Journalist Moya Sarner interviewed a detransitioning woman, who remained anonymous, who reports transitioning without considering beforehand the reasons why she was uncomfortable with her female body. She later regretted the decision.
After months of waiting and appointments, none of which included counselling, I finally started on testosterone gel, later switching to injections. It was a huge thing when, at university, my voice broke, and my figure started changing: my hips narrowed, my shoulders broadened. It felt right. Passing as a man, I felt safer in public places, I was taken more seriously when I spoke, and I felt more confident.
Then I had chest surgery. It was botched and I was left with terrible scarring; I was traumatised. For the first time, I asked myself, “What am I doing?” I delayed the next steps of hysterectomy and lower surgery, after looking into phalloplasty and realising that I was going to need an operation every 10 years to replace the erectile device. Trans issues were starting to be written about in the media, and I understood that people would always be able to recognise me as having transitioned. I just wanted to be male, but I was always going to be trans.
At the same time, there was a significant change in how I felt about my gender. Reflecting on the difference in how I was treated when people saw me as a man, I realised other women were also held back by this. I had assumed the problem was in my body. Now I saw that it wasn’t being female that was stopping me from being myself; it was society’s perpetual oppression of women. Once I realised this, I gradually came to the conclusion that I had to detransition.
Detransitioners don’t necessarily regret their transitions, even if they reconcile with being female, but this woman did. It’s interesting that she mentioned not being given any counselling. Women who wish to take testosterone and get surgeries in order to look more like men really should examine their motivations for this, and consider the health incomes of these medical interventions, before proceeding. There are many reasons not to transition, some of which are mentioned here. Surgery is risky and can leave scarring or pain and can be its own traumatic event. Women who transition don’t become biologically male, they become masculine-looking women, with all the health outcomes of being a woman who takes testosterone. They may find that people don’t always see them as male or they may find they don’t feel comfortable being seen as male.
At least some women who transition are trying to escape misogyny and are mistakenly treating their body as the source of their problems instead of placing the blame on society’s treatment of women. The number of female detransitioners is growing because they are finding that transgenderism isn’t helping them with what is actually wrong.
Transsexualism should be a last resort for people whose dysphoria doesn’t respond to anything else, not the first option to jump into. As with any other illness, dysphoria should be treated with the least invasive option first, especially since the most invasive option doesn’t work for everyone. Women deserve a chance to receive proper therapy first before resorting to making drastic changes to their bodies, because for many, therapy is the more helpful option.