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Transition and detransition

Commentary: Trans Progressive

Detransitioning happens; there are detransitioners who regret decisions they made while identifying as transgender and transitioning. Their numbers are relatively small, but even in relatively small numbers – compared with the size of the larger trans community – these detransitioners add up to thousands of people.

Carey Callahan, in her blog entitled Maria Catt, posted a public blog entry and YouTube video discussing her experience with transition and detransition.

“When I was trans, I was very against gatekeeping,” Carey said in her video. “I felt that my trans identity shouldn’t be apologized; that it was a healthy, beautiful thing; and that I was an adult, and making these decisions from a clear state of mind, and I should get to make them – and a therapist shouldn’t get involved.”

She believes gatekeeping by doctors and therapists at this point in time is “pretty minimal.” She talked about moving to a state that had an “informed consent clinic” where “one did not even need … one or two therapy appointments to get therapy.” She explains how one just signs a form that one understands the consequences of receiving transition related hormone therapy, and indicates one is of clear mind when asking for this medical intervention.

Carey lived as a trans guy for 9-months on hormones, and 1½ years off, and described that last 1½ years as “the worst.” She states she didn’t see herself or those people in her “trans bubble,” as receiving “the happiness we were promised.” Instead she saw a lot of people who “were trying to resolve something else” by transitioning.

Carey saw transitioning as treatment that would solve her problems that she later attributed to trauma. What she found instead was “every step of the process for me, every step I took toward affirming that trans identity – life got worse.” She admits her mental and physical expectations for transition were unrealistic.

Carey laments that there isn’t more gatekeeping per standards of care as there was in the ’60s and ’70s; she laments that it’s easy to go too quick at trying something that didn’t really solve one’s life problems. She recommends self-reflection before going for medical intervention.

She very much regrets taking testosterone and lowering the pitch of her voice – it’s a reminder to her that she tried to solve her personal trauma with a wrong treatment.

Without doubt, Carey has a good point about engaging in self-reflection prior to, and throughout the process of transitioning.

“Therapists that do gender identity work are useless,” she said in her video. She talks about how gender therapists are not equipped, and have nothing to offer, detransitioners.

“I know people who are trans who are happy,” Carey states, “I know a lot of people who are detransitioned and are very happy detransitioned.”

With regards to transition, I did what Carey didn’t: I first tried to find a way short of transition to address my gender dysphoria, engaged throughout transition in serious self-reflection and was realistic in my expectations. I believe that has a bit to do with being mature and very self-aware when I started the transition process. I was also very aware that transitioning trades one set of problems for a whole different set. I’m pretty happy; transitioning was a lifesaver for me.

My gender therapist was never useless either. I looked for and found one who challenged me on my transition-related decisions, as well as being ready should detransition care be required. Carey didn’t find that.

“I think it’s pretty unethical that the same clinics and doctors that give us so much help when it comes to transitioning have nothing to offer if you have regret,” Carey added.

What we know about the transgender experience includes knowing the rate of detransition is somewhere around four percent or less of those who begin the process. Even knowing this, the health providers serving the trans community really don’t have a good standard of care for detransitioners.

Quoting Julia Serano, “I would love to see more support from trans communities (and from health providers) for people who choose to detransition.” Me too.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=72794

Posted by on Aug 4, 2016. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

6 Comments for “Transition and detransition”

  1. “”What we know about the transgender experience includes knowing the rate of detransition is somewhere around four percent or less of those who begin the process. Even knowing this, the health providers serving the trans community really don’t have a good standard of care for detransitioners.””

    Tell Mike Penner that.
    The transgender community trashes people who detransition. The real problem isn’t gate keepers although they tend to cheer a transitioner on rather than encourage caution and questioning the decision to transition.
    The Transgender community behaves like a religious cult in dealing with detransitioning, let alone a whole laundry list of other issues. A person who decided to detransition in the middle of the process instead of staying in San Diego and dealing with the nasty treatment from the TG connumity decided to leave the state, then detransition after seeing how the community dealt with Mike Penner’s detransition.

    The very best advice I could give to anybody who is considering transition to the other sex; stay the hell away from the transgender community, it is a cult and all that will happen is you will loose yourself in a self marginalizing ghetto. The most successful of us to transition including obtaining post transition employment never became involved in the trans communities.

    The community is toxic

    36 years of happiness living my truth.

  2. Autumn, this makes a lot of sense to me. Of course some people are going to have a bad experience with transitioning and may regret it and may need to detransition, but the vast majority find it is the best thing they’ve ever done for themselves. Nearly twenty years ago my doctors gave me hormones for three years and I will be eternally grateful, even though I don’t want them now. They more than doubled the size of my breasts, which is permanent, but I’ve since lost the feminine fat distribution etc. I stopped after three years because, after getting the maximum breast development I was ever going to get, I didn’t want to keep putting up with the side effects.

  3. What’s the point of this article, exactly? Your concern reads very insincere to me, as another detransitioned woman. It comes off like you’re desperate to explain her experiences away and position yourself as having dodged the challenges she’s facing by virtue of “being mature and very self-aware”. Comes off similar to just world fallacy as a cause of victimblaming. Your article kind of reminds me of the way I thought about detransition before I started transition… when I was 16. I absolutely felt I was “engaging in serious self-reflection” then, too. Yes, encouraging caution and reflection will probably result in less transition and thus, less detransition, but you stop just shy of outright stating that she deserved this for not being careful like you.

    You join Serrano in paying extremely shallow lip service to supporting us in the same article where you show a complete failure to actually listen when we speak for ourselves.

  4. AnothePuffPiece

    Really? LGBT Weekly says don’t worry about the few. If this logic was fully applied, you might have some problems with a tyranny of the majority. Not like anyone here would need to think about boring stuff like that.

  5. Medical transition stealthily destroyed my physical health and worsened my mental health. I can’t believe it was recommended by my doctor, who supposedly swore first to do no harm. My thanks to Carey and others for speaking publicly. Shame on LGB groups and mainstream media for carelessly pushing the normalization of these homophobic, misogynist, and experimental treatments.

  6. My name is Melissa, I am formally known as Aiden . I am a Mother,Survivor and De-Transitioner. I was FTM for three wonderful years I have a blog on YouTube of my handsome former self. In those three year I made myself the king of prepped out twink boys.I was a public TV host for farmers markets and health conventions. I was very much apart of Castro’s popular trans nightlife scene, a true social butterfly, I thought of myself as peter pan revised. I loved it so much because I truly felt free, completely and utterly free and drop dead handsome. Why am I writing this? I guess this is a form of me coming out all over again, You see, I have kept my life as a bi sexual male somewhat of a secret. I do not want to keep such an amazing, fabulous tale to myself and the people in my life who know the truth about my life as Aiden to Lissa. My de transition began when I had complications with testosterone and my blood consistency about 4 years ago. I successfully transitioned into a beautiful woman, more femme than I ever was in my entire life. I modelled, traveled , danced,worked in the medicinal cannabis industry and made my own pain relieving cannabis beauty product line, event planned and had a son. Before I had my son , I faced the worst time in my life dealing with harassment, sexual assault and severe homelessness and a host of health issues. I survived . I made it through the homelessness and live in San Francisco after struggling a year and a half through my entire pregnancy. I survived! My two Facebook profiles tell the tale of my life, the life of Lissa.

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