Top US university ditches report linking transgenderism to peer pressure after activists complain

An Ivy League college has censored research into how the spread of teenage gender dysphoria is linked to peer pressure after trans activists complained.

Brown University, Rhode Island, had published research into ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria’ (ROGD), indicating that teenagers who come out as transgender were more likely to already have transgender friends.

It also suggested that many teenagers identifying as transgender were often influenced by YouTube videos and social media.

Peer pressure

The paper concluded that “social and peer contagion” was a plausible explanation for the high number of cases where a majority of children in a friendship group begin identifying as transgender.

Lead author Dr Lisa Littman, an assistant professor in Behavioural and Social Sciences at Brown’s School of Public Health, said this phenomenon often occurred in “cluster outbreaks”.

The university pulled the research from its website, citing concerns about the methodology, while a statement added that members of the university had complained.

Wrong groups

The study was attacked by activists, who complained that the parents participating in the study had been sourced from online discussion groups Transgender Trend and 4thwavenow.

They said the research was invalid because the websites were “gender-critical”.

“social and peer contagion” was a plausible explanation for the high number of cases where a majority of children in a friendship group begin identifying as transgender

However, survey questions in Dr Littman’s paper indicated that the participating parents had almost identical level of support for the rights of transgender people as the rest of the population.

Contrary to claims of bias, those viewing the survey were encouraged to distribute it further, ensuring ‘snowball sampling’ likely involved many other parents, irrespective of any connection to either website.


In a statement Transgender Trend responded: “Desperate attempts to undermine Lisa Littman’s important #ROGD study include defamation of the websites where parents were recruited, including the ridiculous claim that Transgender Trend is ‘far right’ and wants to ‘criminalise’ medical transition.

“We are not and we don’t.”

James Caspian, a psychotherapist whose research into people who want to ‘detransition’ was blocked by Bath Spa University, noted the similarity between this case and his own.

“In a way mine was censored in anticipation of being criticised, it would appear that this has been attacked after it’s been done, by people whose agenda it doesn’t suit”, he said.

Shut down debate

Social commentator Ben Shapiro accused Brown University of turning against the study “because it offended politically correct sensibilities about transgenderism”.

He said: “Raising questions about study methodology is normal. Pulling down articles about scientific studies thanks to public pressure isn’t.”

He concluded that it was an attempt to shut down a discussion that trans activists do not want to have: that some experiences of gender dysphoria are learned rather than innate.

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