ROGD Articles

Little research is cited by the proponents of "Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria."  The one study is presented here along with a sampling of the relevant critique.  


Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria in Adolescents and Young Adults: A Study of Parental Reports

Published in: PLOS One.  August 16, 2018.  Author: Lisa Littman.

"In on-line forums, parents have been reporting that their children are experiencing what is described here as “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” appearing for the first time during puberty or even after its completion. The onset of gender dysphoria seemed to occur in the context of belonging to a peer group where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoric and transgender-identified during the same timeframe. Parents also report that their children exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity. The purpose of this study was to document and explore these observations and describe the resulting presentation of gender dysphoria, which is inconsistent with existing research literature."



1. Excerpted from:

Transgender Article Removed at Brown Brings Controversy

Published in: Providence Journal. August 31, 2018.  Author Linda Borg.

"Brown University has become embroiled in a fierce debate about academic freedom after deciding this week to remove from its website a news story about a study on transgender youth.  Brown said removing the story was “the most responsible course of action” after the scientific journal that published the research decided to seek further review of the study’s methodology."

"Some of the criticism of the research centered on its reliance on the observations of parents, who were recruited to participate in online surveys. Some readers commented that the parents might be politically biased, or disagree with their children identifying as transgender.  “Independent of the university’s removal of the article because of concerns about [the study’s] research methodology,” Bess Marcus, dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, wrote in a statement Monday, “the School of Public Health has heard from the Brown community ... concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of the ... transgender community.”


2. Excerpted from:

Criticism Is Not Censorship: A poorly designed study of “rapid onset gender dysphoria” deserves serious scrutiny, not protection from “activist interference.”

Published in: August 30, 2018.  Author: Alex Barasch

"When the author’s dubious data collection practices and conjectural conclusions came under rightful criticism, PLOS announced that it would be reassessing the study’s methodology. Good practice, right? You wouldn’t know it, based on the furor that’s erupted. Some have taken the very mention of an editorial review in response to readers’ concerns as evidence of censorship, with PLOS ostensibly caving to activists (as one tweet put it, “This is literally an attempt to destroy a scientific study solely on the grounds that it conflicts with a political narrative, these are truly Orwellian times indeed”). But re-evaluating a study’s content and methodology doesn’t stymie the scientific process; it’s a natural and necessary extension of it."

"Indeed, Littman’s study is marred by errors and omissions, starting with its very premise: Though the introduction treats the emergence of dysphoria around or after puberty as something new and unusual that should be treated with suspicion, the existence of late-onset gender dysphoria (defined as exactly that) is already recognized by both the World Professional Association for Transgender Health and the DSM-5. Littman doesn’t provide evidence to suggest that “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” is a discrete phenomenon—she just asks self-fulfilling questions of parents who already believe in and fear it, including those who have described the effects of medical transition as tantamount to “human rights violations.”"

"More worryingly, Littman does not account for the way this opposition to transition might skew her findings. The fact that the majority of parents said they believed “transgender people deserve the same rights and protections as others” is treated as proof that those surveyed aren’t disproportionately transphobic, but as Brynn Tannehill pointed out in the Advocate, even basic non-discrimination protections are regarded not as “the same rights” but as “special rights” by those who oppose them."


3. Excerpted from:

Why ‘Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria’ is bad science

Published in: March 22, 2018. Authors: Florence Ashley, Alexandre Baril, PhD.

“Another idea is now making the rounds in anti-trans circles: “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria.” The theory suggests that youngsters are being misled into claiming a trans identity before they truly understand what that means. They are supposedly influenced by the internet, social media and peers.”

“It conveniently pulls on heartstrings by calling us to defend our children, much as Blanchard’s work appealed to our sexual puritanism. It distinguishes “good,” true transgender people from “bad,” fake trans people, allowing proponents to claim that they have nothing against trans people — well, at least the real ones.”

“The statistic that 60 to 90 per cent of gender dysphoric children grow up not to be transgender is based on studies that are deeply flawed…There is one research study that seeks to document the existence of rapid-onset gender dysphoria. This too is riddled with flaws.”

“The goal of gender-affirmative therapy is not transition, contrary to what proponents of rapid-onset gender dysphoria claim. The goal is to “listen to the child and decipher with the help of parents or caregivers what the child is communicating about both gender identity and gender expression.”… Instead of encouraging the child not to be transgender and risking pushing them back into the closet, therapists seek to support the child and their parents throughout the process of exploring gender. They remain neutral with regards to whether the child should be trans or not.”

“Transgender children are in good hands. Therapists aren’t acting hastily in ignorance of scientific evidence. On the contrary, their approach is one that’s been built over decades of research and of following trans children.”

“The unfounded idea of rapid-onset gender dysphoria is a poor attempt at manufacturing a new moral panic — based on the same old idea of “contagion” — over children who couldn’t be in safer hands.”


4. Excerpted from:

“Rapid onset gender dysphoria” study misunderstands trans depersonalization, ends up blaming Zinnia Jones

Published in: Gender  August 31, 2018.  Author: Zinnia Jones.

"Lisa Littman’s long-awaited “rapid onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD) study was finally published in full on August 16 in PLOS One (Littman, 2018), and its findings have turned out to be just as underwhelming and tenuous as suggested by her 2017 poster abstract (Littman, 2017). The paper has offered new insight into the full scope of incompetence, logical leaps, and sheer guesswork tying this hypothesis together. Its methodological issues alone – using anti-trans groups to recruit parents who don’t believe their kids are trans, and then accepting this as evidence that these kids aren’t trans – have already been widely criticized, to the point that her employer, Brown University, withdrew their press release about the study. The staff of PLOS One have also left a note on her paper indicating that they are aware of these serious issues, and that they will be seeking further expert review."