What I Needed: An Open Letter to Therapists from a Detransitioner

Originally posted at Youth Trans Critical Professionals

The main thing I wish were different about the therapy I received before and during my transition is I wish my therapists had been trauma competent.

I was in therapy right after my college rape. I was in therapy for the many years I was wondering if I was some kind of trans. I was in therapy when I decided I was trans and needed to get my letters for hormones and surgery.

All three therapists knew about my college rape. All three therapists knew about my stressful childhood in a home with daily violence. The second two therapists knew about me going through an experience of being virally hated on on the internet. Looking back, knowing about dissociative states, it’s crystal clear that was a traumatic experience I had classic trauma reactions to- dissociation, depression, anxiety, avoidance. We talked over my rape. We talked over my childhood. We talked over a pack of strangers hating me on the internet. We talked and talked and talked.

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Shrinking to survive: A former trans man reports on life inside queer youth culture

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

There is power in naming. It’s how we find each other, how we connect to our histories, how we connect to our futures. Driving us apart from each other is the easiest way to keep us from learning to recognize attempts to redefine our realities.

I didn’t know this then. I subscribed to an incredibly misogynistic set of beliefs for years. “DFAB privilege” was a common phrase in our community – “designated female at birth privilege.” It was accepted fact that being born female gave you a lifelong advantage over a male who transitioned. This included men who used transition only to mean using different pronouns on Tumblr and having an anime girl as their avatar. We believed that, as “dfabs,” we needed to shut up about our petty problems. We could never have it as hard as any “dmab women or non-binary people.” Everyone in the trans community agreed that it was our responsibility to uplift “dmab voices.” None of this seemed outrageous or strange to me; it felt pretty intuitive. Growing up under male domination is a grooming process that leaves many girls and women extremely vulnerable to manipulation.

The first experience that did make me start to feel suspicious of male transition was when I was 18 and a genderqueer-identifying man who had never pursued any kind of transition raped my best friend, a woman unacquainted with insular trans community politics.

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In praise of gatekeepers: An interview with a former teen client of TransActive Gender Center

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

I also had an experience there which I believe to be directly negligent on the part of the therapist. During the course of my therapy, before I received a referral for hormones, I began to have trauma flashbacks, which I hadn’t previously remembered. I brought these up to my therapist, and her only response was to devote one or two sessions to it, and then continue with the transition therapy process. This process seemed to be primarily about validating pretty much whatever I said about my gender/planning and mapping out a timeline for my transition, and it was not brought up at any point that prior trauma might have anything to do with dysphoria. The implication that was always present, in therapy or in the other trans-related discussions I was part of, inside and outside of TransActive, was that if I was trans (and my therapist never gave me the impression that I might not be), my options were “transition now, transition later, or live your life unhappy/commit suicide.” To a teenager who is struggling with mental health issues, this is a very attractive proposal: “This is The Cure for all of the emotional pain you’re feeling”.

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Two Years

Originally posted at Words by Maria Catt

My sweetie pie gay boy co-worker took a vakay to San Francisco and now is going to move there.  He’s roommates with the bisexual, recently raped, very femme- presenting, identifying as a trans boy person. Who has a beautiful singing voice they are about to wreck with T.

At least the mistakes I’ve made are very popular mistakes to make. I have a knack for making the mistakes everyone else is going to make 2 years later. I got into standup ahead of the boom, I threw myself on the rape joke protest pyre ahead of everyone writing a think piece about that, and now I’m over the trans thing a couple of years ahead of everyone else too.

So the question is, since all this harm is being done, and since in about two years a lot of young people are going to face up to lots of regrets about permanent changes they’ve made to their bodies and a whole lot of additional trauma they’ve taken on in that community, what do we have to build to keep them alive two years from now?

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Where did I go?

Originally posted at Third Way Trans

My primary goal for this blog is to help people dealing with dysphoria, and finding better ways to deal with their dysphoria than transition.   I don’t expect those ways to work for everyone, but even if they work for some people that is a good thing.   I don’t have any moral or philosophical objection to transition, hormones or surgery. I just think they are awful experiences that people should not have to undergo unless necessary. I feel that I lost a lot of opportunities as a result of this, from not being able to have a family, to dealing with social stigma, to relationship difficulties, and various mental health issues stemming from untreated trauma and taking too high dosages of estrogen.   On the other hand I recognize that some of the challenges of transition arise directly from stigma, and I don’t want to contribute to the stigma faced by trans people either.

Although, I do have a secondary goal of bringing awareness of these issues to mental health professionals, both the issues of detransitioners, and even more importantly working to find ways to prevent unnecessary transitioning.   Increasingly, at least in the USA, there is no exploration happening at all, and some therapists even find it offensive to explore or question with their clients.

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Lesbian is pressured to be a trans man and ends up suicidal

Originally posted at Purple Sage

There is a post from Reddit from a young lesbian who wrote about her experience being convinced she should transition and then ending up in the hospital in a panic when she realized that she was a lesbian and this was all wrong. This is a must-read post.

She says:

Hi there! I’m using a new profile because I know I would probably be banned from certain subreddits if they found out I’ve made a post here, and I don’t think that’s what I want. So anyways I guess I should kinda introduce myself here. I’m 22 and I came out as a trans man when I was 17 and identified as a lesbian before that for like 6 months. It’s been 5 years since I came out as trans and I had 4 years of intense pressure from my friends and their friends and their friends’ friends to start T before I actually decided to go for it late last year and started early this year. It’s been almost 10 months since first injection and I have succeeded in going from looking like a 20 year old woman to looking ad sounding like a 16 year old boy. I have the squeaky but deeper voice, a little sparse facial hair, super hairy legs, a thicker neck, and I’m definitely stronger and more intimidating than I used to be, but when I look in the mirror I’m disgusted by it and also feel very deeply ashamed. Which leads me to why I’m here writing in the very subreddit that’s most hated by all of trans land.

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