Many concepts are hard to explain to those who have not experienced them — and gender dysphoria is one of the most profound examples. These difficult feelings about gender, feelings that many trans folks grapple with, are near impossible for many to understand — so they dismiss, ridicule, and attempt to invalidate them. But gender dysphoria is real and scientifically documented.
When filmmaker DEREK HALLQUIST started his documentary Denial it focused on his father DAVID the CEO of VERMONT ELECTRIC CORP and his impassioned views on climate change and transitioning the industry to adequately deal with an ever changing world. Hallquist Snr was so committed to renewable energy and converting the Grid to sources of power that were more sustainable, that he preach his gospel to anyone and everyone who would listen.
However, part way through the film, after being such a vocal advocate of wind power, he shocked the local community by publically demanding a moratorium on their future. It was the cause of many heated arguments too between father and son on camera, but their differences were put aside when Hallquist Snr then finally decided to divulge that he was transgender.
He had known about this all his life but nevertheless still married and had Derek and his two siblings, He reasoned that if he had come out when he was younger he would have probably ended up in a mental institution, and he was OK with his life choices until he reached his 50th birthday and started to feel suicidal.
Derek’s initial reaction to both his father’s change of heart of wind power was the same as his response to the shock of discovering his struggle with his gender dyspohria, and was one of anger and confusion which he eagerly shared with his father.
With the recent and tumultuous controversy concerning “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” (ROGD), the science, and what counts as science, has been muddied by researchers who are explicitly hostile to the rights of transgender folks. A few weeks ago, behavioural scientist Lisa Littman published an article claiming to have empirical evidence for the existence of a new form of gender dysphoria that explicitly impacts youth, through so-called “social contagion,” with the consequences of confused cisgender children inauthentically at odds with the gender they were assigned at birth.
Lisa Littman’s study on rapid-onset gender dysphoria, initially published as a poster abstract in the Journal of Adolescent Health, recently came out in full-form in PLoS ONE. The article is making waves, because it purports to show the existence of a new developmental pathway for gender dysphoria, termed rapid-onset gender dysphoria, which would be distinct from traditional presentations of late-onset gender dysphoria and raise doubts as to the appropriateness of gender-affirmative care for a significant subset of transgender teenagers and young adults.