Skip to main content Accessibility

Timeline: Building a Pseudoscience Network

A brief history of key events in the development of the contemporary anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network.

2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022 | 2023


March 17

4th Wave Now online: One of three websites that helped shape the research agenda of the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network. 4WN and Transgender Trend are based in the U.K.

June 4

Ontario, Canada, bans conversion therapy.

 A crowd celebrates outside the United States Supreme Court.
On the morning of June 26, 2015, outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., a crowd celebrates the decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. (Credit: Wikimedia)

June 26

Obergefell v. Hodges: Supreme Court decision that legalized marriage equality in the U.S.

Nov. 18

Transgender Trend online: One of three websites that helped shape the research agenda of the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network. Transgender Trend and 4th Wave Now are based in the U.K.

Dec. 15

CAMH, Zucker gender clinic, closes: The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health was a Toronto clinic led by Dr. Kenneth Zucker, a psychologist.


March 14

Youth Trans Critical Professionals online: One of three websites that helped shape the research agenda of the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network.

May 13

Obama administration education guidance issued: The guidance clarified that Title IX, banning sex discrimination, also applies to transgender students.

July 2

Recruitment for Dr. Lisa Littman’s ROGD Study begins: Littman’s Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria study is the centerpiece of many anti-trans claims.

Aug. 11

ADF funds WOLF lawsuit against Obama administration guidance: Women’s Liberation Front received a grant from ADF for its efforts to overturn the Obama administration’s nondiscrimination guidance protecting transgender students.

Aug. 24

ADF warns of ROGD: In an email to supporters, Alliance Defending Freedom began sharing information about ROGD within weeks of recruitment beginning for Littman’s study.

Nov. 9

Donald Trump wins presidential election.


Protesters rally outside of Stonewall Inn in New York City.
People take part in a rally outside the Stonewall Inn, a landmark of the gay rights movement, on Feb. 23, 2017, in New York, demanding to maintain protection for transgender and gender-nonconforming people. (Credit: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

Feb. 22

Trump administration repeals Obama administration's LGBTQ education guidance.


Parents of ROGD Kids online: An online group that centers the rejection of trans kids by parents, a key leader Sharon Beck, is the spouse of the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine’s treasurer.

Oct. 6

Dr. Lisa Marchiano’s ROGD study published: Dr. Lisa Marchiano published a paper in Psychological Perspectives describing rapid onset gender dysphoria equating transgender identity among teenagers with a “psychic panic.”

October 13-15

Values Voter Summit Meg Kilgannon’s “divide & conquer” strategy: Hosted by Family Research Council Action, the summit was the first public articulation of the trans-focused political strategy.


Washington State Governor Jay Inslee speaks at the Washington State Capitol.
Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, at podium, speaks before signing a bill banning conversion therapy with national leader Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin, fifth from left, Equal Rights Washington chair Monisha Harrell and Washington state Sen. Marko Liias, far right, at the Washington State Capitol on March 28, 2018, in Olympia, Washington. (Credit: Stephen Brashear/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)

March 28

State of Washington bans conversion therapy.


Pediatric & Adolescent Gender Dysphoria Working Group formed: A working group of researchers that helped formalize many of the connections that had only existed online in the pages of 4th Wave Now, Transgender Trend and Youth Trans Critical Professionals.

Aug. 16

Littman’s ROGD study published: The study has since become a centerpiece of anti-trans legal challenges.


Our Duty formed in U.K.: The group formed out of a campaign to end gender-affirming care by labeling it “state-sponsored sterilization.”

Dec. 4

ACPeds coalition letter to Trump administration: The anti-LGBTQ hate group American College of Pediatricians’ letter shows a connection between numerous researchers and organizations in the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network.



Rethink Identity Medicine Ethics formed.


Kelsey Coalition formed: An advocacy group key to the Fred Deutsch network that helped spread anti-trans legislation, advised by Dr. Stephen Levine.

Women’s Declaration International launches the “Declaration on Women's Sex-Based Rights:” Articulating anti-trans ideology through a feminist lens, the document has become a model for anti-trans legislation.

Transgender teen Connor Thonen-Fleck speaks at a Durham press conference.
Connor Thonen-Fleck, a transgender 16-year-old who is one of the North Carolinians suing the State Health Plan, speaks at a March 11, 2019, press conference in Durham after the lawsuit was filed. (Credit: Will Doran/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)

March 11

Kadell v. Folwell filed: A lawsuit filed to challenge North Carolina’s exclusion of coverage for gender-confirming health care from the state employee health plan.


Child & Parental Rights Campaign formed: A group led by ADF-allied attorney Vernadette Broyles has taken on several cases challenging trans rights and representing Missouri “whistleblower” Jamie Reed.


Bell v. Tavistock complaint filed (U.K.): A U.K. case that temporarily resulted in a suspension of gender-affirming care. The decision was eventually overturned, but the initial ruling relied on evidence presented by researchers in the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network.

Gender Health Query formed.

Shadow coalition lobbying against gender-affirming care: As first exposed by Mother Jones, the coalition includes many members of the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network.



Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine formed.


Aerial perspective of the Idaho Statehouse interior featuring the House of Representatives.
The Idaho House of Representatives passed the nation’s first transgender sports ban, barring transgender women from playing on women’s sports teams sponsored by public schools, colleges and universities. The law, dubbed House Bill 500 in court filings, doesn’t affect transgender men playing on men’s sports teams. (Credit: Keith Ridler/AP Photo)

U.K. High Court grants permission to review in Bell v. Tavistock.


Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism formed.

March 30

Idaho passes first transgender athlete ban, drafted by Alliance Defending Freedom.

Monday, June 15

Aimee Stephens sits in a wheelchair outside of the Supreme Court building
Aimee Stephens, in wheelchair, waits outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., on the day of her case was before the Justices, who determined that LGBTQ+ people are protected under federal sex discrimination law. (Credit: Wikimedia)

G.R. & R.G. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC decided: The case determined that LGBTQ+ people are protected under federal sex discrimination law.


International Partners for Ethical Care formed.

Nov. 7

Joe Biden wins presidential election.


International Association of Therapists of Desisters and Detransitioners formed.



Institute for Comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Research formed.

Feb. 22

Promise to America’s Children released: A legislative plan led by Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom, and Family Policy Alliance focused on enacting state-level restrictions on LGBTQ+ rights packaged as part of expanding “parental rights” and “religious freedom.”

March 10

Arkansas passes first gender-affirming care ban, drafted by FRC.


Genspect formed.

Gender Exploratory Therapy Association formed.

Sept. 17

Bell v. Tavistock ruling overturned.

Gender Dysphoria Alliance formed.

Sept. 28

Tingley v. Ferguson filed by ADF: Case challenging the constitutionality of Washington state’s conversion therapy ban.

Cardinal Support Network formed.

Tuesday, Nov. 9

Advocates Protecting Children formed.


Draft World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care, Version 8, released for comment.



WOLF & Independent Women’s Forum launch “Women’s Bill of Rights.”

April 19

Eknes-Tucker v. Ivey filed: Case challenging the constitutionality of Alabama’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors.


Gays Against Groomers formed.

June 2

Florida Generally Accepted Professional Medical Standards (GAPMS) report released, authored by members of Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine and ACPeds.

A group of abortion-rights supporters  at the United States Supreme Court.
A woman clashes with abortion-rights supporters at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. (Credit: iStock)

June 24

Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health decided: Case overturning Roe v. Wade. The law at the heart of the case was drafted with the help of Alliance Defending Freedom and represents a challenged to both reproductive care and bodily autonomy. It has since been cited by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold Tennessee’s ban on gender-affirming care for minors.

Sept. 7

Dekker v. Weida filed: Case challenging the constitutionality of Florida’s rule barring the state’s Medicaid program from covering gender-affirming health care.

Sept. 15

World Professional Association for Transgender Health, Standards of Care, Version 8, published.

Oct. 18

Burgo’s “Beyond WPATH” letter/campaign: Authored by Joseph Burgo, the letter takes aim at the gender-affirming care model and is a key event in the development of the anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscience network as it shows multiple connections between groups in the network.


Project 2025 website online: Heritage Foundation’s plan for a future conservative presidential administration that includes policies based on anti-LGBTQ+ pseudoscientific claims and calls for classifying expressions of LGBTQ+ identity and LGBTQ+ affirmation as pornography and criminalizing their “distribution.”



Open Therapy Institute founded.

May 5

Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism letter to Springer Nature: Letter to the journal opposing retraction of a flawed study by J. Michael Bailey and a pseudonymous co-author claiming support for the ROGD hypothesis.

June 16

Genspect’s Killarney Group forms.

Sept. 2

Transgender Trend, Genspect letter to U.K. prime minister: Letter calling for limits on inclusive education in the U.K. and suggesting LGBTQ+-inclusive curriculum is harmful to children.

Sept. 27

ACPeds launches “Biological Integrity” project.

Oct. 9-12

Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine Conference in New York.

Nov. 4-5

Genspect Conference in Denver.

Read more: Combating Anti-LGBTQ+ Pseudoscience Through Accessible Informative Narratives