Van Wickle Gates at Brown University in Providence, R. I., are to be seen in May 2012
Brown University has come under fire after censoring of her own study on transgender young people, who find that the social media and friends can influence teens to their gender identity.
The university removed an article about the study from its website five days after it was published, following community complaints that the research was transphobic, the Daily Thread for the first time.
In addition, the findings “may invalidate the perspectives of the members of the transgender community,” a university dean wrote.
The dean insisted, however, that it is still committed to the “academic freedom” to note that all studies should be “discussed vigorously.”
The study examined what the ‘ rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” when a teen suddenly begins to identify as transgender, despite never previously never ask their identity.
“In the on-line forums, parents report that their children experience what is here described as ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria,’ appearing for the first time during puberty or even after its completion.”
– Lisa Littman
The transition often happens after teenagers use social media and online videos about transitioning to a different gender.
“In the on-line forums, parents report that their children experience what is here described as ‘rapid-onset gender dysphoria,’ appearing for the first time during puberty or even after the completion,” said Lisa Littman, an assistant professor in the behavioral sciences at Brown and an author of the study.
“The beginning of the gender dysphoria seemed to arise in the context of belonging to a group, where one, multiple, or even all of the friends have become gender dysphoria and transgender-identified during the same period,” she added.
“Parents describe a process of immersion in the social media, such as ‘binge-watching’ Youtube transition videos and excessive use of Tumblr, immediately prior to their child becoming gender dysphoric.”
– Lisa Littman
The study, based on 256 surveys completed by parents, appeared earlier this month in the journal PLOS ONE, a peer-reviewed science journal, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Parents said teenagers show an increase in social media/internet use prior to the disclosure of a transgender identity,” which led to the conclusion that ” friends and online resources can spread certain beliefs.”
The parents described “a process of immersion in social media”, such as binge-watching “transition videos” and excessive use of social media, immediately prior to their child becoming gender dysphoric, the study claims.
“The spirit of free inquiry and scientific debate is the center for academic excellence … At the same time, we believe firmly that it is also the task of public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives, and recognize and articulate the limitations of their work.”
– Bess Marcus, the dean of Brown’s School of Public Health
The research goes on to suggest that teens could influence each other to promote certain behaviors by means of “peer contagion.”
In a statement posted online, Bess Marcus, dean of Brown’s School of Public Health, said the university “has heard of Brown members of the community expressing concern that the conclusions of the study can be used to discredit the efforts for transgender young people and will invalidate the perspectives of the members of the transgender community.”
“The University and the School have always confirmed the importance of academic freedom and the value of rigorous debate, informed by research,” Marcus continued, noting that all the studies should be discussed vigorously.”
“The spirit of free inquiry and scientific debate is the center for academic excellence,” she added. “At the same time, we believe firmly that it is also the task of public health researchers to listen to multiple perspectives, and recognize and articulate the limitations of their work.”
Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.