The National Institute of Health has announced that, thanks to a $2 billion spending increase approved by the Republican-led Senate, they'll be handing out a number of quarter-million dollar grants to scientists studying "transgender issues."
The NIH isn't specific about how many grants they're considering doling out — only that they'll reward any application they deem "meritorious" — but in an application released last week, the agency says it will offer up to $200,000 per grant for programs slated to begin in 2018.
According to the grant announcement:
This funding opportunity announcement (FOA) calls for exploratory or developmental research on the health of transgender and gender nonconforming people. Transgender and gender nonconforming people encompass individuals whose gender identity differs from the sex on their original birth certificate, including individuals who are making or who have made a transition from being identified as one gender to the other, as well as individuals who are questioning their gender identity, who identify with more than one gender, or whose gender expression varies significantly from what is traditionally associated with or typical for that sex.
There is some controversy in the gender studies community that could prove detrimental to the NIH's efforts: although "transgender" typically refers to someone who switches between the binary genders — male and female — some scholars reject the so-called "gender binary," and consider anyone "transgender" if they are transitioning between any number of identified genders.
It's not clear whether the NIH takes this into account, but they do offer a few suggestions as to which programs they might be interested in funding. Proposed research topics include, "understanding the impact of stigma," "minority stress," "diversity in gender identity and expression," transgender employment, and incarceration."
They also suggest that more research is needed when it comes to transgender partner relationships, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in the transgender community, the long term impacts of gender reassignment surgery at varying ages, and "research on the impact of brain development of hormonal therapy and surgical interventions such as removal of testes and ovaries."
According to the Washington Free Beacon, which keeps track of feckless NIH spending, these grants are merely par for the course. The agency has already spent more than two million dollars on "transgender issues" — and most of those studies certainly don't seem meritorious.
In the past, studies deemed meritorious by the NIH have included a study seeking to give jailed transwomen "gender affirmation" that has now cost taxpayers $675,715, and a $393,790 studying transwomen in Uganda.
The agency has also awarded $43,576 to a researcher who believes having a "vagina does not equal woman" to study the health status of transgender individuals.
A study to find out why gay men and transgender individuals get syphilis in Peru has now cost $1,082,833. Another NIH grant to research how transwomen use Facebook has cost $351,608.
A recent study is examining whether "gender norms" make LGBTQ people drink, for $438,699.