Riittakerttu Kaltiala

This content was last updated May 14, 2024, 3:10 a.m. UTC

Riitakerttu Kaltiala, also known as Riitakerttu Kaltiala-Heino, is a Finnish professor of adolescent psychiatry who opposes gender affirming care for minors. She is most known as a leading anti-trans expert, often repeating the claim in non-Finnish media that youth are more likely to desist being transgender than not.

She has appeared as an expert witness in Florida concerning bans on gender affirming care, which she spoke on positively. Kaltiala has also appeared on the anti-trans podcast Gender: A Wider Lens.

Emerging discussions raise concern for post-pubertally abruptly emerging cross-gender identification (“rapid onset”), particularly among biological girls, suggesting a role for intensive media influences and generous group validation as shaping the understanding of, and giving new meanings to, the body discomfort common among female adolescents at large 

From Kaltiala et al. for DovePress, October 24, 2017

Education and Credentials

Kaltiala earned her M.D. from the University of Tampere in 1989, eventually going on to earn her Bachelor of Science in social science in 2000. She is a specialist in psychiatry, adolescent psychiatry, and in forensic psychiatry. She has worked in various different capacities as a psychiatry professor, such as as an assistant professor and adjunct professor. She has also professionally worked with young people seeking help with their gender identity.

Kaltiala is a member of the Finnish Psychiatric Association and the Finnish Association for Adolescent Medicine. She currently works as a professor of adolescent psychiatry at the University of Tampere, as well as the director of the university’s Department of Adolescent Psychiatry.

Core Activism

Kalitala’s anti-trans work includes her playing a role as one of the leading figures in academia opposing gender affirming care for minors. She has been acknowledged as an opinion leader by her peers, publishing dozens of scientific articles relating to gender identity.

She has promoted a variation of the concept rapid-onset gender dysphoria in her research and professional discussions.

Kaltiala has written critically of transgender parents being able to transition, citing the harms that this could have on the children instead. In this same article, she also opposes gender affirming care for youth.

Kaltiala has been positively cited by various conservative media for misleading statements in which she claims that the majority of trans kids desist in their gender identity. She has been cited positively in the Daily Mail, Binary, Genspect, and the New York Post. She has also appeared on the Gender: A Wider Lens podcast with Sasha Ayad and Stella O’ Malley.

Kaltiala has appeared in attendance at a meeting with the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine and the U.S. HHS/OCR. She spoke about Finland’s approach to gender affirming care, claiming a lack of evidence for youth to safely transition.

She has been cited positively by Leor Sapir in Tablet Magazine and in a viral Twitter thread.

One anecdote Kaltiala is known for is her claim that many transmasculine youth went to her discussing how they imagined themselves as a male wolf in their childhood. Kaltiala uses this as evidence of adolescents fictionalizing their past to try and get into gender affirming care.

Court or Legislative Appearances

On October 28, 2022, both the Florida Board of Medicine and the Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine held a meeting to try and advance the Ron DeSantis ban on gender affirming care for minors. Kaltiala appeared as an expert witness in this meeting, in which she supported such a ban.

Among the things she stated include a repetition of the myth that most children desist in being transgender, promotions of ‘exploratory therapy,’ and that those with mental illnesses cannot be transgender due to said illnesses ‘impairing’ identity.

Further resources:

Contact The Trans Data Library

Contact Us


[('DefinedTerm', 'desistance'), ('DefinedTerm', 'expert witness'), ('Place', 'Finland'), ('DefinedTerm', 'Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria'), ('DefinedTerm', 'professor'), ('DefinedTerm', 'research'), ('DefinedTerm', 'mental health'), ('DefinedTerm', 'publishing'), ('DefinedTerm', 'podcasting'), ('DefinedTerm', 'gender-affirming care'), ('DefinedTerm', 'exploratory therapy'), ('DefinedTerm', 'legislative testimony'), ('DefinedTerm', 'conservative'), ('DefinedTerm', 'psychiatry')]