What This WaPo Column Needs: Alternative Scientific Research & Perspectives Offered Below

David Shuey
4 min readMay 15, 2019

My, oh, my. This ham-fisted article that looks like it was written by more of an activist than a journalist — as so many are these days — has been critiqued by a majority of readers in this comment section since it was published more than six months ago.

Let me add to the pile-on. I’ll do so with some actual research, the kind regularly omitted from the pages of The Washington Post and mainstream discourses on transgender issues as they capitulate to one side of the issue. It also happens to be evidence-based and compassionate towards children growing up gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

May I introduce the author of this piece to Dr. Debrah Soh, a pro-trans expert who strongly disagrees with the approach of giving hormones to young kids. (There’s also no research on long-term outcomes of hormonal interventions of a child’s development; I’m not too worried, but for now we’re just sort of experimenting.)

I’ve always been pro-LGBTQ rights since a young age. I’m also aware, more than ever, that such movements can be co-opted by reckless good intentions. It’s why I’m writing publicly for the first time. Well, except for the one Facebook post earlier this year when I stood up for Martina Navratilova as she defended rationality against the activist mob. That ended in a myriad of, ahem, entertaining comments and debates.

Bottom line: We need to all step up and at least allow a discussion of research that may not mirror what transgender activists want and stop the censoring of said research, which occurred at Brown University recently when a peer-reviewed paper was published in the journal PLOS ONE about rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD). After a re-review by PLOS prompted by no other reason than it upset the transgender community who called it “transphobic”, it was re-published with no major changes to its methods and findings in March 2019. Academic and scientific freedom is truly what is at stake here.

So I’ll let Debrah Soh speak, then add a thought, and finish with a shocking statistic about how this boy has a good chance at becoming a girl again — the same gender she was born.

Therapy that seeks to help gender dysphoric children grow comfortable in their birth sex (known in the research literature as the “therapeutic approach”) has been conflated with conversion therapy, but this is inaccurate. All of the available research following gender dysphoric children longitudinally shows that the majority desist; they outgrow their feelings of dysphoria by puberty and grow up to be gay in adulthood, not transgender.

Children will say they “are” the opposite sex because that’s the only language they have to express to adults that they want to do things the opposite sex does. Cross-sex behavior has also been shown to be a strong predictor of homosexuality in men. Previous research tells us that even children who are severe in their feelings of dysphoria will desist.

Another phenomenon that points to homophobia as a possible motivation for transitioning is that of rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD), wherein adolescent and college-aged girls suddenly declare to their parents that they want to transition, without any previous signs of being distressed about their birth sex. This desire to transition usually manifests during or after puberty, yet these girls don’t meet any of the diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria.

A study published last month on ROGD — one that gained widespread media attention for infuriating transgender activists — found that a large proportion of these girls had come out as lesbian or bisexual prior to coming out as transgender.

And here’s the scientific data on what Dr. Soh is writing about: 60–90% of trans-identified kids transition out of being non-binary or trans.

Did you catch that?

Many simply become gay, according to Soh and other experts. There’s a strong argument that in our rush to validate all children in situations like this one as transgender we “gatekeep” the children from becoming the L and G part — or the B and Q, for that matter — of LGBTQ. This would be homophobic rather than the term often thrown about willy-nilly by media and activists, transphobic.

Here’s one of the more digestible breakdowns of the data:

Despite the differences in country, culture, decade, and follow-up length and method, all the studies have come to a remarkably similar conclusion: Only very few trans- kids still want to transition by the time they are adults. Instead, they generally turn out to be regular gay or lesbian folks. The exact number varies by study, but roughly 60 — 90% of trans- kids turn out no longer to be trans by adulthood.



David Shuey

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes for all. Empiricism, relevant facts, and logical arguments > simple narratives.