Oli London is one of a growing number of detransitioners who have gone through gender transition, come out the other side realizing that no amount of medical technology can change their sex, and that perhaps it was ill-advised in the first place, and are speaking out about it.
London identified as Korean, then trans, undergoing 32 surgeries, before detransitioning after seeking faith. He found what he was looking for when he stepped into a church a few months ago, discovering tradition and ritual that brought him stability and brought him closer to God.
London underwent numerous surgeries, first to appear Korean and then to contour his face to appear more feminine. He became enamoured with Korean culture after spending time in the country where plastic surgery clinics are as ubiquitous as nail salons in New York. He found that the surgeries were an attempt to transform his soul by transforming his appearance, but what he discovered is that the problems in his inner life could not be solved by exterior alterations.
"I've been super unhappy with the way I looked and who I was," London told The Post Millennial when asked how he came to identify as trans. "I was just like, feeling really lost the last few years. I've had a lot more surgery in the last year alone— I think I've gotten surgery in Texas three times."
It was when he was recovering from a recent surgery, over a period of weeks, that he realized he'd had so much surgery on his face that he'd altered every portion but his ears. He recounted that process.
"And I was like, 'okay, what can I do next?' And I'm thinking you know, 'I'm just not happy with the way I look.'" London went on to have facial feminization surgery, "which was quite an intense procedure," he said. "They actually shaved my forehead bones, they lowered my hairline. My eyebrow bones were shaved, my eyes were changed to have more of a kind of softer features on my face, more feminine, more Korean. So I did all that and then I was like, 'you know what, maybe I'm meant to be a trans woman. Maybe that's why I'm unhappy. Maybe that's what I'm chasing.'"
And just like that, one set of surgeries led to another, and still another. London wore dresses, makeup, walked red carpets in heels and gown, but still, he didn't feel right.
"I tried it and I was like, I just still don't feel right," he said. "So I lived for six months as a woman." Then he walked into a church.
"I was actually an atheist before," he said. "Interestingly, my whole life I was an atheist." He went to Christian schools as a child, but the faith didn't take.
"I've just felt really, really lost with my identity. I'm just never happy. Like every time I look in the mirror. I just even now, like I've shaved my hair off. I look very different. I'm kind of liking the new look, but I'm still not happy. So I feel like I'm just a perfectionist, that I'm always chasing something that's very unattainable," he said. It were these feelings of dissatisfaction that led him to seek new and different surgeries to permanently alter his look, but it didn't translate to happiness on the inside.
London lived as a trans woman for six months before realizing, he said, "it wasn't me."
"I was an atheist my whole life until really three four months ago, then I started going to church every Sunday. And now I go a few times a week, I've been reading the Proverbs in the Bible, and researching Christianity. Finding God has given me a kind of new lease of life. I feel like it's given me a new purpose in life. It's made me appreciate me as a person, and realize I shouldn't keep changing all these things about me. I should just be happy with what God gave me," he said of his revelation.
"It's actually, it's really helped me find happiness and kind of contentment within, because before that, I was just constantly in this reckless pursuit of constantly having surgery. I'm never happy, you know, doing all these things and it's really changed me as a person."
"I found God, I've detransitioned, but I'm also now trying to speak up and spread positive messages to try and help other people in the world that may have identity issues or maybe struggling. I just want to speak out and try to help you know, give people guidance and positivity and spread love," he said.
The revelation of finding God and detransitioning was not instant, but a process in itself, one he had to pursue. London said that he passed a church near where he lived, and simply walked in, and then he began to read and to listen. "It was really just listening to the sermons and the priests and just just realizing how, like, Jesus is very loving and very accepting. And, you know, people that may have been bad in the past, Jesus can forgive them. So I just felt like it was almost like a positive guiding light. It's like, you know, every time I read a passage from the Bible, it's always very positive. It's always very motivating, especially the Proverbs."
"I think," he considered, "I feel like I needed that kind of direction in my life, that positivity. So it was really just going to church a number of times and feeling like 'okay, I feel like I belong here. I feel like I'm getting some guidance and clarity in my life.'"
The epiphany was a slow burn, and he continued going with faith. "It wasn't specific," he said. "Like one day I suddenly realized 'Oh, my God, I found God!' It was going to church, reading the Bible, studying, doing research. It was really over a period of the last few months, that I just just realized, 'you know, I can be a better person if I listen to the word of God, if I read the Bible, if I go to church, it will help me be a better person and then spread kind of this message to other people.'" And that's what he's done.
"I just went to church, actually a church on my street where I live. I just walked in there one day, there weren't too many people there. I was listening to the priest. I was singing the hymns, reading the Bible, and I just felt like this is really nice. You know, this is a nice feeling. It's actually nice to dedicate time where you know, I switched my phone off. I'm actually finding inner peace. So it's really about kind of finding that inner peace and kind of, you know, trying to stop with all my surgery, trying to stop with changing my agenda and just just go back to who I am as a person. Now I'm just trying to find the old me, which I've lost a long time ago, like I can't even remember the old me so I'm just trying to go back to who I am as a person and, you know, going to church has given me that guidance, which is which has really changed me," he said.
London was 23 when he moved to Korea. He had always been "very unhappy" with his parents, and also with his nose. "I had a super big nose," he said. He used to get bullied for it, and for acne. "I just had no self confidence and I just felt bad about myself." He was attracted to the culture of plastic surgery, a clinic on every corner, and started to think "Wow, I can actually improve myself!"
"I had a nose job. But my first nose job in Korea was seriously wrong," he said. There were issues with the silicone, and it was crooked. So he had to have it redone. "That's actually what initially led me to then get more surgery and then it kind of becomes an addiction, like a snowball effect. So once you have a nose job and have another one then you know, think maybe I can change this and it's like it's a constant thing. And now it's like, actually trying to move away from that and trying to find this inner peace through attending church."
London had his cheek fillers dissolved as well. "I just want to go back to try looking more natural. So yeah, I've cut all my hair off and I'm gonna have all the fillers removed from or just just I want to have a natural appearance and just, you know, I've just come to realize there's more to life than, you know, looks. It's not important. It's what's inside that counts. You know, if you find inner peace, that's all that matters."
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