August 10, 2015
Initially I didn’t even bother clicking to read the unfortunately titled piece “The In-betweeners” by Daisy Dumas in the Sydney Morning Herald because I assumed it was yet another tedious lifestyle post on the young adult “genderqueer” social trend.
It’s actually a pretty in-depth profile of a handful of the thousands of transgender folks who eventually tire of the whole trans schtick after a number of years living in their target sex-role and decide to medically and socially detransition to varying degrees. This is a fairly unusual article because the transgender community responds to detransitioners who speak publicly about their experience with terrific hostility, threats, and harassment.
In the case of sportwriter Mike Penner, who transitioned to his “Christine” persona and then changed back, the withdrawal of support was so severe that he committed suicide. Other public detransitioners have been targeted with years of public derision and obsessive stalking by transgender activists. Mark Angelo Cummings, an FTM activist who stated this year that she no longer believes herself to be “male-brained”, was deluged with violent death threats, including a Vancouver “transwoman” who posted their intention to drag Cummings on a chain behind his truck until dead. Cummings lost the sponsors of her long-running Transition Radio program and was also removed from Lynn Conway’s “Transgender Success Stories” website. Heath Atom Russell, a woman who was interviewed about her detransition for a local cable-access TV show, had her tires slashed and car vandalized, and was stalked so severely by one local “transwoman” that she was forced to get a restraining order. I could list dozens of other examples, but you get the point.
Reversing the transgender narrative is not only a common occurrence, but one that is utterly taboo among the transgender politic, and also, shockingly, among those who have appointed themselves as the “gatekeepers” of transgender care.
When author Joel Nowak of REtransition.org contacted the World Professional Association of Transgender Health (WPATH) for help, he was told that the group, which bills itself as the “world authority on transgender health”, did not have a single resource or drop of information to offer those who wish to halt or reverse the medical or surgical process of transition. Nothing. Nada. Not only did the “world authority” have nothing whatsoever to offer in terms of medical and surgical guidelines or standards of care, but they also had no knowledge of anyone who did. They also had nothing on psychological adjustment or social support.
This utter failure of care is unimaginable in any other field of health. Can you imagine a “world authority” of endocrinology responding, “We have no information on that” to a patient who asks “What do I need to know about stopping my diabetes medication now that my blood sugar is better controlled after weight loss?” Can you imagine if the world authority in diabetic health care said : “We have no information on that medical process and we don’t know anyone who does. We have no idea, and we also have no idea where to direct you for information or care.” Such glaring and irresponsible failure to provide care from a self-described health authority in any other field would be described as malpractice, neglect, or even deliberate disregard. In the world of “Transgender Medicine” however, it is business as usual, with an emphasis on “business”.
Detransitioners are left to cobble together anecdotal information from others who have white-knuckled through their own medical and social detransition alone, scanning the internet for posts from others, and sharing notes in low profile self-created private support forums away from the gaze of the now hostile transgender community that once supported them, lacking all professional medical or therapeutic care. GenderTrender, although a general audience website covering trends in gender, has become the most heavily trafficked online source for detransition information. “How do I stop T?” “What happens when you stop testosterone?” “Reversal of neovagina”. “FTM going back to being a woman”. “Stopping estrogen transgender”. “Living as male after SRS”. “Going off testosterone body hair”. Searches like these come in every day.
The hostility and neglect that transgender detransitioners are met with, by their own community and the organizations tasked with their care, is appalling. The complete and deliberate lack of regard for their welfare (which is putting it mildly) is astounding.
What is perhaps even more astounding is that a few of the people who are working their way through detransitioning have the courage to brave the abuse of their own community and the former support systems which have now turned against them by increasingly reaching out, and speaking out publicly to share their stories. I’ve been following this trend for a long time and I have to say that the one thing that these people all have in common is that they want other detransitioners to know they are not alone. That they have options. That there is hope. Reversing transgender transition is possible socially, and also medically to a varying degree (some changes are irreversible). People are coming together and sharing solutions. They are working through dysphoria. People are detransitioning. Lots of them. And they’re doing so without judgement of the choices of others and without a political or religious agenda. If you’d like, you can be one of them.
“The In-betweeners” by Daisy Dumas at the Sydney Morning Herald profiles a few of these folks, and is worth a read. Please check it out by clicking here: http://www.smh.com.au/good-weekend/the-inbetweeners-20150730-ginojq
If you are considering / or have / detransitioned and would like to receive (or give!) support and information, you can check out these resources. The following are all non-judgmental, non-religious sites created by detransitioners themselves. There are other sites as well, and they can show you where to go.
These first two sites are FEMALE ONLY.
Redress Alert http://redressalert.tumblr.com/ “If you’re reconciling with being female after a period of dis-identification–including transition or not–I am here for you.” – This woman is fantastic. I personally call her for advice on a regular basis. Good people.
23xx at http://twentythreetimes.tumblr.com/ also, Detransition Support and Information for Women Only: http://twentythreetimes.tumblr.com/detransition_support_forum Smart, thoughtful, fierce, and also very very funny. She will hook you up with some serious support and information.
These next two sites are Mainly male perspective but open to all:
REtransition.Org http://retransition.org/ – Run by Joel Nowak, who is featured in the article! Joel is great! I email him every day. Or mean to. Don’t be afraid to say hello. Also his twitter: @retransition https://twitter.com/retransition/
Third Way Trans http://thirdwaytrans.com/ – “alternate ways to think about gender dysphoria, gender identity, retransition, detransition and transgender issues from a former trans woman and psychology grad student”.