FTM detransitioning experience—quitting “T” and getting back to life as a woman

April 25, 2012

Guest Post by Violet Irene.

To those who are looking for this information because you are wondering if you made a mistake starting “T” and are looking for guidance: know that you are NOT alone. Even if the people on the FTM forums say it’s incredibly rare and basically no one does this, that is NOT TRUE. I personally know a TON of women who took T and then for a variety of reasons changed their minds and went back to living as women. Some identify as lesbians, some are bi, some are straight. Some look butch, some look androgynous, some look completely “average” for their community and assimilated. Personally I identify as a bi-dyke and while no one is ever surprised to learn the “dyke” part, because it’s who I am and I don’t try to hide it, I also pass for just a matronly sensible feminist mom type too and no one would ever know I had spent time IDing as FTM unless I told them. If you want to stay more androgynous more power to you, but if that is NOT what you want, don’t feel like you have to! It was hard emotionally figuring everything out but pretty much as soon as I wanted people to see me as a woman again, it didn’t take much to get that.

I just want you to know you are NOT ALONE and you do NOT have to hate or blame yourself or feel like a freak or an outcast. You still have options. You still have a future. The rest of your life is waiting for you, there is ALWAYS hope. I thought I had ruined my life but now I have a beautiful family and amazing friends and a happy life and things DID get better. Hang in there—you’re strong and BRAVE—it takes so much courage to face yourself with the idea “I made a big mistake”–and you can make it through this terrifying moment.

And a disclaimer: I took testosterone for less than a year, so if you took it a lot longer, the effects may take longer to reverse for you. On the other hand, they might not take that much longer at all. Every body is different, some respond really strongly to female hormones or male hormones or both, etc. All the advice and experience here is just about what I lived through, I don’t claim to represent a universal or scientifically validated “what to expect.” Take it for what it’s worth because there’s not a lot out there. I hope others who have been through this will feel emboldened to come forward, too, with their unique experience. Also, I did not have any surgeries. I got pregnant less than a year after quitting T, and that I am sure had some influence over how the physical changes went for me, too. I quit T seven years ago as of today, spring 2012 (so I quit in 2005).

So physically, about three weeks after my last dose of T (I had been taking injections at the standard dose every 2 weeks) I started to feel hormonally weird, like a really strong PMS. This intensified over about the next month, as my ovaries got back into gear and produced I am sure a lot more hormones than usual to try to balance me back out. I felt every symptom you can think of associated with both PMS and menopause—hot flashes, sweats, crying jags, nausea, itchy skin, cramps, and migraine headaches. This was the really rough part because I was also struggling a lot with the emotional implications of what was going on. About 2 months after the last shot, I had a period. I then had another regular period the next month, and in general things started to even out at that point.

Let me warn you about that first couple of periods—they were really, really painful and intense. I think this has to do with the fact that your body has to overproduce the female hormones to bring things back into alignment, but I don’t know. I got a prescription strength NSAID from my doctor and that helped a lot. After that, my periods were like they have always been—bad but not horror show worthy.

About the time I got my period, my breasts started to look more like they used to. “T” had made them kind of deflated and floppy. At this point, they started to plump back up and eventually went completely back to normal. The facial and body hair that I had gotten on “T” stayed put, but the growth noticeably slowed down within about 5 months of quitting. I still grow hair in places I didn’t before (ie some patches on my wrists and thighs) but within a year-ish it was no longer coming in dark and coarse like male hair, but had changed to fine and light like the body hair I have everywhere else. My “beard” ditto—it changed over to that downy, fine stuff most women grow especially as we get older, with the odd darker, wiry hair. Because I prefer not to be scrutinized for it, I shave it off with an electric razor about every couple of weeks.

My voice was lower on T but I think not as low as it would have gotten. For a long time after quitting, I was stuck with a kind of awkward register, with a break in it so I had trouble singing. I couldn’t sing high, I couldn’t sing low, I had to cough and clear my throat to cover for some pretty awkward sounds when singing. When talking I just had to watch that I stayed in my mid-register for a while, going higher or lower would make me sound like a teenage boy. They SAY that never changes back, and maybe it doesn’t always. For me, though, while I don’t have the same voice I had before T, it sounds a lot higher and more decidedly female now than it did right after I quit. And the break went away. Because I love music, I kind of nurtured my singing voice until I got a normal low-alto that doesn’t break or crack anymore. Lower than average but not unheard of for a woman. I still sometimes get misgendered on the phone when I am trying to sound serious (so talking very low and authoritative) but I just correct them and try not to dwell on it.

When I was on T I had a lot of problems with my sinuses and blood pressure going up when I was stressed. The sinus problem cleared within two weeks of quitting. The blood pressure thing took longer.

If you’re hoping to have a baby, this is my experience on that. I got pregnant about 5 months after stopping T, after three normal periods. I “charted” my cycle to know when I was ovulating but that’s it. Stopping T can actually make you REALLY fertile as your body cranks out extra estrogen to compensate, so if you are active with men and don’t want to be pregnant, be REALLY careful. I chose not to tell my midwives about what I had been through. It was just too hard. If you want to disclose, please be careful and have outside support, because a lot of medical professionals WILL treat you differently or like you are crazy. It sucks but that’s reality. I learned the hard way, with a counselor and a doctor. You can seek out professionals who work in the lesbian community and sometimes, but not always, they will be more sensitive. Or you can keep it secret, because once your system has cleared the hormones it’s hard to say if there’s any lingering effect they need to know about. I had a normal pregnancy and a natural delivery. We had one unusual kind of complication happen, it wasn’t of consequence long term and we are fine now, but it is one that women with PCOS are at higher risk for so I did wonder if it had anything to do with the androgens that had been in my system before I conceived. I tortured myself about that, but since my child is fine now I have to just put it in the column of “if I had known differently, I would have done differently” and forgive myself. I didn’t have that problem with my next pregnancy. I was able to breastfeed normally and breastfed my baby exclusively for many months.

The hair on my head took a long time to get back to normal, oddly enough. I had a crewcut when I was trying to pass as male, and when I decided to quit it was important to me to start growing it out right away. It took a long time. I’ve had short cuts since then, while on my natural hormones, and before that, and they all grew out a lot faster. On T my hairline had started to recede just slightly, yes even after less than a year. So it grew back really, really slowly. If I’d thought about it back then, I would have tried taking some vitamins and using jojoba oil shampoo—those can both help a lot to bump along the female pattern hairgrowth as it comes in.

People say that when you quit “T” your sex drive will shrivel, but I didn’t find that to be the case. Once my female hormones were up and running I felt just fine, and still do. Everything went back to the way it was before as far as my personal odor and my vulva and so forth, too. Some sources claim it will be harder to orgasm when you quit T but I didn’t find that to be an issue at all.

My face softened up again within a couple of months, and my hips padded back out too. I may have lost muscle mass but if I did, it wasn’t noticeable, I stayed active and that was good enough.

I hypothesize that a lot of why things went back quickly for me was my cycles started up, so I was getting bathed in the normal levels of female hormones right away. If you have trouble getting your cycles back, I would advise that you see an endocrinologist or gyn about it because that’s going to help a lot. Maybe birth control pills could help, if nothing else.

7 years down the line the only evidence I ever took T is stuff only I would notice, like some body hair that wasn’t there before but which has lightened and softened up, a little extra soft facial down, and a slightly lower vocal range.

Social, emotional, and practical thoughts:

This part is where your mileage may really vary from mine. I’m not telling you what to do, just what worked for me.

It was important to me to immediately stop being seen as a guy or a trans person. I wanted to know that I COULD go back to how I was before, I was terrified that I had ruined parts of myself that were really important to me. I feared that I was locked out of “women” forever. I went through the seven stages of grief, for what it’s worth, and still to this day have feelings of essentially having survived a loss and a trauma. This is a big deal, so be kind and gentle to yourself.

In the “bargaining” and denial phase one thing I said to myself and others was “I don’t really care what I am seen as, I’m neither male nor female, call me whatever you want.” You might go through a stage like this too. It’s ok to then move on and say “no, really, I DO care.” You’re not “selling out.” You’re coming to terms.

I went and bought some really fancy, padded, push-up bras. For me, this was really helpful while my breasts were still really flaccid. It gave me the shape I was used to seeing before, and helped people realize that despite some androgynous traits, I am a woman. If you have had surgery or have very small breasts, you might consider going to a lingerie shop that helps women who have had breast surgery or masectomy, if you think this might help you.

I found it was helpful to immediately purge some clothing and accessories that I especially associated with “trying to pass as male,” like double-reinforced sports bras, baseball caps, etc. It’s not that those are male clothes—clothes are just clothes—but it was about what they meant to me. Getting rid of them and replacing them helped me feel more confident that I was really going to be able to come home. I do find that a lot of FTMs rely heavily on things like baseball caps to help them pass as male, too, so taking off the hat can help people see you better too.

It was helpful to me to dress more “feminine” than I otherwise might have, for a while, to get some confidence that I was going to still be “allowed” to be a woman in society. After a while, I felt assured enough I could wear more casual clothes like I usually do again, but that phase was helpful to get me out of despair. Once my hair grew out I kind of ended up using it as my crutch, to the point where I surprised myself by completely emotionally freaking out the next time I got it cropped short for the summer. Just something to prepare for, if you might be like me. That and a few other things are basically trauma triggers for me, if I am confronted with unexpected reminders of that phase of my life, I can have an emotional reaction that is rather overwhelming. No one warned me to expect this, but it seems pretty logical to me now that I think about it.

Another thing that helped me feel more “in control” of the kind of chaotic situation was learning to recognize the hormonal patterns in my body using fertility charting (aka natural family planning or fertility awareness method.) You can find books or web info on this.

I don’t feel like I can advise on handling the social aspects because I don’t know that I handled it well. I just survived through pure stubbornness. I told my mom and we cried together. She had always felt it was wrong and disturbing, my dad had always been all for it and relished bragging how he had a “son.” He pretty much wouldn’t speak to me after I went back. Other than that, I didn’t announce anything except to friends who I chatted with online. I just changed my name back, changed my presentation back, and basically gave off “FU” vibes that made it clear no one should dare to give me shit about it or ask any questions. I know a lot of people in my family decided at that point I was truly crazy, disgusting, depraved, and have treated me like garbage ever since—not surprising since a lot of the same folks were homophobes to start with. My really good friends I was able, eventually, to really talk to, and they stood by me. Pretty much all my other friends ESPECIALLY those from the genderqueer and queer political circles—I lost them. Slowly, painfully. They weren’t interested in me, they were interested in The Trans Show and once it was over, they were out.

I was called some horrible names and yes, threatened and told that I was an evil person, that I should kill myself, that I was a menace. Not by fundamentalists…by “queer radicals.” And some people claiming to be feminists. I don’t talk about this much unless I can be anonymous, as a result.

It was hard going from being essentially invisible in a good way, passing as a male, to being seen as a woman again, dealing with street harassment, having guys basically try to shoulder and elbow their way through me, having to fight to get my whole seat on the train, etc. I do still feel some grief, pain, and a lot of anger, about the freedom I lost and the fact that women are not yet free.

I haven’t really gotten into why I started T or why I went back, maybe we can talk about that another time. But this is a sample of what the experience was like, for one person. If you are looking for advice, please just listen to this: no matter what the specifics of your situation are, you can survive this. This is going to be a strange, scary rebirth. But you will make it. A day will come where you don’t think about it everyday anymore, every time you look in the mirror or sign a check. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and if a day is too much to take at a time, take it an hour at a time. Make a list of things to do and get the little rush from crossing out each item on the list. Write a rant and post it online. Pet a dog or a cat. My dog saved me, again and again, because she didn’t see the clothes or the labels, she just loved me. Eventually it WILL get easier, and before you know it, you will be OK.

.

137 Responses to “FTM detransitioning experience—quitting “T” and getting back to life as a woman”

  1. RoseVerbena Says:

    Thank you for your very touching post. I am in awe of your courage and honesty. If you write more later, I would love to understand better why you wanted to transition in the first place and what motivated you later to detransition — how you see it all from a distance, as it were, with the perspective that only time can provide.

    • Violet Irene Says:

      Thank you. I have been thinking of writing about the “whys” also, as indeed it took years before I started to get any real insight around that beyond some of the more obvious social pressure factors. I am kind of baffled by my initial choice to transition, in retrospect, because from the moment I first heard of the idea up through the moment I decided to “detransition” I consistently was skeptical of it, questioned a lot of the trans agenda, didn’t relate to other “transmen,” and in general felt negatively about a lot of it. So why did I do it? I have only just now started to figure that out, and it’s complicated.

  2. MNDR Says:

    Thank you for this. I’m not much of a writer but this has inspired me to write down my story in the hope it might find somebody who needs it. I felt so hopeful reading what you wrote, Violet.


    • I would be happy if your story is also published. Since I know two people personally who stopped transition I know that there are people out there who need help by doing this. Such stories can be helpful and let people know that they are not alone with their struggles.

    • Violet Irene Says:

      Thank you. I also feel strongly that as many of us as possible should share our experiences with this. There is NO information out there, save a couple of lonely web posts and YouTube videos. If you go to any “genderqueer” forum they will give you tons of misinformation or outright try to talk you out of detransitioning. There is a lot of scare tactic misinformation, too. And then most medical professionals don’t know, don’t care, and aren’t even really safe to talk to in the first place about this. Anyway, I really want to hear your story!

      • GallusMag Says:

        I have bookmarked a number of detransitioning sites over the years- most of them are gone due to the incredible shunning and harassment people have received. I believe the number of detransitioners is very very high. More than 30%. Maybe more than 50%. Perhaps even higher. Of course these people are shunned and silenced and called “failed to launch” or “not really trans” or “failed the real-life test” or whatever cultic in-group/out-group terms.

  3. BadDyke Says:

    Yes, thank you as well.

    What I personally found quite shocking was the statement:

    “…my dad had always been all for it and relished bragging how he had a “son.” He pretty much wouldn’t speak to me after I went back.”

    Which just says to me, he thought what he was getting after transition was better (a son), than what he’d had before. Whether or not that was the truth in your case (I don’t want to mis-interpret YOUR experience, just say what I thought after reading it), personally I’ve come across the male attitude many times, that a son is somehow better or more valued that a daughter. Certainly how I always felt right up until the day my Dad died, as to how he felt about me. I suspect that transitioning to ‘a son’ would have been preferable for him, compared to my ‘failure’ as a proper daughter.

    “Pretty much all my other friends ESPECIALLY those from the genderqueer and queer political circles—I lost them. Slowly, painfully. They weren’t interested in me, they were interested in The Trans Show and once it was over, they were out.”

    Yeah, you leave the ‘cult’, and as we all know from other cults, the prospect of loosing all your new friends can often be a big disincentive for people to leave — and in other cults, they make sure you know that if you express any doubts.

    If the trans cult was REALLY interested in gender and peoples issues with gender, as they claim, then they’d be interested and supportive of those who turn back, as well as those who ‘go all the way’.

    • Violet Irene Says:

      Yeah my dad’s reactions have been very weird. When I was very young, I was his “little buddy” and he loved to project his own interests onto me. When I went through puberty, suddenly I was evil, everything I did he saw as a personal attack or “rebellion” even though I was a quiet, studious kid. I just was different from what he expected or wanted. He also started to very obviously objectify me and made me uncomfortable a lot in that way. When I came out (as lesbian then bi) he acted disgusted despite supposedly being such a liberal. But when I announced I was “trans” he treated me with a warmth that I hadn’t experienced since I was 8 years old. He told me he had “always known” when I was a kid that I was really a boy in a girl’s body. (That really added to my confusion as you can imagine.) He yelled at family members who expressed doubt or concern. Even though I was with a man and that made me “a gay man” he was all warmth and acceptance and basically angling for PFLAG dad of the year award. Constantly crowed about how pleased he was with “all my sons.” Told me he was proud of me, of my writing, of everything I did. I was starved for that, having been a hard-working ambitious girl and young woman and getting slammed by him at every turn for years.

      It brought us close again in a way that had been yanked away from me when I was a scared little kid. That was hard to deal with especially when it went away again.

      And my “trans” phase started when my granddad was dying, I made my announcement just a few weeks after his funeral. Granddad had been like a father to me, helped to raise me for a while when my parents were overwhelmed, had filled some huge shoes in my life. I realize now that my brother and I both in our own ways tried to “become” Granddad after his death–my bro wore his old clothes and took on mannerisms and hobbies, I tried to become the “oldest son” that everyone had wanted. Very sad, in retrospect, but at the time I had NO clue that could be a factor.

      • RoseVerbena Says:

        I was the third daughter and my father was getting so desperate for a son that he and my mother named me after my paternal grandfather. I remember when my brother was born how HAPPY it made both of them to FINALLY have the son they both wanted all along. I was made to feel from a very early age (three?) that my being born a girl was an unfortunate mistake that they would have taken back if only they could, almost an embarrassment — like a bad smell that no one spoke about. In fact, they also named my brother after my paternal grandfather, as if to erase altogether the mistake that was me.

        I never held it against him and we were best buddies until he died decades later, but the hurt of not being good enough for my parents strictly based on my biological sex continues to this day. I was sure when my brother died that both of them would have much preferred that it had been me who died instead of him — a thousand-fold.

        That is the kind of pain that men in a patriarchal world almost never experience — they have no frame of reference for decades of devastating emotional rejection by the people who should love you the most, strictly based on your DNA, the building blocks of your physical self, something that you have no control over and can never change, can never “do better” in order to finally win their love and acceptance.

        Every time I hear of another family doing to same to another female I feel sick with rage and sorrow all over again. I am not a mistake and neither are you. We are precious gifts given to people who are, unfortunately, too blinded by our patriarchal culture to see our true beauty and worth as human beings.

  4. yttik Says:

    Wow, powerful story.

    I loved this part, “My dog saved me, again and again, because she didn’t see the clothes or the labels, she just loved me.” If we could just get people to view themselves as dogs view them, life would be so much better. Dogs just deliver unconditional love and acceptance of who you really are, which is something I wish we could all learn to do.

  5. Bev Jo Says:

    Thank you so much, Violet Irene, for telling your story, and in such detail. You will literally save women’s lives. It would be wonderful for there to be an anthology of women who left the trans cult and returned home. And also for an anthology of men too. Again, lives would be saved. Such stories should be in libraries everywhere, and especially to be required reading in schools that now push or support transitioning, like in the SF Bay Area.

    And yes, as Bad Dyke, said, your story is also a lesson in how much women are hated or valued less than men.

  6. SheilaG Says:

    Thank you for writing this. I think we really need to be fully informed about this whole transtrending situation. All of this information is not widely known, and think there is just too much of a cavalier attitude toward taking very strong prescription drugs, or in getting drawn into the whole gender ideology medical model.

    It takes courage to reverse something, but also a lot of courage to report that which the trans cult doesn’t want us all to know.

  7. Bev Jo Says:

    Violet, that’s an interesting idea to consider — father changing towards daughters as they reach puberty. My father had seemed ideal when I was little (and I hadn’t know about his betrayal of my mother and his secret other family), but he did get really strange when I hit puberty. It’s like I was clearly female and he said some fairly disgusting things to me which I ignored at the time. I wonder if I had said I was male if he would have been different.

    I’ve seen a documentary where a Lesbian “transitions” seemingly to please her lover and her lover’s parents. Her lover’s father is shown being so relieve that his daughter’s girlfriend has become a “boyfriend.” “Better than being a Lesbian,” he said.

  8. BadDyke Says:

    “father changing towards daughters as they reach puberty.”

    Well, okay when you’re ‘daddys little girl’, but when you hit puberty, then it’s a great big reminder that at some point you’ll probably desert him for another man! He won’t ‘own’ you any more, but have to ‘give you away’ in marriage to another man.

    “but at the time I had NO clue that could be a factor.”

    Yeah, cos the trans cult doesn’t ever seem to discuss the fact that there could be SOCIAL reasons why people might end up considering themselves to be trans, it’s ALL suppposed to be the innate voice in your head, and that must never be questioned or doubted. You are if you say you are, and you’re REALLY a man if you say you are, and it’s NOTHING to do with relations in the family or other events. Being mistaken about being trans, or even de-transitioning never seems to get discussed.


    • ” Being mistaken about being trans, or even de-transitioning never seems to get discussed”

      This is one of the identification marks for a cult:

      ” Attempts to leave or reveal embarrassing facts about the group may be met with threats. Some may have taken oaths of loyalty that involve their lives or have signed a “covenant” and feel threatened by this.

      more on: http://www.ex-cult.org/General/identifying-a-cult

      Some of these points really describe the trans dogma.

  9. FeistyAmazon Says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your heartbreaking post Violet Irene, and coming back to your true Female Self, however you express her. You can still be Butch as all get out and be FEMALE…that’s what so many mistake, is that as soon as we’re Butch, we’re no longer in the Female family! B.S., we’ve been around forever, and hopefully around in the future if we don’t buy into ‘well you just want to be a man’, b.s. or that Butches are trans! No, we’re all women!

    In any case, yours is not the first story I’ve heard of detransitioning from FTM, and it won’t be the last….there was one Dyke I met online from a very strong Muslim background, and in Islamic society, there is a precedent(as we know with Iran), that if a woman wants to become a man, and live as a man, that is more approved of, than becoming or being a Lesbian, where they can essentially be put to death for homosexuality.

    So, because of her international status(did not live in U.S., or at least in periods of her life), and because of family and peer pressure, she began to transition to male. We were on a feminist blog/group of one sort or another, and she admitted to me going to a trans conference where backstage another Butch/FTM admitted to her that they missed their breasts…and had doubts about giving up their femaleness, but nonetheless went on stage afterwards with the rah rah rah ‘how great it is to transition to male’….THAT convinced her, and she began reading more and more feminist blogs and began to detransition and consider herself a Dyke once more….

    But eventually she admitted to me that the damage had been done, she had been on ‘T’ and lived as FTM too long, and that she was going back to living as one, though she still felt Female and entirely conflicted. It all was very, very sad.

    I also have a friend of mine who also comes from an Islamic run country, and her mother had several businesses in that country and never approved of her Lesbianism. My friend has been in the States for years, but struggling economically. Her mother offered to pay for the FTM surgeries and to go back to that country and run the family businesses with her as a male, and that as a dude she could date any women she wanted. My pal refused, and told her Mom she DID NOT want to transition, and the mother disowned her!

    This shit and this pressure is REAL, and yes, the trans movement to me is looking more and more like a cult cuz it seems like every 20 something that has a smack of Butchness or wants to escape the Female condition is so ready to jump on the genderqueer/male pronoun/trans/hormones/surgery bandwagon, and plenty of allies, groups, organizations and psychiatrists and doctors ready to assist them in it all..and us Lesbians and Butch Dykes get left behind in the dirt!
    -In Butch DykeAmazon Sisterhood,
    -FeistyAmazon

  10. FeistyAmazon Says:

    P.S. you probably saved many years of your life as well, getting off of ‘T’!

  11. GallusMag Says:

    I’ve heard from a number of people that those first few periods are SO HORRIBLE. And seen some online people go back to T because of it- thinking they “forgot” how horrible menstruating was, but not realizing the effects were temporarily intensified by hormone rebound. Such good information to get out there.

    • RoseVerbena Says:

      Yes, thank you for helping to get the word out, GM. Hormones can make us feel so terrible when they’re in flux.

      I am in peri-menopause and after many months of no period I had another last week. The week preceding I felt HORRIBLE — almost crushed with rolling waves of queasiness, bad insomnia, waves of gastric distress, bouts of depressed feelings bordering on hopelessness. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong — was I getting the flu, had I accidentally eaten something toxic, was I ever going to be able to sleep more than four hours at a stretch…what?!?

      Then I saw the first blood and a light bulb went off: “Oh, it’s my darn hormones wreaking havoc again.” I had been six or seven months without a period and I had somehow forgotten how bad it could be when the hormones are in play. Once I knew what it was I felt quite relieved. It was the fear of the unknown that made it so much worse.

      Women coming off of T need to know that it’s temporary, that things will settle down within a few weeks to months, that it really will be OK once they come out the other side.

      • Darcie Says:

        I’m 37 and going into premature menopause (just like Mom) and women coming off T also need to monitor other drugs they’re taking. My hormone changes have caused sleeplessness, lack of concentration, anxiety attacks and some severe bouts of depression. My depression was made far worse by a drug I had been taking for years without complications. Be particularly cautious of any drugs that may cause suicidal thoughts, even if they’ve never had adverse effects before. Go back and re-read all the information that comes with all prescriptions and for the next few months closely monitor any reactions that seem to be associated when you take your scripts. If this weren’t so taboo in the trans community and the medical industry, these women would have as much information and support coming off T as they had going on it. Shame on the medical industry for not having these discussions with women before, during and after using T.

  12. yttik Says:

    We tend to treat hormones like a harmless, magic pill with no side effects, even though we don’t really have the science to fully understand what we’re doing to people. Long ago I went on birth control pills, partly to regulate my periods, and I wound up in the hospital with a blood clot and several infections. It took nearly a year of fatigue, mono, strep, pneumonia, to recover. It was like my entire immune system collapsed and my whole body staged a revolt.

    I really wish we had a medical establishment that had a better understanding of the power of hormones and how many different systems in your body they can impact.

    Oh, and a medical establishment that is less careless with women’s health would be nice, too.

  13. FeistyAmazon Says:

    So many women need to hear your story, and so many who are thinking of going under the knife and/or hormones, before they do. There is so much pressure in the butch/genderqueer/tomboy 20 to 30 something crowd to do just that…and if they don’t do it legal, they go get ‘T’ off the street. At some of our female centered Butch groups and person to person, we hear how intense this pressure is. I’m so glad I came out at the time when being a Dyke, Female and Butch was a source of pride, not something to be shamed of and to run towards the male!
    -In Sisterhood,
    -FeistyAmazon


  14. You are very brave. I am so so sorry you have had to deal with this suffering, no one should. You’re not alone, and I am glad that you have found your way back. I hope you have found comfort and inner peace <3

  15. Ashland Avenue Says:

    Violet, this obviously took so much work on your part – emotionally, intellectually, and physically. It certainly paid off, as this is wonderful. I know there are other trans people out there who will be thrilled (and soothed) to find your story. Well done.

  16. Barbara Di Bari Visconti Says:

    Thank you for sharing your story, Violet Irene!

  17. FeistyAmazon Says:

    I’m wondering if there are support groups starting to form for those who were formally FTM, or considering so, and were on ‘T’, considering surgeries, or went through surgeries, but decided to go back and reclaim their Female and Lesbian Selves……well, for starters, their Female selves…..It would probably be a great service to you and others if such support groups were to form, since I’m hearing from many Lesbian blogs these very same stories, that have been so censored from the trans dialogue! You would not feel so alone!

    I do know of at least one case who has done so, and I suggested to her to perhaps start a group like that.
    -FeistyAmazon

  18. lesley213 Says:

    This is a very honest and powerful post, thank you. And it has inspired me to tell my own story.

    I am a radical feminist and a lesbian. I hate the Trans project and how men invade women and lesbian space because they are “really women” or “really lesbians”. I hate the inherent misogyny in the Trans position.

    And yet at an individual level I understand the desire of women to transition. My dirty secret is that I have felt it too.

    I was not the typical tomboy as a child that many lesbians profess to be. I played with dolls, played happily with other girls and embarassingly for my mother with her feminist ideas, refused to wear trousers as I found skirts more comfortable. This all changed when I hit puberty. Although I was happy to get my periods and see my body become that of a woman, I found the social aspects of puberty very hard.

    Suddenly all the girls seemed to only be talking about hair, makeup, clothes and how to get a boyfriend. I had no interest in any of this and felt like a real outsider. I began from 12 to hang around with boys and had a boyfriend from 12 and boys who were friends. I felt like I could fit in more with boys. There was no talk of make up, clothes or getting boyfriends. I look physically at this time, what would have been characterised as a “nerd”. Sensible haircut, jeans (skirts were no longer appealing when I was supposed to wear uncomfortable court shoes and shave my legs), t shirts and jumpers.

    It is also at this time I developed my alter ego – Stuart. In all my daydreams I was Stuart. He grew up with me and I day dreamed about my life as a teenage boy and then a man. Of course like all daydreams, Stuart was more popular and better looking than my real female self, but he didn’t always have an easy time in my daydreams. However, crucially he didn’t experience any of the everyday sexism that I found so hard to take as a young teenage women. Every woman reading this will know what I mean by this. Stuart was a big part of my life until literally a year ago when he just vanished from my day dreams. At the time I didn’t understand why, but I think now that I was beginning to understand a year ago at some level that Stuart was a device to deal with my anger around everyday sexism – a sort of, what if daydream.

    I have never talked about any of this in real life as I am deeply ashamed of this, so apologies if all of this seems really disjointed and poorly thought out. Its hard to put something into words for the first time.

    But the truth is I think if in my early teenage years I had been presented with the discourse of Trans to explain my feelings, I could have easily transitioned.

    I have read radical feminists talking about FtoT hating their female bodies and hating their female themselves. Of course at a fundamental level, undergoing cosmetic surgery is a self hating procedure to undergo. But I never hated my female body, beyond the usual insecurities of any teenage girl and young woman. I don’t know if those who actually transition feel differently, but I have always liked having breasts and a female body. But the things that did make me think I would rather be a man were simply that life would have been easier. I wouldn’t have had to deal with all the everyday sexism that as a teenage girl made me so angry. I wouldn’t have had to deal with on an everyday basis

    – sexist teachers who treated girls and boys differently
    – my parents who in spite of what they professed did treat my brother better. Yes we both had equal chores for example, but whereas he rarely did them, I was made to do mine
    – judgements and pressures from other girls that I largely ignored, to wear make up, prettify myself, etc
    – pressure to behave in a certain way now that I was a teenage girl, rather than just behave as myself
    – casual judgements from men on whether I was attractive or not

    I could go on and on, but you all know what I mean. I basically wanted to go back to being treated as an individual and not be faced with being treated as a lesser being with all the pressure to conform to being an acceptable teenage girl and then women.

    So what stopped me framing these feelings as “really being a man inside”.

    1. I think first of all the Trans project was pretty much in its infancy when I was young and at my most vulnerable. And certainly FtoT was largely unheard of, everyone in the media was MtoT. I was born in 1969 to give this context. As I was a younger adult, anything I read on FtoT made it clear that the surgical solutions around creating a penis were pretty rudimentary as well – and basically I didn’t want to be a freak – someone who in the surface looked like a man but had no penis or a pretty poor substitute for one.

    2. I knew I wasn’t a man and that it was not really possible to become a man. If it had been, I would have been much more tempted.

    3. Feminism – although I have only come to radical feminism in the last few years along with an understanding of the Trans project, I did have enough of an understanding of feminism as a teenager to recognise that my feelings were really about, as I would have expressed it then, the sexist society I was growing up in, rather than about my own individual feelings and “gender identity”.

    4. I have the intelligence and self awareness to analyse and challenge my own internal feelings. Many women, including those who might be much more academically intelligent than myself, often have what I would see as quite a low understanding of their own feelings and behaviour. I generally do understand why am I doing something, even if it is for shameful reasons.

    I do think I might have been influenced to go down the transition route if I had been surrounded both by the discourse and by individuals who were telling me that my feelings were really because I was a man underneath and that it was perfectly possible to change my body to that of a man’s.

    I also do understand FtoT who then access lesbian space. I have had so much support, good times, a feeling of being accepted and generally nurtured in lesbian space. By nurtured and accepted I don’t mean in a support group type of way. I simply mean being allowed to be myself and accepted for that – a simple thing, but it has felt very powerful. If I had transitioned I suspect I would be wanting to access lesbian only space. it is literally about trying to get the best of both worlds.

    I am not butch and so the lesbian discourse around being butch rather than being trans has never appealed to me. All I have ever wanted was to be myself. It terrifies me how the Trans discourse is now being sold to teenage girls and women as a solution to internal and societal conflicts. And it angers me that feminists are silencing objections to the Trans discourse as Transphobia.

    • Lindsay Says:

      I agree with your view point on lesbian only space. Losing my lesbian identity when I first transitioned to male was one of the hardest parts. There was a lack of warmth and acceptance I had previously been accustomed to and for a long time I felt alone. I personally think this pushed me farther into the trans community and lifestyle as I pushed to find a similar acceptance elsewhere. It never came and I slowly fell into depression. I simply didn’t fit, I didn’t feel the things other FtoT men felt, I often disagreed with the agenda and genera political stances making me even more of an outsider. Regaining my lesbian sisters has become one of the most amazing parts of detransitioning for me.

  19. FeistyAmazon Says:

    Thank you lesley for sharing your truth with us. As a kid I so wanted to be a boy, hated being a girl, hated forming breasts, and being teased because I wouldn’t wear a bra, and most of all the type of things you mentioned. However I was a hardcore tomboy, whoh FINALLY found a place when I came out as a Dyke, in that I could go from tomboy to Butch! And that there were others like myself with similar background and proclivities. I was no longer alone with it all, and had Sister Butches to talk to who were PROUD to be Female. POWERFUL FEMALES out of the mold, and strong and Amazonian, but nonetheless female. I came into a strong Lesbian FEminist commmunity, well, multiple Lesbian communities, some that got along, some that didnt’. But there was none of this transitioning talk.

    IF INSTEAD I came out into a strong Trans community, INSTEAD OF a strong Lesbian and/or Lesbian Feminist community(not that we agreed on all things, or even some things, I had some great disagreements with them), nonetheless there was PRIDE in being Female, whereas if you’re the least bit Butch/masculine/tomboy/boyish/babydyke, there’s all the genderqueer/trans talk, looking at my background, hating my Femaleness cuz I wasn’t feminine and didn’t like any kind of feminine things, I think I too could have fallen under the pressure to at least genderqueer if not transition on some level, or identify as male or try to pass as male…..THANK GODDESS I CAME OUT INTO A COMMUNITY OF STRONG DYKE WITCHES! THEY TAUGHT ME SUCH PRIDE IN BEING FEMALE, MAGICAL, AMAZONIAN AND STRONG. AND ONE THAT TAUGHT ME THE MOST WAS AN OLD SCHOOL BUTCH WHO was very well versed in magic and matriarchal herstory. Wow, she and I did some POWERFUL rituals together! I am so glad for that, and I tell every Pagan that asks that it was the Dyke Witches that brought me onto the Path of Witchcraft and the Goddess..and how healing that was: that womyn COULD be powerful, strong, magical and come together in strength and unity. These days there is such little pride in that, or it’s all been catering to feminine straight women, no longer Dykes and a matriarchal alternative, as we were all researching back then for other stories and channeling those powerful FEMALE energies. No, this generation has bought the ‘males are powerful’ line instead, and that since they don’t conform to feminine behaviors, then THEY MUST BE MALE, and thats where the power lies, for them….it is very, very sad to see…all that work to create alternatives, alternative ways for womyn, Dykes, Butches, Amazon types to be, and now they all wanna be ‘male’! Very, very sad…..

    But thanks again for you telling your story. We need to keep telling our stories…more and more womyn are finally waking up to the tran smokescreen lies, the more vicious they get the more they lose us, but there will always be the apologists that think it’s a ‘whole new paradigm'(yeah had to suffer through that today at an event I went to, the whole new paradigm of ‘genda’. Or how does Gallus Mag say it? ‘Jenda’).
    -IN DykeAmazon Sisterhood,
    -FeistyAmazon

  20. Bev Jo Says:

    I was born in 1950 and the Fifties were the right wing era of conformity. I was strongly pushed into femininity by my mother, but it felt uncomfortable and humiliating. I hated it and chose to be a young Butch, but had no support, no language for any of it. From my earliest memories, I was harassed and attacked by boys for being a girl and having a female body, I played with toys made only for boys and hated the boring and silly toys allowed girls. But my pals were girls for the most part, and I rarely played with boys. Their torturing and killing animals was horrifying to me. They even sexually molested my dog. They felt so different from the girls, who thought, discussed, explored, and had such a range of intellect and emotion, from such an early age.

    I would fantasize of being in a community of girl warriors who fought together against whatever enemies we had. That, and my always being in love with other girls sustained me. Still, without support of any kind — not one book or film that wasn’t Lesbian-hating — I became lovers with my best friend when I was 17. It still took a few years before I found a Lesbian Feminist community in 1970, which changed everything for me.

    I really don’t think that if the trans cult was in existence then that it would have enticed me. I’m not intending to criticize any woman who has been drawn into it, but I keep feeling stereotyped among feminists about who and what Butches are, including that we are the majority of F2Ts. I disagree, and see het and bisexual women wanting to be men in order to have sexual access to gay men, and I see Fem Lesbians obsessed with maleness. There are a few Butches, but not the majority.

    I guess I want to say again, to counter all the propaganda that I am seeing everywhere, in the male and het media, Lesbian media, and in feminist discussions: Butch is not male or masculine. Refusing to obey male rules is not male. If we are going to call names and call any woman “masculine,” wouldn’t it be more accurate to apply that term to women who bond with men, contract themselves to men, follow the male rules for how men say a “real” woman is supposed to look, stand, move, act, talk, etc.? We are expected to change ourselves beyond natural recognition, mask our faces, stand on narrow points that uncenter us and which damage our feet and backs, make our voices unnaturally high, forget how to think clearly, embrace acts which hurt us physically, mentally, and emotionally, and then to turn on and marginalize and “other” the few women who refuse to do all this. Men turn reality completely around, which is why men who insist they are women usually fit into the male rules of femininity — including the men who say they are “Butch.”

    Please don’t participate in using male rules against other women. Don’t accept their lies. Dare to re-think what it means to be a woman and “feminine.” I’m seeing many feminist online exploring these issues, but they just stop where their basic identity is threatened. In discussions of femininity, so many women refer to who and what is “pretty,” as if we all agree about those definitions. I’ve even seen feminists assuming/saying that if someone is considered “pretty,” then she has to be “feminine/Fem,” which lets you know what they think of those who say no to male standards.

    If saying no to men and patriarchal rules makes a woman “masculine,” are the brave women driving in countries where it is against the law for women to drive, therefore “masculine?”

    • RoseVerbena Says:

      Exactly. Who decided that leather work boots are “male”? Men who wanted the superior foot and ankle protection of leather work boots. Who decided that heavy-duty jeans are “male”? Men who wanted the durability, ease of wear, protection, etc. of heavy-duty jeans. Who decided that wearing a warm, sturdy, comfortable flannel shirt is “male”? Men who want the warmth, comfort and protection of a flannel shirt.

      To hell with that noise.

      When they wanted the rank, power and distinction afforded by ornate powdered wigs, yards of prohibitively expensive, hand-made lace and hundreds (thousands?) of hours of embroidery, they decreed these things to be “male”. When they wanted to appear “too wealthy to do manual work”, super-long finger-nails were deemed appropriately “male”.

      It’s all cultural smoke and mirrors, courtesy of the Patriarchy.

      Wanting to cover your body in functional, well-made, durable, plain clothing in 2012 doesn’t mean that you really want to cut your breasts off and take up overt misogyny as a hobby (I’m looking at you here, daughter of the right-wing politician Sonny Bono, with great sadness.)

      Enough with letting men define us. If I’m wearing it, it’s “women’s” clothing and I look fucking fabulous in it, even if it’s generic flip-flops, black sweats, a plain, unisex, light-colored tee-shirt and my long hair in a top-knot, off of my neck for coolness, zero make-up and a pair of weirdly enchanting colored-glass earrings. It’s all “womanly” when I wear it. When I had my hair buzzed to 1/8th inch, that was “feminine”, too, because I’m XX and female.

      Can you believe we’re being forced to have this conversation in 2012? Me neither. Sometimes if feels like feminism never happened. Gah.

      • C. Says:

        This is what I decided at 16. If I do it, it’s womanly. If I think it, then it’s how girls think. No one can ever take that from me. Also; fuck the dualist notion that my body is “other”. I am my body, my body is me. I’m not in a woman’s body; I AM woman, I AM my body, brain and all. I will not be shamed into disowning it for someone else’s own hatred of their body.

  21. traps Says:

    Just want to say that not only older lesbians are opposed to trans theory- I was born in the 70’s and my friends born in the 80’s feel the same way. I was brought up in an artistic city household where I was allowed to dress how I wanted (sort of ‘unisex’ as I still dress now) and play with the things I wanted (lots of building, lots of puzzles, lots of little cars, some dolls too)- in the early 90’s I was involved with the Riot Grrrl scene, right when ‘queer’ was starting to take over ‘gay,’ right about when T was added to LGBT… I never really thought about it, just had a ‘people can do whatever they want, I don’t care’ attitude… it was only when I started noticing SO many young non-conforming women like myself starting to lop off their breasts and grow beards and suddenly have deeper voices did I realize the damage transism can do. I wasn’t especially concerned about the middle-aged men who think they’re ‘ladies’ walking around looking ridiculous until I started to learn about how many of them are saying that they’re lesbians like me, even with their dicks and all… (‘transmen’ here in nyc are by and large ‘gay men’ it seems too) Sorry for somewhat rambling comment

  22. BadDyke Says:

    “Butch is not male or masculine. Refusing to obey male rules is not male. ”

    YES! I agree totally with this.

    This idea, pervades the current online debates and (for example), the academic literature on the whole brain sex/innate gender/sex differences/female brain in a male body stuff. If something is NOT feminine, it gets labelled masculine. Lesbian ‘behaviour’ gets labelled as ‘male’ sexuality (because they’re ALSO attracted to women). Hence the whole gay men as ‘feminised’ men and lesbians as ‘masculinised’ women. Everything gets seen in terms of heterosexuality, and the same silly ole gender axis, with female at one end, male at the other, and trans wandering about in between.

    Which just says what we knew anyway — everything gets looked at from the MALE point of view (male equals human), and from the heterosexual point of view.

    Just adding some more genders in between male and female, or just adding another axis (see SEX goes along this axis, GENDER goes along the other axis, and we all want to be along the diagonal so that our sex and gender MATCH) doesn’t alter the fact that you’re still thinking of male and female or masculine and feminine as being at opposite ends of a ‘spectrum’ — hence if you’re not one, you’re the other. Taking the whole of human diversity, and instead reducing it ALL to the only terms that the patriarchy thinks is valid — female is ALWAYS other, far away from the perfect human, the human male.

  23. GallusMag Says:

    “I don’t feel comfortable calling myself transgender any more or being tied to an identity that does not give people the opportunity to grow, change and have individual narratives and history. And it’s hard to be part of a community that doesn’t accept varied opinions on language. Doesn’t this just alienate those looking for safety?

    I never realized how much I would have to mourn when I started testosterone. I was told I would be gaining so much. All I have felt is the loss of my history, which some do not accept as truth. I feel the need to protect and keep that safe or chance losing myself all over again.

    I’m not here to open old wounds. Not mine. Not anyone else’s. I’m here to talk about why after seven years of living in the public eye as an out and proud transgender man, I no longer want to identify as one.”

    http://www.nowtoronto.com/guides/pride/2012/story.cfm?content=187563

    • m Says:

      so sad how most ‘transmen’ end up with that same exact look, erasing all their original individuality- i imagine she has that same exact voice as well

  24. Lesbians are not bisexuals Says:

    [You, sir or madam, have been posting multiple inflammatory comments under various names. I have determined that YOU are a TROLL. Best of trolling to you sir. Elsewhere. This is your FINAL WARNING.-GM]

  25. Lesbians are not bisexuals Says:

    Oh, gawd, calm down and retract your fangs. No, I’m not trolling. I’m a lesbian who doesn’t like bisexuals calling their asses lesbian. I wanted use the title because it fit. You had no problem posting my comments under fuckofftrannies. You sound paranoid. You don’t have to be scared I won’t post here anymore. You’re
    the biggest troll of all, hon.

    Toodles, SIR.

  26. lee Says:

    You are crazy as hell … did your docter not tell to really think it through before transitioning… you are not a true transgendered person.because if you were you would have never went back to being a girl… buying bras come on…..

    • lee Says:

      And another thing what is this trans cult u people or talking about…dyke witches ,, sounds like to me your in some sort of cult,, either your born in the wrong body which makes you transgender..or your not.. its all about your brain… if you do any research you will find out that before the europeans came and killed all indians their were transgendered indians living freely, without descrimination.They were aloud to choose at puberty wether they wanted to live as male or female…and were believed to be two spirited people who were magical and lucky in love..as for me I have known all my life that I am male …but was born female..I have been on t for 7 months and I am happier and more comfortable than I have ever been….and I’m not a member of no trans group nor do I have any support…… I just new it was right.

      • doublevez Says:

        I don’t even know how to respond to this racist noble savage schtick. Then, as now, natives are as homophobic as anyone. Transgendered living freely? Yeh, we did that a lot, us native people starving to death during drought and 30 below zero. We we’re overjoyed to share our meagre rations with non-productive and non-reproducitve free living lucky in love free loaders.

  27. Mike Says:

    Aboriginal practices vary from band to band, then as now. The fantasy idea of the two-spirit does differ from the reality. Many were medicine people, sure. Others were nonconforming (gay or trans) natal males who would raise orphaned relatives, indeed serving a very important purpose. The majority of nonconforming natal females (butch lesbians/trans/etc) were socialized as males and expected to carry the same responsibilities as any other man. However, this is my band and I will not speak for others, nor endorse the misappropriation of our culture by people who have very little understanding of who we are as a collective.

  28. Mike Says:

    also, we’re not Indians. Those people come from India. Oh, and Lee, I assure you that I’m not part of some dyke “cult” (I did try unsuccessfully to be a good butch for decades, though) as it takes a nanosecond to find out that I am also trans. Stupid white kids make the entirety of the trans male community seem like one big joke. Do some research and get back to me when you’re a big boy.

  29. PC Says:

    Is it possible for us to connect… I would really appreciate talking to someone who has been through this…

  30. A Trans Parent Says:

    Why did you stop your transitioning process?

  31. MAxim Says:

    Hi.. I don’t really speak english.. I understand a little bit but I try to translate .. But I know that I’m on the same situation of you.. I’m on T since January 2012.. And now I don’t know why but after 10 months i’m not sure.. Maybe i regret.. maybe I miss lesbian life.. I’m thinking to stop T.. Now I think that I made a big mistake.. How are you decided to stop definitely? What questions are you posing at you? Maybe you explain this in this text and I don’t understand.. I try to translate with google lol .. So, if you can help me i will thanks you a lot…

  32. sol Says:

    hi, its very tempting but i really want to remain as i am…

  33. Guls Says:

    Thoughtful and insightful. FtM and de-transitioning experiences are notable for their absence in what makes it into MSM coverage of Trans issues. Thanks, Violet for your perspective.

    Andy.

  34. Just browsing Says:

    Why in Hell did you even bother to start transitioning?

  35. Jan Says:

    I know this was written a long time ago so you might not get this but on the offchance you do I wanted to thank you for your insight. This comment wont be too long but I’m really torn about the whole FTM issue, I’m 23 and have always felt like I would’ve…been better suited as a man. I even went through a phase when I was 18 of dressing and acting like a guy but due to my easy to identify feminine face and voice (despite my best attempts) I’m sure I just looked extremely ridiculous and that’s why I stopped (and constantly cringe at the memories, I made so many sexist comments which made me feel ashamed just for the amusement of men in hopes of earning their acceptance). I know the only way I could ever hope to transition is through testosterone and I’m scared of what could happen if I don’t want to keep doing it (like your voice changing forever/for a long time). Should I try to do it? I’m not insecure about being a woman anymore, it’s only about wanting to be a man not about not wanting to be a woman. I didn’t want the comment to be too long so I cut a lot of TMI stuff out but there were reasons behind my insecurity.

    • GallusMag Says:

      If the guest blogger who sent me this doesn’t see/respond to your comment (or even if she does) I recommend you talk to this blogger:

      http://ataulfomangos.tumblr.com/

    • Kathrin Says:

      Transition is trading one set of problems for another set of problems. Some would consider it worth it, many end up regretting it.

      With testosterone, the changes tend to be fast, and they tend to be permanent. It’s rather mood-altering, and can lead to personality and sexuality changes. It tends to destroy reproductive ability (given sufficient time), should that be something you wish to do some day.

      Why do you want to be a man? What do you expect transition to do for you? Could you get those benefits any other way, without the cost of transition?

      • Jan Says:

        Yeah I know transitioning can have its problems, I’d really love to just press a button and be a real man instead of a pseudo-man. I would want to be a man permanently but I don’t think I’d like to be a transman permanently, you know? But no matter what I do ATM I just look like a girl in boys clothes (hypothetically I mean, I don’t do this anymore). If I were to do testosterone I’m 90% sure it would be temporary, just to experience being a man like I’ve always wanted to do. So obviously permanent side effects from stopping it are pretty scary to me.

        I just think it would be cool to be a man, hang out with the dudes and be one of them. It felt like that for a while with my dad when I was dressing like a guy. He was the only one who took me seriously and he tried to keep it up when I returned to women’s clothes and I love him for trying but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it anymore. I’m an only child and he told me when I was a little kid that he had wanted a son (among other smaller but similar comments from time to time), but it was one of those throwaway comments that adults never expect children to remember or pay heed to. I’m sure he’d be heartbroken if he knew how sad that comment made me for years after it and the guilt that came with it, although I never quite built up the courage to apologise for not being the son he wanted (and the more time passed, the more I figured he wouldn’t even remember the comment). Didn’t even mean to type all that lol. Before I actually wanted to be a guy I remember when I was like six years old and my favourite dreams were always the ones where I either became or just was a boy in them lol. And of course not having to put up with the day to day shit of being a woman for a while would be awesome.

    • Violet Irene Says:

      I don’t have a ton of time just now, so I will follow up later if you want to talk some more. But to start with, let me make an analogy. You live in a country and maybe it’s an imperfect country in a lot of ways, but it’s the only home you have ever known. A lot of people think transition is like immigrating to another country. It’s not. It’s like renouncing your citizenship in your homeland only to find that you are now a person without a country, and nowhere anywhere to really feel at home. Nowhere where you can get a permanent job, set up a home, have a family, sleep soundly and securely. Immigrating to a new gender is impossible, because gender is something done to you by biology, your upbringing, and society, not something you can declare or decide for yourself.

      The fantasy of “hangin with the bros” is just a fantasy, it can never really be real. Trust me when I say that I do completely understand what you mean and the appeal. Even if they think you are 100% bro (and this is HARD to achieve, often, they will suspect something is off with you but be too awkward/polite to say something, just saying) you will always know the truth, and no matter how hard you run and how far you travel, you will never be able to escape that truth. You will always know that you have something to hide, and you will always–like a woman born and raised–fear rape and know that it’s a possible consequence of being discovered and exposed.

      Your feelings of ambivalence need to be given more respect than what you are giving them. If any part of you fears or dreads or questions the consequences of testosterone–which can happen permanently after only a few doses, and you have no way of knowing if your body will be one that responds that way–then you need to just not do it.

      What’s wrong with being a girl in “boys'” clothes anyway?

      • Jan Says:

        I don’t really like that analogy, it’s not very fair for me lol. But I must admit I do wonder if guys would accept an FTM or if they’d be like…Weirded out by it. I know through experiences how territorial they can be with their boys club lol, but also I think I would probably feel a bit weird around an MTF especially if it wasn’t passable as a woman at a glance (I’m not sure if I’d even pass as a man with testosterone) so it’s not like I can hold it against them, even if I want to.

        I’m just so confused about what I want, one minute I like being a woman, the next minute I’m hoping I’ll wake up the next day male, lol. My desire to be a man used to be very strong and I’d think about it all the time but it’s ebbing away as the years go by, just replaced by reluctant acceptance, that’s why I’m kinda like I want to transition now but at the same time I don’t want it to be forever. I just want to live as a man for a while, have some fun as one of the dudes, then maybe (I might love being a guy) transition back into a woman. I wasn’t even aware testosterone could have permanent side effects, now I’m even less sure than I was before. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I know FTM is supposed to be a permanent thing, and on the surface of my mind I’m still like yeah this is what I want to do. It’s just deep down I have to be honest with myself and admit there’s a strong chance I may regret it. And I think being caught in between the genders would be even worse than not really wanting to be the one you are.

        Maybe you’re right about it just being a fantasy, I don’t know. I’ve really felt like I’m one of the bros before and it’s been awesome but then the next second out of nowhere I’m the butt of their sexist jokes. And of course I can’t complain about it because then I’m just ‘nagging’ and distancing myself even further from them. Sometimes it’s surprisingly easy for me to forget that I’m just seen as the girl of the group, even when some of their girlfriends are constantly suspicious of me.

        Sorry for the super long comment and if it seems a bit like rambling, I tried to shorten it a bit. And there’s nothing wrong with being a girl in boys clothes, but when you’re trying to pass as a boy that’s not really what you want to look like lol :p.

      • GallusMag Says:

        ” I wasn’t even aware testosterone could have permanent side effects..”
        What?
        Is this the first place you’ve ever looked up F2T stuff?

  36. Jan Says:

    No but I’ve mostly just watched transition journey videos and stuff like that and none of them ever mentioned testosterone being permanent, but then again none of them mentioned wanting to stop the transition either lol. I mean, I would’ve done proper research before I really really considered it of course, but at this stage I haven’t even talked to a doctor or anything about it.

    • Violet Irene Says:

      The change happens gradually, but many of the things that do change are permanent as soon as they happen. So, you won’t wake up with a full beard after two shots, but you will grown new hair follicles in the places where an adolescent male would. Those follicles will never go away. They will go back to being softer hair, maybe, when you stop testosterone, but you will always have more facial and body hair than you did before.

      Same with the voice deepening. The results vary a lot but it’s best to assume it will begin in the first month, and where ever you are when you stop taking testosterone, that’s where you’ll stay. A lot of times the voice that results doesn’t sound like an average male OR female, but kind of squeaky like that in-between stage boys go through.

      You’ll grow new sweat glands right away too, and those stay. The effects on your blood sugar regulation and blood pressure can take a while to reverse or you may trigger a process that isn’t reversible at all.

      You could easily dabble in testosterone only to end up not “passable” as either male or female. A woman who strikes people as kind of off. I have seen this happen to people! Psychologically and socially it is a huge, devastating risk. They were lovely, normal lesbian women and they don’t fit in anywhere now, there’s no option to just blend in like covering a tattoo or taking out a piercing, it is very hard for them to ever get a mainstream job or date in the mainstream “pool.” It’s very hard for them, very lonely.

      Men are happy to humor a bro-like female to a point but yes, they do talk behind your back. Even if they “respect pronouns” and call you by a male name and superficially seem to accept your transition. The best you will get, with the best, most kind and well-intentioned men, is to be thought of as a sickly little sibling, a fragile tomboy “brother” who needs her delicate delusions preserved. Someone who has mental problems they are careful to tiptoe around. From men who are not as great, there will be gossip, jokes behind your back, and possibly physical “challenges” or confrontations.

      The simple, fair fact is that people become rightfully uncomfortable when another person tries to pass themselves off as something which they are not. Deception is a habit we learn well to identify as we live together in society.

      • Jan Says:

        Hmm….I just don’t think it would be worth the risks. Especially if all I get out of it is being a delusional pity case lol, but that sounds like it could be right. I guess it’ll just have to remain an unattainable dream of mine…Thanks for your help.

      • BadDyke Says:

        “Men are happy to humor a bro-like female to a point but yes, they do talk behind your back.”

        Let’s face it, we ALL know really that they’ll NEVER accept an F2M as a real chap, because they all know that they don’t have a REAL penis — and given the usual male fascination/obsession with penis size, they won’t ‘forget’ this however much they may claim to. Or however good your surgical construct is. They’ll still know that you can’t even shoot — just look at the typical male obsession when they think they’re shooting blanks!

        “a fragile tomboy “brother” who needs her delicate delusions preserved” Yep, I think you nailed it there!

      • Lindsay Says:

        I grew up with similar family issues Jan, the first girl born into my father’s side of the family in 2 generations, a mother who wasn’t overly feminine, an older brother and all uncles. Often my brother was given privileges simply because he was a boy, even in circumstances where it made no sense logically. I wasn’t allowed to.hang out with my male friends (that’s not appropriate for a young lady), my brother and I were very close but after a certain age I wasn’t allowed to do much with him (it wasn’t lady like to play football or work on cars) and this impacted our relationship as teenagers very negatively (we still haven’t repaired the damage done from different treatment, privileges and punishments that created anger and hostility between us), being a.tomboy and not being raised with a strong feminine influence in my life I became lost and alone when the rule was.put in place I could no longer wear boys clothes or cut my hair because it was time to grow up and be a young lady.

        My family will never understand the impact their treatment had on my choice to transition or the confusion it caused, and much like you they didn’t mean to harm me, they love me and at this point bringing it up would create a world of pain and guilt that is unnecessary.

        You can never achieve being a “real” man or the acceptance to the boys club through testosterone. I had only one male friend who genuinely accepted me as male even after a decade of living as.male. For the others I was just a point of amusement, the butt of the big joke I wasn’t let in on and my gender was the first thing to be thrown in my face in the event of arguments and disagreements over any topic.

        It’s an unattainable dream and in my attempt to attain it I’ve merely made myself forever an oddity. I just moved to a new state, the minute I meet another member of the lgbt community I am immediately questioned about my gender due to my.voice which is forever stuck in-between male and female. Ironically I’m a gorgeous woman, I get a lot of attention immediately based upon looks and style, I present (and am now comfortable) as a an extremely feminine woman, but the second I open my mouth I become something strange to be avoided, questioned and drilled, or the automatic person who will understand and talk you through any sort of self doubt or inner questioning you have (regardless of if it involves your gender or not). I’m lucky to have found a partner who doesn’t care that I have to shave my face every day or who feels my voice is soothing and pays more attention to.my tone and projection than to the fact it’s male. When we go places with my son regardless of how I’m dressed or look people ask if I’m “her son’s father” the minute I open my.mouth.

        If being a real male is your goal you won’t achieve it through testosterone and if you want to eventually live as female again know that you’ll always be labeled as something other than one after stopping testosterone if your transition to male actually worked well.

        This is long I know but hoping these points of my story will help you out. I spent 7 years living as male before testosterone and another 3 years with it. I passed as.male so well that people often assumed I was a man who wanted to be a woman. In fact I was my doctor’s biggest success story with my transition. But even that didn’t make me male enough for the boys club. Just something to think about dear.

  37. mel Says:

    But there are a number of women who’ve taken testosterone to look (more) androgynous, non-binary, or just “trans” (as opposed to transmale). Rather than being horrified at being seen as a kind of “Pat” (a la Saturday Night Live), they claim to love it.

    Here’s a video by one woman who claims that her sexually ambiguous appearance pretty much fits her self-concept and the way she wants to present to the world.

    Before taking “T”, she looked pretty boyish, but now, with her breasts amputated and a full beard that’s stayed after being off T for several months, plus her froggy voice, she’s really ambiguous. (She claims to like her beard and has no plans to remove it.)

    It’s a sad trap that she’s fallen into, but she’s not alone. She seems honest when she says that she doesn’t identify as a man or a boy, although she used to. She says (in other videos) that she’s female, and “fem”, but doesn’t want to be perceived as a woman.

  38. Bev Jo Says:

    That woman in the video looks classic genderqueer Fem, and is again a reminder about how so much of the F2T culture is emulating gay men, stereotypical lisp at all. I say again that very few seem to be Butch, and many seem to be variations of fag hags and are incredibly male-worshipping women.

    Of course the effects are permanent. I don’t think I’ve heard a “male” voice yet from an F2T. Most have that cartoon chipmunk-type voice which is laugable, including those who stopped testosterone years ago now. The old bald man look stays. I see an older one who seems to always want to be with Lesbians, and she just looks like a man who has aged before his years. The bone structure changes too, with the skull thickening that makes M2Ts so grotesque-looking. That’s not even talking about the serious health damage.

    Others look like Fem genderqueer types that will never appear really male.

    I understand wanting male privilege and no more oppression as a woman, but even if that were possible, why would any woman want to claim identity with and solidarity with the group who is oppressing and raping women and destroying the world, while betraying her own kind?

    • Lindsay Says:

      You should meet me, I am now stuck with a completely male voice. It’s ridiculous now as a woman but I am happy not to be left sounding like a chipmunk lol. I do a really great Randy Travis impression when I sing ;)

      I’m also not balding or older looking than my age, in fact my birthday present to myself was being able to say to people “I’m nearly 30,” because they find it to be unreasonable that I’m so much older than I look.

      It is true these things CAN happen, but I don’t want to spread false information about transitioning in either the negative or positive aspects. I know several transsexual men who don’t fit any of the stereotypes you listed.

    • Jan Says:

      Well it’s not solely about wanting male privilege, it can be about not connecting well with other women, identifying more as a male than as a woman and a lot of other social reasons not directly related to male privilege. And sure there may be a touch of…envy, for lack of a better word, of gay men for their equality within a relationship with a man.

      I think you’re probably right baddyke, like behind your back that’s how they’d probably be feeling even if to your face they’d act like they accept you. And even if they did genuinely accept you, you’d always be wondering if they’re talking behind your back or not. Like even at the moment I wonder if they talk about me in derogatory sexual terms when I’m not around (more out of worry about being excluded from an inside joke) or if they just think I’m a cool dudette, lol.

      Thanks for sharing your story Lindsay, my mother and aunts came down on me hard with that “you have to be a lady” crap for a while when my mother finally realised how different I was. She used to say it came from me not having enough feminine authority in my life, but in the end all she achieved (at the time) was my resentment. I’m glad you said about gender being used against you in arguments, I still get that sometimes now but it just became ridiculous during my brief stint of taking on a male persona. Even though I know I wasn’t fooling anyone men still became a lot more aggressive towards me and I have to admit it was a little bit scary. I feel a lot better knowing I’m not the only person who’s dealt with these types of situations, they can feel very specific to you at the time. I guess I just have to learn to be proud of being in the girls club, lol.

  39. mel Says:

    Maybe they’re too much in the hell of their sexual dysphoria to think politically. They seem very depressed and self-obsessed, which prevents rational thinking/feeling. Their sexual dysphoria convinces them that they’d be better off as a “male feminist” than a woman.

    But this genderfuck trend is even weirder, since these non-binaries claim not to identify as either woman or man. That woman in the video says she’s happy as heck being neither/nor, and yet she admits to experiencing fear and embarrassment every time she walks out her door.

    • Lindsay Says:

      I hear you on the whole genderfuck genderqueer trend. Even when I identified as trans I had an issue with this whole thing. They believe in breaking down the gender binary, which in a way sounds good, but they also cause a lot of issues thru refuse to acknowledge for both the gay community and the trans community they are automatically lumped into. I received a lot of disdain in the trans community for my view points regarding rather or not genderfuck should be included and supported by the trans community at all.

      If you think about it the whole basis of being transsexual is that you feel you’re a particular gender, if the gender binary is broken down inside the culture then how can one “feel” like either gender? How can you feel male despite having a female body if either gender has no specific feelings, interests, or roles to play? If men were allowed to wear dresses and makeup, allowed to knit or collect porcelain dollars and this was seen to have no impact on their gender identity then how could a person born into a male body “feel” female? They’d just be a guy who felt the way that guy happened to feel, and in that sense including those who push to destroy the gender binary goes against everything that the trans community uses as reasons and examples of what make them trans outside of physical causing emotional trauma.

      For the gay community they just make us look absurd to the mainstream straight society. They get lumped in with us and give the impression that people who are gay or lesbian are just freaks to the cultural norm, as if every masculine lesbian is just a woman who wants to be allowed to act like a man or something in-between, taking away society seeing us as individuals who have a sexual orientation issue to make us.men and women who have a gender issue.

      They took a political movement and made it an identity. It was originally about either gender being able to be who they were without society’s expectations that men act one way and women another. It was never intended to be an actual gender identity, but now it’s like every little girl who didn’t like dolls and princesses feels they must have a gender issue and must fall into this category rather than just being a woman with her own set of interests and independent ideas.

      They make both groups look bad the same way the men in assless chaps slapped all over the news after pride events make us look like freaks to the mainstream and hold back the fight for acceptance and equality. It’s ridiculous.

      • Ashland Avenue Says:

        Lindsey, I just saw this comment, and I think it’s fantastic. Very well said.

      • moira Says:

        Lindsay, another detransitioned ftm here. You have some great perspectives and I’d love to be in touch. You can reach me through my blog (where I just wrote something about ongoing voice issues).

  40. Khriz Says:

    Hey… I usually do not respond to things like this because… Well if my family finds out all hell will break loose. Anyways… I am having a bit of a identity crisis…. Im just seeking some advice and hope you will help me with that….

  41. Cal Says:

    1)While I do agree that there is an issue with some young people rushing too quickly into identifying as trans and transitioning with little further thought, I think this is less an issue of intentional manipulation from a “cult”, and more a manifestation of adolescent impulsiveness. We aren’t all so thoughtless about it. To use myself as an example (and I apologize for the vanity in that), I fully intend to take things one step at a time – I bind, because otherwise, even when I manage to convince myself that I am fine staying a girl, I end up slouching to hide my chest, and at this point I’m worried it’s going to cause me spinal problems down the road. In the transgender spaces I’ve frequented (both online and in reality), I have been encouraged to take my time and honestly think about what it is I want. If I do go on testosterone, I plan to take a low dose and transition slowly, so that I have more time to “feel things out.”
    I understand that this is a major life decision, and I am still young (18). I understand that my relationship with my gender is tied into my relationship with femininity, and so I am taking the time to make sure. I don’t want to do this, and then realize I made the wrong decision. What made you decide to transition? What made you think you were a guy? What made you know you were wrong?

    2) I actually have heard quite a few FTMs whose voices have come out to be quite deep. Especially the older ones.

    3) I believe the lack of acceptance someone spoke of among non-trans men is largely cultural. I’m currently in college, and I find that the transguys I know (one of whom is pre-everything, and possibly non-op) are all treated like guys by their friends – mind you, the people I socialize with are by no means macho men, but rather feminist sci-fi geeks and soft-spoken engineers. So while I can agree that being seen as “one of the lads” most likely would not happen, I can easily see Jan being accepted as a guy if she chose to transition.

  42. Noanodyne Says:

    “Are geek feminists more accepting of trans women?”

    Many more sentiments along those lines on that blog.


  43. Hi Violet,

    My name is Luke and I’m a transman. I just want you to know that I think what you have gone through shows so much bravery and courage. I’m actually getting choked up as I write this. I respect your decision. I can only imagine how hard it all was. Your body is yours alone and no one should have a say in what you choose to do with it. I’m so glad that you’re living in the body that is comfortable for you. I’m amazed at how ostracizing and hateful the queer community can be. You made a mistake. So what? It could have easily been me or another person who took T. Life is not black and white. You deserve to be happy in your body whatever that takes! Anyhow, I happened upon this entry and just wanted to reach out and tell you that you are loved. Stay strong and don’t look back.

    Love,

    Luke

  44. ash Says:

    Im just like you :) i wanma have a baby, i quit hormons, i hate being a guy but i cant be a girl i dnt know what i have to do in this case… maybe androg is the way, but i noticed something T actually mafe us feel more feminin than we used to be whatbdo u think

  45. HR Says:

    Violet, I appreciate your posts and honesty. I also appreciate your intelligence and the respectful manner in which others have responded and commented in this blog. I am going out on a limb here but I found this blog as a result of looking for info on FtM testosterone. I am coming at this conversation from a different perspective — I am a mom who has lost her daughter in this gender confusion.
    My only child, a daughter, left home right after graduation 2 years ago and left a note that she was gay or trans or bi. She has cut off all ties, changed her name, and made it perfectly clear in the only email I have gotten that she wants nothing to do with me or my husband. This all happened July 2011. I haven’t seen or heard from her since. My daughter was extremely beautiful with long brown wavy hair and had a body to die for. She was also extremely intelligent and always felt like a square peg in a round hole in our small community. I raised her to be independent and strong and opinionated with the capability of thinking for herself…unlike most of the other young girls she grew up with. I cannot pinpoint what caused her gender questioning other than she just never had the same interests as other girls in our community and must have felt like she had more in common with the boys. She in no way came across as a male, as a lesbian, or bi when she was growing up. My husband and I are teachers and were fairly liberal compared to others in our community and we indulged our only child. We encouraged and tried to develop her interests in science, animals, violin, drums, fencing, writing, reading, shot put in track, whatever the flavor of the day was. We thought we were giving her a variety of experiences to help her find her “place”. As a result she didn’t sit around with the other girls in her school naming her children and looking for a boyfriend. Her “place” ending up being far away from us.
    To make a very long story short, I know she is living in NYC and is very involved in the LGBT community there. I can often Google her new name and see how involved she has become in the LGBT rights. She has become a front runner in this community now and appears to be a “spokesperson” and a “poster child” for the cause of the LGBT homeless youth there. I have become aware that she has officially changed her name, her pronouns have changed and she has started taking testosterone. The pictures I have seen of her show her hair short and she dresses with large jeans, tshirts with a long sleeve shirt over it and always has on a knit hat. The thing I have noticed most is her weight gain around her middle and her face being puffy as well as increased acne. She does not appear happy in any of the pictures I have seen of her. She does not seem to be smiling in any of them. (She has been interviewed many times for articles in Huffington Post and has been in many You Tube and Vimeo posts because she is so verbal and intelligent and is a leader.)
    I know that many will think I have no business in her life anymore and that I must have been a bad mom for her to have left home with no contact. I do not want to sound cliché but I really did the best I could as a parent. There is no perfect parent and we make mistakes. This is a whole new world and I just am trying to understand what would be the best thing to do for my child. I am staying out of her life like she wished. I do email her weekly telling her I love her, but I have no way to know if she ever reads the emails. I feel as though she has gotten so caught up in the LGBT world that she may have given up even going to college (she wanted to be an NYC detective). I would appreciate any advice that can be given in a productive manner that might help me to get through this grieving time and loss of my daughter.
    Questions I have are… Is there a time period after which my daughter might learn to forgive us for not understanding and perhaps contact us ?( its been 2 years already and she will soon be 21). Do FtM change their minds if they are not happy living as a man? How can I be supportive if I ever hear from her again? Most importantly, what do I do now as a parent…. just be patient and wait if she needs me, or try to contact her? How can I help? I really don’t need to be told how bad I must have been or how I should just leave her alone, or go off on me because I am a parent. I beat myself up enough for that. I really want to understand and have hope for a future with her.
    There are no resources out there for parents. I tried PFLAG, but my daughter is gone and it felt empty and pointless without her there. I have tired looking for support groups but I have a 2 fold issue… trying to understand the “whys” of a transgendered child and also having an estranged child that has not in any way tried to reconnect with us. I feel sad in so many ways. I lost my daughter and my best friend.

    • moira Says:

      Dear HR,
      I read your comment here and got chills. It could have been written by my own mother, 15 years ago, including the estrangement and the going off to New York and becoming a poster child. My mother was also a fairly progressive school teacher.

      I tried to transition to male in the 90s, but have detransitioned since. I have fairly intimate knowledge of this phenomenon and would be more than happy to share what I know with you. Unfortunately it may be difficult to hear, because this behavior is so often the product of trauma. But while you might get some unpalatable truths, you won’t get any mother-blaming from me.

      Please consider me a resource. My blog is linked here if you click on my name.

      • HR Says:

        Moira, I so appreciate your post. I was hoping that I could get some better understanding of what my daughter has been going through, since she left without us ever being able to discuss anything. I am very aware that my daughter’s decisions may be the result of some trauma in our life. I was just so unaware of the effect it would all have. Hindsight is always easier than foresight. I just wish that part of her transitioning involved more counseling and mature guidance from the adults that are supporting and encouraging her choice. Rather, it appears that the motives behind the adults in this community are financial or are being fed by anger over oppression. While I understand the need for financial support for homeless LGBT youth and the issue of discrimination, it seems like the individual emotional issues these kids are facing are being ignored or just not dealt with.

        I had hoped that I could get some support on this blog because there is just not any other source that I have found that in any way helps the parents left behind. (Believe me I have been looking for 2 years). I really want to understand. I really want to learn what to do to be supportive, if in no other way, from a very far distance. Your experience will be invaluable to me and I will most certainly link to your blog.

        I can’t go back and undo any of the past, but I do want to have some insight on what I can do in the present and in the (hopefully not to distant) future.

      • moira Says:

        HR, thanks for your reply. I think some of what I’d want to say is better said privately–and there is a private message feature on my tumblr. I will say this: You’re correct that the adults who are facilitating this transition aren’t acting responsibly in your daughter’s best interests.

        Socially, it is a very cultlike subculture, as Gallus very accurately portrays below. Girls get caught in it for variety of reasons, but a common one is the impact of having been sexually objectified and/or directly sexually abused.

        Like Bev Jo mentioned, rejecting feminization and loving other girls would actually be a really great thing for someone in your daughter’s position–but in this subculture, any sign of those actions (which might otherwise have become her saving grace) gets turned into “evidence” of “being trans” and then systematically undermined and destroyed, in the service of the group story.

        I don’t mean to be overly bleak. Do feel free to write privately if you want to talk more.

    • Ashland Avenue Says:

      HR, my heart breaks for you. But you are doing all the right things – sending those weekly emails reassuring her of your love, and keeping up with your daughter’s life, even if from a distance. As Em stated, your daughter is young and immature, but there’s a good chance she’ll get smarter as she ages. As she goes through more experiences, and deals with more and more kinds of people, she’ll come to realize who’s truly on her side – you and your husband. But I know that in the meantime, you’ll miss her terribly. I wish I had some more words of comfort and advice.

      I can tell you that I am a very, very different person today than I was at the age of 21 (full of sanctimoniousness and anger then, like lots of people), and much better able to see both the good AND the bad of the LGBT movement (I am a lesbian). My experience is not uncommon. I am sure your daughter’s critical thinking skills and intelligence will end up saving her, and your relationship with her. Keep sending her the emails, and updating her on your own life as well. I hope for the best for you – and I have a feeling you will hear from her again. She sounds just too smart to let this go any other way.

      • HR Says:

        Ashland, thank you so much for your encouraging words and the positive reinforcement. I was wisely advised by a mother in the PFLAG group that the one thing that is needed most is that my daughter needs to know that I love her. I took that advice and have been faithful. I stay upbeat and share what is going on in our lives, trying to stay light and adding in some humor where I can, always ending with how much she is loved. However, I have no idea if she ever checks her old email. But, after being encouraged by you, I will remain steadfast. If nothing else, I am copying each email and compiling them in a notebook that someday should end up in her hands.

        I appreciate the honest and sincere sharing of your experience and am counting on her intelligence and gifted critical thinking skills to help her figure things out. My husband reminds me of this often, but it is so much more relevant hearing it from you. I hold onto the hope she runs into someone like you that will encourage her to just be herself and that she will find joy and happiness.

        Thanks again and I will hold onto your comments as they have been given with utmost sincerity and have behind them your experiences.

      • Ashland Avenue Says:

        Thanks for your words, HR.

        I thought of a couple other things you may wish to consider. First, have you thought of going into therapy yourself? Simply talking about this painful time with someone who is not involved in it, but still empathetic, can do wonders for you and help assuage your soul. If you decide to do this, I’d suggest finding a female therapist who’s at least middle-aged or older.

        The other thing is this: your daughter is involved with a very chaotic world. That is, she works with people who are not only uncertain of their identity (the trans folks), but also homeless. In addition to that, many (not all) kids on the street end up using drugs and/or alcohol, which only adds to the inconsistency and unreliability of having them as friends. Please note, I’m not saying they’re bad people, but living on the street coupled with addiction makes it very hard to be a stable force for your friends.

        My point is this – your daughter’s going to get tired. With her intellect, she is going to mature, and she’s going to want more from the people she’s surrounded with, but they are not going to be able to deliver. That may sound cold, but there’s a reason workers in the social services fields have such a high burnout rate. At that time, your daughter will want to return to base for some stability and comfort. With you sending her the emails, you’re keeping that avenue open. If you think the letters are going to an old email address that she no longer uses, consider mailing the copies to her, if you have an address. Old fashioned snail-mail can get the job done too! I really wish you the best, and take good care of yourself.

  46. Em Says:

    Your daughter is young, and young people can be foolish and cruel. Often they mellow as they mature. Meantime, please accept the sympathy of a stranger. I am so sorry.

    • HR Says:

      Em, thank you for your post. Sometimes it is hard for me to remember what it was like being 20 but I do remember being very self centered. I have wondered at what age I started placing others’ feelings and needs before my own. I am counting on the “healing that comes with time” and am just hoping that in the meantime she doesn’t forget the good times we had. I will continue to be patient and allow her all the space she needs as I pray for maturity to come quick! I appreciate your kind words.

  47. GallusMag Says:

    I can’t help but assume (rightly or wrongly: I don’t intend to ask her because I respect her privacy) that HR is referring to the Housing Works program in NYC, which is very culty. I think it would be super hard for a young person to extricate themselves once they got sucked in. Also, finding out that momz and dadz back home are cool might put a damper on your daughter’s “street cred” and reputation with “the kids” or her “journey to authenticity”. God, that is such a horrid age.

    Most FTMs her age end up in education or social work, churning out other FTMs. Dunno.

    Here is Heath’s advice, can’t say I agree with it all, but wtf do I know:

    http://nymeses.blogspot.com/2013/07/72213-how-to-help-friend-who-is.html

    Also, you can read “Mortified”‘s POV as a mom in the same (or similar) boat on this post:

    http://gendertrender.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/transgender-couple-face-subpoena-by-feds-in-u-of-pitt-bomb-threat-case/

    Maybe she will pop around and comment here if she sees this convo, she still stops by occasionally.

    • HR Says:

      GallusMag my daughter is very involved in a couple of the homeless youth LGBT programs in NYC, but Housing Works is not one of them, at least as far as we know to date. We have not made any attempt to insinuate ourselves into her life once we were told to back off. Even though we have names and numbers of people she has connected with in these agencies, we have not pursued contact for fear of pushing her further away and messing up her agenda. We are appreciative to those agencies that have given her a bed and kept her safe and off the streets. We feel that barging in on her life and making ourselves known to those who have helped her would indeed jeopardize her story. Even though it is very difficult not to pick up a phone and just call one of the program’s directors and just say “Hey, I’m that kids mom and I do love her and I didn’t kick her out of the house and do want to support her” , I feel it would do more harm. We do not want to mess up anymore than we already have, therefore, we just have been patiently waiting for her to want to maybe contact us someday. So… I am here trying to soak up any advice that I can. What would a 21 year old in this situation want? The question for us has been to contact her or not to contact? I will check out the links you posted and appreciate your comments.

  48. Bev Jo Says:

    Am I the only one suspicious here? There has been so much trolling by men and trolly women. I can never imagine a mother saying about her daughter “”My daughter was extremely beautiful with long brown wavy hair and had a body to die for.”

    The immediate support goes to HR, but as someone who was a young Lesbian and knows many other lifelong Lesbians, all we wanted was for our families to just love and accept us. That meant friends being locked up in mental hospitals and drugged by Lesbian-hating family, or being forbidden to see lovers, sent to therapists, addicted to anti-depressants, sent off to cults to de-program, etc. I do not know of any young Lesbian who ran off like that without extremely good reason. So what “trauma” are we not being told?

    When HR says:

    “My only child, a daughter, left home right after graduation 2 years ago and left a note that she was gay or trans or bi…..She in no way came across as a male, as a lesbian, or bi when she was growing up.”

    …then we have a clue. If this is a real story, HR must have a bizarre idea of what a Lesbian looks like. Ellen or Portia di Rossi, or a big old scary diesel bulldagger? What is she imagining the daughter would look like as bi or Lesbian?

    So the young woman leaves a note saying she could be one of three things, which, since we know trans isn’t real, means a Lesbian probably (bi or Lesbian is a choice anyway, but “bi” is less terrifying to hets.) She clearly feels so rejected, unloved, hated, that she leaves with no money or resources.

    And how could she feel accepted when HR says “She in no way came across as a male, as a lesbian, or bi when she was growing up”? This is what she is saying now.

    How does the thought of being a Lesbian or even bisexual lead anyone to refer to “gender confusion” or “gender questioning?” Why is this being presented as a young woman possibly joining the trans cult? I know that is always a risk, but the description of her sounds like a regular Lesbian who is dealing with Lesbian-hating family. No more “body to die for” though? (And who would “die” for her body in your fantasy?) Maybe she wanted to be free of such objectifying comments, like many of us got from parents who were wanting us to be attractive to men? Teenaged girls not part of the het cult really hate such creepy comments that border on abusive. Hearing that once would have made me want to run off.

    If this is a troll, it’s really cruel. If it’s real, then, HR, think about what you have projected and still project on your daughter, and why you would not recognize her as a Lesbian since all girls are potentially Lesbians. Would you rather she abuse her body in a fantasy of being a man or would you love and accept her as a Lesbian?

    If you are writing to her as you are writing here, critical of her short hair and jeans and shirts, and probably a healthy weight for the first time in her life (since rarely are healthy-weighted women said to have “a body to die for”) then I understand her keeping distance.

    • Motherhood Says:

      Bev,I think the HR is mostly legit. Part of the brave new world here in Motherland and it creeps me out. Mothers do say things to their daughters like: “oh you look so hot in that outfit,” or “did you see the way he looked at you? “Oh you are so beautiful.” That’s because guys like tits like yours.” It is some kind of mom as peer and friend and showing how cool you are. I find it creepy and disgusting. I have noticed that it always moms that have a rigid idea of the feminine–like a sexualized June Cleaver. I have seen daughters who are just like mom and are fine with it. And I have seen girls where it was a kind of torture. I re-read the moms post again and she says –daughter was her “best friend” that’s a tip off. She also says “my husband” not father. I suspect the woman was a single mother for a long time and married when this girl was a youngish teen. A male who is not the father, red flag–men no man ever is to be trusted. They just aren’t. And lucky for me I live in a culture that has total gender segregation. I also was a single mother that remarried. And I never ever left any male alone with children not even my husband. I would say your daughter is not your friend Mother up. I think there maybe more to this story than meets the eye and the focus on lesbian is being used by both the daughter and the mom to not confront something–imho. But who knows I suffer from a permeant case of milk brain.

    • HR Says:

      I am sorry for any comments I made about my daughter that have been offensive. I come from a very small conservative town and have a limited understanding of the LGBT world other than what I have learned since my daughter left. I have never posted anything on a blog before and do not know what trolling means but I have made an assumption as to its meaning. Perhaps I shared too much, but the comments I made were in an effort to be honest with my thoughts about my daughter. To me, she is beautiful. I have had limited contact with any lesbians, but the ones I have known have been very beautiful, confident, socially adjusted, and occupationally successful, kind and understanding. My concern, which led me to this blog in the first place, was that my daughter is taking testosterone and is not looking healthy and does not appear happy. I am not critical of the short hair and clothes. I am trying to understand. I accept that I have majorly messed up as a mom. I appreciate your candor in letting me know how my view of my daughter probably was offensive to her and she obviously did want to be free of my objectifying comments. I had no idea that my comments would be creepy or abusive to her, but now I can see where she would feel that they were. I cannot change the damage that I have done by my ignorance. Please help me to understand what not to do or say. I do not comment about any of this when I email her and I never will. I just let her know I love her. Once again, I appreciate your honesty and I am sorry if I stirred up any distrust or negative feelings.

      • Ashland Avenue Says:

        Well, HR, I for one believe you. I don’t expect everyone in the world to know the absolute politically correct phrasing for every situation, and you sound like any other mother bragging on her daughter (which is fine). Many women who’ve been raised hearing these phrases (“a cute figure”, “a body to die for”, etc.) use them toward other women as a form of flattery and affection, not objectification (especially if one is over 40 or 50). That’s how I, at least, heard your words. Other women here obviously differ, but that’s my interpretation. You seem like someone with an open mind who’s willing to learn, and not repeat mistakes, so I think you’re already way ahead of the game.

        On a different note, Gallus, you put the whole street cred thing into good succinct words. I was thinking the same thing – HR’s daughter may feel the need to keep up a front so her authenticity as a tough NY street kid isn’t questioned or doubted. It’s drama. Most of us outgrow the need. In the meantime, it’s a pain in the ass for the grown-ups around who have to deal with it.

      • moira Says:

        HR,

        You’ve responded well and non-defensively to some pretty hard things in this public forum, so I’ll just go ahead here.

        I think likely your objectifying your daughter is part of how this came about. I also think that she’s almost certainly been sexually abused by a male, probably your husband (Motherhood is right on that point), but maybe a coach, teacher or other trusted person. I say this because the story she’s telling is a metaphor for something very real. You didn’t kick her out but if your husband molested her and you didn’t notice and/or didn’t stop it, then she sees you both as perpetrating. Maybe she can’t acknowledge or say all that, and has learned that she can’t trust anyone (even mom) to care anyway–so she takes a shortcut, tells a different story.

        The best things you can do are:

        A) Understand that when your mother says you “have a body to die for” you might start dying for it, or else, try to destroy that body so you can live, instead. Transition like this is a form of living suicide.

        B) Be honest with yourself about what you know already–but maybe don’t want to know–or, if you really don’t know, find out– about your daughter’s sexual abuse. Then, choose your daughter over whoever it is–even if it’s your husband.

        I was very struck by what you said about acting to preserve her “story” at all costs. This is so much of the appeal for so many girls who do this. If she’s been abused and nobody acknowledges or takes it seriously–then it’s very compelling to start telling a different “story” that people–not only in the trans subculture, where it gives her a certain status among her peers, but as you mentioned, in the Huffington Post, etc.–DO listen to and take seriously. Even you are taking this new story seriously, when you know it is a lie! What an amazing amount of power for a girl who can’t get her actual wound acknowledged.

        C) If it wasn’t direct sexual abuse (and it isn’t always, just *almost* always) then it was the cumulative effect of being treated like a sexual object less “directly.” So, there would still be the same soul-searching and investigation to do.

        I can tell you what to say that would fit with her current cult-speak and be most likely to get her to respond, but honestly, besides getting you even more secondarily socially-controlled by it than you already are, I don’t know how much good it would do.

        I know this isn’t easy to hear and will be even harder to do. When I look back, though, I think it’s the only thing my mother could’ve done. Again, you know where to reach me if you want to talk.

  49. red Says:

    Bingo, Bev Jo. I would never describe a daughter that way. First, euuu, secondly, that’s the way a male thinks about our young daughters.

  50. IceMountainFire Says:

    I share your discomfort, Bev. “A body to die for”? “The thing I have noticed most is her weight gain around her middle”?
    A young woman presumably gets sucked into a cult-like situation, and her weight is not only an issue, but the most notable thing? No, something smells odd here.

  51. Bev Jo Says:

    Thanks, Red.That’s what I was thinking. It just sounds male, like a male assessment of a girl’s body. And also for what is supposed to be a “conservative, small town” woman is seems strange. (For those who don’t know, “trolling” is what people do when they pretend to be someone they’re not or make de-railing or provacative statements dishonestly to stir up trouble or get attention, etc.)

    If HR is real, of course we want to support her to be a good mother to her daughter, but if not….what a cruel game to play.

    A while back, I got a post on my blog from a “lesbian feminist” that started out sounding just fine — very easy to copy the style — and then he made comments about how young girls should be taught early the mysteries of Lesbianism. Wanky, disgusting, pervy prick. They just cannot stop with sexualizing comments, which is always a giveaway with trannies, but that was the worst.

    I’m not sure. If HR read this blog, it’s clear this is NOT about the “LGBT” whatever, and that we don’t combine those or consider Lesbians part of the “GBTQWTF” anyway.

    First the daughter is described as not looking like a Lesbian and as “beautiful.”‘ Then there is a list of a description of wonderful attributes of Lesbians.

    It’s hard too to see the comments not questioning, in favor, and even calling the daughter “foolish and cruel.” I don’t understand the lack of sympathy for the daughter or wondering what really happened. The only Lesbians I know who ran away from their family had been horribly abused and rejected. Often they told their mothers of being sexually assaulted by step-fathers, fathers, brothers, uncles, grandfathers, etc., and their mothers told them to stop lying and be nice to the man. Many still tried to keep contact with their mothers in spite of such harmful treatment.

  52. GallusMag Says:

    Ok I did some checking and HR’s story checks out. Her real name, demographic info, husband, occupation, IP, all match up reasonably well. FWIW I am pretty comfortable that she is not a weirdo troll. :)

  53. GallusMag Says:

    Let’s remember we are dealing with real people here and be careful to comment supportively, even if offering difficult feedback. Thanks everyone.

  54. moira Says:

    Bev Jo,

    I want to validate the reasons that HR’s comment about a “body to die for” struck you the way it did.

    I also want to say I don’t think she’s a troll. I think Ashland is right about her *intent*, though I think the *effect* is unfortunately probably more like what you describe. Really, it’s so typical and common for mothers pass along this kind of stuff to daughters, without necessarily even understanding it. It sounds like HR is open to difficult self-examination. That is a very good thing, as Ashland says. (RE: the LGBT thing, HR said herself she just found this blog, by accident. She’s not versed in these arguments.)

    I think the reason to interpret this as a story about a girl who is trans-trending is that she’s taking testosterone and using a male name and pronouns.

    I don’t think it’s true that the people who responded with concern for HR don’t care what is actually going on with her daughter. I’m saying this because maybe it helps you feel less alienated from those of us who approached this from a different angle.

    • Ashland Avenue Says:

      Thanks for this, Moira.

      However, I’m not feeling as understanding and charitable as you right at this moment, so I’m going to stop typing NOW.

      • red Says:

        Yes, there are other things I could point out there, but on the slim chance this person is who she says she is, I too will “stop now”. It’s so important to offer help if we can, but, I’m a mother, and I can’t see it.

  55. Bev Jo Says:

    Thanks, Gallus, for reassuring us. And thank you, IceMountainFire, for your support too.

    I’m sorry if I was suspicious of you, HR. It sounds like you gave your daughter a lot of encouragement and love, and I hope she does get in touch with you and realizes you care. But maybe it’s also important for her to have gotten away to have found herself and a community, and perhaps it’s actually some good that she is doing if she’s working to help homeless young Lesbians. The sad part is if she is taking testosterone and identifying as male. Perhaps that is temporary and as a result of peer pressure and that she’ll stop and just identify as a Lesbian? She can’t really change to male, but certainly the drugs and surgery aren’t good for her. You found this all out from reading about her? It’s also sad that she is more likely to feel accepted in that community as a pretend man than a Lesbian. Perhaps you still could get into a PFLAG or other group to talk about what it means if your daughter is a Lesbian, even if she is preferring to identify as male for now. (That brings more privilege than identifying as a Lesbian.) And then as you learn more (I’d suggest books also about Lesbian culture), and she returns, your support of her being a Lesbian might really help her to accept herself and stop going in the direction of trans. This blog is certainly the best in uncovering all the cons and lies about that.

    It would be good also to try to find out if she was sexually abused by trying to remember if she tried to tell you so you can let her know that you regret not supporting her earlier, but do now. Again, there are feminist books that can be very helpful with learning more about this, including how common it is. Elizabeth Ward’s “Father-Daughter Rape” is one of the best about family dynamics.

  56. HR Says:

    This is just a general comment to all that have commented. I really needed to re-read many of the things mentioned here. At first I was a little taken aback at how I must have come across. I am usually checking and double checking every correspondence I make so that I don’t ramble because I have always been very wordy. I would really like to now clarify who I am and why I even was asking for help. I am 54 years old. I have been a special education teacher for 27 years. My husband of 29 years is an art teacher. We live in a small community that is (I can hear you all gasp now!) a Babtist college town. We could have only 1 child because of many issues with my endometriosis. My husband and I both came from dysfunctional families and we really wanted to do better for our daughter, so in many cases we overindulged her, but she was our world. I hope that doesn’t sound weird. You have to realize, I am a parent and can be extremely emotional, especially since I miss my daughter very much. I would like to list some things that I think might have contributed to my daughters choices. Remember, she says she is transgendered (I hope that is the right word) now. However, when she first left, she sent one email and didn’t specify in it exactly what she thought. She just wrote that she was gay, bi, or trans. For the sake of being brief and not overly wearing anybody out I will just list what I think might have caused some issues in our life. I am not listing them in any order.

    1. She is an only child
    2. She is extremely intelligent with a very high IQ
    3. She did not socially fit in with the stereotypical babtist meek and mild girls that went to her school.
    4. Generational curse 1 – my dad was an alcoholic and my mom was way crazy and strict (I am like neither of them but some of that mom stuff just gets stuck in there)
    5. Generational curse 2 – my husband’s family has all levels of bipolar issues and he himself has been diagnosed with Hyper manic disorder. I feel that this has had the most effect.
    6. My daughters best friend moved away in elementary school and she never connected again with another person in that way
    7. My objectifying comments made to her…. please believe me that I am so sorry about them
    8. My daughter was a voracious readier and we didn’t put any stipulations on what she read.
    9. My husband has always been very moody and throughout most of my daughters life starting at about 1st grade when we built our house and finances got tougher it became even harder to know what to expect. Many times he would be furious with us for just about any reason. We lived in constant turmoil. And yes there was verbal abuse and mental manipulation.
    10. My reaction to living like this was wrong. I am a born conflict avoider and hate to have anybody upset. Most of time, I would sent my daughter to her room so she wouldn’t have to listen to him rant and rave while I tried to appease him. I am sure my daughter sees me as weak and I now KNOW this was wrong. I thought I was protecting her from him.
    11. I have a feeling both my daughter and I have suffered post traumatic stress disorder issues from this. Thus the trauma.
    12. Most of the kids here are sons and daughters of the babtist college professors! Plus there was only 60 kids in her class. Pretty small odds she was ever going to find someone who had some of her same interests.
    13. I really spent a lot of time with my daughter. I took her to every sporting event and even helped coach. I took her to every music event she was involved in. She was my constant companion and perhaps when I was hurt and depressed I would share my anger and frustration with her about her father. I know this was a mistake now.
    14. Her senior year, she dated a guy who she met at church and through a mutual friend. It seemed like a healthy relationship but, we came to find out after she left that he was also “transgendering” (verbage?) and now identifies as a female. So, they must have been going through this together. He lives at home now and is seeing another girl (cant figure that one out).

    Things that are not true:
    1. There was never any sexual abuse from my husband. Verbal abuse…. yes.

    2. There was never any physical abuse from either of us. We rarely had to ever discipline her.

    3. My daughter and I talked about her babysitters a lot just before she left. When she was an infant she had the same babysitter for 2 years. She has no memories of them. At age 3 until school and in her elementary years, she had the same babysitter whom she loved and still loves dearly. There was a 3 month period when she was 4 that she had to have another babysitter and this is the only time where I can even imagine there being any type of abuse if at all.

    I am going to try to carefully explain my feelings. I know I screwed up, and evidently I am still screwing up in how I say things. This is clear… I love my daughter. I would love to have the opportunity some day to see her. I have apologized over and over again and asked for forgiveness of my stupidity at being a mom, but I have no way to know she ever reads my emails. I miss my daughter.

    The reason I commented here is because I am worried for my daughter and am afraid for her to be taking the testosterone. I saw the title of this “blog comment” “Quitting T and getting back to life as a woman” and thought that maybe there would be some hope that she might change her mind like Violet Irene did and still be able to change what the testosterone had done. I just wanted a little hope that I hadn’t totally screwed up my daughters life because of my screwed up ness. I just was curious as to see what the testosterone does, and I had a lot of questions that I cannot ask anybody else because I don’t have any resources here to ask.

    I am seeing a counselor. She is older than me and counsels transgendered students and adults and has given me some enlightenment as to helping me understand these issues. But she has not experienced this trans identity thing and I felt like maybe here I could ask questions to see if there was hope.

    Please remember, I have no contact with my daughter at all. I only can email her to an old email address. I haven’t tried to contact any of the adults that I have seen names of in these agencies. I know I screwed up. I know she is trying to find her way and I am pretty sure, the last thing she wants is to see or hear from me.

    My daughter is gone. I have to live with that every moment of every day and the loss is huge. I would not wish this on anybody. I apologize for any thing that comes across socially or culturally, or stereotypically wrong. Just let me know… Does this pain and confusion for her get better? Can she heal from all of this and get on with a healthy life? I just needed to know that people do come out of this, like Violet Irene.

    • GallusMag Says:

      First of all I apologize for the vetting. We have gotten some bizarre trolls and fakes here- including a fake mother of a fake transgender child who started a whole fake blog about it! “Transwoman” and Men’s Rights Activist Valerie Keefe posted impersonating as a detransitioning FTM asking for help on Dirt’s blog. Etc. Etc. So, sorry about that. One of the not-fun parts of moderating this blog is outing the male trolls and imposters.

      Second, if you “screwed up” by perpetrating internalized misogyny in relating to women including your daughter, you are no more “guilty” than every single woman on the planet. You did not make your daughter embrace the trans trend. It is not your fault. Trans trending is a huge conservative counter-cultural movement enabled by the feminist backlash (“war on women”) and the popularization of cosmetic medicine in an industry whose profit margin is increasingly based in products marketed as “lifestyle” treatments for healthy consumers instead of products that resolve or control disease pathology.

      As for “screwing up in how I say things” here on this blog: you aren’t. You are doing just fine. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences. Please don’t worry about that.

      OK back to your situation and questions. Many many female transitioners (FTM) stop taking testosterone. I’ll go so far as to say (anecdotally) at least 50%. Possibly more. Generally this is not framed as “detransition” or “regret”. Very few people are strong enough psychologically to actually view belief systems that were once very important to them as complete failures. Instead, most of us accommodate our past lives into our new ones by framing them as important learning experiences or waystations on our “journey”. We see this when people exit religious cults. Most people who join religious cults eventually leave. Yet they largely frame their previous (now rejected) indoctrination as a valuable personal lesson and experience that they “had to go through” to get to the other side. Only a small minority takes it upon themselves to debunk the exited subculture or warn others.

      For the vast number of female transgenders who stop “treatment” this generally looks like “I have realized I am genderqueer and not male”. This also allows women to retain ties to their friends and social support systems who are likely also trans or gender-embracing. Many if not most transgender females end up stopping “T” but the ones who end up also stopping genderism are those who learn about the radical feminist critique of gender, or those who as Bev Jo outlined above, are lesbian and re-engage with the lesbian subculture and lesbian feminist politic.

      Female transgenders “transition” to try to escape the female lot. Some are lesbian or naturally femininity-nonperforming women seeking escape from constant daily marginalization. These women “stand out” in public for their whole lives pre-transition, and are targeted, surveiled, and harassed daily. Others are heterosexual feminine women who want romantic/sexual relationships with men on an equal basis, which is not possible for feminine women since “femininity” in women is the performance of subjugation. As “transmen” these women are free to express traits coded feminine while maintaining equality and dignity as “not female”.

      A minority of male transitioners embrace transgenderism to try to escape harassment based on being gender-nonconforming males- usually gay males who failed masculinity (the performance of domination) in childhood. Otherwise, most male transitioners are heterosexual sexual fetishists or “autogynephiles” who exercise a sexual compulsion (like flashers on the subway) to force bystanders to participate in their sexual kink (In this case experiencing themselves as a sexualized pseudofemale object). Most male detransitioners are gay men, religious conversions, or – largely- those who decide that transgendering to “female” is an option that interferes with the privilege accorded to them as male.

      Medical gender afficianados say that “Testosterone adds but Estrogen does not subtract”. Testosterone adds (body hair, bone growth, voice change, male-pattern baldness) but estrogen does not subtract (body hair, bone growth, voice change, male-pattern baldness). What this means for detransitioners is that men can socially detransition instantly, even after SRS or FFS. “It took me years to pass as female but only 48 hours to undo it” – post SRS and FFS gay male transgender now injecting testosterone biweekly after “living as a woman” for 15 years.

      Detransitioning for females is not so easy, as many of the changes caused by testosterone (“testosterone adds but estrogen does not subtract”) are permanent. (An interesting note- as high profile as male “transgender children” are in the media, the majority of children who have received puberty suppression drugs followed by cross-sex hormone treatments are female.)

      Long story short (?) there is at least a 50/50 chance your daughter will stop taking testosterone.

      Request to readers: could you please post links to detransitioner blogs here? Would be helpful. Also I would like to add a detransitioner resource list to my blogroll.

      • moira Says:

        Thank you for this, Gallus. You said all of this so well.

        HR, I hope you especially pay attention to the bit about whatever ways you messed up, they are not specific to you. Despite the fact that mother-blaming is practically the national pastime of the USA, (forget baseball, this is what we really love to do) you’re essentially just passing along the same poison that you received. I find it really hard to be honest about the ways that women harm each other without falling into destructive blaming, and I don’t think my comments to you here have balanced that line perfectly. I see you as someone who very much wants to see the truth even if it’s ugly, so that she can do better, and I truly admire that. Like Ashland said awhile ago, the fact that you’re willing to even face these facts puts you very far ahead of the curve. In retrospect I wish I’d just waited to talk to you privately; it wouldn’t have been as harsh. I apologize. I really want you to know that I in no way think you’re the enemy. I do hear that you love your daughter, and I do see that you’re trying very hard.

        It’s possible your daughter hasn’t been sexually abused or raped, though honestly I still wouldn’t rule it out entirely. Could’ve been a peer, more recently, even. This may be my bias, but it’s not only my own experience that gives me this idea. It’s really common, even the norm, I’d say, among ftms, (as with all groups of females, right?). Holly (now Aaron) Devore even did a research study on it in the mid 90s–several ftm therapists talked from a personal as well as clinical perspective about using trans identity to cope with sexual abuse trauma.

        However, one thing to consider is that as this behavior becomes more mainstreamed as a trend, a wider circle of girls are impacted. I think previously, a smaller subset was impacted (mostly girls who had been harshly judged and punished for being “too masculine” like Gallus describes above and/or girls who were reacting to sexual abuse). Another detransitioned ftm I know, who is now living as a lesbian again, reminded me that there are vastly more people doing this now than when we did it in the 90s. More and more girls who don’t fit the increasingly cartoonish and pornified stereotypes of womanhood, or who are seeking some way to be equal and feel human in relationships, will doubtless be impacted. Really, the male culture at large is sexually abusive, overtly so.

        It makes sense that a smart, sensitive girl would reject the model of womanhood she found among the baptists. It must be so heartbreaking to think that you tried to give her real alternatives and it didn’t take–but please remember that the pieces of solid foundation you tried to give her will still be there whenever she’s ready to avail herself of them–even if they’re not perfect. Even given what you’ve said about your husband’s abuse of both of you. My mother was certainly not perfect, and her denial kept her from ever taking the kind of steps you’re taking now, but I can still draw strength from the many things she did right, and the things she tried to give me that she never had. That is, I can do this now that I am through the “individuating” stage.

        Your daughter is individuating from you but unfortunately the good things you were trying to instill in her weren’t easily found elsewhere, so when she did what all teenagers/young 20s do–rejected her mom’s way–the alternatives represented by both the dominant culture and her boyfriend’s supposed “alternative”” were equally toxic and misogynistic.

        There is still (some) hope for detransition, but you may also be looking at a future of humoring her in this forever. I do believe that by her late 20s she will want a relationship with you again in either case–and I bet that is the most important thing to you anyway. My dad did what you did–let me know he’d respect my boundary about communication, but periodically got in touch to remind me he was there. He made no demands and he jumped through my absurd name and pronoun hoops, trying to understand. I think he was relieved when I came to my senses about the gender stuff, but honestly, even before he knew about that, he was just happy to have me back in his life. If you want to be in touch with my dad (who knows something of what you’ve been through) I’d be willing to ask him about that for you. He and I have actually never spoken about this directly, except for me telling him I changed my name back and showing up for visits clearly not trying to pass for male anymore. I would like to offer you this resource regardless, if you’re interested and he’s game.

        My rough statistics from the pool of ftms I knew then–I’d say about a third have detransitioned. Another third don’t see themselves as male anymore but can’t help passing at this point so they make the best of it, perhaps as “genderqueer” like Gallus described. The rest are still in it and some have really doubled down on the unreality mental illness factor. Some of those who detransition then acquire a new “gender identity” with new rules and strictures–hyper-femininity, for example. A different manifestation of the same pain, in one sense only superficially different but at least no hormones or surgeries are typically involved.

        I look forward to the day when trans trending gets treated more like cutting or anorexia than like a liberation movement, so that this kind of pain gets addressed closer to the root, and we don’t all keep politely participating in each other’s self-destruction.

        I’d happily tell you more of my experience in this community and with transition/detransition but there are limits in a public forum. I will say that nobody who knows me from post-transition knows that I was ever “ftm” unless I tell them. I do well socially in many different kinds of environment. Some people might look twice at certain things about me, but such is life for many, many women–and such was life for me, even before T. I do have a pretty “normal” lesbian life, and while I’m not perfectly healthy physically (maybe partially T-related) I’m reasonably so. My mental health is the thing that’s improved most dramatically.This is a possible outcome, even if it’s not always the way it goes.

        Here are a few detransition blogs with a wide variety of perspectives represented:

        1. crashchaoscats.wordpress.com (there was a recent post here about this woman’s relationship with her mother through the transition)

        2. twentythreetimes.tumblr.com

        3. atlasstrawberries.tumblr.com

        4. nymeses.blogspot.com

        5. redressalert.tumblr.com (this one’s mine)

        6. femme-gone-rogue.tumblr.com/

        Twentythreetimes has a blog entry compiling other sites of interest:

        http://twentythreetimes.tumblr.com/post/55274757426/personal-stories-and-info-on-detransition

        This is not a detransition blog but is useful in thinking about these issues:
        culturallyboundgender.wordpress.com

      • Ashland Avenue Says:

        Gallus, thanks for posting that reassurance to HR. And to HR, I reiterate: I believe you, and I believe in you. And in your daughter too.

      • GallusMag Says:

        Thanks for the links and great comments moira

    • Violet Irene Says:

      HR-

      I saw this a while ago but have been putting off commenting because it reminded me of a lot of things that are very hard for me to think about. Especially how my own mother suffered because of what I did and what I went through.

      One thing I can say: you are doing the right thing by keeping the door open. If you know her mailing address, sending cards on birthdays and holidays would be another good thing to do. It’s relatively easy to ignore an email, but getting a postcard with a kitten on it or a scene that reminds you of home is something else. It might not be entirely welcome, but it is a reminder that she can find the ground again. She needs those reminders because the people she’s hanging out with are totally living in a weird abstract headspace where what you think is more real than the wall you’re about to walk into.

      Another thing I will say: when I snapped out of it, the people who had been “taking it hard” or never really bought in but had expressed loving concern were my INSTANT support people. They were the only ones I could trust. Everyone else I had to go through a process of figuring out if they were part of the insanity or had been humoring me out of fear of being un-PC or what. I certainly could not trust myself, or doctors, or therapists, or…you get the picture. But mom had never bought in. She had cried at the news of my “transition,” while my dad was celebrating. She had refused to engage me in the cookie-cutter “trans dialogue” I had learned from my activist pals while he ate it up like candy. She wasn’t rude or nasty, but she wasn’t going to play pretend while I self-destructed, either. And when I came out of it, I realized that she really loved me, and my dad was even more of a putz than I had originally believed. He abandoned me, and she has stood by me all along.

      My dad and his relatives were very sexist and glad to have exchanged a “worthless daughter” for a cool and edgy son, by which they could prove both their tolerance too. When I went back, they all acted like I was worse than garbage. No one said abusive or mean things, but I was literally treated like a sack of garbage: left outside and ignored, walked around, sneered at silently. But my mom just let me fall into her arms and cry. “I knew that wasn’t you,” was the first thing she said.

      So keep the door open but being gently honest is good too, imho. “I respect your right to make your own choices, but this doesn’t make any sense to me,” etc. And if she eventually comes around, being direct about your observations can help her deprogram and make sense of what happened. “I’m wondering if Bob’s decision to transition while you were dating is part of what triggered this,” etc.

      I use the word “deprogram” advisedly here because the more time I am out of the trans world, the more I see it as really and truly being a CULT. In every sense of the word. And what I have gone through in the years since I got out has been very, very much like what survivors of other cults describe. So reading up on that and maybe even joining a listserv for parents of cult victims might help you cope.

      Like one cult-like thing you should be aware of is the way her pals and “support” sites online and probably her therapist have all encouraged her to reframe every.freaking.thing that happened in her life to date as a Gender Moment. To mine old photos and memories selectively searching for evidence of her True Gender. This has for me been one of the most difficult things to overcome. I feel like my identity was violated, and the worst part is that I was leading the army that rampaged through it. Even innocent, inconsequential moments from childhood have been mined and exploited as “proof of internal maleness” and had to be rehabilitated in the aftermath. Like the fact that I enjoyed watching football on TV with my dad and had a little box of plastic team helmets from the gas station. Dumb stuff like that is framed as having grave and meaningful import. It sounds just stupid, but added up, it leaves you sinking in a sea of Gender Moments with no just like…life, left. It is profoundly destablizing, and it forces you to COMPLETELY define yourself by the trans cult, rather than as a holistic individual person.

      Gently, quietly reminding her who she is…one of my breaking points was finding an old quilt from my grandmother. I had tried to get rid of everything that reminded me of how much I had liked being a little girl.

      They have also encouraged her to mine every interaction with her mom for evidence of failure. This mother blaming is one of the big failures of counseling in general, and comes from sexism obviously, but it is in particular part of the trans cult narrative and gets a lot of special evidence. It is how they unmoor these young people. But it’s not your fault. None of this was in your power to control. Yes, your family wasn’t ideal. Few are even close to ideal. Yes, you are an imperfect human being. Every mother is. Yes, you probably let internalized sexism influence you sometimes. Every woman does. Lots of people have sexist dads, abusive families, molester teachers, etc. But most kids don’t turn out getting sucked into the trans cult. In your daughter’s case it was just a situation of wrong place at the wrong time. It is a thing that is being pushed HARD by some people with a lot of money and privilege right now, especially in communities of young women who don’t fit with a certain “gender narrative” (not just lesbians, fwiw). That’s how it was for me, too. I remember reading about trans stuff and being disgusted and upset by it just a few months before I decided to start experimenting with it. People all around me were getting into it, I was young and scared of really unrelated things, and it just pulled. It’s something that pulls from the outside, not something that came from the insides. It just exploits whatever human weakness, pain, and frailty any person has to get a grip on its victim.

      Just like any other cult.

      I felt I had failed at being a woman. I hadn’t given myself enough time as truthfully, I was barely an adult even in the technical sense. The script calls for young women to achieve and overachieve in one way or another (whether it’s traditional or uber-feminist or what) but young men get to be boys forever. That’s another piece of this puzzle, imho. But again, how many cults exploit just that situation, a person who feels for whatever inexplicable reason that they are too big of a failure to make it on their own? So keep that in mind too…this crowd she’s hanging out with probably makes her feel relatively smarter and more together. BUT. That will start to get old when she’s ready to really grow up.

      One thing: I was wary of my mother, even as I wanted to be close to her again, for a long time simply because I thought she and my dad were still a package deal. She had also spent my childhood trying to be a good wife and keep a united front with him as he went on irrational dry drunk tirades and whatever. I didn’t want him in my life anymore–we haven’t spoken in almost 7 years–but I did want her around by herself, and I was afraid that wasn’t possible. Find a way to make clear that you are available to her independently of your husband, would be my other advice.

      I don’t know what else to say. I am overwhelmed by your pain and wish I could make it better. I have daughters of my own now and I honestly would be in such a severe crisis if this happened to one of them, I can’t think about it too long. It’s like thinking about one of them being battered or thrown in jail. I can’t bear the possibility. It is a very real violation, a form of violence, a new and strange and medicalized one but I think it strikes some of those ancient chords that mothers have in our collective consciousness, the feeling of having a daughter carried off by a conquering army.

      I get upset when I see obvious FTMs around, thinking, that girl has a mother somewhere, who if she was like most mothers even from the most sexist cultures, felt some special kinship and sisterhood when she said “I have a daughter.” And this daughter has rejected the body that her mother grew, the sisterhood that they shared. I try not to beat myself up about it too much, what’s past is past and my mom and I have as good of a relationship as we have ever had. I was able to bring three granddaughters into her life for her to love, too. But I still regret that I caused her that pain. She never complains about it, but I know what I did, and I wish I had not.

      • GallusMag Says:

        Very interesting and enlightening comment. x

      • ibleedpurple Says:

        They have also encouraged her to mine every interaction with her mom for evidence of failure. This mother blaming is one of the big failures of counseling in general, and comes from sexism obviously, but it is in particular part of the trans cult narrative and gets a lot of special evidence.

        I am shocked to see that this is still going on because I know for a fact that Freudian mother-blaming must have been very wide-spread in the therapeutic treatment of pre-/post-op trans individuals in the 1960s. In this framework, transsexualism and homosexuality (“sexual inversion”, get it?) have the same cause: dominant mother & weak father (for both male-to-t and female-to-t). Boys start identifying with their mother because the father does not manifest a “healthy, masculine” presence, girls start to take on the masculine role because her mother is emotionally absent while her father does not give support therefore “begging” for a substitute (which is the transsexual). But the mothers are still to blame because they either “suffocate” their child with affection or “force” her to become trans by falling into depression.

        Doesn’t really surprise me that trans activists are not open about this this shit, it reeks of pathologization of homosexuality.

  57. HR Says:

    Gallus Mag,
    Thank you so much for your post. This is what I needed to hear. I appreciate and understood everything you just posted. Things I take away from my experience through this.. as a mom:
    1. We, as fallible human beings, have no right to judge anyone.
    2. We, as women, need to love and support each other.
    (Evidence of this found here at this blog was encouraging)
    3. We, as moms, do need to tell our kids how proud we are of
    them for exhibiting characteristics such as kindness and
    thoughtfulness toward others.
    4. We as moms, also need to tell our kids how much we love
    them and that we will never stop loving them no matter what
    they do.

    One observation I noted is that there is nothing on the web that I could find of any female transgender that stopped transitioning and shared the story. I looked and all I could find were instances of men that had transitioned and had gone back. It was very discouraging because I thought that maybe it never happened. I wish my daughter could hear the other side of the story.

    Thank all of you for your encouragement. I replay my daughters last night here with me. When I had found she had thrown away so much personal stuff, I asked her why. All she did was cry and kept saying “Make it stop, make it stop”. She adamantly refused any type of counseling, and I didn’t know what to do. I just held her and grabbed her hand. Later that night, she said very quietly “Mom, I love you.” I had no idea that that would be the last time I would be with her. Thanks again.

  58. red Says:

    Gallus I’m not disputing your research (you probably know which side we all part our hair) nor denying the elements of truth in this story, AND Violet’s amazing answer for ANYONE in this situation. I said, I’m a mom, so there are things I see that disturb me.

    And I have also studied creative writing. This is hitting every note. Sorry. Don’t post this if you feel it’s too harsh.

  59. HR Says:

    You all have been a much needed source of encouragement. I have spent the past 2 years trying to figure all this out, turning to every source I could, friends, family, counseling, while the whole time feeling like no one ever really gets this strange pain. As it gets towards evening time, it always gets harder, and as I re-read over these posts, I am struck by the openness and tenderness that you all have shown. I just realized how hard this all must be for you to rehash and open old wounds. Please know that I needed this, and by you all sharing, it has made a difference.

    Gallus Mag, you have a gift for explaining things. If you aren’t in education, you should consider it! I was able to understand what you posted and finally things were being presented to me in a sensitive, yet, frank way. I hate that I have to hear these scary things, but I have to hear them to understand.

    Bev Jo, thank you for not being suspicious of me and accepting that I am just a novice in this arena and that I am really genuine, albeit a little inept, at expressing myself.

    Ashland Ave, thank you for believing in me and my daughter. Your comments have been kind and sensitive to me each time you posted, and while I posted here to try to understand, another part of me just wanted to be consoled.

    Moira, your posts have been so open and enlightening. You and Gallus have a great tag team thing going. You have presented information in a very sensitive yet matter of fact way. Thank you so much for sharing, what must have been a very difficult time for you. I will check out your tumblr when I figure it out!! I do have tons of questions still. I am assuming it would be okay to ask them on your tumblr? I really appreciate the links you listed and will also check them out. However, this is all so overwhelming and wrought with so much emotion I can only handle it in small doses. I appreciated your willingness to share your experiences and even volunteering up your dad. I would hate to reopen his wounds. I will be asking more questions!

    Violet Irene, it was your original post that was like a light shining through the clouds for me. Please, please know that it was such a blessing to me to read that there might be some hope. This whole transgendered thing seems so dark and sad to me, and I can’t imagine how it must be for those who are going through this and those who have struggled through to the other side. The experience you have shared has helped me to see all of this from the other side of the situation. I really needed to know what my daughter would want me to do now. I will keep up on the emails to her because that is all I have. I do not have an address for her. I do know the addresses of the centers and agencies she has been involved with. This past Feb. I made two fleece blankets for her and stuffed a bunch of her favorite snacks into boxes and mailed them to one of the contacts she has had with a letter to the contact asking them to please let her know I was thinking about her and to try to get the boxes to her. I also emailed that person, but I never heard anything back. I do not have a facebook page, but am considering starting one just in case she would check it out. I could post some pictures on it. I think that “finding ground” comment was brilliant. I am glad that you explained the whole issue of the trans group relating everything you did as a kid as a Gender Moment. My daughter had already started to do that with me before she left. She kept saying that because she liked to play Stratego and Risk with her dad instead of playing Candyland was a sign. Instead of playing Barbies, she said that playing with duplos and legos and beanie babies she thought she was a “boy” in her mind. I am sure they will have a field day with her wonderful childhood memories and that is sooo sad. It is interesting that in not one single article, interview, you tube video, vimeo video, or other comment I have seen or read that she has made since leaving, including her “just leave me alone” letter, does she ever mention her dad. It is always me that she refers to as instigating her anger. I take credit for what I have done wrong and will forever realize every single mistake and what it has cost. I wish someone somewhere up there in NYC, one of those social workers/whatevers would just take a moment to think, that this young lady does have a mom somewhere that is probably looking for her. Once again, your story is so open and honest even though it is painful for you to dredge up again. Your mom should be proud of you and how you have come through this stronger and wiser and able to make a difference by helping another person.

    As always, I have been way to wordy, but feel so much gratitude for finally finding some real people who really understand. I hate that I have to go through any of this. I hate that my daughters life is being screwed up. I hate that you all had to go through any of this. Its too much and too wrong for so many reasons.

    Please keep my daughter in your all’s thoughts. She is so stubborn and needs someone there to help her through this. I wish she could just hear some of these stories. I could go and find her fairly easily (if the agencies and centers where she is would help), but I am so scared to push her farther away. I wish I could just go and whisk her away. But I am assuming this would just not be the right way to do things. This is just such a horrible, messed up situation. Thanks again, and I wish you continued healing and peace in this crazy world.

  60. Bev Jo Says:

    HR, again, I’m sorry for being suspicious of you. Don’t give up hope about your daughter. A lot of girls also go through a time of just wanting to be away from their parents, although it’s much more worrying if she is taking testosterone.

    I think what Violet Irene wrote was such excellent advice and information, including to question her when she contacts you. Perhaps that male friend, who just sounds like the usual trans het man playing at being a woman, did have an effect on your daughter. I’m guessing she just wants to be a Lesbian and felt she had to leave to be able to be one. And perhaps she can be in spite of the trans cult because she will inevitably find other Lesbians to be around. Sometimes common sense just comes through once she sees the cult for what it is.

    Don’t worry about saying too much. You haven’t. You’ve actually sounded far better than most mothers would be about their daughter possibly being a Lesbian and leaving. It might help if you write to her about how you realize you would be happy if she is a Lesbian, since her fear about your reaction must have been why she left. Even if she is adamant about saying she’s a man, not a Lesbian, deep down, women who choose to identify as men just know they aren’t. And it would have to be reassuring for her to know you would accept her now.

    The important thing is that you are letting her know you are there, and you love her. She must be missing you. It’s too bad we can’t just meet her and try to talk with her.

    Hopefully, she’ll stop the testosterone soon. The important thing is that you know she is alive, and really, I do think she will contact you eventually. Don’t give up, and try not to worry too much or be too upset since that isn’t good for you or her.

  61. Robin Says:

    This is an amazing and hopeful account. Thank you so much, Violet Irene. I’ve been preoccupied with thoughts of what happens to the women who detransition. You’ve eased my mind. Total healing is at-hand. If I ever have the opportunity, which I am hoping I do, I will send folks directly to your very touching and HOPE-FILLED story. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SHARING THIS!!!

  62. Mitch Says:

    I know I’m a little late to the party, but I’ve read the initial post and all of the subsequent comments and find them both fascinating and a bit disturbing. I am an FTM who transitioned with hormones and chest surgery almost 15 years ago. I just recently had a hysterectomy and am seriously contemplating phalloplasty.

    I am heartened that this discussion is going on, that ex-ftms are telling their stories. I met a de-transtioning ftm at a gender conference about 6 years ago, and my only thoughts were along the lines of: “good for her, it looks like that would be a hard thing to do, very brave of her, and I very much hope she is going to be ok.” I have noticed and often commented on the fact that transitioning seems to have become a “thing,” a fad among so many young women and it has in some ways really bothered me. It is hard to believe that true transsexualism is really this prevalent, and I think no one is doing anyone any favors by giving out hormones and surgery like candy to whoever demands them.

    I attend a gender conference every few years – mostly to check in and see what’s going on, and have the experience of being around a lot of other transmen. But I’ve never been part of the “trans” community, as its always been my desire to live as a man in general society. So on the one hand, I have appreciated the trans community in terms of what they have accomplished regarding the legal rights of transexuals, as well as the incredible visibility and awareness and relative acceptance by mainstream society. It has, for sure, made my life much easier than it otherwise would have been. On the other hand, I always thought it was somewhat odd to feel yourself as a male and go to great lengths to transition, only to socially and culturally inhabit a trans “ghetto.” And the genderqueer thing has never sat right with me – the idea of obliterating gender boundaries seems like wishful and counterproductive thinking to me. But that’s just me – what do I know?

    I have met my share of ftms who made me scratch my head, where I did not relate to their thinking about themselves or their experience. And where I did not quite experience them as men. But I don’t think it’s appropriate (or even possible) for me to judge who is and isn’t really trans – as in truly transexual. And by the same token, I don’t think it’s really possible for any of you to do that either. But sharing your stories about your own experience is extremely helpful and valuable – but that’s about all you can do.

    What I find disturbing about many (most?) of the comments, is the narrative that trans is not real. What most of you seem to be saying is: “I made a mistake, I thought I was male, but really I had all these other issues, and plus, there’s this whole cult thing going on that had me confused, and realized I am not really male, I am not a man, I’ve learned to be happy and content as a woman, and *therefore* trans is not real, it’s just a fantasy, and if every trans person was as honest with themselves as I am, they would realize it too.”

    The authoritative discourse about gender identity and the armchair psychoanalyzing *every* trans person to fit your theory is disturbing to me. Because the thing is: I think you’re right about yourselves, and about many of the people who choose to transition. But that doesn’t mean that trans people don’t really exist. We do exist, perhaps not in the numbers indicated by the recent trans movement, but we certainly do exist. And we need healthcare, and compassion, and the right to live as we need to – laws and attitudes that enable us to live safely and productively in society.

    I also want to counter the narrative of “taking hormones will not make you a man, other men will never really accept you as one, etc, etc.” Of course I know that I am not, and will never be, just like other men. My body and my life experience are just too different. And yet, I say truthfully that no one has *ever* read me as not male – even after knowing me fairly intimately for years, and even after coming out to them as having been born female. I don’t think of myself as particularly masculine, certainly I’m not butch, but people – especially those who have considerable experience with transfolk – are *always* surprised when I tell them. Even in the hospital in this fairly conservative town for chrissakes, when I was having my hysterectomy, all the nurses and doctors and aides, etc simply treated me as a man who happens to have a vagina. I know you think I’m probably deluding myself, but I’m not. People simply cannot wrap their head around the idea of me as a woman. The only exception is my mother (and that is another story, and yes, it’s very sad that she continues to try and hold on to me as her daughter. Mostly sad for her, but for me too.)

    To the couple of young people who have commented here wondering whether they should try taking hormones or not. My advice? Don’t.
    My personal take on it is this: If you’re wondering about and struggling with your gender identity, the answer is probably don’t do it. In my own experience, and that of other non-deluded, non-regretful transpeople is that you just know. You are not wondering or confused about it – at all. You really know, and you probably have always known. I have a friend who claims a male identity, but has chosen not to transition because she believes it would be hard to be a short man. At 5’5″ I confirm that this is very much true – in fact, it has probably been the most difficult thing about my transition. While she is very butch and she is a lesbian, I don’t believe she is really a transexual, or transgendered. I don’t think she would be successful living as a man.

    Transition was hard. The subsequent drop in social status, the relative invisibility and inconsequential-ness of my self as a short man. That took quite awhile to work through. Ironically, I felt much more noticed, valued, heard when I lived as a woman. And also? I am going bald, whereas I used to have beautiful thick wavy hair. And still. It is me. It is really me. I look in the mirror and I see *me* staring back, and I like it. While I have missed some aspects of being perceived as a woman, I have never regretted my transition and wouldn’t make different choices if I had the chance to go back and do it again.

    My story is classic: I knew I was a boy at 4 or 5, though in 1970 I also knew/believed that there was something terrible and shameful about this. (Which is why I am so amazed by the young trans kids who are so adamant about their gender – kids that know nothing about the trans community out there.) Until I was about 18 I fantasized constantly about going into the hospital and staying about a month and coming out a boy. There was absolutely nothing else I wanted or wished for. (except to be taller). Eventually I decided I needed to grow up and put this fantasy away, and get on with the business of living my life, which I did, for the next 10 years. But of course it didn’t go away, and when I came to realize that transitioning was something a person could actually do, I knew almost without hesitation that I would do it – and NOTHING would stop me – even if my family disowned me (which they thankfully did not.)

    My point is, transpeople do exist. It is a real “thing.” A condition. I do think of it as a medical condition, because I am a fairly normal well-adjusted person without mental issues outside of occasional bouts of depression. I can’t explain it. It just is. People who de-transition do not need to justify their decision with a theory that negates all transpeople. You made a mistake, you were swept up with any manner of personal/cultural/societal forces and pressures that had you thinking that transitioning was a good idea – and it turned out to not be the case for you. And perhaps that’s true for many others. I can certainly believe that. You – all of you – are to be commended for your honesty and bravery, and for telling your story. It helps me, and I think it will help others, and it may well help change the arc of the trans movement to one that is more grounded in reality. But please, do not contribute to a backlash against the smaller number of those of us who truly do need to transition. Thanks for reading this far!
    Peace to all.

    Mitch

    • GallusMag Says:

      “I know you think I’m probably deluding myself, but I’m not.”

      Okay.

      In my (extensive) experience in the gay community, whenever a transsexual that passes extraordinarily well enters the scene, a round of “that is actually a man/woman” takes place out of earshot of the individual. Sometimes an evaluation of their “tells” takes place after they leave, and sometimes there is no further discussion. But every single one of us is aware of, and relates to that person on some level, as their actual sex. I’m sure these people believe they are “passing” because no one actively clocks them to their face, but we all know, and we all discuss it behind their backs- not out of malevolence, but as a part of the normal course of human interaction. Contrary to trans dogma, these “tells” (broad knobby shoulders, giant hands/wide hips, female shaped skull, etc.) become more, not less pronounced as a transsexual ages, regardless of cross-sex hormones.

      While no aspect of transgenderism has been well-studied, there does appear to be a major shift in the “gender identity” of trans people that occurs 10-15 years after embarking on a medical path of transgenderism. Some people just seem to get bored with the whole project and de-transition in some fashion. Others drop all the magical thinking and adopt a “non-binary identity” as they lose interest in the project. Sadly, there is also an uptick in suicidality and psychiatric crisis among transsexuals in this time frame.

      You say you (as a “true” transsexual) have successfully achieved gender homeostasis yet you are drawn to seek out detransition narratives and have a desire to engage with gender atheists and radical feminists. More tellingly, after 15 years “post transition” you are contemplating more extensive and invasive plastic surgery procedures. In fact, this is the first piece of information you wanted me to know. Perhaps this is your way to reactivate the “transition pathway”, a psychological device marked by further “transitions” and procedures designed to bring you ever closer to the desired transformation. This is seen in the “time tickers” displayed in the profiles on every “support” forum for the transgender community. This is a way to “keep your eyes on the prize” of a transformation that always remains just ever so slightly out of grasp. It is a cultic construction to prevent “reaching the end of the path” – and the possible intellectual and psychological decompensation that might result from the realization: “Is that all there is?” There is no more.

      I don’t say these things to harm you, or to bum you out. I say them so you can think about it and prepare to take the mental steps to come to terms with “the end of transition”, if that is what you need to do. Take good care.

      • Mitch Says:

        There’s a saying that goes something like: there are things that we know that we know, and things that we know that we don’t know; but there are also things (and this is the majority of things) that we don’t know that we don’t know.

        In my experience, most people who have experience with transpeople on some level believe that they can always read one when they see one, and you are clearly one of those people. I shouldn’t have said nobody has “ever” clocked me before, because I know there have been rare instances where a person thought I might be. But I almost always surprise people – even people with “extensive” experience. I know this because they tell me – and not because they are being polite or trying to flatter me, but because they are genuinely surprised that they didn’t clock me. In any case, at this point in my life, it isn’t something I generally think about, because “passing” has been such a non-issue for so long.

        And while “passing” extraordinarily well is more common for FtM’s, I have met MtF’s that I would never have guessed had they not told me – usually those that transitioned at a younger age. Even so, I don’t think that “passing,” while highly desirable for most of us, isn’t the be all, end all, and isn’t really the point. I know many MtF’s for example, that don’t necessarily “pass,” but whom I truly relate to as women – maybe it’s more of an energetic thing. And then there are also many who strike me as as more a “man in a dress” so to speak.

        “While no aspect of transgenderism has been well-studied, there does appear to be a major shift in the “gender identity” of trans people that occurs 10-15 years after embarking on a medical path of transgenderism. Some people just seem to get bored with the whole project and de-transition in some fashion. Others drop all the magical thinking and adopt a “non-binary identity” as they lose interest in the project.”

        Really? I have not noticed this, but you may well have more experience with transpeople than I do. I am curious, though, where your sense of authoritative knowledge about all things trans comes from.

        “Sadly, there is also an uptick in suicidality and psychiatric crisis among transsexuals in this time frame.”

        I’m not necessarily doubting this, because I wouldn’t extrapolate from my own experience what all or most other transpeople experience, but I wonder about the source of this assertion also. Like, is this based on your own personal, subjective observation? Or is there a peer-reviewed study on this that you could point to?

        “You say you (as a “true” transsexual) have successfully achieved gender homeostasis yet you are drawn to seek out detransition narratives and have a desire to engage with gender atheists and radical feminists.”

        Yeah, pretty much. So? I don’t get what’s so unusual or telling about that. I’m a curious person generally, and learning about other experiences and points of view is helpful in the continual development of my own thinking, and processing my own experience, as well as the choices available to me.

        “More tellingly, after 15 years “post transition” you are contemplating more extensive and invasive plastic surgery procedures.”

        Precisely. I am quite aware that this is a very major decision (as have been the decisions I’ve made to this point), and so reading and listening to the experience of others – both those who have already done this, those choosing not to, and those who have chosen to de-transition is helpful in my process of figuring out what’s really right for me.

        But I think the main reason why de-transition narratives are interesting to me is what I posted about above.

        “Perhaps this is your way to reactivate the “transition pathway”, a psychological device marked by further “transitions” and procedures designed to bring you ever closer to the desired transformation. This is seen in the “time tickers” displayed in the profiles on every “support” forum for the transgender community. This is a way to “keep your eyes on the prize” of a transformation that always remains just ever so slightly out of grasp. It is a cultic construction to prevent “reaching the end of the path” – and the possible intellectual and psychological decompensation that might result from the realization: “Is that all there is?” There is no more.”

        Interesting piece of psychoanalysis. Feels pretty far off the mark for me. I’ve never spent much time in the trans support forums, but my take on it is that a “time ticker” provides valuable context about the person giving or receiving support. Which was also my reason for stating up front the length of time post-transition and the particular things I am contemplating. 15 years on is quite a different context than someone 6 mos. – 3 years into it.

        My post is not about me per se, though. I simply offer information about myself to provide context for my thoughts. My larger point is that I am (surprised to find myself) sympathetic with the radical feminist opposition to the pomo gender theorist ascendancy in the trans movement. (which, frankly, I’ve only been vaguely aware of until recently when I started sticking my nose back under the tent to see what is going on “out there”). I think a lot of it is a bunch of nonsense, and is counter-productive on many levels. I am especially sympathetic to women-born-women wanting to establish boundaries and have exclusive spaces, including Mich festival. It is sad, but true, that there are some bad apple weirdos out there who use gender theory as a way to gain access to women’s spaces. (I used to live in the same town as Tobi Hill-Meyer, done some activist work with and driven his smelly self up to a gender conference (because apparently bathing is oppressive or something) and I have no problem saying that he’s a narcissistic, self-indulgent, disrespectful, annoying jerk. And he’s creepy too.)

        I’m not sure I have any good ideas for how the trans and feminist communities should deal with people like this, but I certainly don’t see negating gender as a concept all together – and thereby negating the trans experience – is helpful, or correct, either. I guess I see myself and other “true” transexuals as evidence or proof that gender does mean something.

        “I don’t say these things to harm you, or to bum you out. “

        No worries. I’m not that fragile.

        peace,
        Mitch

      • GallusMag Says:

        Seems to be some reading comprehension issues here. You just spent 4 paragraphs “debunking” something I never actually said: “trans never pass”.

        I specifically stated that even in cases when trans people pass extraordinarily well they are still constantly discussed behind their back and “gendered” by others -at least to some extent- according to their sex, unbeknownst to them.

        As for long term outcome studies showing an uptick in suicidality and psychiatric crisis around the 10-15 year mark, I am in my car now so you will have to google them yourself. Should be easy enough. These outcome studies have also been widely discussed among both the transgender and medical communities.

        As for this:
        ” I am especially sympathetic to women-born-women wanting to establish boundaries and have exclusive spaces, including Mich festival. It is sad, but true, that there are some bad apple weirdos out there who use gender theory as a way to gain access to women’s spaces.”

        Where, exactly, are the non-bad-apple transgender activists who are not doing these things? Where are the transgender activists calling on their community to halt these practices, or even to curb the rampant male violence, sexualized violence, and misogyny directed towards actual women by the transgender community? I don’t see them anywhere. If you are going to frame such practices as outliers, it should be easy enough to locate many examples of others condemning such practices. Where are they?

        To this:
        “I’m not sure I have any good ideas for how the trans and feminist communities should deal with people like this, but I certainly don’t see negating gender as a concept all together – and thereby negating the trans experience – is helpful, or correct, either. ”

        Gender is a hierarchy of social behaviors (male dominance, female subordination) that ritualize and enforce male supremacy and control over women. As a genderist, this is what you support. There really is no way for a male supremacist to “help” feminists. If you are ashamed of the excesses of the transgender men’s rights movement you subscribe to, then that is your business I suppose. The best thing a female pro-sex-role MRA like yourself can do to “support” your feminist opposition is to stop engaging with us and diverting our attention and energy. Feminists want to negate sex-roles which are unrelated to reproduction as a concept entirely, which would eliminate the foundation, as you say, of the trans philosophy and political movement.

    • Leo Says:

      ‘I do think of it as a medical condition, because I am a fairly normal well-adjusted person without mental issues outside of occasional bouts of depression.’

      I think that’s quite telling, actually, as someone who also suffers from chronic depression. It absolutely does impact your ability to feel comfortable in your body, well, it’s linked really, mind and body are connected, not separate. And sometimes with chronic depression, you only really recognise it when you’re at your lowest. It can have far more impact than you think, especially if you also have any tendency to dissociate?

      So, at least, I think it would be worth exploring that, and seeking treatment for depression – regardless of how you feel about transition. My usual suggestions, in addition, are to practice grounded meditation, and the kind where you slowly focus on each part of your body -I know that might be uncomfortable for you to do, but do try to stick with it- to try to go for walks, that way you can spend time in nature, and use your body in a way that doesn’t involve focusing on how it looks. It might help with depression, at least, I’ve found it helps me.

      You talk about gender identity, but a lot of us here don’t have any internal sense of gender identity at all. So where does that leave us? I know I’m female the same way I know I have blue eyes, because it’s just a biological fact about me. I don’t feel female, just human. It would never have occurred to me particularly to think about it, if society would just have left me alone (it didn’t, which was quite enough to make me think on many occasions I’d be better off as a boy). What is it that made you feel like a boy, are you sure, really, that it’s not about societal expectations?

      I can’t support the idea it’s fine for people to feel that they need to alter their healthy bodies. At around the same age (16) you were fantasising about going into hospital, I was forced to, for an operation on my spine. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how unpleasant hospitals can be, you know from your own experiences, and in addition, my operation went badly. Surgery is always always a risk. Ethically, I just don’t feel it’s alright to say ‘well, you feel like you really need to do this, so that’s Ok then’. Especially surgery in such a sensitive area – you can’t imagine the torture of nerve pain there. Unfortunately for me, I don’t need to, I’m stuck with it. Please please think carefully.

      I do hope some of that might help you, in some way.

  63. Mitch Says:

    I meant to include another main reason I’ve found de-transition narratives interesting: because they tend to confirm a sense that I’ve often had about many FtM’s who have transitioned. That transition was probably not what they were needing, but which kind of explains the “cultic” aspects many of you have mentioned. I’ve never thought about it in that way, but its also not something I’ve been much drawn to.

  64. T Elijah Says:

    Im actually going out for ftm haven’t started yet, im 31 I have tried for years I never knew where to start. I don’t want to get to old but my main concern is how many ftm has died going through the hole complete transformation?

    • Guls Says:

      Your comment looks kooky to me, but I’m a man so perhaps I’m not best placed to make proper sense of it. What I can say is that, living in men’s world, you’ll be lucky to find the closeness, insight, curiosity; the support network that exists in feminist circles (that you’ve been drawn here suggests to me you’re not really certain about the whole ‘transition’ thing – maybe you’re looking to others to talk you out of the idea – perverse…) If you want to fit in you’ll likely feel pressure to dumb down, avoid being too emotionally demanding.

      Don’t know where you’re based so can’t comment on specific health risks re surgery – in UK I don’t believe it’s especially life-threatening. How satisfactory the results will be to yourself and potential future lovers is another matter – sure there are posts on GT addressing this subject.

      • T Elijah Says:

        Thanks for that comment, ps I am a man. And kocky dame straight. There’s nothing feminine about me, the brief help I was seeking was to help me understand the concerns and what im getting in to. There’s nothing wrong with communicating with someone else other than my wife and being safe I’m not afraid but my wife is this is mostly for her .

  65. Guls Says:

    T Elijah I’ve read your reply a few times and I’m still not understanding you. You say you’re a man but that you’re ‘going out for FTM. Am I right then, in supposing you entered your relationship with your wife identifying as a lesbian then later came to identify as a man and that your concern for your wife means that you worry how she is going to deal with your future transition to ‘male’? I’m reading – perhaps wrongly? – a certain defensiveness into your comment that ‘there’s nothing feminine about me’. Maybe overexposure to pomo language is beginning to melt my brain. It’s the kinda thing men say; but also readable as a butch woman’s contempt for one of a femme disposition.

    You’re right of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with reaching out for reassurance – you just just never know who’s gonna respond ;)


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