reflectin' & dissectin', thoughts on "detransitioning"

Detransitioned Women Deserve to be Heard



I’m happy to see the Outline stand by the article Rachel Monroe wrote about my detransition and the growing detransitioned women’s community. A number of trans people have objected to the article, calling it, among other things, “irresponsible” and “transphobic garbage”. One gets the impression that if these particular trans people had their way, the story would not have run or would be heavily altered to bring it within their comfort level. I got the sense reading these and other responses that these particular trans people only viewed detransitioning in regards to how they think it affects them, how it could harm the trans community or affect their access to hormones and surgery. They were unable to consider detransitioned women on our own terms, as a group with specific interests and needs who of course will act to advance our own well-being. If that means telling stories and truths other people find uncomfortable, so be it. Read the rest of this entry »

Trauma and Transitioning

Transcript (edited for clarity):

Hey there. I’m Crash and I want to talk about how sometimes women take on a trans identity and transition due to trauma that we lived through. So I want to talk about a few things I think people should know about in regards to this.

First off, that it happens cuz I don’t think many people know this. My transition was largely a reaction to trauma that I lived through. I know a lot of other women who feel like their dysphoria or trans identity or transition were motivated as, they were a reaction to trauma. And for those of us who transitioned, we didn’t go into our transitions like thinking that we were reacting to trauma. We saw ourselves as men, as trans, as genderqueer, as non-binary. We had dysphoria that we were attempting to alleviate by changing our bodies. But somewhere during the course of our transition, we came to a different understanding of what our problems were. We realized that trauma played a significant role in how we saw ourselves and what we were doing. and then you know, we kinda shifted in how we thought about our problems and how we dealt with them.
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Getting in the Media

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



Journal Entry from 12/8/12

I wrote these notes near the end of my twenty-sixth year, a few months before I started corresponding with another detransitioned woman I met online. I had already worked out quite a lot on my own. I was still living as a man when I wrote this. A few close and trusted friends knew I was questioning what I was again and that I was starting to think of myself as a woman/dyke more and more.  I’ve added a few notes for clarification. I’m not sure why I put quotes around word transition.

things i think contributed to my decision to “transition”
living in a patriarchal society:
-getting a lot of shit for being a “masculine” woman
-getting treated better when i passed as a dude
-making more sense to people when seen as a trans dude rather than a girl
-internalizing standards of male masculinity [As opposed to “female masculinity”, which was still a concept I used at the time. I was referring to how I tried to fit in with men, those born male and raised to be masculine. How I measured myself against the men in my life and depictions of men in culture and media.]
-people didn’t know what i was and would remark on it, assume i was a hermaphrodite, that i had a dick, etc
-not wanting to be treated like most women are in this society
-wanting to be respected by men and treated like “one of the guys”
-not having many cultural or media references depicting women like myself
-not having many butch women as mentors or role models
-identifying with cultural depictions of men, specifically queer men because i could relate to them a lot better than depictions of women
-feeling like dyke sex wasn’t as real as hetero sex [For example believing that what two women do together isn’t real sex or isn’t as real as sex between a woman and a man. I remember kids I went to high school telling me this, that lesbian sex isn’t real. Having sex with women who mainly had sex with men was a big deal to me because it “proved” I was as good as a man sexually.]
-threats of rape from men
-feeling invisible in this society, like people like me don’t exist

Psychological factors:
-self-hatred and depression
-became a coping mechanism and obsession
-using t as anti-depressant
-looking for meaningful, transformative experience
-wanting to separate myself from my mom and her illness
-dissociate from the past and a self i despised
-discomfort with my body
-curiosity and self-exploration
-obsessed with idea of body modification
-anxiety, wanted to become more real, felt my masculinity wasn’t substantial enough
-trying to become a new person/kill off an unsatisfying sense of self

trans/queer culture:
-trans issues were hip and cool, talked about a lot in academic scene i was in
-queers expressed discomfort with my gender ambiguity, wasn’t sure what i was, rumors at my queer group that i had tits and a dick [the queer group mentioned was one of two that I attended in high school]
-queers and others assumed i was trans because of my name, appearance and presentation, used he/him pronouns for me without asking my preference
-many trans dudes at the time hostile to genderqueerness [At the time of writing I still identified as genderqueer. The hostility I encountered towards genderqueers pushed me to more strongly identify as male and transition to prove my “realness”.]
-most dykes i met didn’t like being mistaken for a dude [In contrast, I found it intriguing and generally liked passing for male. I concluded that this made me something different from these women.]
-gender crossing, transsexuality fetishized in academia, trans people as holders of secret knowledge from changing social genders and hormones, body
-being trans friendly, to trans guys at least, was hip so i got treated well as a trans guy, though also tokenized and “othered” too

-society teaches people to be dissatisfied by their selves/bodies
-sells idea that if you buy shit, undergo procedures you can have a “perfect” body or one closer to it at least
-sells technology as solution for unhappiness
-promotes the idea of changing the person over changing society

A Brief Account of My Transition and Detransition


Hey there, I’m Crash. I write the blog Crashchaoscats on wordpress and on tumblr. I decided to start making videos about my experience being a detransitioned woman. This is an introductory video. I’m going to briefly go over my past transition and how I came to detransition.
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Sitting with my Twenty Year-Old Self, Remembering She is Me

I got my letter to start hormones after two visits and I got it even though I told my therapist that my mom had killed herself a few months earlier. I started testosterone about three months after my mom’s suicide. The therapist I was seeing expressed some concerns but decided to go ahead and let me start hormones because I’d already been living as a guy for about two years at that point, had always felt “masculine” and had been identifying as some kind of trans for five years. I’d already decided I wanted to transition before my mom killed herself. As far as I know, my therapist made no connection between my trans identity and the trauma of experiencing my mom’s depression and death. I think she was more concerned with how transitioning is a major life change that can be hard enough to handle without having to deal with a tragedy like your mom’s suicide on top of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Guest Post: A Response from a Reader to My Open Letter to Julia Serano

Dear Crash,

Thank you for your open, honest, and important letter to Julia Serano in response to her post, “Detransition, Desistance, and Disinformation: A Guide for Understanding Transgender Children Debates.”

You expressed so much of what I have felt, for years, but have not shared publicly, regarding the desire to transition. I agree that Julia’s clinical, logical, data-driven explanation for transitioning overlooked an important aspect–the effects of trauma–which you intelligently and eloquently addressed. Read the rest of this entry »

Women Transition

Women transition.

Women transition because we feel, see and experience ourselves as men, as genderqueer, as transmasculine, as non-binary, as not female in some way. Women transition because we’ve felt male our whole lives, because when we were kids we expected to grow up into a male body, because we couldn’t imagine growing up to be a woman or growing old as one. Women transition because we never felt like we fit in with other girls, because we felt like something else, because we always got along better with boys and men and felt like one of them. Women transition because we met a trans person or read about trans experiences and so much of our lives suddenly made sense. Women transition because we talk to trans people and find our lives reflected in their words, go to trans support groups and meet other people struggling with feelings and problems we have too. Women transition because being seen as female feels wrong, because being called “she” stings, because passing as male or genderqueer and being called “he” or “they” feels right. Read the rest of this entry »

Passing Women are Quite Common

Women transition for a lot of reasons but one of the main ones is being treated like all women are treated, disrespectfully, violently, subject to many limitations, as well as getting punished specifically for being a woman out of line with the male-created ideal.

Women aren’t allowed to just exist as we please. We are encouraged and trained, starting when we are very young, to please others. If someone sexually abused us as children then we likely absorbed the message that our very bodies exist to be used for others’ pleasure.  We are taught to please men especially since they have more power, including the power to dominate whomever happens to fall beneath them in the social hierarchy. Men are more likely to sexually abuse us, teach us our bodies are there to fulfill their desires. Men, white men most of all, still hold most positions of power in industry, in the professions, media, politics and religion, they still make more money and have much greater access to resources. Dominant men use their power and influence to create a culture that centers their world views and blots out or distorts the perspectives of women and less powerful men. Virtually all women are in a position where they have to please men in order to get some or all of their basic needs met. A lot of men and not a few women in this society don’t like independent powerful women. They fear and despise such women and punish those who do not bend to male expectations or work to satisfy male desires.
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An Open Letter to Julia Serano from One of the‭ ‬Detransitioned People You‭ ‬Claim to‭ ‬“Support‭”

Hey Julia,
My name is Crash and I‭’‬m a detransitioned woman.‭ ‬I blog about how and why I came to transition and then detransition at and at‭ ‬I‭’‬ve been talking to,‭ ‬hanging out and organizing with other detransitioned women for around three years now.‭ ‬In that time I have watched and helped our community emerge.‭ ‬I‭’‬m going to stick to talking mostly about detransitioned women and not touch on detransitioned men because I can‭’‬t speak to their experience.

Look,‭ ‬you say you want the trans community to support detransitioned people but you just wrote an article that distorts and misrepresent our reality.‭ ‬It doesn‭’‬t help me or other detransitioned people when you spread misinformation about us.‭ ‬You‭’‬re not the first trans activist to do so and I don‭’‬t expect you to be the last.‭ ‬I‭’‬ve been reading the articles trans activists write about detransition for years now and I‭’‬ve yet to see an accurate portrayal of our issues and experience.‭ ‬During that same time,‭ ‬we‭’‬ve also been writing about detransitioning as we‭’‬ve lived it.‭ ‬There are a lot more of us and a lot more of our writing available‭ ‬than ever before.‭ ‬But it seems as‭ ‬though many trans people who write about detransition are either unaware of what we‭’‬ve been saying or have been studiously ignoring us.‭  ‬Either way it‭’‬s incredibly frustrating to see the same inaccuracies about us repeated over and over again in the media.‭ You‭ ‬claim to want to support detransitioned people.‭ ‬Well,‭ ‬if you really want to support us,‭ ‬listen to what we‭’‬re saying and take it seriously.‭ Read the rest of this entry »