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  • Writer's pictureLa petite Sirène

The U.S. Transgender Survey of 2015 Supports Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria: Revisiting the “Age of Realization and Disclosure of Gender Identity Among Transgender Adults”

  • le 18 décembre 2023

  • by Leor Sapir,  Lisa Littman,  Michael Biggs


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Introduction


“Rapid-onset gender dysphoria” (ROGD) describes a presentation in a recent cohort of adolescent and young adults who first became gender dysphoric or trans-identified during or after the onset of puberty (Littman, 2018, 2021). The ROGD hypotheses are, briefly stated, that this relatively new and distinct clinical presentation of late-onset gender dysphoria exists, and that psychosocial factors, including social influences (social media, social and peer contagion, etc.), maladaptive coping mechanisms, mental health conditions, and other stressors can contribute to its appearance in some individuals (Littman, 2018, 2021).

In “Age of Realization and Disclosure of Gender Identity Among Transgender Adults,” Turban et al. (2023a) claim to find evidence against ROGD. Relying on data from the U.S. Transgender Survey of 2015 (USTS-15) (James et al., 2016), Turban et al. divided respondents into two groups—early realization and late realization—based on whether they “realized their TGD [transgender and/or gender diverse] identities” before or after age 10. They found that 59.2% of respondents had early realization, and that the median time from realization to disclosure of their identities to others was 14 years. Thus, Turban et al. conclude, “it is likely that gender dysphoria experienced by many…TGD youth is not ‘rapid-onset,’ but rather that TGD youth disclose their TGD identities to their parents and others years after their personal realization.”

We write to point out problems with their analysis. Turban et al. (1) misstate the ROGD hypothesis, (2) analyze the wrong age cohorts in USTS-15, (3) use a dubious proxy for “realization,” (4) use an unreasonable definition of “disclosure,” (5) provide misleading analysis of time to disclosure, (6) misrepresent and underestimate the significance of their sample’s female skew, and (7) omit ROGD-relevant data pertaining to respondents’ mental health. When these flaws are acknowledged and the data are accurately reported, the USTS-15 actually provides support for the ROGD hypothesis.




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