Transition and detransitionTrans Progressive Thursday, August 4th, 2016
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