NYT reportedly used junk science studies to push support for gender-bending kids

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Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, a non-binary author from Bowdoin College, wrote a lengthy essay for The New York Times arguing against the evaluation of children before they transition to another gender using purported misinformation from cited junk science studies to make his flawed point.

“That gender-affirming health care saves lives is clear: A 2018 literature review by Cornell University concluded that 93 percent of studies found that transition improved transgender people’s heath [sic] outcomes, while the remaining 7 percent found mixed or null results. Not a single study in the review concluded negative impact,” Marzano-Lesnevich contends in his piece.

He is citing a review called the “What We Know Project” which was conducted by LGBT scholar and activist Nathaniel Frank. He wrote previously at the New York Times, “Our findings make it indisputable that gender transition has a positive effect on transgender well-being.”

The Federalist’s Nathanael Blake slammed the findings, “These proclamations that the science is settled are a bold facade on rickety scaffolding. When this New York Times article invokes the authority of science, it seeks to evoke the image of careful statisticians sifting through data collected by diligent doctors.”

“But it is actually appealing to self-selected online surveys with cash prizes, studies with tiny samples, and studies that are missing more than half of their subjects. Stacking a bunch of weak studies on top of each other doesn’t provide a strong result, but The New York Times presumes readers won’t bother to check the details — the editors certainly didn’t,” he caustically added.

Blake went on to dissect the non-science of it all:

Back in 2019, I took a closer look at the studies the What We Know Project cites, and found a methodological mess. Many of the studies had serious flaws, beginning with small sample sizes. As I noted, ‘Of the fifty relevant papers identified by the project, only five studies (10 percent) had more than 300 subjects, while twenty-six studies (52 percent) had fewer than 100. Seventeen studies (34 percent) had fifty or fewer subjects, and five of those had a sample size of twenty-five or less.

The flaws extended far beyond small sample size, and the largest studies tended to be the weakest, often consisting of little more than online surveys with a self-selecting sample. Nor should we put much faith in a study that recruited subjects for an online survey by advertising ‘on online groups and discussion forums that were dedicated to FTM [female-to-male] members. . . . Upon survey completion, participants were entered into a lottery drawing for cash prizes.

Even the better-designed long-term studies were often plagued by poor response rates. A European study had 201 out of 546 respond — just 37 percent. And though missing data is, by definition, missing, it is reasonable to suspect that those with poor outcomes are overrepresented among those who could not or would not respond.

 

He also asserted that the New York Times did not verify Marzano-Lesnevich’s claim that “gender-affirming health care has some of the lowest rates of regret in medicine. A 2021 systemic review of the medical literature, covering 27 studies and 7,928 transgender patients, found a regret rate of 1 percent or less.” He punched holes in that assertion and basically called the leftist media outlet lazy for not doing its homework.

“Of the 27 studies used in their analysis, the review authors ranked only five as ‘good’ and only four as having a low risk of bias. Many of the studies had the same flaws as those examined in the What We Know Project (indeed, some studies were used in both),” Blake reported.

Most of the data in the review evidently came from one study and the column does not sufficiently cover the regret of those who transition.

Blake went on to summarize: “In short, the review argues that medical gatekeeping keeps regret rates low. That The New York Times allowed this review to be used as evidence against medical screening, and in favor of self-ID for medical transition, exemplifies the persistent practice of American transgender activists using studies of (mostly) carefully screened European adults to argue against screening before medical transition, even for children.”

“Unfortunately, the aggregation of (often questionable) studies, and the exaggeration of their conclusions by activists, is only part of the problem. These efforts to spread misinformation are augmented by the intimidation of dissenting scientists and the suppression of results that trans activists dislike,” he asserted.

Blake’s contention is that the science is being manipulated to promote transgender ideology, not to actually determine whether transitioning is good for someone or not. Those that disagree with junk science have their opinions labeled as ‘misinformation.’ They find themselves banned from social media for “wrong-think” and are called bigots for not supporting transitioning.

He also predicted that “Doctors will be required to practice only according to the approved narrative, and educators will encourage children to transition without parental knowledge and consent. Worse still, the government will take children from parents who do not support transition.”

It is the ultimate justification for coercion regarding transgenderism, according to Blake.

“The purpose of the transgender misinformation machine is not so much to persuade, but to provide justification for coercion. The point of the lies and distortions is to impose transgender ideology on all of us, especially children,” he grimly concluded.

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