Clownfish Redux

Originally posted at Redressalert

My unpopular perspective is that the adoption of trans identity is frequently a trauma response. Some of the first cracks of daylight that could pierce my former ideology came from Carolyn Gage’s article on how the reality of sexual abuse can complicate FTM trans narratives (“The Inconvenient Truth about Teena Brandon,” Trivia, Issue 10, February 2010).

I recently learned that in the mid-90s, Aaron (still Holly, then) Devor even did a study suggesting that some FTM identity formation is a response to abuse, perhaps a form of dissociative identity disorder. (This resonates: approximately 2/3 of my sexual abuse support group transitioned ftm and identified as “multiple.” This was years after I detransitioned but before I really got what it had meant in the first place.) The study interviews FTMs and specifically some who are trained therapists. According to Devor, “all three of the participants who were therapists mentioned that they thought that their own abuse experiences might be related to their transsexualism.”

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