Wednesday, January 22, 2020

New Study Claims ‘Trans’ Kids Know Their Real Gender Identity. Here’s Why It’s Flawed

Young children can know that they are transgender. At least, that’s what some researchers are now claiming.

A December report released in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences claims to show that transgender children sense their true “gender identity” and even align with clothing and toy preferences of that gender at a young age.

The study addresses the age-old “nature vs. nurture” debate that has long fascinated psychologists and parents alike.

This is one of the first studies to be released that examines gender identity in relation to children and their development. The authors claim it “provides the largest report to date of the experiences of these early-transitioning children’s gender development.”

The study analyzes transgender-identifying children alongside “cisgender” children to see if they are innately drawn to gender-stereotyped toys and clothes, and if so, by what pattern.

For the study, researchers interviewed 317 allegedly transgender children, ages 3 to 12, along with 189 of their cisgender siblings and 316 cisgender kids who were not related.

The study’s conclusion, on its face, seems to confirm progressive thought on the subject.

“Trans kids are showing strong identities and preferences that are different from their assigned sex,” the study’s lead author, Selin Gulgoz, said in a press statement. “There is almost no difference between these trans and cisgender kids of the same gender identity—both in how, and the extent to which, they identify with their gender or express that gender.”

But a deeper look reveals the facts aren’t so neat. The study appears to contradict itself, other similar studies, and on certain points, even the typical progressive mantra that dispenses with gender stereotypes.

The Findings

The report revealed a number of “findings.”

First, it found that children who are just “cisgender” and children who have transitioned to the opposite gender identity prefer toys and clothing that align with the stereotypes matching their “current” gender. So, a boy born male living as a male still prefers boots and trucks, and a boy born male who has socially transitioned to female prefers dresses and dolls.

Second, it found that transgender children’s preferences were consistent with their gender identity just as the cisgender siblings or other cisgender kids continued to prefer things that matched their biological sex of birth.

At first glance, these findings might seem groundbreaking in providing a science-based affirmation of the trans phenomenon. But a closer look shows they are neither groundbreaking nor affirming.

Let’s take the first finding: The study says some 300 transgender kids—that is, kids who already identify as the gender opposite their birth sex—identify as transgender and prefer toys and clothes that match their gender identity, not their birth sex.

Well, of course. The kids surveyed were already either identifying as transgender or living as cisgender, so it’s impossible to tell from the study whether their toy and clothing preferences were innate. The results were baked into the cake.

Now, clinics, educational resources, and “news” articles about transgender kids implore parents to affirm their child’s dysphoria and help them socially or medically transition. They have been living as the opposite sex, so one would expect them to prefer toys and clothing that affirm that identity.

But those preferences don’t prove that their gender identity is innate or present at birth. They could also have been cultivated by outside factors, like parents or counselors. And if so, that would comport with the high affirmation rate previously mentioned.

This presents a fundamentally flawed scenario: The study’s main finding employs circular logic at best and an obvious bias at worst.

The Big Contradiction

Only one finding in the survey made any logical sense, though since most of it seems like garbage, I’m tempted to disregard this point as well.

The summary of the survey gave reason to be skeptical about trans children’s supposed gender identity: “Our findings suggest that early sex assignment and parental rearing based on that sex assignment do not always define how a child identifies or expresses gender later.”

The study goes on to note how gender feelings can change: “Gender expression or identity for some of them might shift in the future, or their level of support and affirmation might change.”

The authors seem to admit that if children can choose to change from one gender to another, they can choose to change back.

But this finding contradicts the first two findings of the study: If transgender children are so confident in their supposed gender identity, how did the researchers discover that these same children may “identify” as something different later on?

To say it another way: How can this study affirm that gender identity is real and valid, while also suggesting that children can later revert back to their sex at birth? Doesn’t the latter finding suggest that gender is actually binary, that it doesn’t exist on a spectrum, and that both sex and gender are innate from birth?

Biology Still a Key Factor

Few studies have been conducted so far on the topic of transgender kids, toy preferences, and development. However, there was an interesting 2017 study done on how children express gender through their toy preferences. That study may reframe this debate somewhat.

The study, published in the Infant and Child Development Journal, found that gender has its basis in a “biological origin.” Though it makes no mention of transgender children, it contradicts the often-cited progressive concept that gender is a social construct.

The authors of the study observed children, their toys, and methods of play. Through a meta-analysis of past research—they reviewed 16 different studies on the topic of sex differences of 1,600 children in total—the authors found that innate biology seems to influence boys and girls’ toy choices.

“Despite methodological variation in the choice and number of toys offered, context of testing, and age of child, the consistency in finding sex differences in children’s preferences for toys typed to their own gender indicates the strength of this phenomenon and the likelihood that has a biological origin,” the study says.

This study shows how problematic the recently released transgender report is when examined thoroughly. Whether children are born biological males or females, or whether they have simply chosen to identify with the other sex as transgender, they’ll prefer toys that align with that gender stereotype.

It also demonstrates why, if they choose to revert back to their birth sex, they change their toy preferences too.

While most of this study seemed biased, based on circular reasoning, and essentially hackery based on ideological commitments, it is true that more research is needed on children with gender dysphoria. We do not yet know why gender dysphoria appears in some children and why some grow out of it altogether.

What is essential, however, is that academic research begin with a logical premise, include a larger swath of children, and stay clear of circular reasoning or any hints of ideological propaganda. If studies fail on these points, they will be biased from the get-go and unhelpful.


Boris Johnson on collision course with big business groups as aides plan to ditch two-year hiatus before new immigration rules

Boris Johnson is preparing to impose new restrictions on low-skilled migrants moving to Britain on the first day after the Brexit transition period ends in December, the Telegraph can disclose.

Under radical new plans being drawn up by the Prime Minister's aides, the Government would effectively bring forward its post-Brexit immigration shake-up by two years - removing a temporary extension of the current rules until 2023, that had been demanded by business groups and promised by Theresa May.

The proposals are expected to be presented to the Cabinet this week by Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, as part of a paper on the UK's future immigration system.

A No 10 source confirmed: "We need to deliver change and businesses need to be prepared for uncontrolled migration of low skilled workers to end this year.”

The move will put Mr Johnson and Ms Patel on a collision course with business groups such as the Confederation of British Industry, which has insisted that firms will need "at least two years to adapt to any new immigration system.”

The disclosure comes after Sajid Javid, the Chancellor, issued a separate warning to businesses to drop their demands for the UK to stay closely tied to the EU after Brexit, saying that firms had had three years to prepare for Brexit.

Mr Johnson is planning to introduce an Australia-style points-based immigration system.

During the election campaign he revealed that the scheme would include preventing lower-skilled workers moving to the UK unless there is a "specific shortage" of staff in their sector, such as construction.

Those who arrive will only be able to stay in the UK temporarily.

Mrs May's immigration white paper, published in 2018 while Mr Javid was Home Secretary, acknowledged the "challenges faced by ... employers ... who would find it difficult immediately to adapt" to new immigration rules.

It proposed a "time-limited route for temporary short-term workers" to come to the UK, amounting to two years in total.

However Mr Johnson's aides are understood to have concluded that the public will expect to see significant changes to the country's border policy once the Brexit transition period ends in December.

A key pledge of the official Leave campaign was to "take back control".

Mr Johnson will make a final decision following a review being carried out by the Migration Advisory Committee on how a points-based system would work.

One option that is understood to have found favour with No 10 is replacing the current entry rights for low-skilled workers with quotas for specific sectors, such as the construction industry.

A No 10 source said: “As we leave the EU in just over ten days time, we have an unprecedented opportunity to change the way our immigration system works.

"There is a clear drive for talented and skilled workers from around the world to come to the UK, but we also need to see a reduction in the number of unskilled workers and those without a job entering the UK and that’s why this will be coming to an end when the transition period ends in December." 


Couple suing DCF over alleged assault of their daughter by foster child with abusive history

A former foster family can move ahead with a lawsuit against the Department of Children and Families claiming the agency placed a foster child with a history of being a “perpetrator of sexual abuse” in its home without sharing his background, only to then have the boy allegedly sexually assault the parents’ daughter, a court ruled Thursday.

The Massachusetts Appeals Court decision could have wide ramifications for the department, advocates and attorneys said, by possibly pushing it to disclose more about the children they are placing with foster families, and in how it’s able to defend itself in potential future litigation.

The family said Thursday they’re still digesting the ruling. The former foster mother, who is referred to by a pseudonym in the appellate court decision, told the Globe she felt deceived by DCF. Her daughter, now 11, disclosed the alleged sexual assault to her father in 2013 on the day of her fifth birthday party, according to court records.

“You put your kids to bed at night, you lock your doors, you turn on the alarm. And your 4-year-old wakes up from a nightmare, and says there’s a monster in their room,” said the mother, who the Globe is not identifying, at her request, to protect her daughter’s identity. “You do the flashlight check and you put them back to bed. Then, to find out the monster was real and put in your home by the very agency that is supposed to protect children, it’s pretty emotionally destroying.”

The foster family sued DCF in July 2016 in Middlesex County Superior Court, arguing that DCF was negligent and that if the parents had known the then-12-year-old boy’s history, they would not have agreed to take him in.

A superior court judge dismissed the case on grounds the agency was protected by “sovereign immunity,” which means a private party can’t take a state agency to court outside certain exceptions.

But the appellate court overturned the decision, ruling that the contract DCF signed with the parents gave “explicit and specific assurance that the department would provide the parents with sufficient information” before they decided to foster the child.

“That assurance, made to the parents, is unambiguous,” the court wrote. “If the plaintiffs’ allegations are proven, the department violated its contractual commitment by failing to provide the parents with information known to it.”

The appellate decision sends the case back to superior court. A DCF spokeswoman, citing the pending litigation, declined to comment on whether it would appeal the ruling to the Supreme Judicial Court.

“The decision can open up floodgates,” said Kevin Patrick Seaver, a Boston attorney who specializes in legal matters involving DCF but is not involved in the case. “It could require DCF to give a lot more information about foster children who are being adopted or placed in a foster home. It’s a fine line that DCF has to walk.”

Gregory A. Hession, who is representing the foster parents and their daughter, said he’s open to discussing a possible settlement with DCF, but that he’s prepared to bring the case to trial.

“I think it raises the bar and could likely change their policies,” Hession said of DCF. He said the parents, who the court noted had fostered hundreds of children, is still dealing with the fallout of the situation.

“This was their worst nightmare,” he said, “and it’s continuing to be a nightmare.”

According to court records, DCF had asked the mother in May 2013 if she could foster the boy, then 12, for a few days, but a caseworker provided little information beyond that his grandmother had passed away and that his aunt did not have legal custody.

DCF, however, was aware the boy had a history of sexual abuse, according to the complaint. Medical records obtained by the parents disclosed he was both a victim, at the a hands of a step grandfather, and a perpetrator, having tried to climb into bed with a relative and “touch and kiss her,” according to the appellate decision.

The parents had twice requested that DCF remove the boy from their home for “behavioral problems,” according to court records. But not only was he not removed, a DCF caseworker enrolled him in the public school in the parents’ town without telling them, the parents alleged.

That September, as the family was waiting for guests to arrive for the daughter’s birthday party, she told her father the boy had assaulted her.

“I never did foster care for any other reason other than to help the kids,” the mother told the Globe. “You trust the agency that they’ll give [the information] you need.”

Susan Elsen, a child welfare advocate at the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, said the decision could have “significant implications” on how DCF communicates with the thousands of foster families it deals with, and it also can have legal ramifications.

“I think it makes clear that sovereign immunity is not absolute,” she said.

The state’s foster care system has been battered by a litany of problems and headlines over the last year. Children are bouncing between homes within the foster care system at a rate nearly double the national standard, a new department report revealed. And teens in foster care are graduating high school at a rate far below DCF’s own goals.

The Baker administration in May announced a raft of changes to the system, including efforts to more aggressively recruit and retain foster families. It came after a series of Globe stories revealed an overwhelmed and understaffed system in which children are being shifted from home to home. And frustrated foster parents are dropping out at a time when the state needs more of them.

DCF said this month that since January 2017, it has seen a net gain of more than 300 new foster families, leaving it with 2,297 foster homes, plus 2,036 other so-called kinship homes, where a foster child stays with a relative. But that has come as 2,350 foster families have stopped accepting placements between then and Nov. 1.


Housing costs are a problem in Boston and beyond, but rent control isn’t the answer

The recent elections for the Boston City Council focused on the high price of housing in the city. The median price of a single-family home has risen more than 75 percent over a decade and now stands at $615,000. This is nearly triple the nationwide median price of $225,000. Median rents in Boston have also soared, going up 60 percent in 10 years. This has led to renewed focus on rent control as a solution to the housing crisis. A move to rent control in Boston would follow in the footsteps of recent rent control initiatives in California, Oregon, and New York City.

While housing costs in Boston are a problem, rent control is not the answer. Economics research shows that rent control will benefit some renters already in place, but will lead to a reduced supply of housing that will ultimately make housing less available for Bostonians — and less fairly distributed.

Perhaps the best example of the problems with rent control come from the experience of San Francisco. In 1994, the city expanded its rent control program to include a set of buildings that had been excluded based on size of the building and year of construction — but left other similar nearby buildings to be priced under the free market. This law had the intended effect of reducing the exit of existing tenants from the newly rent-controlled properties.

But the unintended consequences were costly. Landlords of the newly rent-controlled properties responded by removing them in large numbers from the rental market through condo conversation and other redevelopment. Over time, the result was a dramatic 15 percent reduction in the rental supply of small multi-family housing — which led to higher rents over the entire city. Moreover, since many of the rental properties were converted to higher-end owner-occupied condos, the housing stock became more elitist — further creating barriers to a thriving middle class in the city. Taken together, rent control increased, rather than decreased, the gentrification of San Francisco.

Looking at the Bay Area today, it’s clear rent control does little to help low- or middle-income families. The residents of these rent-controlled units had 8 percent higher income than those in noncontrolled housing. They were also 60 percent less likely to be a minority.

So if rent control doesn’t solve the problem, what does? The answer, unfortunately, is the one that economists have pointed to repeatedly for decades: reduce regulatory barriers to increasing the supply of housing and lowering prices. For example, a common restriction used in the Greater Boston area is minimum lot sizes — sometimes of an acre or more. One recent study found that imposing a minimum lot size of an acre per housing unit lowered new construction by 50 percent and increased housing prices by 12 percent. This is the effect of just a single type of regulation, of which there are many. Research collecting and aggregating all these complex policies into a single index to compare across cities shows that Greater Boston is the second most land-use regulated housing market in the country. Easing these restrictions to allow more new housing supply is the key solution to the housing affordability problem.

If the solution is that simple, why hasn’t it happened already? One possible answer is also quite simple: Existing residents of neighborhoods are usually opposed. A concern we often hear is that more supply will raise the prices that residents pay for housing through gentrification. Of course, this is not consistent with economic theory or evidence. Indeed, most of the evidence shows that adding new developments lowers surrounding housing prices — and certainly lowers the total cost of housing in the city.

But these concerns persist, and they place repeated barriers to new development. So we suggest not just relying on economic evidence but putting in place an explicit mechanism to protect existing renters from the risk of a “gentrification premium”: rental insurance. Under such a plan, neighbors around a new development would receive a monthly check from the government that compensates them partially for the rise in rents in their neighborhood above expectation. This check would be targeted to low- and middle-income families to ensure that housing policy changes aren’t just furthering gentrification.

Families could use this check to offset the higher neighborhood rents or could use it to compensate them for moving elsewhere. Either way, families are protected from the potentially higher costs of living in their neighborhood — without creating incentives for individuals to stay in place and for landlords to remove property from the rental pool.

To solve the problem of high housing prices in Boston, we need more supply. But this means creative solutions that can help smooth the way to removing barriers to supply. Rental insurance could be part of the solution.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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