Statement from Brown University School of Public Health Faculty Members Committed to LGBTQI Affirmative Health Research

We at the Gender Dysphoria Affirmative Working Group wish to thank these distinguished faculty from Brown University School of Public Health for openly and directly speaking out to the Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria ‘controversy’. We respect and appreciate their commitments to scientific honesty and rigor, to creating an environment of compassion and openness, to the necessity to include members of the trans and gender nonbinary community in all work done about the trans and nonbinary community, and to the health and wellbeing of trans and gender nonbinary people worldwide.

https://www.optionsri.org/post/a-letter-on-rapid-onset-gender-dysphoria?fbclid=IwAR3CDdGEy2s067VEjS9_Sa75gWyKWf4lnEs6Su-EHNsjXYJfXRJ3PmKOJHo

A few notable quotes:

“… [W]e write this letter as individual scientists and educators—who benefit from academic freedom—to publicly acknowledge the health-related harms and consequences of a lobby that seeks to undermine the legitimacy of transgender experiences. We also write this letter to state and underscore our commitment to uplift transgender and gender diverse communities through our research, scholarship, teaching, and service.”

“…The ROGD lobby has worked to undermine the experiences and identities of transgender and gender diverse individuals, with the potential for dire health consequences.”

“The ROGD lobby is also threatening transgender individuals’ rights via healthcare practice and public policy.”

“It is well-documented that being affirmed in one’s gender identity yields mental health benefits. Thus, we are committed to creating a safe and gender-affirming educational space for our students, staff, and fellow faculty of all genders, gender expressions, and sexual orientations.” 

“We also recognize that research is best conducted withnot onmembers of the population of interest. Thus, we are committed to carrying out our research in accordance with best practices for community-engaged research.”

“We also recognize the importance of having research agendas developed and implemented bytransgender and gender diverse communities. Thus, we are committed to building a pipeline of transgender students, fostering an environment where transgender and gender diverse students can thrive, and mentoring and training future generations of transgender and gender diverse researchers.

“Finally, an essential responsibility of learned communities is to contribute to social good by amplifying the voices of vulnerable populations. Thus, we affirm our unwavering commitment to transgender and gender diverse communities and the highest standards of ethical, rigorous, and affirming research and practice.”

We encourage the Brown University School of Public Health and Brown University as a whole to issue similar statements in the near future. 

Chosen Name Use Is Linked to Reduced Depressive Symptoms, Suicidal Ideation, and Suicidal Behavior Among Transgender Youth

Even something as “simple” as using a trans youth’s chosen/preferred/self-identified name can be a very powerful intervention with clear positive outcomes. And don’t we want our youth to have less depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation?

Published in: Journal of Adolescent Health. October, 2018. Authors: Stephen T. Russell, Amanda M. Pollitt, Gu Li, Arnold H. Grossman.

“Transgender youth whose gender expression and names do not appear to match may be vulnerable to unintended disclosure or “outing,” and to discrimination or victimization, factors that could lead to mental health problems [1]. The purpose of the current study was to examine the relation between chosen name use, as a proxy for youths' gender affirmation in various contexts, and mental health among transgender youth.”

“We asked transgender youth whether they had a preferred name different from the name they were given at birth, and, if yes, asked, ‘are you able to go by your preferred name’ at home (n = 54), at school (n = 57), at work (n = 50), or with friends (n=69).”

“…chosen name use in more contexts predicted fewer depressive symptoms and less suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior. An increase by one context in which a chosen name could be used predicted a 5.37-unit decrease in depressive symptoms, a 29% decrease in suicidal ideation, and a 56% decrease in suicidal behavior. We observed similar results when we individually tested specific contexts for chosen name use (except that chosen name use with friends did not significantly predict mental health after adjusting for demographics and close friend support). Depressive symptoms, suicidal ideation, and suicidal behavior were at the lowest levels when chosen names could be used in all four contexts.”

https://www.jahonline.org/article/S1054-139X(18)30085-5/fulltext



Surviving a Gender Variant Childhood: The Views of Transgender Adults on the Needs of Gender Variant Children and Their Parents

Published in: Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. 2012. Authors: Elizabeth Anne Riley, Lindy Clemson, Gomathi Sitharthan, Milton Diamond.

“… the needs of children that emerged were most notably, for parents, school staff and other authority figures to be educated so that children do not need to ‘hide’ themselves and their gender expression for fear of adversity. The participants also expressed their need as children to be able to speak about their feelings, to have their gender expression accepted, to be recognised, to be protected, to be given the opportunity to know others with similar feelings and for their parents to be open-minded, able and willing to accept their gender variant children. This study identified that the participants’ parents primarily needed access to information and educated professionals, particularly in schools, counselling and medical contexts. Exposure to successful transgender people and access to parent support groups was also seen as a need to help parents become more accepting of their children's diversity. The need for family and wider support was mentioned as a need for both the gender variant children and the parents as some participants felt that even though support of their parents was necessary, it was not enough for them to live happily and safely within the broader society.”

“The need for ‘health literacy’ was highlighted as tool to empower individuals, in this case, parents, to respond effectively in addressing the issues with regard to their gender variant children. In particular, allowing confidence to approach professionals for support with their own and their child's emotional, physical and social well-being….”

“… it appears that living in a society where punishment is customary for lack of conformity to gender stereotypes creates a lifelong struggle and sometimes ‘withdrawal’ that caused some participants great distress and impacts on their self-esteem and ability to thrive.”

https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/Surviving-a-gender-variant-childhood%3A-the-views-of-Riley-Clemson/20d1168cecafe4aa6c633e4691b60e88ed31c901

High School Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) and Young Adult Well-Being: An Examination of GSA Presence, Participation, and Perceived Effectiveness

Yet one more study outlining the importance of LGBTQ+ youth having the opportunity to associate with each other. Rather than making youth LGBTQ+ through ‘social contagion’, contact with other LGBTQ+ youth is protective and aids with development and health.

Published in: Applied Developmental Science. 2011. Authors: Russell B. Toomey, Caitlin Ryan, Rafael M. Diaz & Stephen T. Russell.

“… there appear to be positive associations between GSAs and well-being and educational attainment. Our finding that students who were in schools with GSAs were more likely to obtain a college education underscores the potential impact on educational achievement and socioeconomic and occupational status as an adult. In addition, given the heightened attention to suicides of young males who were known or perceived to be gay and bisexual that have been linked to anti-gay harassment at school (e.g., Katz, 2010), our findings point to GSAs as a potential context for reducing this risk – at least at low levels of LGBT school victimization - given the significant interaction between GSA participation and LGBT school victimization on lifetime suicide attempts.”

“In sum, our findings suggest that school administrators and personnel should be supportive in helping students to form and facilitate GSAs in schools as a potential source of promoting positive development for this underserved population. “

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217265/