Thursday, August 30, 2018

a personal statement regarding the ROGD controversy and why you probably won't be hearing from me for the next few days

This summer, in the wake of The Atlantic cover story, plus other similar recent pieces, I made the decision to dedicate most of my writing time over the rest of 2018 to challenging the current backlash against transgender children and the gender-affirming healthcare model. This has meant putting a book that I have been writing about activism (more generally) on hold, which sucks, but I feel the former is a more immediate and pressing matter at this moment in time. Behind the scenes, I have been working on a series of essays along these lines that I hope to roll out over the next 5-to-6 months, so stay tuned. And as always, if you appreciate this work, please consider supporting me on Patreon.

Anyway, one of the essays that I have been working on was about the Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria movement. Last week, when I learned the Littman paper had just been formally published (and I was already familiar with this work from the poster-version that appeared last year in the Journal of Adolescent Health), I decided to make it my top priority. And I ended it up publishing it on Medium on August 22nd (you can read it via the previous link).

My purpose in writing the essay was not to "suppress research I disagree with" or to "drag Littman's name in the mud," as some are now accusing. I was simply countering disinformation (i.e., promoted by ROGD advocates online and in recent op-eds) and a skewed research study that has potential far-reaching healthcare and social ramifications (i.e., the Littman paper). I never once resorted to ad hominem attacks in my essay, nor did I call for the paper to be investigated or retracted. I have written about other transgender-related studies and theories in the past - if you were to comb through them all, you would find lots of arguments and criticisms, but not a single instance where I have called for a paper to be investigated or retracted. I have simply participated in these debates. And they are not truly debates if you don't allow people like me to participate in them.

But ever since word came that PLOS One *is* investigating the Littman paper, I have found myself unexpectedly swept up into a national news story. Some commentators and pundits are framing this as "PLOS One is investigating the paper because trans people are upset about it" - this is utterly ridiculous. There are *lots* of published studies that trans people have objected to over the years, yet they haven't been investigated or retracted. No journal would ever do such a thing. If PLOS One is investigating it, it's because they have serious scientific concerns, not because trans people complained. So please, let's all wait for PLOS One to release their findings before jumping to any conclusions.

Anyway, while I generally appreciate it when people find my writings to be worthy of interest or attention, in this particular case, it has made me a target for people who have "XX," or a red X, or the word "deplorable" in their handles to lash out at me on social media. (Seriously? "Deplorable"? Y'all are still using that?!). I honestly don't mind people who critique what I have written, as that is well within their rights. But I've been a bit overwhelmed by some of the hate and assumptions and accusations and misrepresentations of my views that I have experienced of late.

So now we come to the personal part of this personal statement: For me, the backdrop to all of this has been the fact that, over the last month, my 18 year old cat Flutie has been dealing with liver failure, and we've been administering end of life care for her. Sadly, she took a turn for the worse over the last 72 hours, so today our vet performed in-home euthanasia. It's been a really rough few days, not to mention entire month, not to mention the whole year, which included losing another dear animal companion - my bird Buddy - back in March.

All of this is to say, I'm a bit of a mess right now emotionally. And I'm not really in a mindset to deal with all the accusations and misrepresentations and sometimes flat out hatred that I've been subjected to over the last week. So I am going to take a short break from social media and emails in the coming days, as I work through my grief.

If you are someone looking to interview me, feel free to quote from my original ROGD essay and this follow up. My apologies to those who have tried to contact me in the last week or so and have not heard back from me. See you all soon...