Um, dude. No. Nope! Negative. No.
In 1993 the NIH had to add guidelines to include — not just ‘include more of’ but include at all — women in clinical trials. They’ve had to update those rules as recently as 2001: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/funding/women_min/guidelines_amended_10_2001.htm
This is not because of who volunteers. If you’ll notice, clinical trials are usually very specific about the demographics that they are recruiting and the demo you are absolutely most likely to see recruited are ‘healthy, average weight men aged 18-34’. As far as trans men go, if you don’t think that the medical community at large will not see them as physically or psychologically ‘healthy’ in a lot of cases — if only because they may have had major surgery recently, or worse yet because there’s a shit ton of bias and people are assholes — you haven’t worked with the larger medical community.
I mean, like, you’re wrong. You’re statistically, scientifically wrong and lots of people are worried about this issue. I mean, a very brief overview of papers from Google Scholar that I dug up in under 10 minutes:
- A paper that is oft-cited was published in 2001 to note that the guidelines don’t help and clinical trials are still largely, deliberately white and male: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/15246090152636514
- Study from 2004 on race, sex, and gender representation in cancer trials: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=198896
- Article from 2005 on racial bias in testing and trials: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/112/23/3654.full
- Study from 2011 on the difficulties in even getting consistent reporting on representation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3058895/
I mean like, holy shit, you’re wrong, and the idea that young white dudes are being kind and generous and volunteering to save everyone through being test subjects has absolutely zero basis in reality.
(Edited to clean up links & formatting)
Sooooo I got my BA in psychology and my MS in experimental psychology (with a triple focus: statistics, social psychology, and neuroscience) and then I worked in a series of medical research units in the academic world, working my way up to the position of research manager of a multi-million dollar NIH-funded unit (at the tender age of 27).
I left that for a 12% raise at a position with the Human Subjects Division of my university, which is a national and to some extent world leader in medical and psychosocial research. (Depends on the subject area.) In case you’re not familiar with the research lingo, that’s the department that works with and as a part of the Institutional Review Boards that are directly responsible for reviewing proposed studies for ethical and scientific rigor. I learned the federal regulations governing research with human subjects up, down, forwards, and backwards. (If you’d like to know which subparts of 45 CFR 46 govern research with pregnant women or prisoners, for instance, I’m more than happy to direct you to them.)
I left that job for medical school, after establishing a track record of damn near unprecedented productivity. I’m a first-year medical student at the moment. I’ve worked on more than a dozen studies, some of which I designed and conducted myself. I’ve spent the last eleven years of my life in the research milieu. There is literally no part of the current research world in the US that I am not at least somewhat familiar with.
And I tell you all of that to tell you this: the fact that cis straight white men are studied to the near-total exclusion of everyone else has fuck-all to do with their inherent philanthropy. It has everything to do with the perception of maleness as the norm in medicine, the alleged unpredictability of women because of biological cycling associated with hormones, the fear of testing on pregnant people because fetuses are perceived as more valuable than sick women, the access white men have traditionally had to the institutions of higher education where most medical testing is done because of their color, gender, and socioeconomic status, and the belief that men are simply worth more.
It is still typical in animal studies to see exclusively male test subjects used. In the instances where female test subjects are used, it’s usually either because of their ability to bear pups or because their ovaries have been removed to prevent the unpredictability of hormone cycling. Which is lazy science. It is not that difficult to track menstrual cycling and compensate for it as a variable. The (mostly male) researchers who design and conduct these studies, who are funded by the (mostly white male) gatekeepers of funding agencies, simply don’t want to. And I doubt you could argue that male rats do it out of the goodness of their hearts.
I asked a male professor about this at one point in my undergraduate education—the practice of oophorectomizing and hysterectomizing female rats and mice. He was confused, though after a moment’s thought he saw my point. No one had ever challenged this to him before.
Which is one tiny part of why I will mentor the everloving shit out of any women, trans people of any gender, queer people, and people of color who come my way. If we don’t get a seat at the table, our voices will continue to be ignored. Forever. And the science will continue to be shoddy, and medication doses will never be calibrated properly for women, or during pregnancy, or for trans youth.
So what I’m saying is, if I have any followers or if this reaches anyone who wants to talk about developing a career in the sciences, feel free to send me a message. (Not as a reply to this, I likely won’t check it.) I love science. I love its weird nitty-gritty and its ugly underbelly and its bitter infighting as much as I love its glorious breakthroughs. And I love to give advice.
My advice to that anon fuckface is to take a long walk off a short pier and hug an octopus.
FURTHER INFORMATION AND PROOF I FOLLOW A LOT OF SERIOUSLY EXCELLENT HUMANS.