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Brown University in row with transgender activists over claims gender dysphoria spreading

Responding, Stephanie Davies-Arai, founder of Transgender Trend, said: “We are a left-leaning group of parents who would support their children no matter what the outcome.”Academics and researchers criticised the decision to remove the study.James Caspian, a psychotherapist who specialised in gender identity for over a decade, and who is fundraising for a legal case against Bath Spa University for blocking his research into people who decide to de-transition last year, said: “In a way mine was censored in anticipation of being criticised, it would appear that this has been attacked after it’s been done, by people whose agenda it doesn’t suit.”Bath Spa has previously said it rejected his research on methodological, not ideological grounds. In a statement posted alongside Dr Littman’s article, the journal said: “We take all concerns raised about publications in the journal very seriously, and are following up on these per our policy and COPE guidelines. “As part of our follow up we will seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses. We will provide a further update once we have completed our assessment and discussions.” Comments on the article, which was published in journal PLOS ONE, describe the sites as “politically bent websites” which hold a “variety of anti-LGBT stances common to the religious right”. On Twitter Transgender Trend said: “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.”Dr Littman’s paper acknowledges that the interviewees “might be more oppositional to transgender-identified individuals”, but adds that survey questions indicated they had a similar level of support for the rights of transgender people as the rest of the population. But Susie Green, the CEO of British charity Mermaids, which supports young transgender people and their families, said the methodology of the study was “completely flawed”. “The places they went to get these responses were very much anti-trans websites. They haven’t talked to the young people themselves and the parents are sourced from gender-critical websites, who do not believe that trans children exist, who think that children should be forced to accept their birth gender, no matter how much damage that causes,” she told the Telegraph.  An Ivy League college is embroiled in a row with trans activists over an article which suggested gender dysphoria was spreading among children.Brown University has removed research from its website which hypothesised that teenagers who came out as transgender were more likely to have friends who were transitioning and were influenced by YouTube videos and social media. Academics accused the university of bowing to pressure from activists after it removed a news article and link to Lisa Littman’s research. A tweet promoting the paper has also been deleted. The research concluded “social and peer contagion” was a plausible explanation for “cluster outbreaks” and a high number of cases where the majority of children in a friendship group became “transgender-identified”. A statement from Bess H. Marcus, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, said that concerns over methodology had prompted the removal, adding that members of the university had also complained. “The School of Public Health has heard from Brown community members expressing concerns that the conclusions of the study could be used to discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community,” she added. The announcement was made after critics raised concerns about the political stance of the 256 parents who participated in the study, entitled “rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults”. “As a colleague, a clinician who works in this field has stated, it’s like recruiting from a white supremacist website to demonstrate that black people are an inferior race,” she added.  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. They had been sourced from online discussion groups including British site Transgender Trend and US site 4thwavenow.  read more