Journal retracts paper on gender dysphoria after 900 critics petition

Stephen Gliske

A journal has retracted a controversial paper that questioned what it called the “existing dogma” about gender.

The article, “A new theory of gender dysphoria incorporating the distress, social behavioral, and body-ownership networks,” was written by Stephen Gliske, a physicist-turned-neuroscientist at the University of Michigan.

Gliske’s paper, which received a modest amount of media attention, argued for what he calls a “multisense theory” of gender identity. As he told Newsweek last December: 

This new multisense theory of gender dysphoria connects the experience of gender dysphoria with the function of the associated brain regions and networks.

This paradigm shift—from fixed anatomical sizes to dynamic activity in brain networks—means that there may be many more options to decrease the distress experienced with gender dysphoria than we have ever realized.

Gliske’s article was published December 2. Not long after, according to Gliske, the journal told him it would be correcting his article, which it did with the following notice on December 12:  

Upon initial publication of the manuscript version of this article, several questions were raised about the validity of the conclusions, particularly the author’s proposed implications for clinical treatment. The editors conducted an independent review of the article in response to these concerns and determined that any clinical or treatment recommendations were, in fact, unsupported by the cited data, and therefore are inappropriate and should be removed. The author agreed with this conclusion and the final version of the article has been edited to remove these speculations, including the removal of the entire “Implications for Clinical Practice” section.

According to eNeuro at the time, at least, that was kosher, and well within its ambit:  

This article was submitted, underwent double-blind peer review, and published as a Theory/New Concept article and as such, is not based on novel experimental data but serves to question existing dogma. With the unsupported statements related to clinical implications and treatments removed, the editors feel this article serves only to present a perspective through review of the available literature.

Critics of Gliske’s paper continued to lobby. They launched a petition on demanding that eNeuro retract the article. According to the petition —  which now has nearly 900 signatures:

Beyond the numerous scientific and theoretical short-comings of this manuscript, the clear intent of the paper was to do harm to the transgender community, one of the most vulnerable communities across the globe. This was not only evident in the section on clinical implications that was removed, but in the basic assumption that transgender people are a deleterious deviation with a disordered network of brain regions which pervades the entire manuscript. This is not merely an example of difference in scientific opinion, but a direct attack on a vulnerable community.

Then in mid-April, the journal posted a stinging critique of Gliske’s work from an international collection of academics led by Troy Roepke, of Rutgers, one of the architects of the petition. In a comment to the journal, Roepke and colleagues wrote: 

Gliske (2019) contains scientific errors and unacknowledged ethical consequences. Rather than developing hypotheses for the neuroscience of gender based on a dispassionate review of the evidence, Gliske (2019) reverses the scientific method and starts with an assumption that transgender modality (Ashley, 2021) constitutes a pathology. Gliske (2019) forces a selective reading of available data to espouse harmful (now-retracted) clinical recommendations which lack any basis in clinical practice. As a result, its silent thesis is that a trans person’s lived experience of their gender is in fact an illusion resulting from otherwise unrelated neurological anomalies, or worse, abnormalities. This is a weighty claim that requires robust evidence.

They followed that preamble with a long list of what they said were mistakes Gliske had made, which they stated would appear in a forthcoming article. 

According to Gliske, the journal had on April 3 informed him of its decision to retract his paper. So the April 14 comments would seem to have been by that point moot.

That retraction notice reads

Based on concerns about this article’s validity, the eNeuro Editorial Board commissioned an in-depth postpublication review of this article by qualified experts in the field and senior members of the Editorial Board. Their consensus is to retract the article “because of major flaws, including circular reasoning, the lack of supporting evidence in the literature, a noncritical use of the available literature, and confusion in terminology. […] The links drawn between at least two of the three networks are not compelling based on the small base of literature cited, especially since this literature is only of structural but not functional nature. Many of the present statements regarding functional implications are sheer conjecture. There is not enough evidence justifying this ‘new’ theory and how it would actually advance the field.” The full rereview synthesis statement is available online as Extended Data.

eNeuro’s editor-in-chief, Christophe Bernard, did not respond to a request for comment. [See update at end of post.]

Gliske sent us a link to a blog post he has written on Medium about the episode. In the post, he writes: 

I disagree with their decision, and view the weaknesses they list as easily fixed and insufficient to merit retraction. It seems that during the first peer review process and the board’s review at the time of the correction, my theory paper was correctly evaluated as a theory paper, as a new way at looking at previous data. To me, the last round appears to have evaluated the paper as if I was trying to prove the theory true. It of course failed that metric, as it is just a theory and proof can only come from new experiments.

Gliske also noted that the post-publication reviewers labeled parts of his work as ‘disrespectful’ and ‘ludicrous’: 

I recognize that it may appear disrespectful to scientifically study whether individuals with gender dysphoria have limitations in their ability to sense their own gender. However, since we do not know the true cause of gender dysphoria, it is not disrespectful.

We can’t comment on the merits of Gliske’s paper as a work of science. But we do feel comfortable saying that the journal appears to have badly botched this case. It admitted reviewing Gliske’s manuscript and accepting the article as a “theory/new concept” piece — one “not based on novel” data but which “serves to question existing dogma.” 

In other words, it can’t fairly hide behind the claim — which it now seems to be making — that it had inadvertently accepted a poorly-done study. Indeed, as eNeuro boasts on its website

At the core of eNeuro is a commitment to provide authors with a fair assessment of their work, with any additional experiments requested thoroughly justified, while maintaining high standards of peer review.

After publication based on that first review, Gliske’s paper then passed — more or less — a second round of reviewing, with a small but significant change, before being executed by a final review. 

So, either the initial round of peer review and editing failed or the second round failed, or both failed. The end result is a journal that looks inept and an author who’s thrown under the bus. 

We see this sort of thing not infrequently. “Wait, all of those people are angry at us. We’d better retract this paper and blame the author for slipping one by us.” At least some journals offer a mea culpa — even if it takes years. The clock starts now.

Update, 5/1/20, 1130 UTC: Bernard, the journal’s editor in chief, forwarded our request for comment to the Society for Neuroscience, which publishes eNeuro. A spokesperson sent us this statement:

The Gliske “A New Theory of Gender Dysphoria Incorporating the Distress, Social Behavioral, and Body-Ownership Networks” paper published in eNeuro in December 2019 has been retracted. Per eN Editor-in-Chief Christophe Bernard, “Upon careful consideration by the eNeuro Editorial Board, I commissioned a thorough re-review of the Gliske paper by three unbiased outside experts to ensure proper procedure for papers on sensitive subjects. As a result of these re-reviews, the reviewers agreed unanimously that the paper should be retracted based on major scientific flaws.” The retraction statement and further reviewer comments can be viewed on eNeuro.

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47 thoughts on “Journal retracts paper on gender dysphoria after 900 critics petition”

  1. Clearly the article passed peer-review. The issue is that the article contradicted the “central tenet” of transgenderness. The transgender lobby is a well-organized body of bullies, who do not act in a manner consistent with science. There are other papers which question transgender “theory”, and which the transgender lobby has also succeeded in sequestering temporarily or cancelling entirely. They have succeeded in perverting science from an objective discipline to one in which the concepts of one group, which are entirely unsupported by evidence, are forced on science writ large by pressure tactics. Certainly the history of suppression of ideas by political and religious authorities is not a good one.

    1. Entirely? I suggest you take a look at the December 2017 issue of National Geographic (and the cited published research). There is indeed evidence of atypical sexual differentiation in utero, XX individuals that present as male and vice-versa, complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, and more. Legitimate researchers rarely use terms like “entirely”.

      And you know well that peer review is imperfect and does not confer final authority. See “MMR Vaccine and Autism” by A. Wakefield.

      1. Exactly what do you think differences of sexual development (DSDs) have to do with gender identities?

      2. Although your comment has nothing to do with gender dysphoria or transgender issues I would like to point out that “typical” or “atypical” phenotypic characteristics (secondary sex characteristics) are entirely irrelevant to whether an individual is a male person or a female person.

        Whether one is male or female is determined at fertilization (prior to physical formation of an embryo) by the presence of the SRY [aka sex determining region Y/testis-determining factor] which directs male development or absence of the SRY gene directs female development. Again, there is one of two possibilities the SRY is either present which will initiate male development or it is absent and will proceed to female development.

        At some point during gestation a number of factors can lead to the rare occurrence of a disorder of sexual development— this however, does not retroactively change whether this embryo or fetus is male or female.

        For example, a male with androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) can only metabolize androgens to varying degrees. In the event that androgen receptivity is significant in the formation of male genitalia, androgen insensitivity syndrome often causes malformations. However, a male with a disorder of sexual development who might have physical abnormalities or “atypical” male sex characteristics is still entirely male (not less male nor are they a bit of both male & female as gender identity activists crudely suggest).

        Quite simply: every person to exist has been either male or female— not a bit of both or neither, but one or the other.

        Disorders of sexual development exist and those afflicted by any of these rare medical conditions along with their advocates have been drowned out by activist organizations that have appropriated the word “intersex” as a label for their pseudo-political identity and continue to push misinformation unnecessarily stigmatizing DSDs.

    2. “Clearly the article passed peer review.”

      Are you aware of what website you’re on?

    3. Well, this is what happens when we accept the idea that only trans gender people are qualified to comment on the phenomenon of trans genderism. There’s no other field I know of with such a requirement. But I’m sure there’s no conflict of interests here or anything.

      1. Hi, I read the article because I want information, not because I am against the author. Not being able to read Mr Glyske’s paper, I can’t comment on its content above what is available in the article.
        The report appears to indicate that trans people are ill in some way. That was the medical profession’s view for a long time. The same was once true of left handed people. Most of us just want to be able to live our lives in peace and freedom, and let the researchers do their own thing, as long as they don’t try to take our freedom away. Basic human stuff. With all the talk of binary, non-binary and so on, everyone seems to forget that society is largely binary and we all have to fit in somehow.

  2. I have to largely agree with the first commenter. I’m a leftist politically, but a scientifically and philosophically skeptical lefist.

  3. I agree 100% with Dr. Thompson’s comments. Over the past number of years, ideology appears to have trumped science with respect to gender-related phenomena. (Mental) health professionals, academics, scientists, educators, policy makers and others seem to kowtow to a small but extremely vocal and very well-organized group of “activists” whose demands are entirely self-serving and, at times, unreasonable. How many more fields will be overtaken in such a manner?

  4. Sounds like an ideological fight to me.

    A physicist turned neurologist whose work is mainly using computational approaches to work on epilepsy and sleep publishes on gender dysphoria. An LGBTQ+ activist and neuroendocrinologist who works with animal models leads a charge to retract the paper.

    Neither of these people actually study gender dysphoria. Neither of them have put people with gender dysphoria in an MRI or sent them a questionnaire. Just another day in the culture wars.

  5. This is not “another day in the culture wars”. When the opinions of bullies is used to retract publications, we are into another level. And I know for certain that the persons who signed that petition did not all do so honestly. I have myself signed it two times using false names. That’s the problem with petition science. On the intertubes, no one knows that you’re a dog, and on petitions, no one knows who you are or why you signed. Similarly, when you comment anonymously, your comment is of little value or interest.

    1. The trans lobby has been doing this for years. Remember rapid onset gender dysphoria in PLOS? It’s not right, but it is unfortunately a normal part of the culture wars.

      It sets a bad precedent too. Not being liked by vocal activists is not one of COPE’s criteria for retracting articles. Especially since its article type “Theory/New Concept” suggests it shouldn’t be considered as reliable or authoritative as a review from established experts. I don’t think it was the best science, but there was no misconduct of any kind in this article’s publication. Its retraction is pure politics.

  6. Is there a way to view to the original paper? I’d think it would be good if we could all read what he had to say without the censorship.

  7. “Thrown under the bus” suggests that the author is blameless, or at least is being sacrificed to protect the interests of others who are equally blameworthy.

    By this logic, ALL retractions are ‘throwing the author under the bus” and this whole blog and project is based on a conceptual error.

    Science, generally, and science publishing, is having a very hard time dealing with the idea that their subjects of study have rights and opinions, and that ethical considerations might limit the direction and scale of arguments, the construction of problems and experiments.

    There are a lot of “lobbies” in science, including the arrogant presumption that expertise is fungible and above politics, and that science is somehow separate from the people which it studies.

    1. “Science, generally, and science publishing, is having a very hard time dealing with the idea that their subjects of study have rights and opinions, and that ethical considerations might limit the direction and scale of arguments, the construction of problems and experiments.”

      This is purely an ideas paper, it has no “subjects” (participants) nor does it suggest limiting rights in any way.

  8. In the 5th quotation, there’s a reference to “(Ashley, 2021)”.

    Is it really citing an article in the future?

    1. It’s an article accepted in a journal and scheduled for “offical” publication in an issue with a 2021 date. Some journals have a long lead time between acceptance, advanced access, and official publication. It looks weird but is fairly common.

  9. Yet another blow for freedom of speech, effected by ‘transgender’ bullies. How dare they complain that a defect that affects only 0.0-whatever % of the population be called an ‘abnormality’, when it so obviously is one?! How ridiculous to complain of ‘clinical recommendations which lack any basis in clinical practice’ when nothing can be put into practice until someone recommends it! This is the twisted, back-to-front nonsense that we have come to expect will pass for logic in a diseased mind. People say that there is no helping people who will not help themselves, and how true this is of ‘gender’ worshippers; every time someone tries to find a solution to their anti-social mental problems, they refuse any help, preferring instead to resort to silencing any would-be helpers.

    1. Freedom of speech? This is a peer reviewed journal. If my paper gets retracted for, say, duplicating western blots, I can’t cry “freedom of speech”

    2. “every time someone tries to find a solution to their anti-social mental problems”

      Sometimes the solution to problems is to allow people to be who they are instead of forcing them to be who they are not, and that includes forcing them to undergo medical interventions or clinical treatments that would fundamentally change who they are.

  10. I think this should actually be a nominee for the “Doing the Right Thing” award. Clearly, the first set of peer reviewers were negligent to let such a fundamentally flawed paper through. At least, they made a mistake; no person or system is perfect, and we shouldn’t pretend that peer review is infallible. Instead of doubling down on a bad, damaging paper, the journal admitted the error and retracted the paper.

    The fact that previous commenters have had to resort to ad hominem attacks on some amorphous “lobby” (instead of defending the actual contents of the retracted paper) shows how weak their case is.

    1. I fail to see how this would in fact help the transgender community. Many people would not have heard about this paper if it hadn’t been retracted. By retracting it, there is now the appearance that only accepted ideas will be allowed to be published. Regardless of the faults of this paper, many people will take this view of the situation. As a gay person, I certainly have no problem with researchers considering different possible causes of same sex attraction. This may include causes that go against what I’d like to believe.

      Also, do you believe that the same standards are being applied to less controversial subjects, or should we hold papers that cover sensitive issues to a higher standard? In the past, homosexuality was considered to be an illness, which is reflected in the literature from the time. If academics weren’t able to question the prevailing view of that time, would we have made any progress on LGBTQ acceptance?

  11. From what I see here, the paper in question was far from what could be called a study OR a theory. From the author’s own admission — “To me, the last round appears to have evaluated the paper as if I was trying to prove the theory true. It of course failed that metric, as it is just a theory and proof can only come from new experiments.” — this paper did not describe an actual THEORY, but instead, a bare HYPOTHESIS. Theory is derived from experiment, and seeks to prove the hypothesis. If this paper came BEFORE the experiments, and did not seek to prove the point, then it does not describe a theory, but only the hypothesis to be so proven and BECOME a theory.

    This is, sadly, not an uncommon problem in science today. Too many “scientists” do not know what the scientific method properly is, they simply have some pet idea they want to espouse. They aren’t scientists, they are philosophers. Not that there’s anything wrong with a philosopher, save that they are just a scientist without thumbs, to paraphrase Robert Heinlein.

    To many, “science” isn’t about experiment and repeatability to prove a hypothesis into a theory, then to revise the theory when new evidence arises, even if that evidence completely disproves the theory over time — instead, to them, it is a political process akin to an election to office. They get or keep highly-paid positions on the basis of how well the electors — the peer-review board — counts up their votes in their favor. If they win, they get the job, the accolades, and most of all, the grant money they plan to apply for.

    I hope I don’t have to say that this is NOT science. This is snake oil salesmanship of the worst possible variety, the kind that leaves damaged persons in its’ wake, people who believed the results, and were savaged by those who put the recommendations therein into effect. Need I point out that “logic” can prove that atom bombs can’t explode, and bumblebees can’t fly? And that all too much damage has been done by so-called scientists creating a cult of personality around a bare observational study that leads to decades of harm, even if their studies are retracted? Case in point, the Andrew Wakefield “autism is caused by MMR vaccine” study, which to this day, even long after it has been categorically proven to be erroneous at best and larcenous at worst, is STILL being cited as the driving force behind the anti-vaccine movement around the globe. And the observational study done by Dr. Ancel Keyes, to supposedly “prove” that dietary saturated fat raises cholesterol which clogs arteries and causes heart disease was not only fatally flawed, but downright fraudulent, given that he cherry-picked the results of that study to give the trend line he claimed…and that EVERY SINGLE clinical study done to prove the validity of the Seven Countries Study proved the exact diametric opposite, that fat was NOT to blame, and that instead, the work of Dr. John Yudkin, linking SUGAR to those same results, was more likely to be correct.

    And, to make matters worse, medical doctors listen to these papers’ conclusions, and base treatment on them. I’ve had a cardiologist not only quote the disproven Framingham study on dietary fat to me, but also to use figures of RELATIVE risk to support his recommendations, and when asked, didn’t even know the DIFFERENCE between relative and absolute risk. This is what “science by consensus” is causing.

    Statistics can be used to prove or disprove anything, and more and more studies cannot be replicated, which shows that they were never tested for replicability or falsifiability AT ALL. This isn’t just irresponsible for a purported scientist, it should be shameful. This isn’t about “lobbies”, it’s about scientific principles and proof. The paper was so badly flawed it should have been roundly mocked, not just retracted…but those who try to establish science by consensus are not much better. is NOT a scientific institute, and should not be treated as one.

    I recommend that anyone who does not understand my points read this article: And watch this video:

    1. There is no such thing as “the proper scientific method.” Maybe read a little more philosophy of science—or some excellent scientists discussing methodology/philosophy (e.g., immunologist Peter Madawar on induction). You have the problem backwards.

      There are also many recent excellent analyses of the weight of evidence in Keyes vs Yudkin (google Nutrition Wonk for one series). Yudkin’s “study,” btw, is largely speculative and it’s no surprise it was ignored.

    2. Isn’t this a bit arguing about words? Knowing that Gliske’s background is in physics, I have no problems with the sentence “it is just a theory and proof can only come from new experiments”. In physics, it is notorious that theory is ahead of experiments by some to some dozens years, so theoretical physicists derive their papers from basic principles, mathematical developments, and lots of coffee, then publish and move on, leaving the field for the experimental physicists to confirm the theory later on. Usually they do confirm, once technology is advanced enough to run the experiments. Higgs boson could be an example here, I personally find the story of Gravity Probe B particularly beautiful.
      It is of course disputable if this workflow applies to the study of transgender people, and I would rather criticise Gliske on that account, than to claim that he doesn’t know what science is and searches for futile glory.

  12. Two of the three reviewers of the original study were clearly out of their depth (Blanchard is basically the Freud of transgender studies). The third one hated the paper. Now, another round of review (by actual trans experts) found that the article doesn’t hold up to scientific standards and was retracted.

    The petition was launched in December, and I have nothing heard about it in the past months, so I doubt there have been many new signatures on the petition. I.e., the petition has nothing to do with the retraction. The retraction happened because the journal had the article reviewed again, and it was caught for the bad science it is.

    Furthermore, the original version of the paper advocated for conversion therapy. I.e., it openly stated that the aim was to align gender identity with the sex trans people were born with. If that doesn’t seem like a bad thing to you (it is not intuitive, I know), consider gays and lesbians. People tried to “cure” homosexuality. Today, we know that that was unscientific, morally wrong and futile. Sexuality is not gender identity, but the same holds true for trans people. You *can’t* cure someone’s gender, and their gender is an essential part of their personality, so even trying to cure it is wrong. What we need is gender-affirming care for trans people. This reasoning was barely removed from the corrected version.

    It was bad science to start with.

    1. The above comment is exceptionally dubious.

      It is quite odd to refer to Blanchard as the “Freud of transgender studies”. What does that even mean? The notion of autogynephilia seems to clearly be a salient idea in understanding why certain heterosexual men adopt feminine stereotypes. Alice Dreger (an intersex right activist) explored the controversy when this notion was applied by Michael Bailey in her book “Galileo’s Middle Finger”.
      You can find lucid testimony from trans-identified males that agrees with the general notion of autogynephilia and explains the complexities behind their atypical distress and relief associated with interventions like surgery.

      The equivocation of “conversion therapy” as applied to sexuality and the vague notion of “gender identity” is incredibly disingenuous and makes no sense. The best evidence we have suggests that most children who experience gender dysphoria desist as they get older. Please do not repeat such naive appeals to emotion.

      1. Both Freud and Blanchard involve a lot of magical thinking and hand waving, that’s why I compare them. I am applauding that you are willing to listen to trans women and trust their testimony, but for every trans woman agreeing with the general notion of autogynephilia, you will find 100 who don’t.

        I furthermore agree that children with gender dysphoria or other trans experiences need to be allowed to fully and freely explore their gender identity, just like other parts of their identify, in a safe environment, without anyone pushing them either way. You do seem to imply that this contradicts my point about conversion therapy, and I don’t think that is the case.

        1. Homosexual trans-identified males certainly aren’t autogynephilles. Where did you get your estimate that only 1 in 100 (presumably only heterosexual) trans-identified males agree they experience something like autogynephilia?

          Here’s some lucid testimony:

          You do not acknowledge that the vague construct of gender identity ‘converts’ on its own in most children the best we know. This is very different from sexuality. The ‘watchful waiting’ approach is often smeared with notions of ‘conversion’ (see the witch hunt of Zucker). Children should not be deceived about the fact that they are (excluding about 0.02% of the population) either male or female and that there is no way that can be changed; basic facts are not ‘conversion’.

      2. The term “conversion therapy” is now hopelessly confused. Does it mean “make gay persons straight”? Does it mean “gender affirming care for GD persons”? Does it mean “stopping conversion for GD persons?” It’s being used as a “slur-all” term, but it means so many different things today. Unless it is specified WHAT SPECIFIC TYPE of conversion therapy is being discussed, it’s not useful.

    2. “You *can’t* cure someone’s gender”

      Given how much more there is to know about the brain generally, not to mention gender dysphoria in particular, I question whether we know enough to make that statement. And I question it as a person with gender dysphoria.

      1. Hey Chris, yeah, I get what you’re saying. I agree in some sense: given enough time (say 50-100 years), I don’t think it’s ~metaphysically impossible~ to come up with ways to change someone’s gender (or sexuality, for what’s worth). So in that sense, my claim was surely too strong and too simplified.

        On the other hand, “curing” implies a disorder, and “disorder” imllies suffering. What’s causing suffering is not someone’s gender, nor a gender that doesn’t align with the sex assigned at birth, but rather societal factors (rejection of trans people, beauty standards). So I wouldn’t wanna use the word “curing”, even if we were talking about changing someone’s gender.

        Gender dysphoria is of course different from trans-ness (I have my own experiences with that, in a way that, I suspect, many cis people have), and I think there is some merit to exploring the bases of gender dysphoria, yes.

        Basic research is a great thing. But this paper was not, and, as per post-publication review, the experts seem to agree that the paper wouldn’t advance the field in any relevant way.

        1. “Gender dysphoria is of course different from trans-ness”

          I’m not sure what you’re referring to here. It’s only been two years since I decided to stop transitioning (my PTSD from a separate trauma caused the process of transitioning to make my life worse, not better), but I guess I’ve missed something? I sought to transition in order to resolve my gender dysphoria.

          “What’s causing suffering is not someone’s gender, nor a gender that doesn’t align with the sex assigned at birth, but rather societal factors (rejection of trans people, beauty standards). ”

          Are you saying that there *isn’t* any observed difference in the brains of trans and cis people? Or just that it’s irrelevant?

    3. Those two things are not related at all.

      People who do not feel themselves to be the sex of their physical body are experiencing something inside themselves that is out of sync with their own biology. That is entirely different to being attracted to one’s own sex. (If you think it isn’t, step away from the keyboard and go and mix with a lot more human beings).

      Chemically and/or surgically altering one’s body is drastic, and potentially dangerous. But if you can choose to transition your body, so to speak, then why shouldn’t someone be able to choose to transition their brain if it can be done more safely or as safely as transitioning the body. That chemically/surgically altering one’s body is nowadays done so speedily and without much inquisitiveness into the causes of the phenomenon is not responsible medical practice.

      I agree that ‘conversion’ immediately raises the hackles, and for very good reasons. But there is still benefit to studying these phenomena, and if it’s possible to safely ‘transition’ while keeping the body’s birth-sex, given how drastic and painful those procedures are, that option should be left for the sufferer to decide, not to shouty ranty types on the internet, or lobbyist-activists, or people who are on a mission.

  13. I’ll be happy to consider and credit the trans-gender lobby when their assertions as to motive and status of work demonstratively submit to the same science rigor expected of any other characterization of author, journal, review board, motivation, accuracy, and evidence supporting their statements and pronouncements. Today I didn’t see any such effort, and so understandably wonder why that is the case. Hopefully some day they may decide to try, as certainly they would be happy to do.

    Anything criticising or appraising scientific truth must meet the same scientific tests of such truth.

  14. “Rather than developing hypotheses for the neuroscience of gender based on a dispassionate review of the evidence, Gliske (2019) reverses the scientific method and starts with an assumption that transgender modality (Ashley, 2021) constitutes a pathology.”

    And the current political view is that transgender modality could not possibly constitute a pathology. Bias prevents people from seeing it is of the same coin. However, it is hard to argue any process that causes significant distress that is relieved by means of therapy – pharmaceutical, surgical, or otherwise – absolutely cannot be a pathological process.

    The truth is that this field does not have a lot of data or science going on, one way or another. The idea that you can be a gender that you are not born into is a radical concept that is both new and unproven. It may be true, it may be false, but let us not fool ourselves into thinking that this claim has any scientific evidence moreso than the contrary.

  15. I noted that a commentator above referenced and linked to my essay on the existence and nature of autogynephilia found in ‘late transitioning’ heterosexual (based on natal sex) transsexuals. For that, thank you. However, it was dissappointed that the link to my essay, written within days of this paper in question being published, was not included. So I am providing it here:

    This paper had severe problems which I enumerated. This was NOT based on disliking it’s conclusion but based on the author’s use of evidence that wasn’t. Further, the paper attempted to provide a unifying etiology for the two types of transsexuals without explaining how they could be so clinically and socially different, save by weak hand-waving that explained nothing.

    A few other remarks need be made here. No, Blanchard is NOT “the Freud of transgender”. He, along with many others, explored the nature of transsexuals and though he was NOT the one that first noted that there were two independent type of transwomen, with two completely independent etiologies, he did provide us with the clearest definition, description, and label of the underlying psychological etiology of one of them: autogynephilia. The two type taxonomy that developed out of this line of research is well supported by the data (unlike the retracted paper)… but very unpopular among the autogynephilic transwomen… thus making the accusation that it was the “trans lobby” that wanted to shut down this paper… which actually would have, if it was right, have proven Blanchard and the Two Type Taxonomy to have been wrong, and thus would have been WELCOMED by these transwomen.

    But, as was rightly concluded by those who provided the later, post-publication, review. Gliske’s conjecture and his attempt at supporting it was flawed and should never have been published.

    To review the data that supports our current understanding of the Two Type Taxonomy, please read:

    1. Cheers Kay for your comment.
      I chose the earlier essay so that the reader could find their way to your more recent posts. I too noticed what you did:

      “Sadly for Gliske’s argument, this effect on areas of the BNST (BSTc & INAH3) was shown to be purely an artifact of these patients being treated for gender dysphoria using female hormones for years”

      This zombie “fact” keeps hovering around everywhere despite never having been further supported and somehow counter to basic sense (what other complex behavior can be attributed to a part of the brain this way?) at this point.

  16. It disappoints me to see so many scientists in the comments being openly hostile against the transgender community and the LGBT+ community at large. We still have a long way to go.

    1. Scientists examine evidence.

      The evidence for the reality of the transgender delusion is non-existent. Evidence which purports to support transgender notions (brain activation mostly) is cherry-picked, statistically highly dubious, and based on studies with miniscule sample sizes. Transgender activists oppose many types of research, including the prevalence of desistance and alternative explanations for GD. In particular, due to transgender activist opposition, long-term studies into the outcomes of surgical interventions are almost non-existent, save for Swedish population cohort studies, which are increasingly dated.

      There is considerable evidence, stretching over a century, for the schizophrenia disorder. Transgender delusion fits under schizophrenia. The reality of the “male brain in female body” is absent in terms of evidence.

      As a scientist, I believe evidence. There is little to none supporting the transgender delusion.

    2. There is no ‘LGBT+ community’, there is no ‘transgender community’.

      Your use of stereotypes and clichés isn’t useful to anyone.

  17. “Gliske (2019) reverses the scientific method and starts with an assumption that transgender modality (Ashley, 2021) constitutes a pathology. ”

    If you feel your body and yourgender don’t match up so strongly that you are disordered and cannot function, or commit self harm without medical treatment, how is that not a pathology? Is this newspeak? The emporer’s new clothes?

  18. I cannot comment on the rights or wrongs of the writer’s methodology as I haven’t actually read anything relating to it except the piece as well as a cursory summary elsewhere.

    However, it reflects poorly on an peer-reviewed journal if A]it second-guesses their own peer review model, at any point, sufficiently enough to necessitate a retraction (with the evident proviso that virtually every theory paper of quality will ultimately end up being ignored, refuted or becoming the basis, by some degree, for a subsequent “proof”…this is after all, central to the “scientific method”); B]it admits “public perception”, taste, conflict with current ideologies, or any reactions not firmly rooted in scientific criticism, to a decision-making process which ultimately causes a reviewed paper to be retracted.

    Retraction by a journal editorial board is the ultimate rebuke from that journal and should only be predicated on errors in experiment, research, data gathering, data interpretation, inappropriate treatment of cited material.

    To cause a peer reviewed paper to be retracted because of an online petition is a monumental dereliction of duty and especially so, when it is considered that the article was resubmitted, reviewed again, but with apparently few substantive amendments.

    If public perception were a valid rational to reject scientific, theoretical papers, then ground-breaking, brave, far-reaching but contentious research would never see the light of day for fear of upsetting a vocal aggressive lobbying group….with, perhaps, “On the Origin of Species” dying with the author?

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