De-transitioning is considered a big “no-no” within the transgender community, when discussing topics related to the community. They are afraid if it’s discussed, then conservatives and reactionaries would use it to deny sex reassignment surgeries and hormone therapies. I can understand this, but I think that we need to be open to the fact it still happens.

Not everyone will live happily transitioning. There are many reasons people de-transition: financial or social barriers, hormone therapy increases instead of decreases gender dysphoria, the inability to cope as a member of a different or minority gender.

Some people think there are benefits as living as a member of another sex or gender, without considering the costs that group often must endure; in the past therapists would make sure candidates for sex change therapies weren’t disillusioned with such thinking…and now that ”gaitkeeping” is being done away with, numbers of ”trans” people de-transitioning are growing.

When we use “informed consent”, often people trying to transition will without thinking about the legal and social costs. The forms usually only cover the medical, and sometimes psychological, consequences, but not those legal and social ones. Without proper medical supervision, many people who thought they wanted to transition regret it and end up de-transitioning. Parents sometimes think their kids are trans—not “gender-variant”—and rush their teens into getting HRT, and then kids and teens eventually regret it. These “rushes to transition” now have skyrocketed rates of depression, anxiety, and de-transitioning among the trans community; conversatives are using this to push the idea that transsexualism is little more than severe mental illness that just needs ”treatment”, ie conversion therapy.

People need to realize that just because someone halts their transition, doesn’t mean they are in de-transition. Sometimes we can only get certain procedures done, and can’t obtain others. Sometimes we develop a medical condition where HRT must stop. Sometime financial situations come up that are more fundamental to our survival, and we must work on that instead. Many trans men only ever get mastectomies and hysterectomies, because by law all insurance companies have to cover these as a part of “women’s” healthcare coverage, but they may not be required to cover other sex change treatments. These two principle surgeries are enough for FtM individuals, and they live quite happily going forward. Some pre-op transexual men may delay their surgeries to have children themselves, as their partner can’t have get pregnant. Does that mean they have somehow de-transitioned, or aren’t as “trans” as other trans men? No!

Even today, I often don’t rigidly adhere to gender roles—most cisgender people aren’t as rigid as the we make them out to be. I have no problems expressing my emotions, or speaking up for mental health issues, or spending time with my female friends. These outdated ideas are because backers of feminism and queer theory hold onto something that’s been outdated since the 70s, rather than actually studying modern trends and attitudes.

I am glad I underwent counseling instead of using informed consent, because it saved me from making bad choices amid all the confusion I had about myself, especially as anxiety and bipolar depression can make it hard to think clearly about things. I do think we should go back to the old model: seeing a therapist and bring back the RLE before allowing trans people to access HRT and sex change treatments.

One thought on “De-transitioning.

  1. I love reading that! I am part of a Transgender Group on FB (Yeah, I love Social Media), and this topic often comes up and it because of some of the points you mentioned. Primarily lack of counseling and informed consent. I think many people start transitioning, but don’t really think about the social aspect of it. Transitioning from Male to Female for me really wasn’t that much of a problem because I “knew” from elementary school. It just took years for me to realize it and start (I guess). I am definitely MUCH happier now because I am much more invited into the “women-spaces” you mentioned. I enjoy the gossiping, sharing make-up tips, yadda yadda yadda. I don’t feel as lonely as I once did because women talk to me a lot more than they did when I was presenting as a male. Waking up in the morning and seeing my face becoming much more feminine just feels me with so much euphoria. But… that is just me. People really do need to considered ALL aspects before deciding if they want to commit to irreversible decisions (surgeries, HRT, etc). However, I do like what you stated: there are those who start and then realize it wasn’t for them. I personally try to be supportive and not shame them for changing their mind. Thanks for that awesome post.

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