6.13 Social Contagion and Gender Dysphoria

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books (and many other books) gave some of the reasons she suspected that many transgender people are confused and not really the opposite sex trapped in the wrong body.  She wrote:

Most people probably aren’t aware – I certainly wasn’t, until I started researching this issue properly – that ten years ago, the majority of people wanting to transition to the opposite sex were male. That ratio has now reversed. The UK has experienced a 4400% increase in girls being referred for transitioning treatment. Autistic girls are hugely overrepresented in their numbers.

The same phenomenon has been seen in the US. In 2018,  American physician and researcher Lisa Littman set out to explore it. In an interview, she said:

‘Parents online were describing a very unusual pattern of transgender-identification where multiple friends and even entire friend groups became transgender-identified at the same time. I would have been remiss had I not considered social contagion and peer influences as potential factors.’

Littman mentioned Tumblr, Reddit, Instagram and YouTube as contributing factors to Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria, where she believes that in the realm of transgender identification ‘youth have created particularly insular echo chambers.’

Her paper caused a furor. She was accused of bias and of spreading misinformation about transgender people, subjected to a tsunami of abuse and a concerted campaign to discredit both her and her work. The journal took the paper offline and re-reviewed it before republishing it. However, her career took a similar hit to that suffered by Maya Forstater. Lisa Littman had dared challenge one of the central tenets of trans activism, which is that a person’s gender identity is innate, like sexual orientation. Nobody, the activists insisted, could ever be persuaded into being trans.

Here is an excerpt of an interview Megyn Kelly did with Dr. Littman.  In the interview Dr. Littman says she thinks being tolerant of transgenders is progress.  The problem is the intolerance of transgender supporters to people like J.K. Rowling and Dr. Littman and anyone who questions whether surgery and hormones can really change a woman into a man and vice versa.

In the full interview of Dr. Littman she said that believes that some people have benefitted from transgender surgery but she never gave evidence to show that is the case.  One explanation given by trans activists for the large increase in people saying they are trans is that there is less of a stigma now.  The idea is that since people are more sympathetic to transgenders more transgenders are not afraid to say that they are transgender.  Dr. Littman does not agree with the idea that sympathy alone could explain a 4500 percent increase in the number of people who identify as transgender.


The argument of many current trans activists is that if you don’t let a gender dysphoric teenager transition, they will kill themselves. In an article explaining why he resigned from the Tavistock (an NHS gender clinic in England) psychiatrist Marcus Evans stated that claims that children will kill themselves if not permitted to transition do not ‘align substantially with any robust data or studies in this area. Nor do they align with the cases I have encountered over decades as a psychotherapist.’

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If a biological man wants to be called she why not do that?

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