Jamie Shupe
In 2016 Jamie Shupe became legally non-binary

Photo credit: NPR

We are told by The Federalist that Jamie Shupe was an Army tank mechanic who, after retiring, lived as a trans woman for four years and then desisted. Actually, in 2016 Shupe became legally non-binary. Now he identifies as male I suppose.

Update: A prior version of this article described Mr. Shupe as ex-non-binary. Mr. Shupe informs me that he is still non-binary but is no longer a transgender woman. Moreover, Shupe is intersex. I am not qualified to offer an opinion regarding the gender identity of an intersex individual. Nevertheless, that is not the subject of this post. My concern remains the spread of research that does not conform to generally accepted scientific standards.

Aside from the fact that Shupe is, or was, an atypical transgender or gender nonconforming person due to age, his experience does not qualify him as an expert on transgender issues. Quite the contrary due to the uniqueness of his condition. His experience certainly does not qualify him to appreciate and analyze research on gender dysphoria.

Shupe’s latest piece in the Federalist is titled: Many Newspaper Reports Back Up That Blockbuster Study About Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria. The very title further disqualifies Mr. Shupe. Newspaper reports about research are irrelevant. In addition, the term “blockbuster” is inaccurate. Blockbuster describes research of considerable scale that is published to a highly respected academic journal with rigorous peer review.

The article that Shupe is referring to was published to PLOS ONE which is not a leading journal because it employs substandard peer review as evidenced — in point of fact — by the very article in question. Because of highly flawed sampling and an undefined cohort it fails to establish that ROGD even exists. Furthermore, if it does exist then its prevalence remains unknown.

Shupe writes:

The battle to protect the limited credible science behind medical transgenderism is trying to claim another high-profile victim. Lisa Littman, a Brown University researcher, recently published important research on rapid-onset gender dysphoria. It was suddenly yanked from public view on Brown’s website to appease those who say they worry her findings might “invalidate the perspectives” of transgender people.

There is no battle and Dr. Littman is not a victim. Shupe has not exhibited sufficient curiosity to understand that the study was not “yanked” from Brown’s website. Rather, Brown unpublished an article about the study for news distribution. The study was, and is, published to PLOS ONE. Furthermore, Shupe apparently did not read Brown University’s statement on the matter which reads, in part:

In light of questions raised about research design and data collection related to Lisa Littman’s study on “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” Brown determined that removing the article from news distribution is the most responsible course of action.

As a general practice, university news offices often make determinations about publishing faculty research based on its publication in established, peer-reviewed journals considered to be in good standing. The journal PLOS ONE on the morning of Aug. 27 published a comment on the research study by Lisa Littman, who holds the position of assistant professor of the practice of behavioral and social sciences at Brown, indicating that the journal “will seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses.” Below is the comment posted on the study in the journal PLOS ONE:

“PLOS ONE is aware of the reader concerns raised on the study’s content and methodology. We take all concerns raised about publications in the journal very seriously, and are following up on these per our policy and COPE guidelines. As part of our follow up we will seek further expert assessment on the study’s methodology and analyses. We will provide a further update once we have completed our assessment and discussions.” — PLOS ONE August 27, 2018

If you read PLOS ONE’s statement they are only now doing more rigorous peer review. I do not want to duplicate what I have already written. Suffice it to say that the sampling is absurd and there is no defined cohort since it pertains to the condition of children but samples only parents who were culled from anti-LGBT websites.

I would have no problem with scientifically sound research that reached the same conclusions. However, gender dysphoria can be objectively diagnosed by behavioral health specialists. What is the applicability of sudden onset gender dysphoria? Hate group leader Michelle Cretella incorrectly claims (in defense of the faith) that this invalidates juvenile gender dysphoria. Her assertion is absurd. Furthermore, 83% of the kids Littman reviewed were female (natal sex). How did that happen and how does it affect Dr. Littman’s finding?

Dr. Littman, by the way, is not an expert in gender dysphoria. She is a highly qualified public health specialist who is early in her career development. She is not tenured although she is employed by a prestigious Ivy League university. Her ORCID is blank which would usually mean that she has not published much research.

Shupe goes on to write:

Based on years of reading news reports about transgender people, I agree that social contagion is often a major cause of transgender presentation. While gathering and analyzing media interviews done with trans people, I noticed many youths confessing to not only not knowing what transgender is but also to learning about it from places like YouTube, an LGBT education program from school, television shows such as “I Am Jazz,” or meeting a transgender person in real life.

Reading news items is not a valid means of reaching Shupe’s conclusion. Shupe would do better to read the research. Furthermore, he should do what I do which is to contact the lead investigator of research to resolve any questions that he might have.

The so-called experts in the field of medical transgenderism want the public to believe these children all sincerely know that they’re really the opposite sex at age 3 or 4, but it simply isn’t true. Until transgenderism came into their lives, many of these youth previously identified as or believed they were gay or lesbian. Their parents thought the same thing. But because of exposure to transgender ideologies, these kids suddenly developed gender dysphoria about their sex.

That is incorrect. As psychiatrists and psychologists work with individual children they can form medically valid conclusions. Shupe does not cite a source for his conclusion about many of these kids previously believing that they are gay. I have no idea and I lack the medical training to know what that could mean.

Once someone uses the term “transgender ideologies” they are done and I am done. That is the language that the Catholic Church uses in its campaign of disinformation based on the catechism (that trans people do not exist).

Let’s Sample News Reports to Find Similar Narratives

Let’s not because any news sample is an enterprise of selective observation. Ultimately Shupe concludes:

Parents of children such as these, facing a medical establishment gone mad that wants to amputate their kids’ healthy body parts or sterilize them with cross-sex hormones, have a right to research such as Littman’s. Institutions like Brown University have a civic duty to conduct these kinds of studies and present the findings, whatever they may be, to the public.

Shupe either believes that Littman’s article is unavailable or he is being deceptive. The article remains published at PLOS ONE. The comments (mostly from professionals) are required reading. Furthermore, the medical establishment has not “gone mad.” Previously, the accepted approach was to prevent kids from transitioning. A dozen years (and a ton of research) later and the specialists who work with these kids are allowing them to identify with their gender. It is all based on research.

Furthermore, a safe and gradual approach is employed. First puberty blockers which are fully reversible. Then hormones and later on possible surgery (late teens to early 20s). At each step the child and parents become fully informed. I will risk a Godwin by writing that you would think that these dedicated professionals are like Joseph Mengele. However, their only interest is the best interests of their patients.

People who have an agenda are often asserting that these doctors have a hidden agenda. It is just mindless rhetoric.

Mr. Shupe might still be gender nonconforming. He should want to promote the very best science that is available. Nevertheless, I would bet that he has never read any of the research published by Kristina Olson who is one of the world’s leading experts on juvenile gender dysphoria. Nor, for that matter, has Shupe read Dr. Jack Turban’s piece in the New York Times. Turban, by the way, has since moved on from Yale to Harvard.

My guess is that Shupe is content to sample things that seem to confirm his beliefs and then to employ confirmation bias to reinforce those beliefs. One of my biases is confirmed: Nothing is too awful or too preposterous for The Federalist.

Related content:

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.