Gender Dysphoria Not Caused by 'Social Contagion,' Study Finds

Gender Dysphoria Not Caused by 'Social Contagion,' Study Finds

As the Republican Party goes to new lengths to erode LGBT rights, a new study published earlier this month in Pediatricsdirectly discredits talking points commonly used to politicize and deny gender-affirming care.

Conducted by researchers at the Boston-based Fenway Institute, the study asserts that gender dysphoria is not, in fact, caused by a "social contagion" that disproportionately affects those assigned female at birth. It also disproves the theory of "rapid-onset gender dysphoria," which suggests that transgender self-identification takes place during adolescence rather than childhood.

"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," said Dr. Alex S. Keuroghlian, senior author of the study, and director of the Fenway Institute's National LGBTQIA+ Health Education Center and the Massachusetts General Hospital Psychiatry Gender Identity Program.

The study disputed further harmful notions about trans youth, including the idea that teens come out as transgender in order to "fit in" or "become popular" amongst their peers. In reality, trans adolescents are much more likely to be victims of bullying.

"The damaging effects of these unfounded hypotheses in further stigmatizing transgender and gender diverse youth cannot be understated," explained lead author Dr. Jack Turban, incoming Assistant Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco.

The study is one of the largest of its kind — using survey findings taken from nearly 200,000 individuals across 16 states in 2017 and 2019.

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