Gender transition is not all unicorns puking rainbows and glitter hurricanes of affirmation, euphoria, and Pride parades. There are many people who were sucked into believing they were meant to be born in the body of the opposite sex, were ushered into medical transition including cross-sex hormones and genital, reproductive, and breast surgery, only to find that they are still their natal sex.
Detrans Awareness Day saw UK-based Genspect bring the stories of detransitioners to light. For many of these individuals, the idea of gender transition was meant to be an answer to thousands of questions, a solution to many problems. They believed that by not being their sex they would no longer suffer so many of the feelings of being disassociated from self and society.
What they found, in many cases, was that the concept of gender transition is actually a lie. One cannot actually become the opposite sex, and their feelings of confusion, of not belonging, often persisted despite their best efforts to be something they were not.
Keira Bell, who underwent gender transition from female to male before detransitioning and suing the gender clinic that did not provide adequate mental health care prior to giving her cross-sex hormones and surgery, was at Genspect's Detrans Awareness Day as well. "Trans healthcare," she says, needs to be "evidence based and safe," and testifies that "transgenderism/gender identity" is a "social contagion." This concept has received intensive backlash from the mental health community, despite evidence, from Lisa Littman and others, that being trans is trendy.
Bell also points out that detransitioning does not mean a reversal. Hormones, surgery, are "irreversible," she says, and "There is no going back."
Genspect founder Stella O'Malley hosted the conference, where listeners heard from women and men who had detransitioned after taking cross-sex hormones and undergoing surgeries, the consequences of which were irreverersvible. Detransitioner Sinead has a permanently lower voice, and those who removed their breasts can never get that back.
A recent Reddit post from a young girl who underwent a double mastectomy at the age of 15 reveals that she thought this was the right thing to do—until she woke up on the operating table without her breasts and found, to her horror, that she had made a horrible mistake, and that her parents and doctors had thoroughly facilitated this mistake. She deleted the post after finding that "conservative twitter was using my story as ammunition to be transphobic and twisting my words to suit their agenda." Of her parents, she said they were not "abusers," but "are great people and just made a misguided decision."
Grace, who spoke to Genspect, underwent a double mastectomy and also later came to regret it.
Detransitioning is not a partisan issue; it should have nothing to do with politics at all. Our culture has embraced transgender ideology in order to be accepting, inclusive, and compassionate, but instead, it has morphed into an ideology of intolerance. It goes so far as to rewrite the ideas of sexual orientation to say that people who are same-sex attracted must be same-gender attracted, or else they are "bigots." Carol pointed this out to Genspect, saying that it is shocking to find that lesbians, who exclusively are sexually interested in other women, are told they are "bigots" for not wanting to be romantically involved with men who say they are women.
This speaks to what many detransitioners said on the Genspect forum, which is that there is not room for disagreement in the LGBTQ community. Going against the idea that transition is the right answer, that those who undergo medical transition, or self-ID as the opposite sex, are in fact the opposite sex, are gender heretics who are shunned, called bigots and transphobic, and discredited within the community.
What was revealed in the stories of these women and men who believed fully that they were the opposite sex before waking up as if from a nightmare is that once a person takes their gender identity questioning to the gender identity industry, every road leads to medical gender transition. Carol, a butch lesbian who detransitioned after taking testosterone, sought help for vaginal atrophy which was a result of the testosterone. In response to questions about treatment for vaginal atrophy, Carol was told by Planned Parenthood that she should get a phalloplasty and that the creation of a fake penis would lead her to happiness.
Buck Angel, a biological woman who identifies as a man, has been public about the use of testosterone leading the dangerous and painful condition of vaginal atrophy. It was unexpected, not one that doctors had prepared Angel for at all. This, it turns out, is not uncommon.
Carol spoke about how being a butch lesbian was part of what made her want to transition. She said she "started getting sh*t for not acting like a woman, or not acting like a girl, like the feminine," and she figured that if women were the thing she was not, then perhaps she wasn't a woman. She spoke about her family's expectations for her, her concerns that they would not be accepting of her sexuality, and that this was part of what made her transition.
Twitter shows that Carol is not the only one who felt this way, and transitioned to escape the expectations of womanhood and femininity.
The concept of gender itself, divorcing it from biological sex, was intended by the feminist movement to liberate women from the expectations of femininity by saying a woman is still a woman without being feminine, and women should not be beholden to femininity. What the trans movement does is push that to say that gender, not sex, is innate, and that to integrate one's gender with the sex to which that gender innately belongs is the right thing to do, that this union will bring happiness.
Instead, it has led to so much madness, and trying to get out of its clutches is not just a medical reality, but a mental one. The feelings of belonging and acceptance that come with a trans identity are powerful, and each of the detransitioners spoke to that. Coming out as trans brought with it accolades, affirmations of bravery, beauty and strength.
Sinead, speaking to her own transition and eventual detransition, said that she felt only love going into transition, and never experienced any transphobia. It was only after she began to question and move away from her belief that she was male that she began to experience hate. Much of this came from her own therapist who refused to believe that she was not trans, and attributed Sinead's reversal to "internalized transphobia."
Posting as Watson on Twitter, Sinead has been vocal and transparent about the difficult process of detransitioning.
When a Twitter user came after Sinead on Twitter, JK Rowling, who has been outspoken in saying that biological sex exists, and receiving masses of hate for it, came to her defense.
Detransitioners spoke about how they got involved in transgender ideas in the first place, with Helen speaking about how she was initiated online through the "fandom" culture, including fan fiction, and how this essentially grooms socially awkward girls into believing they are really gay men, and not straight girls. Posts on tumblr would ask girls to consider that they might be gay men if they were turned on by ideas of gay romances between favorite characters, if they shipped Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy, for example.
On Twitter, a woman named Elaine posted about how she began gender transition in order "to better fit in with the weirdo gamer/anime fans" she was hanging out with. She's far happier having come back to herself.
Others spoke about how the biggest hurdle to overcome when detransitioning was the mental one, coming to the realization that they had been very wrong, telling family, who often struggle with children coming out as trans, that everything they had put parents through had been a mistake. Getting rid of the trans identity was much harder than taking it on. "A loss of faith," O'Malley said.
There is a higher percentage of neurodivergence within the trans community than outside it, and many spoke about the fact that they believed they were trans, when in fact they were autistic. They were given medical solutions for the false diagnosis of being trans. And getting drugs was not difficult. Clinics barely require mental health treatment, and in the mental health community, the "affirmative care" model has entirely taken over. Mental health providers are unlikely to tell those who question their gender identity that they are fine just the way they are, and more likely to usher that person deeper and deeper into medical transition.
Much of what medical transition entails is not publicized. When speaking about the realities of medical transition, Robin, a man who has detransitioned from believing he is a woman, spoke about the horrors of castration and creating a neo-vagina that is essentially a permanent wound requiring dilation and specialized care. It comes with complications that Robin could barely voice, such as calcium deposits, and hair in places that makes comfort an impossibility. Phalloplasties, neo-vaginas, the removal of healthy reproductive systems, the removal of breasts, the implanting of silicone, are all serious medical procedures.
As to why boys and men may feel the need to transition, Robin said: "We get made fun of for being soft and feminine and then we get made fun of for being masculine and toxic. There's really no escape for boys nowadays, in my opinion."
Twitter was flooded with comments from detransitioners who took advantage of the day focused on their own struggles to share their stories. These are stories that are dismissed in the trans community, where any word against the idea that gender transition is the only solution to gender questioning is shouted down.
The feminist movement has essentially staged an about face in promoting transgender ideology and gender transition for men and women who feel more aligned with the stereotypical gender of the opposite sex. What we can learn from detransitioners is there is nothing wrong with being who you are, that no amount of surgery or drugs are necessary in order for someone to live as their true self, and that acceptance of individuals who are not aligned with gender stereotypes is the right answer.
In the US, the push for acceptance of transgender ideology comes at the highest levels of government. It is pushed in education, with books and curriculum that will undoubtedly usher students into believing that there is something wrong with their bodies. The federal government believes there is no difference between gender identity and biological sex. Those pushing this dangerous fallacy would do well to listen to detransitioners, and to stop assuming that the voices that shout the loudest are the only ones out there.
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