Michael Bailey, professor of psychology at Northwestern University, is not afraid to study controversial topics. For 40 years, he’s studied everything from IQ to pedophilia, and he’s published more than 100 academic articles on his findings.
Bailey expects people to have opinions on what his research concludes. But he never would have expected trans activists to bully the editors of a scholarly journal until it retracted his research.
ROGD is diagnosed when female adolescents, who have no history of gender dysphoria and have always presented as feminine, suddenly want to transition to the opposite sex. The phenomenon usually occurs alongside other social and emotional issues. It can occur in boys too, but much more rarely.
There is almost no scientific research on the subject, though the occurrence of ROGD is spiking quickly.
“There is ample evidence that in progressive communities, multiple girls from the same peer group are announcing they are trans almost simultaneously. There has been a sharp increase in this phenomenon across the industrialized West,” explains Bailey.
For this study, his research surveyed the parents of 1,655 adolescents and young adults. Three-fourths of the children were female. Interestingly, nearly all of the parents surveyed were progressive. Bailey and his co-author found that:
- Emotional problems were common—especially anxiety and depression that the children had been suffering from for years, long before ROGD began to present.
- Parents reported declines in their children’s mental health after they began socially transitioning.
- Young people with more emotional problems were more likely to have transitioned.
- The best predictor of both social and medical transition was a referral to a gender specialist.
“Some 52 percent of parents in our study who had received a referral said they felt pressured by the gender specialist to facilitate some sort of transition for their child,” he reports.
Bailey and his co-author followed the standards of strong science to the letter. They clearly outlined their methods, and discussed the limitations of their data. They worked with the same integrity and rigor that Prof. Bailey has maintained for nearly half a century.
“[M]y article was not retracted for any shameful reason,” Bailey shared. “It was retracted because it provided evidence for an idea that activists hate.”
Trans activists swarmed the journal, pressuring both the organization affiliated with the journal (the International Academy of Sex Research) and publisher (Springer Nature Group) to retract it and punish the editor for publishing it in the first place.
Less than three months later, Springer found an excuse to retract the article—it claimed the participants did not provide the proper written consent to participate, and it violated their editorial policies. In doing so, the journal made its position clear: when faced with pressure, it will not stand by the rigor of its own review process. Science plays second fiddle to the cancel mob at the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
This is not the first time that researchers have been punished for trying to understand ROGD. When Lisa Littman, who coined the term “ROGD,” published a paper about it in a journal, it was pressured to issue a “correction” and Littman lost her academic affiliation with Brown University.
The harassment from the trans community has become so intense, Bailey’s co-author on this paper actually used a pseudonym to protect her family.
Debate is essential to good science, but that is not what these activists want. They seek surrender. And that is what they got. – Professor Michael Bailey
Amazingly, this cancel campaign has only mobilized Bailey and other researchers—including the editor of the journal that issued the retraction!—to study ROGD until it is understood.
Bailey, Lisa Littman, and Ken Zucker (editor of Archives of Sexual Behavior) will be launching a long-term survey of gender-dysphoric adolescents and their parents that takes an even deeper dive into their physical, mental, social, and emotional attitudes and behaviors.
Censoring scholarly journals and erasing the truth to make science fit around your personal values is the stuff of third-world juntas, not the free world. There is a need for more research on ROGD to determine whether it’s a valid diagnosis, and fortunately, there are brave researchers like Bailey around to get it done.