Brown University pulled an article touting its own study on transgender youth which suggested that social media and peers can influence a teen to consider changing their gender identity, amid complaints.
Some within the Brown community complained that the research was transphobic and added that the findings ‘might invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community,’ according to the university’s dean.
The dean said, however, that said Brown is still committed to ‘academic freedom,’ and added all studies should be ‘debated vigorously,’ according to The DailyWire which first published the study article removal.
The study examined the phenomena of ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria,’ in which a teen questions their gender identity when they had never experienced questioning it before and thensoonafter identifying as transgender.
The study argues that teens who experience ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ typically do so after social media use and watching YouTube videos about transitioning.
Brown pulled an article on its own study on transgender teens amid complaints the research was transphobic
‘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,’ according to the study’s author Lisa Littman who is an assistant professor in behavioral sciences at Brown.
‘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.’
The study was based on 256 surveys completed by parents. The parents said their teens ‘exhibited an increase in social media/internet use prior to disclosure of a transgender identity,’ which led to the conclusion that ‘friends and online sources could spread certain beliefs.’
They also described what the study called ‘a process of immersion in social media,’ such as binge-watching ‘transition videos’ and excessive use of social media, immediately preceding their child becoming gender dysphoric.
Additionally the study suggests that teens could be essentially promoting certain behaviors through ‘peer contagion.’
The research goes on to suggest that teens could be influencing each other to promote certain behaviors through ‘peer contagion.’
Bess Marcus, dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, released a statement that the university ‘has heard from Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.’
‘The spirit of free inquiry and scholarly debate is central to academic excellence,’ she added. ‘At the same time, we believe firmly that it is also incumbent on public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives and to recognize and articulate the limitations of their work.’