“Detransitioning” is a touchy topic for the trans community. Individuals who medically transition only to figure out later that they were never truly trans are a probably unsurprising phenomenon. It’s only common sense that a certain number of people who take the leap into hormone treatments or cosmetic surgery may end up having a change of heart.
In the last few years, there has been a huge statistical rise in young people identifying as transgender. According to The Children’s Gender Service at the Tavistock in Britain, there were just 77 trans children at their clinic in 2010. By 2019, there were 2,950 patients with 3,000 more on the waiting list to be treated.
Many young adults are turning to vlogging their detransition experiences and stories on YouTube. As a trans woman myself, I remember these stories being rarer in the past. A few years ago, there were a few detransitioners on Youtube talking about their experiences, but not many. Now, there appears to be almost as many people talking about their transition failures as there are people talking about their transition successes.
What’s the explanation for this? I have a few theories, the first being the overdiagnosis of mental disorders in children today. Now more than ever in history, we’re quick to throw a kid who’s disruptive in class or rowdy during recess on medication. As hormone replacement therapy becomes more commonplace, specifically for teens, it only makes sense that a certain number of those being overdiagnosed will end up on it.
Many of the teen detransitioners on Youtube cite falling into trans activist circles online as a contribution to the mistake they made. This brings me to my next theory, which is that transgenderism has become a fad for some. What used to be a medical issue that a small but very real segment of the population sought help for has now become politicized and popularized to the point where you’re not TRULY WOKE unless you have some sort of alternative gender identity. I see this online all the time, and you know you do too. Don’t lie.
I spoke with one teen detransitioner, Elle Palmer, whose YouTube video about her journey from female to male, and then back to female, is garnering quick traction on the website. Our interview is fascinating, and she corroborates my above theories as to why this is happening more frequently.
“My puberty was medicalized”, states Elle. “From a young age, I dealt with mental health problems that ultimately put me on a path of trying to fix myself- to figure out what was wrong with me”. She goes on to cite the deepening of her voice and growth of facial hair as huge regrets as a result of taking testosterone.
This puts a hole in the argument that children should be able to transition, which is predicated on the belief that they are always right about their feelings of belonging to the opposite sex. This is simply not the case, and we must exercise extreme caution.