A new study examining the recent epidemic of teenagers and young adults identifying as transgender has been published and the findings strongly indicate that social contagion is a factor in this new phenomenon.

The study by Drs. Michael J. Bailey and Suzanna Diaz, published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, examined a survey of 1655 parent reports to further investigate the Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) hypothesis first put forward by Dr. Lisa Littman in 2018. Activists at the time accused Littman of transphobia and claimed her study was invalid, but evidence to support her hypothesis has only grown in the intervening years and this latest study indicates that, at least for some, ROGD is a disturbing reality.

The study is much larger than any attempt that has been made to study this cohort to date, and consists of parent reports from an online survey on the website Parents of ROGD Kids. The authors acknowledge the possible bias of their sample, but state that research on “children’s development in many domains has long depended on parent reports.”

Notable findings in line with past studies show that adolescent-onset gender dysphoria disproportionately affects females, with the sample showing 75 percent females versus 25 percent males.

These young people had high rates of coexisting mental health issues, with 42 percent having a formal mental health diagnosis. The parents reported that, on average, the child’s mental health issues had started nearly 4 years before the onset of gender dysphoria. The most common issues were depression, anxiety, self harm, and “difficulty socializing with peers.”

Youth with mental health issues were observed to be far more likely to have socially or medically transitioned, which Bailey and Diaz state “is concerning because youth with mental health issues may be especially likely to lack judgment necessary to make these important, and in the case of medical transition permanent, decisions.”

55.4 percent of the parents responded “yes” when asked if their child had friends who “came out as transgender around the same time,” and that response was significantly higher for natal females (60.9 percent) than natal males (38.7 percent).

Social contagions are known to disproportionately affect adolescent girls and young women. Contagions of anorexia, bulimia, and cutting, as well as the contagion of multiple personality disorder in the 1980s, and even hysteria as far back as the late 1800s, all affected predominantly this demographic.

Les mer her