‘Social contagion’ isn’t causing more youths to be transgender, study finds


By the way this is the same study that Tildeb tried to attack in a comment.   As you can see, the study debunking the social contagion idea is accepted by both mainstream media and the medical community.   I find it interesting that Tildeb claims I have a religious like faith in my acceptance of trans people and the best care practices for trans gender kids which is supported by the majority of medical organizations, yet the idea behind the social contagion idea has been completely debunked and Tildeb still clings to it.    Which one of us is unaccepting of the data and reality?   He tries so hard to push fearmongering right wing myths about trans people and he manages to confuse some people.   It is sad and harmful, and it must be countered as often as possible.    Hugs

The study, published in Pediatrics, disputes the theory that more adolescents, particularly those assigned female at birth, are identifying as trans due to social influence.
A giant trans flag held by participants of the Reclaim Pride Coalition's (RPC) fourth annual Queer Liberation March, on June 26, 2022 in New York.
A giant trans flag held by participants of the Reclaim Pride Coalition’s (RPC) fourth annual Queer Liberation March, on June 26, 2022 in New York.Erik McGregor / LightRocket via Getty Images file

“Social contagion” is not driving an increasing number of adolescents to come out as transgender, according to a new study published Wednesday in the journal Pediatrics

The study also found that the proportion of adolescents who were assigned female at birth and have come out as transgender also has not increased, which contradicts claims that adolescents whose birth sex is female are more susceptible to this so-called external influence. 


“The hypothesis that transgender and gender diverse youth assigned female at birth identify as transgender due to social contagion does not hold up to scrutiny and should not be used to argue against the provision of gender-affirming medical care for adolescents,” study senior author Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, director of the National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center at the Fenway Institute and the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Gender Identity Program, said in a statement.

The “social contagion” theory can be traced back to a 2018 paper published in the journal PLOS One. Dr. Lisa Littman, who at the time was a professor of behavioral and social sciences at Brown University, coined the term “rapid onset gender dysphoria,” which she described as adolescents experiencing a conflict between their birth sex and gender identity “suddenly during or after puberty.” These adolescents, she wrote, “would not have met the criteria for gender dysphoria in childhood” and are experiencing dysphoria due to social influence.  

Littman also hypothesized that adolescents assigned female at birth are more likely to be affected by social contagion and, as a result, are overrepresented in groups of adolescents experiencing gender dysphoria when compared to those who were assigned male at birth.

After intense debate and criticism, PLOS One conducted a post-publication reassessment of the article, and issued a correction that included changing the headline to clarify that Littman did not survey transgender or gender-diverse youth themselves, but actually surveyed their parents. The correction also noted that, “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) is not a formal mental health diagnosis at this time.”

To test the social contagion theory, researchers used data from the 2017 and 2019 biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which collected gender identity data across 16 states from ages 12 to 18. In 2017, 2.4%, or 2,161 of the 91,937 adolescents surveyed, identified as trans or gender diverse. In 2019, that percentage dropped slightly to 1.6%, or 1,640 of 105,437 adolescents surveyed.

Researchers concluded that the decrease in the overall percentage of adolescents identifying as trans or gender diverse “is incongruent with the (rapid-onset gender dysphoria hypothesis) that posits social contagion.” 

The study also found that the number of transgender adolescents who were assigned male at birth outnumbered those assigned female at birth in both 2017 and 2019, providing additional evidence against a “notion of social contagion with unique susceptibility” among those assigned female at birth.  

The social contagion hypothesis, by assuming that youth are coming out, for example, because their friends are, asserts that there’s some social desirability to being trans. Some supporters of the theory, according to the study, also believe that more youth identify as trans or gender diverse because those identities are less stigmatized than cisgender sexual minority identities, or those who identify with their birth sex and are lesbian, bisexual, gay or queer, among other sexual identities.  

To evaluate these claims, researchers examined rates of bullying among adolescents who identified as trans and gender diverse, and those who did not.

They found that, consistent with other surveys, trans and gender-diverse youth were significantly more likely to be victims of school bullying (at 38.7% in 2017 and 45.4% in 2019) compared to cisgender lesbian, gay and bisexual youth (at 30.5% in 2017 and 28.7% in 2019) and cisgender, heterosexual youth (at 17.1% in 2017 and 16.6% in 2019).

“The idea that attempts to flee sexual minority stigma drive teenagers to come out as transgender is absurd, especially to those of us who provide treatment to [transgender and gender diverse] youth,” study lead author Dr. Jack Turban, incoming assistant professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, said in a statement. “The damaging effects of these unfounded hypotheses in further stigmatizing transgender and gender diverse youth cannot be understated. We hope that clinicians, policymakers, journalists, and anyone else who contributes to health policy will review these findings.” 

They wrote that despite the methodological flaws in Littman’s study, the concept of rapid onset gender dysphoria “has been used in recent legislative debates to argue for and subsequently enact policies that prohibit gender-affirming medical care” for trans and gender diverse adolescents. 

For example, in June, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration issued guidance against gender-affirming care for minors — including social transition, which involves changing a child’s name, pronouns, clothing and/or hairstyle. The guidance linked to reports that cited Littman’s paper.

An increasing number of states have also tried to ban or restrict trans youths’ access to gender-affirming medical care through legislation. The number of bills seeking to restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender youths has grown from one in 2018 to 36 this year, according to an analysis by NBC News. Governors in three states — Alabama, Arkansas and Tennessee — have successfully signed such restrictions into law, though judges have prevented those measures from taking effect in Alabama and Arkansas. 

The study lists several limitations, including that the data were collected through a school-based survey and, as a result, youths who don’t attend school were not represented. It also noted that youths were asked, “What is your sex?” and that response options were limited to female and male. It didn’t ask about respondents’ “sex assigned at birth” and didn’t include an additional question about their “gender identity,” which is an established research method for asking about gender identity. But the researchers credited several studies that found trans and gender-diverse youths are aware of the differences between their sex assigned at birth and gender identity. 


3 thoughts on “‘Social contagion’ isn’t causing more youths to be transgender, study finds

  1. Scottie … PLEASE understand I’m NOT trying to be hurtful, but there is something to tildeb’s comment: I have a religious like faith in my acceptance of trans people. Nearly every email notification that I’ve received in my email today related to your posts, almost ALL of them have been on the LGBTQ topic.

    Please understand and accept that this is NOT meant to be a criticism or slam against you and/or your beliefs because I know how important this issue is to you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Nan. What are you trying to say? You did not want to read so much on LGBTQ+ or trans issues? You have already asked me not to post so much on trans stuff. You have admitted the trans thing makes you uncomfortable. Are you saying you don’t want to hear how LGBTQ+ rights are being trampled and destroyed, so you wish I would post something else?

      Please listen to how that sounds to me as an LGTBQ+ person.

      So I ask. Were the whites that fought for black civil rights wrong to put the efforts into it that they did? The time and energy. The flyers they made that upset the white people. All the articles they wrote for publications. What about the abortion rights advocates, they spent years of effort writing to every publication that would publish them and being on every TV platform that would have them. We can go farther back to women’s suffrage and ask did female people make too big a deal over that? I could go on mentioning causes.

      But if a black person champions rights for black people it is not a religion/ faith, it is personal, and it needs to be done at every opportunity because things have not improved. If a woman focuses on women’s rights it is not matter of faith, it is personal and needs to be done because things have gotten worse for women not better and the fight is ongoing. If a person who is fighting for equality for everyone focuses on that it is not a religion or faith, it is a cause they support and could be personal, but it is something under assault daily in our world and the rights could go away at any time.

      We could expand that list to every cause for freedom and equality in the world to include the war in Ukraine, but none of that effort to get the news and word out makes it a faith or religion. It is reporting, it is journalism, it is blogging, it is stating an opinion.

      But turn that around and ask that question. Tildeb has shown a hate for and a desire to stop transitioning for minors. Tildeb has shown that same hate and dislike for adult trans people wanting to use bathrooms and in sports. He attacks only the posts I do on that subject. He uses far right talking points and myths. He pushes fringe science while denying mainstream medical associations recommendations for best practices. He denies the medical evidence and data to instead promote things proven to be false. Sort of like young earth creationist, white supremacist racist, and those that think their religion is the only true one, all ignore facts to push their agenda of hate and disinformation.

      My acceptance of trans people is based on the science and medical data. It is based on the statistical data that the anti-trans ignore. I can back up everything I post and say with facts.

      So why do I post so much about the LGBTQ+ now more than before? Because we are under attack more than ever in the last 50 years. Nan our rights are being struck down, discrimination is being openly allowed by law, protections for LGBTQ+ kids are being removed, kids being outed to parents that might harm them, red states are taking away parents’ rights to permit medical care for their children at the same time they are banning any books from schools and libraries about LGBTQ+ characters that maga religious parents object to.

      Nan understand there is a full out war on LGBTQ+ people and the rabid right went first for the trans kids because they were the most vulnerable and when they seen they could get support for that from the maga base, they then turned their attacks on the entire LGBTQ+ community. Look at what has been done to drag queen story hour, a thing where guys dressed up in costume and read stories to kids whose parents wanted them to be there. Costumes like on Halloween. Remember the vaudeville actors who dressed up as women? Milton Berle? What about Rudi Guliani who dressed up as a woman and videotaped it with tRump.

      Nan understand the attacks against the LGBTQ+ are real and are hate driven. Tildeb is supporting those attacks. He is facilitation the misinformation. My job right now is to fight for a beleaguered minority. And to do so before it is too late. As it became too late to fight nationally for abortion rights after the SCOTUS ruled. Now that fight is at state levels. And I will help that fight. But the fight for LGBTQ+ rights including the T which is trans rights are at the state level also.

      If you see this as a faith instead of science issue with me, you really have not been reading what I have been posting and what I have been replying with in comments. I have backed everything up with accepted mainstream science and with citations along with supported statistics. The haters and Tildeb don’t do that, they use well so and so said, antidotal evidence, and fear mongering myths and then accuse me of having a “faith acceptance of trans people”.

      Yes Nan, I put my faith in science and facts, in documented peer reviewed evidence. Not hate, mistrust, and the inability to accept that which is different. And yes, I will be posting in support of an attacked minority that I am member of to try to defend us to the best of my ability. Hugs


      1. … “so you wish I would post something else?”

        No, that’s not what I’m saying. It’s YOUR blog and you can post whatever you want. And I know the LGBTQ+ issue is close to your heart. But I really don’t think the constant barrage of postings is going to change anyone’s mind about the issue. They either accept it or they don’t. It’s sad and upsetting that individuals are suffering, but there’s little that most of us who read your blog can do to prevent it. And perhaps that’s the bottom line.

        One last thing … what tildeb writes is not my concern. I only mentioned his comment because he compared your defense of the topic to those who defend their religion … and I could see the comparison.


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