Parent reports of adolescents and young adults perceived to show signs of a rapid onset of gender dysphoria
The following is Dr. Littman’s statement regarding the publication of a revised version of her paper:
I am delighted to report that, after a rigorous post-publication review, a revised version of my paper has been published by PLOS ONE. I am pleased that my work has withstood this extensive peer-review process and that in the accompanying republication notice I’ve been able to expand the discussion around several topics including: parental approaches to gender dysphoria, ways in which parents can be supportive of their children, and the methodologies used in the paper. Additionally, I was able to add the Facebook group, “Parents of Transgender Children” to the list of sites sharing recruitment information about the study and to clarify that the term “rapid onset gender dysphoria” first appeared on the sites used for recruitment when the study information was posted (not before, as was claimed in some articles about the research paper).
The post-publication reassessment of the paper included input from three senior members of PLOS ONE’s editorial staff, two Academic Editors, one statistics reviewer, and one external expert reviewer who treats adolescents with gender dysphoria. It was determined that the paper needed to be framed in a way that more clearly emphasizes that this is a study of parental reports, to expand the discussion of limitations, and to clarify that rapid onset gender dysphoria is not a clinical diagnosis at this time. Several sections of the paper were revised to achieve this goal. The Methods section and the Findings section remained mostly unchanged except for the addition of details about recruitment sites and the addition of a few missing values from one of the tables. I am very happy with the final product.
Although this work is considered controversial in some circles, since publication I have received many appreciative emails from clinicians who have been seeing this type of presentation in their own patients, young adults who had de-transitioned and feel that the paper describes their own experiences with gender dysphoria, and many parents who are relieved to see research about something they were seeing in their own homes. I look forward to future research on this important topic. Gaining a better understanding of the development of gender dysphoria will allow us to better help the current population of teens and young adults experiencing it.