Trans-Research and its Lack of Ethics

For this assignment, I chose the topic of childhood research on young people who identify as transgender. One of the primary things noticed in reading about this subject on a day-to-day basis is that the perspective never seems fair and balanced. Instead, it carries a celebratory nature about it. If authors address any negative aspects of the process, it is to point blame to outside persons or institutions. Moreover, it has been noticed that research generally avoids the topic of those who realize the mistake made and reaffirm the Lord’s design (Butler & Hutchinson, 2020, p. 45). It should be argued that the research done by Matt Leonard regarding the positive experience children who identify as transgender have is ethically lacking.

This can be argued from three points. First, research should be random to remove any bias or subject interest and provide a sample that aligns with the general public (Bhattacherjee, 2012, p. 38). However, Mr. Leonard clearly states that the three people recruited to provide ‘insight’ into this subject matter “were recruited from an LGBT youth group” (Leonard, 2022, p. 47). Secondly, the author openly admits to “interpretation” of the conversations had with the subjects (Leonard, 2022, p. 48). This is worrisome since the “descriptions” the author utilizes are “not themselves free of interpretation” (Dahlstrom, 2010, p. 15).

Moreover, science and research have a mandate to ensure that risks to children are limited to the most critical form of research, such as preventing or curing physiological disorders and conditions (Field & Behrman, 2004, 114–15). Nonetheless, the author of the journal article lauds and celebrates the children, who have not yet come to understand the finality and permeance of their actions, who have or are willing to, in his words, “assessment referrals” to the British NHS (Leonard, 2022, p. 45). In more indictive and blunt language, this means young boys undergoing the surgies known as vaginoplasty or for young girls metoidioplasty and mastectomy. This dark celebration is based on research that he admits is “qualitative” and based on “semi-structured interviews” versus hard science (Leonard, 2022, p. 44). Even more, condemning is his self-admittance to providing shoddy, at best, research when he states that the recruitment of participants from the LGBT Youth Group “might” have ensured that “participants were more likely to be aware of and to actively engage in self-advocacy and the advocacy of others within their environments, which might have influenced the findings of the research (Leonard, 2022, p. 54).

To conclude, the author of this article finds his ethics lacking, his morals missing, and his need for a Savior desperate. He extols, promotes, and normalizes the abuse of children today, known as ‘gender-affirmation surgery.’ However, he is not the only one responsible for engaging in this kind of behavior. It is now common practice to present this as usual and celebratory. These people argue that any problems that the child, or for that matter, the adult, experience afterwords is not due to the medical community not providing the therapy and aid needed but because cruel individuals and institutions did not do their requirement in affirming a lie.

References:

Bhattacherjee, A. (2012). Social Science Research: Principles, Methods, and Practices (2nd ed.). Scholar Commons, University of South Florida Libraries.

Butler, C., & Hutchinson, A. (2020). Debate: The pressing need for research and services for gender desisters/detransitioners. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 25(1), 45–47. https://doi.org/10.1111/camh.12361

Dahlstrom, D. O., & Hermburg, K. (2010, September 13). Truth and Interpretation (dissertation). (P. Vandevelde, Ed.)Discerning Truths Hermeneutically. Boston College. Retrieved August 17, 2022, from https://www.bu.edu/philo/files/2019/09/d-Truth-and-Interpretation.pdf.

Field, M. J., & Behrman, R. E. (Eds.). (2004). Ethical Conduct of Clinical Research Involving Children. National Academies Press.

Leonard, M. (2022). Exploring the positive school experiences of transgender children and young people. Educational & Child Psychology, 39(1), 44–59.

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