Trans activists online are outraged at a recent 60 Minutes segment that dove into the world of “detransitioners”, people who decide after transitioning that they’ve made a grave mistake and attempt to reverse what they’ve done to their bodies. In the episode, Leslie Stahl interviewed a woman by the name of Grace Lidinsky-Smith who underwent hormone replacement therapy and surgery including removal of her breasts. Her attempt to transition to a man was fueled, in her own words, partly by her desire to live an “easier” life.
While the episode is being praised by many as an important piece of journalism tapping into a real phenomenon happening within the world of trans discourse, activists online have different feelings.
Activist and ACLU lawyer Chase Strangio expressed his outrage, stating:
GLAAD also made a statement:
So what exactly is harmful about highlighting the stories of detransitioners? Why is it so controversial that activists are condemning it with such passion? As a trans woman and YouTuber myself, I have always gone out of my way to platform and highlight stories of regret and detransition.
I think they are just as valuable and worthy of an audience as stories of transition success. Frankly, it’s concerning that certain topics such as this as are essentially blackballed from even being discussed on mainstream media. I’m shocked that 60 Minutes had the bravery to run with it.
It’s been my experience that some trans people believe acknowledging stories of transition regret somehow invalidates their own transition. The intense backlash that occurs whenever detransitioners are spoken of does a huge disservice to the community. In reality, people do choose to transition for the wrong reasons sometimes. A misdiagnosis of gender dysphoria or misinterpretation of why one would feel those feelings in the first place can lead to permanent and irreversible bodily changes including, but not limited to, limb removal and sterilization.
Transition is an incredibly serious, but often politicized and infantilized process that is not like the flip of a light-switch. It is important that all aspects of trans discourse are on the table and allowed to be discussed freely. Censorship of this topic will only lead to more detransitioners, not less.