Thursday, March 29, 2018

Detransition: Stigma, Regret and Who Gets to Decide Who You Are

Detranstioning is the process of either backing out of an ongoing transition or transitioning back to one's gender assigned at birth. While it is true that very few people who transition regret doing so, some people do, and some of them go on to detransition.

Unfortunatly, one thing I have noticed within the trans community is that often the idea of detransitioning is looked at as an act of almost ultimate betrayal and there is a huge stigma associated with it. None of this is warranted.

It is true that a vocal minority of people who have detransitioned campaign for anti-trans groups about the dangers and the pitfalls of giving in to some kind of transgender identity charade. While I do sympathize with people who have had a negative experience transitioning; however, one negative experience does not mean everyone who transitions will ultimately go on to feel the same way they did.

As for reasons people choose to detransition, maybe some people don't have the support that they expect. Maybe some people just don't have the same strong feelings associated with their gender identity once the process starts. Maybe they simply feel regret or they believe that they have gone against a new (or ongoing) cultural or religious belief that they want to make right in their mind. Or maybe its just the wrong time and they are not ready.

The point is the same in all of the examples above. If someone does detransition they do so because for what ever reason they feel it was nessecary. As a community one of our biggest goals is to get people to accept us for who we are. We forget sometimes that we also need to accept ourselves and our peers for who we and they are.

I believe it does not matter if I choose to be trans or if I was born this way. I am who I am because I feel that it is right. I think maybe one reason detramsitioning is so stigmatized is people see it as a either internally a feeling of failure or externally as a type of delegitimizing other trans indenties; after all, we spend so much time focused on the fact that gender identity is generally fixed and trans identities are real. The first two points here, that detransitioning somehow signifies failure or delegitimization of trans identities is false but the last two statments are 100% correct. Regardless none of these excludes the fact that someone can ignore their feelings, change their mind, or simply not be strongly driven to change their entire biological and emotional existence to rectify their gender dysphoria and they can choose to feel this way at any time they feel is necessary.

It also ignores the fact that not everybody who starts the journey of transitioning gets what they expect or want out of it. This feeling of incompleteness cannot be underestimated and is one of the reasons I wrote my post about realistic expectations. I have also written about the feelings that can arise after transition which may be relevant here as well.

I think my main point is that regardless of the reason someone chooses to detransition we all have the right to live the life that we want to live and we all have the right to make our own decisions. If you find yourself in doubt know it is ok. Know you are ok. Talk to your therapist, doctor or family and friends but be assured you are not broken. You have the right to be you.

As always comments are appreciated.

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