Identity Politics ‘Invades Science’ on Campus: Here’s the Proof and the Pushback
Check out why Brown University removed research the community didn't agree with — and what happened next
Politically correct orthodoxy — including the idea that gender is fluid — is all the rage on our nation’s college campuses, and those who don’t repeat it or support it can be sidelined, deemed irrelevant, or worse.
To this end, an interesting story has been playing out at Brown University, a private Ivy League school in Providence, Rhode Island. Dr. Lisa Littman, a physician and nontenured associate professor of the practice of behavioral sciences, published a study last month on the increase of rapid-onset gender dysphoria, mostly among teenage girls; some of these girls question their biological gender and believe themselves to be transgender.
The study noted, “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD) describes a phenomenon where the development of gender dysphoria is observed to begin suddenly during or after puberty in an adolescent or young adult who would not have met criteria for gender dysphoria in childhood.”
“ROGD appears to represent an entity that is distinct from the gender dysphoria observed in individuals who have previously been described as transgender,” it continued. “The worsening of mental well-being and parent-child relationships and behaviors that isolate AYAs [adolescents or young adults] from their parents, families, nontransgender friends, and mainstream sources of information are particularly concerning.”
“More research is needed to better understand this phenomenon, its implications and scope,” it said.
But now Brown University has taken Littman’s research off its website after posting it. Why? It cited concerns this research may upset the trans community. This, and more, was the subject of a recent opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal.
“If your teenage daughter suddenly declares herself transgender, should you assume she’s mature enough to make decisions that will permanently affect her health, fertility and future?” wrote Jillian Kay Melchior, an editorial page writer at the WSJ.
“Or could she be influenced by societal and peer pressure?” Melchior continued. “Physician and researcher Lisa Littman doesn’t have the answer, but transgender ideologues are trying to silence her for even asking the question.”
Littman herself has acknowledged her study of 256 parents, whom she found online, is far from conclusive, according to the op-ed.
Still, that has not stopped critics from accusing her of bigotry and trying to suppress her research, the WSJ further notes.
“This isn’t surprising to me,” one college sophomore in Massachusetts told LifeZette. “In [freshman] orientation they made it very clear diversity was the most important thing, the most important school value, on campus. They gave us a whole seminar at orientation — parents had to participate — on how there was basically no path forward but to accept everything about everyone’s choices.”
LifeZette reached out to Littman and received an email response: “Thank you for your interest. As you can imagine, I am currently receiving a very high volume of email. I hope to respond to your email soon, but there may be a delay. Thanks for your patience.”
Meanwhile, the open-source multidisciplinary scientific journal PLOS ONE, which originally published Littman’s research, also caved to pressure. It announced recently the study would be subject to “further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses.”
“Identity politics is invading science,” Heather Mac Donald, author of the new book “The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture,” told LifeZette.
“Researchers who study the psychological and intellectual differences between the sexes now skate on very thin ice,” added Mac Donald, who is the Thomas W. Smith Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, editor of City Journal, and author of the national bestseller “The War on Cops.”
“Scientific hypotheses and conclusions that violate the blank slate theory of human nature — i.e., that all differences between groups are socially constructed — will come under enormous pressure. Their proponents are at possible risk of their jobs. Just as the hiring and promotion of scientific researchers has succumbed to sex and race quotas, so, too, the content of what may be investigated must now pass a political litmus test,” she noted.
Here’s a sample of social media reaction to the study’s removal at Brown:
Brown University Professor Lisa Littman recently published a study on the “transgender” phenomenon, presenting evidence that it might be a “social contagion”—a maladaptive coping technique for troubled teens, spread by peer groups and the Internet. https://t.co/ckm56xyPie
— RadFemFatale (@radfemfatale) September 10, 2018
Brown University criticized over removal of transgender study – https://t.co/MTdfxTL0y9
Brown University is being criticized over its decision to remove news about a study on transgender youth from its website.
The paper by assistant professor Lisa Littman suggests that gende… pic.twitter.com/v0ozM9clDS
— NewsFlash – Fresh News (@NewsflashN) September 5, 2018
More Science Denialism: Brown U. Puts Kibosh on Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria Studyhttps://t.co/hMFCOuyqwg
From Brown U.'s message announcing censoring of Prof. Lisa Littman's research on how adolescent girls announcing they are transgender are often driven by social media: pic.twitter.com/sHi1JDcGPL
— Steve Sailer (@Steve_Sailer) August 29, 2018
Desperate attempts to undermine Lisa Littman's important #ROGD study include defamation of the websites where parents were recruited, including the ridiculous claim that Transgender Trend is 'far right' and wants to 'criminalise' medical transition. We are not and we don't. https://t.co/tph331I3fq
— TransgenderTrend (@Transgendertrd) August 27, 2018
See the video below for more on the transgender movement.
Elizabeth Economou is a former CNBC staff writer and adjunct professor. Follow her on Twitter.