Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
52 - Gender Dysphoria & Detransition Research: A Conversation W/ Dr. Lisa Littman

52 - Gender Dysphoria & Detransition Research: A Conversation W/ Dr. Lisa Littman

Dr. Lisa Littman coined Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD) in her seminal 2018 parental report survey. ROGD is a descriptive term for the phenomenon of young people suddenly announcing a transgender identity and experiencing gender dysphoria for the first time around adolescence. Dr. Littman’s latest ground-breaking study on the experience of 100 detransitioners was published in the last few weeks and we reflect on some of the most astonishing findings. In this conversation, Lisa also reflects on what she’s learned since getting embroiled in a controversy she wasn’t expecting. She shares some possible reasons why the topic of affirmative medical care has become so polarized. Lisa points out that patients get hurt when clinicians pledge an allegiance to a particular approach rather than prioritizing the well-being of dysphoric people.


Dr. Littman’s Website:

Interview in Quillette:

Extended Notes:

  • Why has Dr. Lisa’s study on detransitioners received so much controversy? Dr. Lisa shares how she now feels about this.

  • There are a lot of ways to support people who are transgender but fast-tracking access to hormones in an effort to support transgender people, regardless if it’s more beneficial, is transphobic.

  • Dr. Lisa shares a bit about her background and what led her to the detransitioner’s study.

  • There are parents who believe transition will help their children and there are parents who don’t. We need to understand that they just want to help their children and there are multiple ways to do that.

  • Dr. Lisa shares further how her study was not accepted. She recruited respondents on social media where they orchestrated an event that undermined her data.

  • Dr. Lisa defines further what detransitioning means as this area of research is still early.

  • Affirmative model vs. exploratory model. The latter tries to understand why you are gender dysphoric whereas the former immediately concludes that you should transition.

  • Mental health conditions don’t have a targeted fix.

  • Psychosocial factors could contribute to the development of gender dysphoria.

  • Dr. Lisa also shares the effects of social influence such as pressure from a person, a group of people, or society on the interpretation of one’s own feelings. Can this lead to a misdiagnosis?

  • There are a variety of ways people can live their lives and they cannot solely be defined by rigid gender roles and stereotypes.

  • Language can be very powerful and if it was used in a way that doesn’t confine people’s feelings to a specific label, it wouldn’t create such a problem.

  • Where are the differences between male and female detransitions? Dr. Lisa explains further.

  • Stella concurs that if a detransition was because the person was more comfortable with their biological sex, this could have been avoided through a proper approach during therapy.

  • Exploring discomfort around sexual orientation would be a great place for trans therapists to help their patients.

Gender: A Wider Lens
Gender: A Wider Lens
In this podcast, now in its fourth year, therapists Stella O'Malley and Sasha Ayad take a deep dive into the psychological and cultural forces impacting the social changes around "gender." Through interviews with researchers, doctors, therapists, parents, detransitioners, and others, Sasha and Stella's podcast is a "must listen" for anyone trying to navigate the current gender landscape. With their sharp analytical minds and deep compassionate hearts, Stella and Sasha have also become known throughout many parent networks as lighthouses in the midst of some very stormy seas. Previous guests include Helen Joyce, Jesse Singal, Leor Sapir, Kathleen Stock, Jamie Reed, Peter Boghossian and more.