Brown University has come under fire after censoring its own study on transgender youth, which found that social media and friends can influence teenagers to change their gender identity.
After all, the study’s findings might invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community. Can’t have the narrative contradicted.
Here are examples of what its study found, according to the study’s author, Lisa Littman, Assistant Professor of the Practice of Behavioral and Social Sciences at Brown, physician, and author of the study:
The transition often happens after teens use social media and watch online videos about transitioning to another gender.
“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[.]
“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 parents [surveyed in the study] described “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[.]
And a part of the study’s conclusion:
The research goes on to suggest that teens could be influencing each other to promote certain behaviors through “peer contagion.”
Bess Marcus, School of Public Health Dean at Brown, rationalized the university’s censorship this way:
[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 University and School have always affirmed the importance of academic freedom and the value of rigorous debate informed by research…[all studies] should be debated vigorously.
… 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.
But only so long as those multiple perspectives suit the predetermined conclusion. That’s the critical limitation of any work.
There’s no doubt that gender dysphoria exists. Understanding it, though, and preventing it or treating it where appropriate are impossible so long as today’s Galileos are to be kept locked away.