix of boys and girls, with the girls a slight majority. They were not close friends before becoming trans.

    The primary link, to my knowledge, is that they shared a common guidance counselor. The school has three, and students are assigned a counselor by alphabetical sorting of last names. They were not, however, all in the same home rooms.

    “Social Contagion” carries an implication that it is peer generated and propagated. When I was in primary school, the girls went through a phase were they wore very baggy socks. That was a silly fad spread by social contagion, although a harmless one. On the other hand, back in the US, when I spent a year at a private religious school, kids regularly found Jesus and were saved. That was not social contagion, that was more a matter of surrendering to the manipulation and relentless propaganda from the teachers and administrators.

    I am sure that some trans kids are people who were sexually ambiguous at birth, or who displayed gender-aberrant behaviors during childhood, or perhaps were victims of sexual abuse.
    None of the trans kids I know personally fit into those categories.

    Of course trans kids are bullied frequently. That would fit into the very large category of outcomes that are obvious and inevitable to most adults, but not anticipated by kids. That is one of the reasons kids are easily manipulated.

    Overall, I suspect the study is one where they gathered lots of different types of data, kept that which could be used to support their thesis, and discarded that which conflicts with their views. Of course, it falls apart under close analysis, but the paper was never really produced for that. It exists so that people can point to it and claim that it confirms their present beliefs.

  15. If the AFAB adolescents claimed to be gender nonconforming instead of trans, we would have nothing to object. Women are very different from men in regards to sexual desire, and societies are organized, in my view, around men’s sexual desire (gay rights were about men’s sexual desire, too). My guess is that there are many times more gender nonconforming women than gays.

  16. My biggest concern about these self-report studies is that I remember very well being that age and lying my head off on studies like this. As did, according to them, most of my classmates.

  17. For another take, not social contagion exactly but rather social conditioning is proposed:
    22 Nov 2021

    The article (which my wife found) acknowledges that dysphoria around gender non-conforming behaviour in societies that do not accept it readily is real. It concludes however:
    “Just as there are no tall people trapped in short bodies, no Asian people trapped in white bodies, no hazel-eyed people trapped in blue-eyed bodies, there are no people trapped in wrong-sex bodies. That’s something we made up. Our bodies, our personalities, our hobbies, our ways of adorning ourselves just are what they are.

    “Trans is something we made up. We can make up something much better.”

  18. I don’t see how the data Turban et al. use can credibly be used to address the ROGD/social contagion hypothesis, since the survey participants were not even asked how long they had identified as transgender and the circumstances under which they reached that conclusion.

    In the study’s Objective section, the authors state, “Representatives of some pediatric gender clinics have reported an increase in transgender and gender diverse (TGD) adolescents presenting for care who were assigned female sex at birth (AFAB) relative to those assigned male sex at birth (AMAB)”. However, rather than examining that data for flaws, or expanding the data set by collecting equivalent information from a wider range of such clinics, they instead address the issue by examining “the AMAB:AFAB ratio among United States TGD adolescents in a larger and more representative sample than past clinic-recruited samples”. In doing so, they are not comparing like with like.

    And has already been pointed out, by comparing only two sets of survey results collected just two years apart the data that the authors rely on for their analysis is unlikely to capture the effect supposedly being investigated.

    The forthcoming Cass Review, which will be published next year, might well provide a better evidence base for this issue, albeit using data from the UK. In the meantime, Hilary Cass’s Interim Report offers an interesting and impartial take on transgender care for children and young people:

  19. Not directly to the paper :

    Bill Maher has an editorial in which he points out that everything is “fluid” in childhood. Examples being cowboys, astronauts, teachers, or basketball players. Yes, kids say they want to be these things. They might even “identify” as them. But they change their minds, or otherwise the system results in far fewer of those professionals than expected [italics – and my own argument] if we accept what they say as if they were grown adults [end italics and my own argument].

    Easy to find Maher’s spoken (not written) piece on YouTube.

    1. Yes, Mayer said some memorable things on this issue:

      It wasn’t that long ago when adults asked a kid ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ They meant what profession.

      I understand that being trans is different, it’s innate. But kids do have phases. Kids are fluid about everything. If they know at age 8 what they wanted to be, the world would be filled with cowboys and princesses. I wanted to be a pirate. Thank God no one scheduled me for eye removal and peg leg surgery.

      1. Thank you!

        … (not so much) ‘Rithmatik!…

        “The Three Rs”…

        Use it or lose it.

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