As concerned parents, it’s natural to look for causes for our kids’ behaviors, especially when those behaviors create fear or discomfort for us. We can point to peers or social media, saying to ourselves “oh, my child never expressed an interest in that until they talked to that kid or saw this on Tik Tok.”  When we feel squeamish about something on the inside, it’s all too easy to look for something on the outside to blame. With this understanding, it’s easy to see how the idea of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) has gained attention. If someone was having difficulty believing their transgender child, ROGD could be an appealing scapegoat. But is it a theory that stands up to scrutiny? Science emphatically says “no.” Let’s briefly explore the debunking of ROGD.

ROGD not a scientific term, and it’s not in the DSM-5. It’s an idea that was put forth on a blog called 4th Wave Now, started by a mom who couldn’t rest with the idea of having a transgender child. It got the attention of Dr. Lisa Littman, who published a 2018 study ‘legitimizing’ transgenderism as a “social contagion.” 

a heart is shown on a computer screen Because I prioritize science over idealism or opinion, I’ll simply list some resources here that discuss the debunking of Littman’s study. Please do look them over! They are critical in understanding why ROGD theory might drive a deep wedge between you and your transgender/non-binary child. 

Scientific American

National Library of Medicine

Brown University (where Dr. Littman is a professor)

And for a deeper dive into the history of ROGD, along with some engaging interviews, please check out the TransLash podcast (episode Seduction of Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria). They do a great job of digging into the history in an understandable format.

Most importantly, for us as parents, when discomfort around gender norms arises it’s crucial to reflect on its source within ourselves rather than seeking external blame. Honest introspection provides more reliable answers than theories created to justify discomfort. And if the goal is to bond more closely with any of your children, looking inside ourselves is the surest path forward.

These are words that are easier said than done! Guidance, accountability, understanding, and consistency are not just helpful for this process, but are often crucial for success. I’m here to help however I can. Feel free to book a complimentary consultation to see if working with me as a coach is the right choice for you. I look forward to talking more!


By Published On: January 23, 2024Categories: Gender Transition

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