An Unconvincing Gender Identity Study

A paper recently published in Pediatrics is already being cited by the LGBTQ community as something that supports the trans cause. For example, the activist site, Them, published an article with great excitement:

Conservatives and assorted anti-trans reactionaries like to claim that trans kids don’t understand their own identities, and that almost all young trans people will eventually end up identifying with their birth gender. But a new study is blowing that assertion out of the water.

Published this month in the medical journal Pediatrics, it reveals the findings of a five-year longitudinal study of trans youth conducted by Princeton University’s Trans Youth Project. Out of more than 300 young trans-identifying people aged 3-12, only 2.5% identified as cisgender at the end of the five-year period, with 94% identifying as trans girls or boys and 3.5% identifying as nonbinary.

So let’s consider the research paper:  Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition. 

The first point I will make is a point that applies to all social science and medical research – we should not take such research findings too seriously until they are independently replicated.  This is because there is a very real Replication Crisis in science, such that a significant amount of research data in science cannot be replicated.  Always remember that the truly scientific approach is tentative. 

Secondly, there is a serious methodological flaw in this study.  To their credit, the researchers acknowledge this:

As with past work, the present work has several key limitations. First, this is a volunteer community sample, meaning there could be biases in the kinds of families who sign up to participate. We know, for example, that unlike many samples of transgender youth, this sample of youth have normative levels of depression and only slight elevations in anxiety23. The parents of the participants in this study are disproportionately higher income and went to college at higher rates than the general population. We do not know whether these potential biases in the sample reflect biases in the cohort of children who socially transitioned in the mid-2010’s in the U.S. and Canada. Therefore, whether the results generalize to youth without these characteristics is unknown.

I think we can go further than questioning whether the results generalize to all transgender youth.  This study was not a random sampling of transgender youth, thus cannot be generalized to all transgender youth.  It is a study that applies to a specialized subset of transgender youth – those who have parents intimately involved in affirming the child’s decision (even to the point of wanting to be part of the Trans Youth Study). 

The average child in this study transitioned at six years old and everyone involved was likely on the same page:

For inclusion in TYP, children had to be 3-12 years of age and had to have made a “complete” binary social transition, including changing their pronouns to the binary gender pronouns that differed from those used at their births.

If you think about it, a child transitions at 6 and by 7, the “social transition” is complete.  Done.  Parents, siblings, friends, and teachers all participate in the transition.  Not only is this likely to be atypical, but it would include parents who not only support transition, but perhaps, in some ways, the college-educated, well-off parents encourage it.   If we are dealing with a population of trans youth in which a significant number of parents are not only eager to affirm, but actively encouraging the transition, the findings of this study are useless to the general population.  Unfortunately, the researchers made no effort to gather meaningful information about the parents (other than 35% of them made more than 125k a year).

This methodological problem feeds into the other problem with this study.  According to Table 3,  the children joined the study at 7 1/2 years old and were followed for 4 years.   So we are roughly talking from 8 years old to 12 years old.  I’m sorry, but those are ages where parental input is still quite significant.  In other words, if we’re dealing with parents who are either proud or encouraging of a transition, or just feel it their duty to affirm in whatever way they can, of course very few socially transitioned 8 to 12 year olds would change their mind.   Perhaps the core dynamic the researchers are studying without realizing is merely the power of parental influence on how a child sees him/herself.  Again, the core design flaw of not also looking at the parents comes into play.

Finally, there is one minor aspect of the study that annoys me:

CONFLICT OF INTEREST DISCLOSURES: The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.

Yet the lead author of the paper clearly supports the transgender/trans youth movement as judged from her twitter account.  For example:

What’s more,  according to the lab’s web site:

At the SCD Lab, we prioritize inclusion and diversity in all aspects of lab life, from who we are to what we study. 

Notice that evidence and truth are not prioritized.  Instead, it’s “inclusion and diversity.”  Now, it’s possible that it is a total coincidence that the findings of this study just happen to support the goals and beliefs of the researchers, but for those of us who value critical thinking, we also recognize it is possible there is some unconscious bias at work here.  Thus, they should have disclosed a conflict of interest.  Think of it this way.  Say you read a study that finds data to indicate cigarette smoking is not as dangerous as we have been told.  Imagine that some “smoking rights” group then publicized the study.  Then imagine you find out the researchers work for a tobacco company.  Should have been disclosed, don’t y’think?

ETA: Reader DHay uncovers something that makes the whole conflict of issue more solid:

DHay: I notice that:

Funding/Support: The collection of the data in this report and some of the authors’ time (KO, RH, and NG) over the course of this project have been supported by: National Institutes of Health grant HD092347, National Science Foundation grants BCS-1523632, SMA-1837857, and SMA-2041463, a grant from the Arcus Foundation (all to KO), and a National Science Foundation GRFP grant to LD. In addition, KO receives financial support from the MacArthur Foundation.

The Study was sponsored by a grant from — alongside a number of other grant providers — the Arcus Foundation. In what looks very like a mission statement the Arcus Foundation says:

Arcus believes that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all its inhabitants. We partner with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality.

https://www.arcusfoundation.org/arcus-culture/

Would receiving funding from a foundation which appears to fund “advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people … thrive” count as an undeclared conflict of interest in research into the thriving or otherwise of Transitioning children?

Role of Funder/Sponsor:Funders played no role in determining the research questions asked nor have they seen the results prior to review.

I expect that’s true. I also expect a funder might be more inclined to fund again if the results seen after review be pleasing.

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30 Responses to An Unconvincing Gender Identity Study

  1. Dhay says:

    > The average child in this study transitioned at six years old…

    Glancing at that quoted average age of (starting?) transition, my immediate observation is that these gender dysphoric children are very different from, very unlike the children referred to the UK’s Tavistock Clinic, who are predominantly much, much older and who didn’t discover their dysphoria until not long before referral. I doubt these North American youngsters are typical of dysphoric children.

    There has always been a trickle of children who know from a very early age that they feel they are the other gender (and are bothered enough to want to change); these children are the most likely to transition successfully and want to stay transitioned. Tavistock’s clientele, on the other hand, are mostly much older, pubertal children and present for referral in proportionately larger numbers — this phenomenon, which is recent in origin and growing quickly, is often referred to as Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) and is considered by many to be (like) a social contagion resulting from pubertal confusion and peer pressure: this group is far more likely to de-transition.

    I observe that if you take a big enough area (like North America) with a large enough population and selectively select only the very youngest transitioners — ie select only those already known to be most likely to transition successfully — while discarding the far far larger numbers of far more typical ROGD teen transitioners, if you do that you can manipulate for yourself a study and study results that look like this Study and its results.

    The cynic in me me suspects that is what happened, that that is what must have happened, and that those carrying out the Study may well have been ideologically motivated to find some nice-looking propaganda to support their (I presume) activism.

    I’ll have to look again when I have more time

  2. Dhay says:

    Another glance gets me asking whether a child can be said to have transitioned before puberty. Is the notion that they can do so even a coherent idea? My gut feeling is, No.

  3. Ilíon says:

    “Studies” — whether the plural of ‘study’, or an alleged acedemic field — are inherently untrustworthy.

  4. apollyon911 says:

    As you noted, there is a replication problem and this ‘study’ is at odds with the results of other studies.

  5. Nuke1776 says:

    I think we’re well past the point that this tripe needs to be reflexively dismissed as the contrived agitprop it is: a mere fig leaf for foisting monstrous evils and absurdities on innocent children and the rest of mankind. After all, as Mike’s adventures in the Twitterverse show time and again, these people reflexively dismiss anything that is remotely in harmony with Truth or Reality, never hesitating for a moment. There need not be reasoned consideration of studies looking into the psychological state of eleven year olds after “social transition” – it is a transparently obvious facet of human biology that men and women are just that: men and women. To deny this is to declare oneself a lunatic. We shouldn’t be playing defense. These people have staked out the most repellant, disgusting position imaginable – that they want to groom children to mutilate their bodies, forever ruining their lives. That’s indefensible, which is why they’re always on the attack. We need to be putting them out of respectable society. Easier said than done, I know.

  6. TFBW says:

    I’m with Nuke on this one. I don’t need a study one way or another to recognise that some people are at war with reality and mutilating children in the name of that cause. I’m prepared to discuss the appropriate response to this state of affairs, but I’m not interested in hearing the demons’ side of the argument with regards to the benefits of child mutilation. Same deal with abortion.

  7. Dhay says:

    A couple of threads back, nihilist2christian opined:

    They won’t declare paedophilia acceptable, they’ll just lower the age of consent and change the definition of a child.

    With appropriate changes, that can become:

    They won’t declare disrupting normal sexual development acceptable, they’ll just lower the age of medical consent and pressure children to demand that disruption.

    *

    I’ll add to that, that to teach children to accept and demand that disruption, start by teaching children queered notions of what normal sexual development is.

    A start on queering is The Gender Unicorn; another, the video for ages 7 to 11 that was formerly — now withdrawn after many protests — on the BBC’s Teaching Materials webpages, that claimed there are “over 100 genders”.

    *

    > Out of more than 300 young trans-identifying people aged 3-12…

    A child aged 3 doesn’t have the conceptual development needed for informed consent to ideas, treatments and outcomes that they are as yet unable to understand. They have not yet attained reasoning ability: “You can’t argue/persuade them out of doing/wanting that, you simply distract them with something else.”

    The same continues to apply at the aged 12 top end of that age range, it’s just starker when a child is so obviously at a pre-reason age.

  8. Going forward I wonder how many scientists and researchers will have the encourage to pursue truth and evidence rather than just reaching whatever conclusion society expects from them.

  9. TFBW says:

    @nihilist2christian: it’s a question of degree, and it’s been going on a long time. The only real change is the increase in the number of positions which must not be questioned.

  10. Dhay says:

    Based on experience at the sole NHS gender dysphoria clinic, what should the Study intake look like?

    GIDS: By 2015 GIDS, which is part of the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, had been through a period of enormous change. Six years earlier it had become a national service responsible to the central NHS and from that time demand rocketed – increasing 50% per year. The number of children and young people referred to the service grew from 97 in 2009-10 to 697 in 2014-15.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-56539466

    Rocketing numbers, increasing exponentially: five-fold in four years (at 50% a year); twenty five times in eight years.

    Study: Increasing numbers of children are socially transitioning to live in line with their gender identity… [Page 5.]

    Click to access peds_2021056082.pdf

    That’s “increasing numbers”: it’s evidently not an increase worth dignifying with “significantly”, “rapidly” and the like. Unlike GIDS the Study reports a mere, unremarkable increase. My understanding is, that transitioning is rocketing across the cultural West and that the Study’s merely “increasing numbers” is way out of line with the other statistics available.

    GIDS: … accompanying the increase in numbers was a shift in the type of patients being referred. Since it opened its doors in 1989, around 75% of GIDS’ patients had been boys – natal males to use the language of the service at the time, now referred to as assigned male at birth. In 2011, girls equalled boys in number for the first time. And by 2015 there had been a reversal in the sex ratio, with girls now outnumbering boys two to one.

    Girls transitioning to boys are nowadays far more common than boys transitioning to girls; it used to be the other way round.

    Study: One additional limitation in the present work is that the initial sample was disproportionately made up of trans girls [natal males — Dhay]. This is counter to recent reports that more peri- and post-pubertal transgender youth seeking clinical services recently are transmasculine [natal females — Dhay]. [Page 14.]

    Boys transitioning to girls are far more common in the Study than girls transitioning to boys; that is, the Study data is consistent with what GIDS data used to be some years ago but is not consistent with GIDS’ recent data; or if you prefer, the Study data is consistent with GIDS data that’s now well out of date.

    GIDS: What’s more, the nature of the cases appeared to have changed too. Young people often appeared to have complex mental health problems alongside their gender dysphoria … Many were self-harming; others were struggling with depression, anxiety, bullying or eating disorders.

    I’ll draw attention to “often”, “complex” and “many”. Mental health problems were common, complex and serious in GIDS transitioners. By total contrast…:

    Study: We know, for example, that unlike many samples of transgender youth, this [the Study’s — Dhay.] sample of youth have normative levels of depression and only slight elevations in anxiety… [Page 13.]

    …by total contrast, the Study’s transitioners had pretty normal mental health.

    GIDS: Some suffered traumatic or abusive childhoods.

    By contrast, and as Michael’s OP points out, the parents of the Study’s transitioners were well off and totally supportive, indeed were probably directing the, er, child’s own decisions rather than opposing them.

    *

    Summary: The picture that emerges is that the transitioners in the Study are different from those attending GIDS. The differences are not minor differences, they are major differences, difference so major that I cannot see how the Study’s findings can inform either the patients at GIDS or the GIDS medical practitioners.

  11. Dhay says:

    > Finally, there is one minor aspect of the study that annoys me:
    Conflict of Interest Disclosures (includes financial disclosures): All authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
    [Page 2.]

    I notice that:

    Funding/Support: The collection of the data in this report and some of the authors’ time (KO, RH, and NG) over the course of this project have been supported by: National Institutes of Health grant HD092347, National Science Foundation grants BCS-1523632, SMA-1837857, and SMA-2041463, a grant from the Arcus Foundation (all to KO), and a National Science Foundation GRFP grant to LD. In addition, KO receives financial support from the MacArthur Foundation.

    The Study was sponsored by a grant from — alongside a number of other grant providers — the Arcus Foundation. In what looks very like a mission statement the Arcus Foundation says:

    Arcus believes that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all its inhabitants. We partner with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality.

    https://www.arcusfoundation.org/arcus-culture/

    Would receiving funding from a foundation which appears to fund “advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people … thrive” count as an undeclared conflict of interest in research into the thriving or otherwise of Transitioning children?

    Role of Funder/Sponsor:Funders played no role in determining the research questions asked nor have they seen the results prior to review.

    I expect that’s true. I also expect a funder might be more inclined to fund again if the results seen after review be pleasing.

  12. Michael says:

    Would receiving funding from a foundation which appears to fund “advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people … thrive” count as an undeclared conflict of interest in research into the thriving or otherwise of Transitioning children?

    Yes. Nice Catch. Reminds me of when you caught Sam Harris not mentioning how his research was funded.

    Neuroscientist Sam Harris

    That catch eventually led Harris to go back and declare a conflict of interest.
    Do you mind if I edit the above blog entry to include this comment?

  13. Dhay says:

    Michael > Do you mind if I edit… : I doubt I would ever mind.

  14. Dhay says:

    While I understand Arcus will take its dual and only loosely related missions very seriously…

    Arcus believes that respect for diversity among peoples and in nature is essential to a positive future for our planet and all its inhabitants. We partner with experts and advocates for change to ensure that LGBTQ people and our fellow apes thrive in a world where social and environmental justice are a reality.

    https://www.arcusfoundation.org/arcus-culture/

    …the unintended humour there leaps out at me.

  15. Ilíon says:

    Not least being that really committed Alphabet People are biological dead-ends.

  16. Dhay says:

    Above, I quote the research team’s claim about the mental health of the transgender kids looked at in the “Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition” study:

    Study: We know, for example, that unlike many samples of transgender youth, this sample of youth have normative levels of depression and only slight elevations in anxiety…
    [Page 13.]

    https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-pdf/doi/10.1542/peds.2021-056082/1284682/peds_2021056082.pdf

    On Pages 7, 18 and 19 of the Study report it’s made clear that the end of the five year period reported on was 01 January 2021 — therefore the start of the five years would have been on or about the same day and month in 2016.

    I found the origin of the research team’s health claim, quoted above, was the same team’s research and paper, “Mental Health of Transgender Children Who Are Supported in Their Identities”, published in Pediatrics on 01 March 2016:

    RESULTS:
    Transgender children showed no elevations in depression and slightly elevated anxiety relative to population averages. They did not differ from the control groups on depression symptoms and had only marginally higher anxiety symptoms.

    https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article-abstract/137/3/e20153223/81409/Mental-Health-of-Transgender-Children-Who-Are?redirectedFrom=fulltext

    I spotted this paper and the quote above by serendipity: it’s not named or linked to in the “Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition” Study or the Study’s references, the researchers have hardly been open and transparent, it’s invisible from there; someone reading the Study will have no indication that the good mental health claimed for the transgender youth was not good mental health resulting from five or so years of living as the opposite gender, it was good mental health before doing so.

    Why the lack of openness and transparency? It would have been easy and simple (and honest) to clarify that the mental health assessment the research team quoted was carried out at the beginning, not the end of the five years; equally easy and simple (and honest) to clarify that research team has not carried out a follow-up assessment of mental health after the five years of living as the opposite gender and does not know how it has changed, for better or worse (or if they actually have re-assessed, that they have done so, and the changes, if any.)

    And it would have been equally easy and simple (and honest) to make it known the mental health assessment was carried out by research team members (including the lead researcher, I see) rather than by independent researchers, (as would naturally be inferred from “we know…”).

    I consider the researchers certainly misleading, possibly deliberately so.

  17. Dhay says:

    The gold standard when it comes to critiques of poor science (and poor arguments) purportedly supporting the Transgender activist agenda surely has to be the ‘Society for Evidence Based Gender Medicine’, whose medical expert response to the “Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition” study paper is entitled and sub-titled, “Early Social Gender Transition in Children is Associated with High Rates of Transgender Identity in Early Adolescence: A new study lends credibility to concerns that early social gender transition can lead to persistence of pediatric gender dysphoria.”

    The SEGM article critiques and criticises the Study at length and in detail. It’s far too long to quote or even summarise, so I’ll just quote the portion which got reflected in the title:

    Concluding Thoughts

    This study finding of high rates of persistence of transgender identity in children following early social gender transition is consistent with two possible explanations. One is that the study was comprised of the parents who were exceptionally good at predicting their child’s future transgender identification. This would imply that although most (61%-98%[Link]) of transgender-identified children naturally desist during early puberty, the parents in the study who had made the prediction that their children would persist turned out to be right nearly 100% of the time. While plausible, the probability of this is low.

    The other possible explanation is that early-childhood social gender transition may consolidate an otherwise transient childhood transgender identity. We believe the latter explanation is more likely. The hypothesis that early social gender transition is not neutral but may be a form of psychosocial intervention that predisposes an otherwise transient childhood transgender identity to persist has been voiced before [Link]. The study results lend support to this hypothesis. …

    https://segm.org/early-social-gender-transition-persistence

    The SEGM article is long, it’s detailed, and it’s the Gold Standard, it’s far better than my educated layman standard feeble attempts; if you have an interest in the issues around Transgender youth, do read.

  18. Dhay says:

    > [A]ccording to the lab’s web site: “At the SCD Lab, we prioritize inclusion and diversity in all aspects of lab life, from who we are to what we study.”
    https://hudl.princeton.edu/about-us

    There’s three pictures of groups of staff on that ‘About Us’ web page:

    The “Who We Are” picture shows nineteen people, of whom three appear to be natal male, while the remainder appear to be (or be living as) women.

    The “Diversity and Inclusion” picture shows fourteen people who all appear to be (or be living as) women. There appears to be zero natal males.

    The “Scientific Rigor” picture shows three people, of whom one appears to be (or be living as) natal male, while the remainder appear to be (or be living as) women.

    I make that just four natal men out of thirty six staff. Is the Lab really committed to inclusion and diversity, when in thirty six staff there’s at most four cis-gender heterosexual males, a proportion so different from their proportion in the US population that it looks like they have been excluded? It’s possible but implausible that such a disproportion would arise randomly.

    Given that the Lab is so committed to inclusion and diversity, I would expect some of those four men to be from the LBGTQ community. So is there even one cis-gender heterosexual male on the staff?

  19. Dhay says:

    There’s a clip by Bill Maher making the rounds, and Myers doesn’t like it; he singles out what he evidently considers the worst portion for criticism:

    Maher: If this spike in trans children is all biological, why is it regional? Either Ohio is shaming them or California is creating them.

    PZ Myers: I see that “science-based” Bill Maher takes genetic determinism for granted. What do you mean, “all biological”? Culture also shapes biology (and vice versa). The reason it is regional is that there are cultural differences as well as biological biases. The reason it is regional is that there are cultural differences as well as biological biases. The most likely explanation is that the Midwest is more conservative and is shaming kids.

    https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2022/05/23/what-kind-of-sicko-goes-to-a-bill-maher-show/

    As I read it, Maher, Myers and I agree that most of the spike in transitioning children is cultural.

    But Myers’ “Culture also shapes biology (and vice versa)” is startling. It does? Really?!

  20. Dhay says:

    It’s worth noting that although this ‘Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition’ paper is a paper reporting part-way through a study — which looks and sound very science-y — what’s being carried out and reported on is not science.

    There are no hypotheses being made or being tested, no comparison group, no way to tell what different inputs lead to what different outcomes; and what outcomes might be or are better than others is probably more a matter of philosophy (such as Wokeness.) Nor is it medical science or even medicine: there’s no treatments or medical interventions involved, these are left to the parents to arrange; there’s no indication that the study will collect medical and other data from the doctors and specialists actually involved in the treatment; there’s no feedback to the parents about their child, just the anonymised and aggregated group results that available to the general public via this study paper and others in the planned series of time-lapse data snapshots.

    https://hudl.princeton.edu/research/frequently-asked-questions

    No, it’s not science, it’s a data collection exercise, it’s a series of polls.

    *

    Here’s what Jesse Singal wrote about the kids’ mental health, as had been assessed and reported on by the researchers at the commencement of the study, in an Atlantic article four years ago:

    Olson’s findings come from a group of trans kids whose parents are relatively wealthy and are active in trans-support communities; they volunteered their children for the study.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/when-a-child-says-shes-trans/561749/

    Interesting: I realised from the paper that the study has a severe volunteer responders only sampling bias — see the 11 June 2022 “Social Science at Work” — but this quote indicates the sampling bias was more severe again, namely confined to volunteer responders active in trans-support communities.

    Depending on the (typical) answer to my next question, the sampling bias could be even more marked than that: just who was it that these “trans-support communities” were supporting; were they supporting trans-kids (including via their parents), or were they supporting trans-parents, which is to say supporting parents who were themselves trans and who are now bringing up trans-kids; if it’s the latter, the sampling bias is extreme, the sample volunteered from a very out of the ordinary sampling pool.

    A bit of clarity from the researchers would help paper readers to better decide how reliable and trustworthy the study results have been so far and will be in future — it won’t get better, it’s the same cohort throughout the planned twenty years.

    *

    I have commented already at the astonishing absence of multiple social and mental problems among the study cohort, therefore how untypical this cohort is of gender dysphoria clinics in the UK and in the rest of Europe.The absence highlights the extent of the selection bias.

    Let’s consider the validity of looking at the outcomes for a group of trans-kids so abnormal (ie untypical of trans-kids in general, at least those who present to specialist clinics); the obvious parallel to looking at the outcomes solely for those happy kids with enthusiastically supportive parents — I suspect, here, the researchers are looking in hope to find good outcomes — and excluding outcomes for those kids with the significant mental health problems which are all too common among trans-kids is… is akin to looking at the outcomes of Coronavirus infection but excluding the much worse outcomes for that large section of the population with significant co-morbidities: in the former case you engineer a ‘little in the way of negative outcomes’ PR coup for the trans lobby; in neither case are the outcomes representative of outcomes in the real world population.

  21. Dhay says:

    “Research suggests that children as young as 2 recognise their trans identity”, says the UK’s Stonewall in a Tweet:

    Stonewall’s claim is a very peculiar claim: research never suggests anything, though researchers might; tentative opinion is here being hyped as possible fact (and also hyped, to those avid to have their trans-activist ideological prejudices confirmed, as probable fact.)

    Famously, there’s a dearth of good quality research on transgender issues, so just what might this “suggestive” research be, who are these “suggestive” researchers? Stonewall fails to identify the research by paper title, by researcher name(s), by link, or in any other way, which, given what a propaganda coup it would be if existing, tells us it almost certainly does not exist; and tells us that Stonewall is bluffing and bullshitting in suggesting it does exist.

    What “suggestive” research might Stonewall have in mind? It occurs to me that the author of Stonewall’s Tweet might have grasped at the straw of the “unconvincing gender study” (the “Gender Identity 5 Years After Social Transition” paper) of the OP title, which studied kids as young as two years of age; but it’s totally invalid to infer, from the researchers’ age two bottom cut-off for recruiting to the study, that the researchers discovered, proved or even suggested that “children as young as 2 recognise their trans identity”: what the researchers did was assume — assume — that children as young as two (and volunteered for the study as kids already trans-kids by parents/guardians recruited via their participation in trans-activist circles) could be suitable study subjects.

    That is, the recognition of trans-identity in kids as young as two (by the parents) is assumed valid by the researchers, not demonstrated valid.

    *

    I do like Dupont’s lampoon of the Stonewall Tweet.

  22. Dhay says:

    Regressing from that Stonewall Tweet, here’s one from the ever satirical Titania McGrath:

  23. Dhay says:

    Two responses above, I pointed out that the UK’s Stonewall’s Tweet that claims, “Research suggests that children as young as 2 recognise their trans identity” is very misleading, and that Stonewall’s Tweeting spokes-trans-person, evidently either not having taken the trouble to make themself acquainted with the Survey misquoted or failing to understand it, doesn’t know their arse from their elbow.

    In her 15 September 2022 Spiked article, entitled and sub-titled, “Trans ideology is unravelling before our eyes: Mermaids’ mad ideas about gender cannot withstand even the slightest scrutiny”, Jo Bartosch comments on the legal case brought by the ‘Mermaids’ trans-kiddies charity attempting to remove charitable status from the LGB Alliance charity; the LGB Alliance — note, no T or T+ there — has upset Mermaids management by promoting contending messages and promoting contending causes; removing the LGB Alliance’s charitable status would hit a hard blow to the LGB Alliance’s finances and deal a hard blow to its ability to contend with Mermaids: Bartosch comments on the sheer ignorance hence lack of competence of the expert witnesses testifying on behalf of Mermaids:

    [Mermaid’s] ideas about gender have not fared well under questioning in the courtroom. Mermaids’ chair of trustees, Dr Belinda Bell, surprised onlookers when she claimed that ‘I’m not sure that people come out of the womb with a sex’.

    https://www.spiked-online.com/2022/09/15/trans-ideology-is-unravelling-before-our-eyes/

    (Dr Bell holds no medical or biological qualifications: Mermaids’ ‘Our Staff and Trustees’ page tells us that, “Belinda holds a professional Doctorate by public works, a Masters Degree in Community Enterprise and a Batchelors [sic] degree in Social Anthropology.” Not having heard of a “Doctorate By Public Works” before, I looked it up; it seems to be 75% high-flying past achievement in whatever academic or business positions the candidate has held, and 25% writing up those achievements and why they deserve a Doctorate; Bell appears to have had it awarded for business: “Currently Belinda is working at the interface of finance and systemic risk, collaborating with the world’s largest asset-owners to enable their financial resources to be stewarded in service of planetary boundaries and just societies.”
    https://www.jesus.cam.ac.uk/dr-belinda-bell)

    Note that Bell’s claim is about all babies; she’s not hedging all with her, “I’m not sure…”; she’s “not sure” that any newborn babies are of the male sex, the female sex, or of one of the few and rare other genuine sexes. Jerry Coyne, research geneticist (emeritus) would give expert testimony to the contrary: they all are; by now Coyne’s blogged on this matter quite a few times.

    The small grain of truth is that boys are not born with deep voices, beards and a sexual attraction towards women (or other men), and girls are not born with developed breasts, ‘childbearing’ hips and a sexual attraction towards men (or other women): secondary sexual characteristics mostly develop in puberty. Bell seems unaware of the distinction between primary and secondary sexual characteristics, and to be claiming that the variability in the development of secondary sexual characteristics, and the corresponding variability in the middle- and end-results of that development, legitimates a claim that primary sexual characteristics are uncertain at birth.

    On Tuesday, Bell was asked to comment on the evidence showing that a disproportionate number of children who present at the Tavistock clinic identifying as trans turn out to be gay or lesbian. She said this was ‘too niche and specialist for the rest of us to weigh in on’.

    You’d have thought this would be right up her street, and that although Bell — the founder of Mermaids, parent of a trans-child — might not be an ‘expert witness’ in the legal technical sense, she would have a good background knowledge and the ability to venture an informed opinion. But no.

    Another expert witness, Paul Roberts, the chief executive of the LGBT Consortium, admitted to the court that he had not read the Cass report that had led to the Tavistock clinic’s closure. When questioned on the human-rights implications of the gender-identity debate, he said he was ‘not a legal expert’. He also said he wasn’t able to comment on medical transitioning. Nor was he ‘expert’ enough to take a view on the huge statistical rise in the number of young women referred to the Tavistock in recent years.

    Well, well, another Trans-charity head honcho — CEO! — who is clueless. The Cass Report, commissioned by the UK government and published recently, is THE set of recommendations (which are now being adopted by the NHS) on how to assess and treat (and not treat) children presenting with gender dysphoria. Ignorance of it is shocking. Dr Hilary Cass certainly took a view, why is Roberts not fully familiar with the Report’s findings and recommendations on those and other matters.

    Nevertheless, Roberts did feel confident enough to publicly claim that it is ‘transphobic’ to say a female cannot be a gay man. LGB Alliance lawyer Akua Reindorf posed the question: ‘Do you believe it is transphobic to say someone with a female body cannot be a gay man?’ To which Roberts replied: ‘Yes.’

    Ah, an expert in LGBT+ ideology. Only.

    *

    The court case is still proceeding, and I await the judgment with interest.

  24. Dhay says:

    The NIH Library of Medicine, History of Medicine, contains the article, “‘A Wicked Operation’? Tonsillectomy in Twentieth-Century Britain”, which has in the Introduction:

    In 1927, a procedure condemned by one Daily Express journalist as a ‘wicked operation’ was performed on over 80 000 British schoolchildren. This operation was tonsillectomy, the surgical removal of the tonsils, which for several decades was the most common reason for a child to be in hospital. Although tonsillectomy has been considered ‘relatively stable and widespread over time’, throughout much of the twentieth century it occupied a controversial position. By the end of the 1970s opinion turned against tonsillectomy; then widely considered a ‘dangerous fad’ in professional, public and political circles.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883156/

    I didn’t need this 2018 article to know it was a “dangerous fad”. Ages back, I read Darrell Huff’s excellent “How to Lie with Statistics” — out of print, now, but findable on the web as a scanned-image pdf — and read there of an experiment in which a group of healthy children were presented to doctors: roughly half “needed”, and half were diagnosed as NOT needing, tonsillectomies; that half of the children diagnosed as NOT needing tonsillectomies were then presented to other doctors and, guess what, same result; this happened a third time before the experiment had to end, when the experimenters ran out of doctors.

    Yes, the end-position was that seven-eighths (roughly) of healthy children presented to doctors were diagnosed as needing a tonsillectomy, only one eighth were diagnosed as not needing the operation. And if you know your maths, you will know this indicates that, had there been an unlimited supply of doctors participating, it would have ended (“in the limit”) with ALL — or as near as dammit, all — of the children “needing” tonsillectomies.

    I, too, was subjected to that “dangerous fad” in my UK childhood.

    Now to the point: I wonder how long it will be before ‘affirmative care’ for children seeking to medically transition genders will likewise be condemned as a “dangerous fad”?

  25. TFBW says:

    It’s not just a dangerous fad; it’s a highly profitable one.

  26. Ilíon says:

    Certain people are profiting now. In a few years, when more and more of the people they are currently mutilating start suing them, the picture may look different.

  27. Ilíon says:

    My mother (born in 1927) was subjected to two (or three?, I don’t properly recall) tonsillectomies … they grew back, in her case.

  28. Dhay says:

    Further to the attempt, in a UK court, by the Mermaids transgender children charity, to strip charitable status from the LGB Alliance charity — the court case continues, no judgment yet — the BBC reports that:

    Transgender youth support charity Mermaids is under investigation by The Charity Commission over safeguarding concerns.

    The regulatory body for charities in England and Wales says it has received complaints following reports in The Telegraph concerning the supply of chest-binding devices to teenagers.

    It is investigating whether the charity has complied with regulations.

    Mermaids said it would respond in “due course”.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-63081644

    As with the whole field of transgender medicine, there is yet again little evidence supporting either the pros or cons:

    There is little medical evidence of the risks or advantages of chest binding.

    But it looks like Dr Hilary Cass, whose recent report upended the UK’s former usual policy of automatically and unquestioningly providing ‘affirmative care’ on demand, found that some chest binders could be or are harmful:

    An interim report into gender services for children in March raised concerns that some binding devices may be potentially harmful.

    It is with some schadenfreude that I hear of Mermaids’ alleged contravention of Charity Commission rules. It was Mermaids, not the Charity Commission, which questioned (in court!) whether the LGB Alliance complied with Charity Commission rules; it is poetic justice that doubt should be cast over Mermaids’ own compliance; should Mermaids be found to be not in compliance (and then unwilling to rectify any non-compliant policies and practices) it could have its own charitable status withdrawn.

  29. Dhay says:

    “Mermaids trustee quits over paedophile-group links”, says the BBC headline:

    A trustee of the charity Mermaids has resigned after reports he spoke at a conference organised by a group that promotes support for paedophiles. Dr Jacob Breslow quit the transgender children’s charity after the Times revealed he had attended the B4U-ACT conference in 2011, as a PhD student.

    B4U-ACT’s website says it holds workshops and gives presentations about the needs and rights of people “with an attraction to children and adolescents”, and runs support groups for both them and their friends and family members. …

    Dr Breslow is an associate professor of gender and sexuality at the London School of Economics (LSE). LSE said: “We have been made aware of a presentation given at an external event in 2011 by a then graduate student, now faculty member of LSE. We are looking into these reports.”

    The transgender children’s charity said: “Mermaids has been made aware of Dr Breslow’s historical participation in a conference that is completely at odds with our values. “Once notified we took swift and decisive action to investigate. Dr Breslow tendered his notice on the same day.

    “We will be reviewing our processes and procedures in light of this event to make them even more robust.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-63137873

    Even more robust, eh? That an ally of paedophiles (and a paedophile –or MAP — himself?) can get to be a trustee, and a trustee of a childrens’ charity, no less, tells us that Mermaids’ processes and procedures were not robust in the first place.

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