Discover more from Parents with Inconvenient Truths about Trans (PITT)
Why is this happening to my family?
A viral tweet suggests a new theory of race-based social identity threat and identity exit
We parents of trans-identified kids have all asked this question: Why is this happening? Let’s examine one possible answer that I’ve heard from several sources - such as Josh Daws, Amber Athey, and Helena Kerschner - but that I think originated with James Lindsay at New Discourses1: That the recent surge in trans-ID and rapid onset gender dysphoric (ROGD) teens is the deliberate result of a politically-motivated plan to break down the family structure. This article is a quick assessment to see if this explanation makes any sense, is worth pursuing, and, if so, to determine what actions we can take.
THE DAWS CONJECTURE
Daws tweets “to sever the bond between parents and their children” in order “to create little revolutionaries,” “the left is using a two-pronged approach.” The prongs are Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Queer Theory (QT). As Daws describes:
Once CRT is done tearing down [white or white adjacent] kids and leaving them with a negative self-identity, Queer Theory (QT) is introduced and offers them a wide assortment of positive self-identities to choose from. Instead of living with the shame and guilt of being a member of the oppressive dominant culture, these students can be celebrated for coming out as gender nonbinary or pansexual. In an instant, these kids can trade their negative self-identity and all the accompanying guilt and shame of being an ‘oppressor’ for a positive self-identity as a much-venerated ‘oppressed’ minority.
It’s a provocative idea, but it smacks of conspiracy theory2 in that it’s hard to prove or disprove. It's single-cause. It’s politicized, which leads to the risk of splintering our diverse parent community, and frightening away scholars who might investigate it. It uses terms like CRT that are slippery: “That’s just a theory, never seen outside universities!”
Don’t underestimate the power of a theory. Like CRT and QT, for decades nuclear physics was “just a theory,” discussed only in universities and academic journals. Then one day - Hiroshima.
It describes a process but says nothing about how it operates. Even if it’s true, we’ll have a hard time proving it, and I doubt it will get us far. Above all, it’s not necessary for our purposes. For all these reasons I suggest recasting the Daws conjecture into a form that will be both easier to test, and more powerful.
SOCIAL IDENTITY THREAT
Daws doesn't specify a mechanism but to me it’s clear he’s implying something like stereotype threat. Specifically, Social Identity Threat, “an experience...indicating potential harm to the value, meanings, or enactment of an identity.” I suggest Social Identity Threat (SIT) is the missing link in Daws. Where a Personal Identity Threat could be “Sean, you’re doing badly at math,” a SIT would be “Sean, Black people are bad at math.” Or in our context, “Abby, you said something racist” versus “Abby, White people are racist.”
For me this was the first “OMG” moment: Whether intentional or unintentional, Anti-Racism functions as a race-based Social Identity Threat targeting White people, and it evokes SIT responses exactly as we would expect. Our thinking about Daws is not complete without it.
Could SIT really hijack someone’s behavior? Yes. “The devaluation of a social identity caused participants to endorse or engage in deviant actions, including stealing, cheating, and lying. ...Social identity threats have been shown to undermine performance, cognitive flexibility, and willpower ... [and] can also lead to social deviance.” Since 1995 academics have studied stereotype threat and SIT, mostly in the workplace or school and mostly in relation to White threats to Black people or men’s threats to women. But there is no reason the same mechanism would not apply in reverse, to Whites, with the same harms. Indeed:
“the effect of identity threat on social deviance occurs as a general process... White Americans were also more likely to engage in deviant behavior when ... one of their group memberships was devalued (e.g., race, gender, sexual orientation). ... the effect occurs even for members of historically non-stigmatized groups.”
If you believe, like most social scientists, in the reality of stereotype threat—that Sean just bombed his exam because somebody once said “Black kids don’t do math”—then what could happen to a kid who is told “All Whites are racists and Western countries are built on racism” relentlessly, by trusted authority figures?
Recognize that AR is now a large and ubiquitous industry. AR explicitly targets kids in school (and younger). Antiracist Baby can be yours for only $8.99. Countless schools, from huge public systems to America’s most elite prep school, loudly proclaim themselves anti-racist. It deliberately maximizes psychological stress. AR explicitly promises discomfort in the White listener. It explicitly dismisses defenses, coping mechanisms, and mitigation efforts. It sneers at “White tears” and emotional “fragility” in the listener. It proactively tries to thwart the more moderate SIT responses, even ones as simple as "can we talk this out?" (Its reply boils down to "Be quiet".) It could not have been better optimized to induce stress and to trigger SIT responses in the listener. But it’s a natural human reaction to seek comfort. Discomfort, anxiety, cognitive dissonance—it’s basic psychology that all will demand relief. Even a flatworm will avoid painful stimuli and seek relief.
Gender identity, gender ideology, and radical gender theory (RGT) took us all by surprise. Top Democrats went in only eight years from the biblical view of marriage to transing children.3 The top Republican smiled as he waved a handmade Pride flag.4 In America and elsewhere we are all reeling from the speed and scale of this change. All of us. It’s bigger than politics. The Daws Conjecture is engrossing. But recasting it as the Social Identity Threat model might teach us a lot with none of the baggage, and get us to our goal faster, with less infighting. For now at least let’s focus on that:
Exposing kids to Anti-Racism (AR) is a Social Identity Threat (SIT) that makes certain kids more susceptible to Radical Gender Theory (RGT). We do not claim intent. Just cause and effect. Any AR-RGT connection could be coincidence or an innocent accident, like “Why is my wife sick?” “Because she drank grapefruit juice when she took her medicine.” Sometimes accidents happen. But the outcome is the same: ROGD/trans-ID, family stress, and family breakdown.
TESTING THE SOCIAL IDENTITY THREAT MODEL
Theories are tested by comparing their predictions to reality. The unlikelier and more counterintuitive the prediction, the better. If the SIT model were true, what would we expect to observe? What do we actually observe? Does the theory explain a paradox or contradiction? If the SIT model is true, then:
We expect to see people responding as if they had experienced a SIT. We do. The six main responses to a SIT range from derogating it to... “Identity Exit.” Every parent here is in anguish over their child’s identity exit. “An identity-exit response is more likely when there is a strong threat coupled with the provision of an alternative identity.” Sound familiar? We’ll look later at those alternative identities, and at what I call “Identity Hedging.” But the strong threat? AR is a huge industry now. Children are exposed to it literally from infancy by authority figures in school, church, media, everywhere.
We expect to find trans-ID and ROGD rising more among people who are psychologically more susceptible to AR/SIT. So, which cognitive and personality traits could raise susceptibility?
If gender is a mind-bug, an abstraction that trumps bodily reality, then we expect IQ to correlate with ROGD. It is anecdotally true that high-IQ or gifted youth experience more trans-ID; as for hard data, Littman’s sample was 47% gifted—that’s 19X the natural frequency. But while dramatic, this connection does not necessarily support the SIT model. It may simply support that IQ increases susceptibility to ROGD regardless of AR/SIT.
Do other traits address AR/SIT more directly? Which Big Five personality traits would specifically affect a young person’s susceptibility to AR triggering a SIT response? Tell me if you’ve seen hard data specifically about trans-ID youth and Big Five traits; I’ve found one that is indirect but dramatic:
Neuroticism and Agreeableness, the two traits we expect to most increase susceptibility to SIT, show the highest sex difference. US adult women score 0.51 and 0.59 SD higher respectively. “The former reflects distress proneness and propensities toward the experience of a variety of negative effects, while the latter reflects amicability, altruism, trust, tendermindedness, and compliance.” (Chapman, 2007) That’s true across many countries but (surprisingly) the gap is largest in Europe and America. Combining the two yields a new trait showing females 1.10 SD more susceptible. Of course it’s among females where we observe a large and rapid rise in ROGD and trans-ID. We need more data to declare a win, but this is suggestive and a good topic for further study. If the N-A complex really is part of this, then in theory a 1.10 SD male-female NA gap could explain by itself a lot of the ROGD gap.
We expect to find a difference in rates of ROGD between Black and White adolescents. The Black kids are in some sense the beneficiaries of Anti-Racism, while White and “White-adjacent” kids are its targets.
We expect to find a difference in rates of ROGD between rich or middle-class White and poor White adolescents. The rich and middle-class would feel more culpability. The poor are more likely to reply “Privilege? What privilege do I have?”
We expect to find a difference in rates of ROGD between boys and girls. Adolescent girls are more empathic, more sensitive to judgment5, and frankly more likely to listen to what adults tell them and to believe what they are taught. Also they are more susceptible to social contagion.
Predictions 3-5 are at least anecdotally true: ROGD is seen as the province of middle+ class White girls. And for claim 5 we have years of hard data tracking a dramatic difference between boys and girls, and a sudden dramatic shift from mostly-boys to mostly-girls. Big win for the SIT model. Does anyone know of good data for claims 3 and 4? The very little hard data I have seen is not clear: UCLA says the White rate does not exceed the Black rate, which might chip away at the SIT model; but that study says nothing about the base rate, hence nothing about the change. This is an important area where we need more study.
We expect to find a difference in rates of ROGD between societies that promote AR and those that don’t. We could compare the change in trans-ID rates in multiracial countries (like US/UK/CA) with countries in Europe (like PO/HU) or Asia (like JP/SK/TW) with few Black or Brown residents. There must be data out there, can anyone comment on this test?
We expect to find a difference in rates of ROGD between politically liberal and conservative communities within a country. They’d differ in both exposure and susceptibility to AR: liberals more receptive, conservatives more skeptical. We do find a dramatic difference.6 Also the SIT model explains the paradox that RGT is hitting liberal families and schools and communities especially hard. Wait, aren’t they the least affected by sex stereotypes? Don’t their kids suffer the least from rigid gender roles? So why do progressive communities see so much rise in ROGD? Two big wins.
We expect to find RGT piggybacking into places that would ordinarily be closed to it, but that are open to AR. We do find this. That surprised me and it explains the paradox, How could trans worm its way into churches and religious schools, and religious families? It does. (For example, three years ago a nearby religious school went hard for AR; now half the senior girls have declared themselves LGBTQ—but hardly any boys. Another example, this girl from a religious family perfectly described a SIT response in her desperate attempt at Identity Exit: “People were so obsessed with victimhood. We’d be in GSA club, listing all the ways we were minorities…I started telling people about the tiny sliver of Jewish I have in me because I wanted to be anything other than white.”) Big win for the model.
We expect to find growth not just in trans but in a variety of alt-sex identities that allow a teen to stand apart. And we do: the increase in trans-ID has coincided with an increase in lesbian and gay ID, bisexual ID, asexual ID, etc. They keep adding letters, and teens keep signing up for them with all the passion of youth. We also expect, if they’re just threat responses, these newly-announced identities to be half-hearted, and they are: of these newly-proclaimed young LGBTs, only one third actually engage in homosexual behavior; the other two thirds engage exclusively in heterosexual behavior.
We expect to find the effect follows the cause, the uptake in RGT closely following the uptake in AR, and we do. “Gender identity variations were thought to be extremely rare a generation ago. ... Around 2006 the incidence among youth began to rise, with a dramatic increase observed in 2015.” Insofar as both have exploded over the last few years, this is confirmed, but it’s hard to say more without more data.
We expect AR/SIT could soften up adults for RGT, too. That might solve the paradox, How could any parent possibly support RGT for their child? Simple, same way as the child. Biological children share the race of their parents, so a race-based SIT to the child is felt by the parents, too. Parents may go looking for mitigation, too. RGT offers parents an escape to goodness, too. Bad cop, good cop. Create the problem, offer the solution. You're bad. So’s your kid. Here's a way to become good. Most people want to be seen as good. Few want to be seen as bad. Adults may be less likely to perform Identity Exit themselves (see #13), but some fraction might countenance it in others. It’s hard to stand up against what society is telling you. Big win for the SIT model.
We expect that AR/SIT would stress people and institutions in ways that don't lead to RGT but to something else - or to crumbling. And we do see that. An evangelical minister said CRT was "fracturing" the church. This makes sense, since evangelical Christianity has strong natural resistance to RGT but is receptive to AR. Also many leading secular mission-driven organizations, including highly progressive ones, have wandered far off-mission, been “ripped apart”, become “miserable to work at”, and have “effectively ceased to function” from “internal strife” due to AR. (One nonprofit executive director points to 2015-16 as the start of the damage, which also matches the uptick in ROGD.) Big win for the SIT model..
If an individual’s social identity is the target, we expect to find the incidence of the strongest response to SIT, Identity Exit, will vary dramatically with age: high during the age of maximum identity confusion, low before and after. We do. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development calls adolescence (ages 12-18) the time of “Identity vs. Role Confusion.” And we have hard data in the world: both in the accounts of ROGD families like PITT’s and in studies like UCLA Williams, which found trans-ID doubling among young people but actuallydropping among fully mature adults. (see below)
We expect to see some of the other five classic SIT responses, in addition to Identity Exit. And we do. “The most proactive of the identity-protection responses, positive distinctiveness, is when an individual attempts to change the attacker’s opinion of the threatened identity by arguing the virtues of the identity.” This might explain the dramatic rise in right-wing association among young males.7 But they’re not trying to politely convince anyone, so much as flipping the threatened identity into a badge of honor.8 Damn right I’m White, cry harder. It’s closer to the Rejection-Identification Model, which applies to Whites too.
A few more tests appear in the notes9, and I hope readers will suggest more tests, and better tests.
Some of these tests, the SIT model passes with flying colors. For some the data are partial or inconclusive, and for some we need more data. But the SIT model does not fail any of these tests. Still, other explanations exist besides the SIT model; are they better at explaining the explosion of ROGD? We need to examine them, too.10
SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE: Ross Douthat summarized a popular alternative: LGBT, like left-handedness, is simply a true expression of the range of human diversity, which until now had been repressed by conservative social mores. As society grows more accepting, of course LGBT rates will rise, just as observed rates of left-handedness rose once schools stopped discouraging it. The problem is, this model predicts that LGBT would rise equally across both sexes and all age groups. We see the opposite. Per #5 above it is highly tilted by sex. Per #13 above, UCLA Williams Institute buried the lede in its June 2022 report: in the same five-year period while trans-ID increased 100% among AYAs, trans-ID among fully mature adults dropped 21%. Growing social acceptance of trans-ID does not explain why we see more of it. Also, we’ve had a slow growth in LGB acceptance over many years; the T part is new and different, and trans-ID is rising fastest among progressive families who were most LGB-accepting and who actively resisted conservative social mores.
TOO MUCH CHOICE: Mary Harrington suggests that children can be harmed simply by a too-expansive sex ed in schools. Miriam Grossman has been saying much the same since 2009. Helena Kerschner recently said the same, blaming “the complete liberalization of attitudes towards sex.” Children are overwhelmed by options, they argue, and either freeze up or go nuts. If Harrington’s mechanism also explains ROGD, then we’d have no need of the SIT model. Does it? If it did then we’d expect children who are more able to make mature decisions to suffer less ROGD. But girls, who are significantly more mature than boys, suffer significantly more ROGD. High-IQ kids suffer significantly more ROGD. Harrington’s thesis may be correct but it doesn’t beat or contradict the SIT model in explaining ROGD.
SOCIAL CONTAGION: Social contagion (SC) is an obvious and simple explanation for the rise in ROGD especially among girls. I think it’s true: SC (aka mass hysteria or mass psychogenic illness) is part of it. SC describes what we see, but does not explain it.
And why is this SC largely driven by adults and experts, not just kids, like Salem? And why would this particular idea, one that is simply insane on its face—girls can be boys and boys can be girls—ever get traction in the first place? And why has it exploded in a short time? Why this insane idea, and not something else? Do we have an explanation for where this comes from?
Social contagions arise in response to stressors. The Salem Witch Trials occurred amid a devastating smallpox epidemic, land disputes, and ongoing Indian wars. The Tanganyika laughter epidemic (1962), amid the rapid political and social changes in a seven week old newly independent nation. The cults and countercultures of the late 1960s, amid the Vietnam War.11
In our model, what is the early 21st century stressor? Race. The lab leak of Critical Race Theory in the late 2000s. The controversial arrest of Henry Louis Gates Jr. in July 2009. The rise of BLM following the death of Trayvon Martin in February 2012. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ 2014 call for slavery reparations. Disappointment over the Obama presidency’s (2009-17) failure to bring about much-anticipated racial progress (which Coates later called “an American tragedy”). The rise of Ibram Kendi and the anti-racism and DEI industry, 2017-present. Rioting after the death of George Floyd in May 2020. The pervasive sense that this problem is not going to get better.
Far from disproving or replacing the SIT model, Social Contagion contributes one pathway by which it works: race is the stressor that precedes SC, and SC helps ideas related to race-stressors to spread.
MISOGYNY: We just enjoy chopping up weird people, especially weird girls. From witch trials to lobotomy and shock therapy, all disproportionately hit females.12 Never forget that lobotomy’s inventor, Egas Moniz, received medicine’s highest honor, the Nobel Prize.
IDENTITY EXIT AND IDENTITY HEDGING
A “hedge” in finance is like an insurance policy; it’s an investment intended to reduce your risk of loss in another asset. A farmer worried about drought could try to buy drought-insurance, if he can get it. Or he could diversify and set aside some of his land for drought-resistant crops. Or he could really diversify and invest in a nearby amusement park: when it rains his crops grow and make money, and when it doesn’t rain the park sells more tickets.
If AR suddenly declares White bad, Whites can’t reduce the damage by declaring themselves Black. Ask Rachel Dolezal. That door is barred. So a straightforward Identity Exit response to race-based SIT—“I’m not White anymore!”—is impossible. That leaves the threatened person with a problem. But intersectionality offers a long list of other identities; she might be able to select one of those that mitigates some of the harm. If she can’t exit, she can hedge. The simplest hedge would be “No, I’m not a White racist, I’m a White anti-racist!” or “I’m something other than White.” If that’s not good enough, look to a broader strategy: “Yeah, I’m White, but—I’m an oppressed White! I’m a queer White!” Intersectionality is what allows you to keep one identity, even a bad one, at the same time you assume a new good one.
If an immutable identity—like race—becomes undesirable, then people might attempt identity hedging to mitigate it with other, mutable identities. Like the girl who “started telling people about the tiny sliver of Jewish I have in me because I wanted to be anything other than white.” And (see test #9 above) nothing is more mutable, more effortlessly redefined, than gender-related identities.
Identity Hedging is only possible when society sees identity as meeting two conditions: (1) identity is intersectional, meaning the combination of numerous disparate sub-identities, and (2) selfhood is as Carl Trueman describes: the pursuit of happiness is our chief calling in life; our fundamental experience is emotion, subjective experiences, and internal mental states rather than reason, and we must express that emotion outwardly13; and we believe that no one should interfere in any way with another person’s pursuit of happiness.
I’d add that intersectionality demands that each individual define himself using a long checklist of identities: not “I’m a Jew” but “I’m an able-bodied cis-male mixed-race Christian working-class heterosexual second-gen immigrant living on unceded Lenni-Lenape lands” and so on. You can’t leave a box empty. Any box that is empty, either because you’re young or you haven’t thought about it yet, must be filled.
If enough people believe those things about the self, or simply go along with those beliefs, then of course when exposed to Social Identity Threat a vulnerable person would exit a Bad Identity or hedge it using a distant Good Identity. Identity Exit (and Identity Hedging) as a SIT response should not be controversial; it should be obvious.
(That does not mean these vulnerable kids are lying to us - not about how they passionately feel. But they have gone, step by step, to a place of lying to themselves. Like a cult? Yes, and some of the same mechanisms are in place.)
IDENTITY THREAT IS PLAUSIBLE
So, why is this happening to our families? The Social Identity Threat model is at least a plausible explanation: that Anti-Racism is a Social Identity Threat that makes certain kids susceptible to Radical Gender Theory and all it implies. The model passed all our tests, including some difficult ones. No other explanation we looked at did a better job on its own. We turned a cry to heaven into a list of measurable predictions; measured a few; and refined the questions for others. We haven’t proven it, but it passed triage enough that we need to take it seriously and study it further. Now we know where we need more study, and we have a framework that is less likely than the original Daws Conjecture to scare away potential collaborators. Because our goal is not writing articles: our goal is to take actions to protect kids and families. This is an existential crisis.
Daws’ original conjecture—this is all a deliberate attempt to weaken parent-child connections in order to politically radicalize children—is exciting but it has all sorts of problems, including intentionality. Recasting it as the Social Identity Threat model gives us a model that avoids those problems, is more testable, invites further study, and points the way to actions we can start taking now.
Viewed through this lens, ROGD is not a mystery or even a surprise: it is in fact the predictable Identity Exit response to strong race-based SIT when identity is intersectional and individualistic. Which it is now. Of course we're seeing ROGD girls. What did you expect, given these conditions? We're seeing other SIT responses, too, like right-wing boys. All predictable.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT IT?
And what do we do? We really don’t know yet if the hell we’re in is the result of a deliberate plot. We’re still in an early, uncertain stage. But we don’t need to know to start helping. In the face of uncertainty it’s rational to look first for “no brainer” actions that will help if we are right and will cause little harm even if we’re wrong. If the SIT model is plausible then certain direct and indirect actions make sense:
We need to break the pipeline from AR to RGT. You can oppose racism without beating yourself up. Blunt the absolutism of AR. Immunize kids against the more extreme claims of AR. Even if they were true, which I doubt, is it worth destroying your own child in an ill-fated attempt to remediate? Is it worth decimating a generation of White kids in a misguided and ill-fated effort to help Black kids?
Teach children anti-RGT lessons. Immunize them from its most outlandish claims. Neutralize its hold on young minds.
Teach kids that Identity Hedging is a lie, nothing more than a maladaptive coping mechanism. If you must cope, cope directly with your problems, don’t think that you can displace them. Even if you are racist, you won’t improve yourself and you won’t help other people by chopping off your breasts.
Look for coalitions. Left and right can cooperate: surely most can agree that we need to save girls. And the left certainly has an interest in creating fewer hard right wing boys.
SIT mitigation requires help; the individual often cannot do it alone - especially a child. “The type of threat response tactic an individual uses to mitigate the identity threat does not seem to determine the outcome.” The LIRSM lab at Columbia, for instance, finds that “affirmation interventions reduce social identity threat. [They] have developed threat interventions based on self-affirmation theory (reinforcing the self as an adequate, competent person to combat negative stereotype threat).” LIRSM’s 2012 overview of SIT intervention opens with Lewin, “understanding the processes underlying a problem can help us to remedy it.” True. Understand what’s going on, and help young people to understand it. Simply explaining SIT to a child, especially a high-IQ child, may help: “This is real, this has been studied for years, and I think this might be the root of the unhappiness you genuinely feel. What do you think?”
One possible starting point: their articles (2009, 2012) describing a “Values-Affirmation Intervention” used to mitigate stereotype threat SIT in at-risk Black middle-school students. We need to reclaim the word “affirmation,” whose meaning has been flipped like so many words.
(It is ironic, if anti-racism is really what lit this fuse, that prospective SIT interventions require us to repurpose tools originally developed to protect Black youth from White threat. No doubt a Values-Affirmation Intervention meant to support primarily middle+ class liberal White girls would ignite a firestorm of controversy and pushback. Okay.)
Normally we think that a parentified child (a child forced to take on the role of an adult) is a bad thing. Now we ask children to be that and more: world changers, world saviors. That's foolish; they can’t be. Even trying may harm them. So stop promoting the idea of the savior child. Of the need to “change the world.” To “save the world.” Perpetual crisis, that’s the definition of neurotic. Reject it. Daniel Greenfield had it right. Greta Thunberg may be right or wrong, but does every teenage girl need to feel that the fate of the world is on her shoulders all the time? Relax, honey. Let the adults carry this load. No, sweetie, we’re not clueless idiots. We’re fallible, like you. But with more experience. And with much thicker skin.
You are not the villain that CRT/AR says you are. You are not the savior that Greta or some Nike commercial says you are. You are not the infinitely malleable identity-without-an-essence that Queer Theory says you are.14 You are not a pawn in any cosmic chess game. You are a child. A lovely child. Our child. We are the people who love you most. To us you are perfect. And your immediate challenges are smaller and lie close to you, not far outside of you. You won’t save the ice caps by destroying your body. And you won’t shed your evil identity for a good identity, because your evil identity isn’t even real. Instead, practice becoming effective at some small things first, like helping a neighbor or exercising or cleaning your room.
Parents, above all, keep speaking and seeking the truth. Ask yourself if any of this analysis makes sense and fits with your experiences and observations. Ask yourself what no-brainer protective actions make sense in your situation now. Ask yourself, if we get more certainty, what actions will make sense then. Because we need answers. We need action. Our children need us. They need us to be brave, they need us to be strong, and they need us to be smart.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The problem with conspiracy theories is not that they’re all false; some conspiracies are real. The problem is that they’re hard to prove or disprove.
"...Teenagers (and teenage girls in particular) are uniquely sensitive to the judgment of friends, teachers, and the digital crowd. … Social media seems to hijack this keen peer sensitivity and drive obsessive thinking about body image and popularity." "Girls, more than boys, are socialized to internalize distress, meaning that they tend to collapse in on themselves by becoming depressed or anxious."
I know of no studies looking directly at liberalism-conservatism and ROGD/trans-ID, but I put together two data sources and found a strong correlation (R2=0.5) at the US state level between the red-blue partisan lean of a state in 2021 and the percent of youth age 13-17 who are trans-identified in 2022. Red Wyoming had only 0.56% versus Blue New York was over five times higher at 3.00%. Given, for instance, the extreme divergence of NY city and NY state, I conjecture that more granular data would show even higher correlation. See data sources 538 and UCLA-Williams.
You could write a whole other article about how young males, especially White ones, are responding to SIT by embracing - aggressively - the identity under attack. I am not going to write it, but here are three links worth reading: (a) Professor Danna Young started a thread: “My teen told me something that’s been haunting me for weeks. He said “I think almost every white middle school boy is in the alt-right pipeline -at some point-until something/someone pulls them out.”” Daniel Schmidt replied, starting “I'm an 18-year-old white male. I was in middle school only 5 years ago. I think I can offer some perspective on @dannagal's thread. Yes, young white males increasingly identify as right-wing. But why? From my experience, here's what's really happening...” (b) In “The Terrifying Future of the American Right” David Brooks wrote in The Atlantic: "The third and largest strain [in the intellectual wing of the emerging right] is the young. They grew up in the era of Facebook and MSNBC and identity politics. They went to colleges smothered by progressive sermonizing. And they reacted by running in the other direction." (c)In “Are the Kids Al(t)right?” Michael Anton wrote in the Claremont Review of Books: "In the spiritual war for the hearts and minds of the disaffected youth on the right, conservatism is losing. BAPism is winning." (BAP refers to the writer who goes by “Bronze Age Pervert,” whom I cannot describe for you. You - you just have to see for yourself.)
That’s why I'm skeptical of Daws’ conspiratorial claim. An evil genius wants to undermine capitalism through a psy-war op that turns White girls into basket cases. Fine. But the same op also turns White boys into angry right-wing supermen? That sounds less like SPECTRE and more like The Simpsons. I have a simpler explanation: this is all just careless mid-wit tinkering that got away from its creators. Mickey Mouse as The Sorcerer's Apprentice. The army of brooms became the Proud Boys.
For example, we expect to find AR loud and proud within institutions, since it’s deliberate, and RGT quieter. Schools would trumpet one and not the other, or even cover it up. There is evidence for this, such as the schools where an aggressive GSA was carefully kept secret, or churches and temples like mine, which proudly flew a BLM banner on the front lawn but apologized when the youth minister started “affirming” kids. See the bombshell reporting from Abigail Shrier’s Substack The Truth Fairy:
Of course there are other factors at work, feeding into this. Pervs and groomers have not gone on vacation. Big Pharma is not unaware of the profits to be made. There is no one explanation for the rise in trans-ID. Our challenge is to start finding any plausible explanations, and rejecting the implausible ones.
But not World War II. To the contrary, WW2 produced no obvious SC in 40s and 50s America but ushered in a long era of calm conformity. Why? I’m no expert, but I’d guess that stress comes from crisis without action or resolution. A kid in 1942 hears “Go to war, Save the world.” In 1967, “Don’t go to war, The enemy is us.” The first may be frightening, but it’s not stressful in the same way as the second.
“84% of [lobotomy] test subjects were female.” “Men slightly outnumbered women as patients in state hospitals, yet female patients made up about 60 percent of those who underwent lobotomy.” “For 2016-17, 67% of patients receiving acute courses of ECT were female, as were 74% of those receiving ECT to prevent relapses.”
“Expressive individualism holds that each person has a unique core of feeling and intuition that should unfold or be expressed if individuality is to be realized.” Robert Bellah, Habits of the Heart (Berkeley: UC Press, 1996), pp. 333–334. This view also explains RGT's insistence that it's not enough for you to tolerate what I say about my internal mental states; you have to affirm them. Using my custom pronouns is one small sacrament that signals to me and to the world that you affirm my expression - without which my individuality cannot exist.
“Queer is...whatever is at odds with the normal, the legitimate, the dominant. There is nothing in particular to which it necessarily refers. It is an identity without an essence” (Halperin, Saint Foucault: Towards a Gay Hagiography, New York 1995, Oxford University Press, p.62, original emphasis).