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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A Psychoanalytic Perspective

Originally posted on Youth Trans Critical Professionals

Withers’ work with Chris informed his subsequent work with a second transsexual patient who was seeking SRS, but had great difficulty tolerating any exploration of serious issues from his childhood. In the course of musing on his brief and ineffective attempt to engage the second patient in an exploratory process, Withers makes several important points.

There are currently no good diagnostic guidelines that indicate who will benefit from SRS and who will be harmed by it. This fact alone should make us very hesitant to support medical intervention with children identified as trans. Children who are prescribed puberty blockers followed by cross sex hormones will be permanently sterilized, and their natal genitalia will not have developed, likely making surgery much more desirable, if not necessary.

Trans activists lead us to believe that transition is the only and best treatment for gender dysphoria, and that preventing transition can lead to suicide. However, there is no evidence that this is the case.

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The Masculinity of Transition

Originally posted at My Only Path to Power

If there’s one thing I’ve come to understand about MtF transgender people since being married to one, it’s how very masculine the idea of transitioning from male to female is.

To decide that you can have anything you want, and to just take it, even if it’s very the identity of a set of people with whom you cannot, by definition, identify with, is a very masculine idea. It’s an idea that male privilege absolutely primes one for. Colonization, capitalism, rape, pillage. To want and to get, because you can, because you aren’t even aware of the possibility that you can’t. To shove aside the oppressed in your quest for getting. And to get away with that, as you always have.

To wake up one day, more than a decade into marriage, deciding that you need something new and that nothing can or should stop you, is a very masculine idea. To hell with your wife, your family, your memories. To indulge this midlife crisis as men always have, whether it’s with a teenage mistress, a red corvette, or lipstick and a pair of heels, and let it destroy your family.

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The surgical suite: Modern-day closet for today’s teen lesbian

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

Despite the fact that trans activists are diligently trying to lower the age of consent for cross sex hormones and surgeries, as a general rule children under 18 in the US cannot access these “treatments” without parental consent (Oregon being a notable exception). I have argued that even 18 is too young to make such permanent decisions, given that executive function skills are not well developed until the early 20s.

But there is another, equally important reason to question medical transition for adolescent girls. According to several peer-reviewed studies (which I will be discussing in detail in this post),

95-100% of girls who “persist” in gender dysphoria at adolescence are same-sex attracted; these girls are typically offered cross-sex hormones by age 16, and  surgeries as young as 18.

The typical age that a young lesbian has her first sexual experience and/or claims her sexual orientation is between the ages of 19 and the early 20s.

Let those two statements sink in for a moment.

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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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One psychologist who gets it: “Trans” kids and their parents deserve better

Originally posted at 4th Wave Now

The Journal of Homosexuality published a 300-page special issue on childhood gender dysphoria in March 2012. It contains articles by several well known “gender specialists,” including Norman Spack, Kenneth Zucker, Jack Drescher, Diane Ehrensaft and others. These providers discuss their own clinical practice and experiences, informed by their viewpoints–and biases–about “trans” kids.

But of most interest to me is a piece by clinical psychologist David Schwartz, PhD., who is not a gender specialist himself, but knowledgeable about child psychology and the dynamics of family therapy. In his aptly named “Listening to Children Imagining Gender: Observing the Inflation of an Idea,” Schwartz critically and compassionately analyzes three of the other articles in the issue, focusing particularly on one written by Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD., and Norman Spack, MD. Dr. Spack is a leading proponent of childhood medical transition, and heads up the Disorders of Sexual Development (DSD) and Gender Management Service (GeMs) at Boston Children’s Hospital, the first of its kind in the US.

Schwartz has two main points:

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