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Researcher’s study on ‘rapid onset gender dysphoria’ was validated. Her university pretends it was discredited.

Doesn’t tell the public her results stayed the same

Brown University threw its professor under the bus when she published a controversial journal article last year on “rapid onset gender dysphoria.”

Now that Lisa Littman has survived the Brown-approved attempt to discredit her research because it scandalized the transgender mob, the Ivy League university wants to turn her molehill-sized errors into mountain-size misconduct.

It ran a disingenuous press release Wednesday that suggests Littman’s study in PLOS One required extensive corrections (“revisions and updates to multiple sections of the study, including the title, abstract, introduction, materials and methods, discussion and conclusion sections”).

Here’s what actually changed, according to PLOS One:

Other than the addition of a few missing values in Table 13, the Results section is unchanged in the updated version of the article.

You won’t be surprised that Brown University, which also treats accused students with contempt, elected not to tell the public anything about the effect of the revisions on Littman’s results.

MORE: NYT won’t publish gender-dysphoria expert’s letter against trans narrative

She became persona non grata to Brown’s high priests of wokeness because her study found evidence of “social and peer contagion” in the sudden identification as a member of the opposite sex, usually girls identifying as boys.

The assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences released her own statement after the revised study was posted:

I am pleased that my work has withstood this extensive peer-review process and that in the accompanying republication notice I’ve been able to expand the discussion around several topics including: parental approaches to gender dysphoria, ways in which parents can be supportive of their children, and the methodologies used in the paper. …

It was determined that the paper needed to be framed in a way that more clearly emphasizes that this is a study of parental reports, to expand the discussion of limitations, and to clarify that rapid onset gender dysphoria is not a clinical diagnosis at this time. … I am very happy with the final product.

MORE: Brown censors study on ‘social and peer contagion’ in transgenderism

Littman expanded on her thoughts in an interview with Quillette, which notes the mob forced her to keep a “low media profile” even as her research became integral to policy debates on how to treat gender-confused children.

A physician trained in obstetrics and gynecology, Littman said she first observed rapid-onset gender dysphoria “in my own community” – teenagers in the “same friend group began announcing transgender identities on social media”:

Parents reported that, after announcing a transgender identity, the kids became increasingly sullen, withdrawn and hostile toward their families. They also said that the clinicians they saw were only interested in fast-tracking gender-affirmation and transition and were resistant to even evaluating the child’s pre-existing and current mental health issues.

I found these stories compelling and heartbreaking. Gender dysphoria has been studied for a long time, and I recognized that this presentation was not consistent with the existing research.

MORE: Parents protest pediatricians’ plans to rush hormone blockers

She answered why the republication was necessary even if her results were unchanged:

Because this paper was of interest to scientists and non-scientists alike, extra care was taken to make sure that certain terms and concepts were not misconstrued by individuals outside of the scientific community. Some of my academic colleagues felt that the amount of oversight applied to my work was above and beyond what it should have been. I felt that my best course of action was to diligently and thoroughly respond, in good faith, to each concern that was raised, which is what I did.

Littman corrects the record on some of the more spurious criticisms of her methods:

I didn’t invent any of these methods. They are established research methods that have been used in many studies, for many years, and somehow they have managed not to spark this level of outrage until now. Some of the critics of the paper talk about these methods as if they are strictly the province of pseudoscience, but that is simply not the case. I believe these critics are uninformed about the scientific process.

It would be nice if she had a supportive university as well, but sadly it’s among the “uninformed.” If only Brown were more humble about its ignorance.

There’s much more in the Quillette interview, including Littman’s pre-publication presentations to various groups. It won’t surprise you that the only hostile audience was the “least research-oriented.”

MORE: Democrats are pushing the Female Erasure Act

IMAGE: Lisa Littman

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg Piper served as associate editor of The College Fix from 2014 to 2021.