I got profiled by a journalist and she wrote an article about me you can read here. She talks about how I came to transition and detransition. This is the first article that I know of to talk about female detransition in depth. This is the first article on detransitioning I’ve seen that makes connections between dysphoria and trauma, dissociation and internalized misogyny. She talks about dysphoric women, acknowledging that having dysphoria does not necessarily make one trans nor does transitioning always relieve it. It’s exciting to see this experience and information get out to a much larger audience.
One thing I would change is that I wish she had at least briefly mentioned that I am very critical of transitioning and trans politics. When we were still emailing back and forth, before the actual interview, she made it clear that she wanted to focus on my experience of transitioning and detransitioning, so I’m not surprised that she didn’t bring up my political views, even though we discussed them when she interviewed me. Overall I’m fine with that choice because detransitioned women are not especially visible and my story says a lot on its own.
Still, it would’ve been nice to spread the idea that one can be critical of ideas and practices advanced by the trans community while still having a stake in how trans people are treated in the larger society because we face the same challenges. As I’m quoted saying at the end of the piece “[f]rom what I’ve found, it doesn’t matter if you’re currently identifying as trans of not. Having a trans history, having ever transitioned, can definitely impact how people see you. They’ll objectify you, treat you disrespectfully, see your body as freakish. Coming off as gender non-conforming can cause a lot of hardships, no matter what you call yourself. Our lived experiences are similar in a lot of ways. We deal with a lot of the same problems.” I am also one of those detransitioned women who agrees with many of the criticisms Janice Raymond and other radical feminists make about trans identity and transitioning because their analysis fits with my own experiences. And I believe that people should be able to do what they want with their bodies. Including my critical perspectives along with my respect for personal autonomy and the observation that I still have much in common with trans people would’ve complicated the neat categories a lot of people try to sort this particular debate into. What I’ve lived through has made me very critical of transitioning and how many trans people understand dysphoria and gender and it has made me realize that all people with a history of transition and/or who don’t fit into gender norms face specific problems and struggles in this society. I have much in common still with trans people, particularly trans men and other female-bodied trans and genderqueer people. I would love to see more nuance in these debates and discussions, more recognition of common interests and experiences and less demonizing and black and white thinking.
Also worth mentioning is that many of the detransitioned women who went to Michfest did so not only with the intention of meeting other women of the same experience but to participate in or attend a workshop on detransitioning that I led with Redress. We presented our workshop the last two years of the Festival and it was very well-attended and warmly received. Many of us found that connecting with other women and experiencing a space centered on the experience of being born and raised female was deeply healing and empowering after spending years dissociated from our female bodies and womanhood.
All in all though I think this article is very important and I like how it came out.
The writer of this article, Rachel Monroe, is getting criticism and charges of “transphobia” from trans people on twitter for even writing about this topic and bringing up issues and opinions they find uncomfortable. If you like the article and think making detransitioned women’s lives more visible is important consider showing her some support and giving her positive feedback. Don’t bother going after those attacking her, their actions speak loud enough on their own.
Years ago, before I met another woman who’d transitioned and then stopped, when I was feeling incredibly isolated and was hunting for whatever information I could find about detransitioned women, I never thought I’d one day represent this experience in the media. I never thought I’d be telling my story to a journalist and telling her about the emerging community of detransitioned women. I hope this article helps complicate people’s understanding of gender, trans issues, and how people sort out who they are versus how their society forces them to exist. I hope it reaches women struggling with dysphoria, women with a history of FtM transition, and people questioning their transitions and/or trans identities and makes them feel less alone