reflectin' & dissectin', thoughts on "detransitioning"

Video: How I Feel About My Body



I want to talk a little bit about how I feel about my body because I see that a lot of people think that detransitioned people all hate our bodies and that’s not true for me. I like my body. I like my facial hair and my body hair and my deep voice. I either enjoy or don’t have a problem with how my body has changed. I wanted facial hair before I took t, I was super happy when it started growing in and I still like it now. I think I look very handsome with a beard. I used to be upset for a while about my voice because it makes it harder for people to recognize that I’m a woman but I’m ok with it now. It’s not like the voice I had before I took t was more authentically my voice than the voice I have now. It’s still my voice. I like how my voice sounds. It’s a good voice.

Most of the concerns I have about my body now are about how other people react to it. There are a lot of people out there who act like there’s something wrong with bodies like mine. A lot of people in this culture are uncomfortable with female bodies that they think are too masculine. I’m really tired of it. I’ve been dealing with this attitude since even before I took t. Before testosterone, I was already getting a lot of messages that there was something wrong with my body, that it was too masculine, too ambiguous, that it wasn’t what a female body was supposed to be like. That’s all bullshit. My body was fine then and my body is fine now. I wouldn’t change anything about my body but I do wish that I could change how some people see it. I’ve had people treat me really cruelly for being a woman with a masculine body and I still get anxious about how people will react. It’s one of the reasons I usually don’t correct people when I pass for male. I get especially anxious when I’m looking for a job or sometimes when I’m meeting new people for the first time.

I just want to live in world where it’s no big deal if a woman has a beard or a deep voice. I want what I am to be completely ordinary. So I don’t appreciate when people freak out and act like having a body like mine is a tragedy. It’s not. I don’t even think of my body as being that unusual. It’s just another human body. I feel very present in my body, I experience a lot of joy living in it and I appreciate all that it gives me. I’m grateful to have this experience living in this body of mine.

So in short, it’s possible for a detransitioned person to feel great about their body. You can’t assume how a person is going to feel just from knowing that they’re detransitioned. There are other detrans people who do suffer from how their body has changed and their experiences are real too. I think it’s great if detrans people who’ve had that experience want to talk about it so other people can understand and support them better. I’m not trying to say my experience is the only one or that it’s better in some way compared to other people’s. Detransitioned people are individuals with different experiences and needs and it’s important for people to know that.

Me, I want people to stop acting like my body is a problem. I also work on developing a strong relationship with my body so that other people’s bad reactions to it doesn’t bother me as much. The more I feel present in my body and the more I appreciate it, the less it bothers me when other people freak out about it. It becomes easier to see that what their projecting onto my body isn’t real and not be hurt by it as much. Not everyone is open to changing their minds but that doesn’t mean I have to suffer because of their ignorance. It can still be hard for me not to freak out when people react badly to bodies like mine but I’ve been working on it and it doesn’t mess with me quite as much anymore.

So to conclude, I’m a detransitioned woman and I’m happy with my body and I hope that eventually this society will be able to respect all kinds of bodies and that everyone is able to develop a good and satisfying relationship with their body. Take care and be well.



The original text can be found here.

Note: This post is not an invitation to start hassling genderqueer people about how they understand themselves. Let people figure their own shit out.

Pressure to Transition

I want to talk about how some women, particularly lesbian, butch and other gender non-conforming women, are pressured to identify as trans and transition female to male. This is a real problem and I know this because I am a butch lesbian who transitioned in response to the cultural environment I live in and how other people have treated me. I got countless messages that I was more acceptable if I presented myself as a man instead as of a butch woman. I lived as a trans man for almost a decade before I came to accept myself as a woman. I am also part of a growing community of women, most of them lesbian, who questioned whether they were truly female, experienced gender dysphoria, identified as trans, considered transitioning or actually did transition. Most of us struggled for years before we could accept ourselves as women. Read the rest of this entry »

Resilient Not Ruined


Transcript: One of the problems I face as a detransitioned woman is that many people think I must be messed up forever because of my past transition. In their minds, having a body that’s permanently modified from taking testosterone must be a terrible thing to have to live with. In reality, I’m fine with my body, it’s other people’s reactions to it that causes me problems. I’m fine with having facial hair, more body hair, a deeper voice and all that, I’m fine with all the permanent changes I got from taking t. I want to make clear that I wasn’t ruined by transitioning. I wasn’t wrecked by taking testosterone or by living as a man. Being detransitioned has been hard in some ways but overall my life is good and satisfying. Read the rest of this entry »

Life as a Passing Woman

Transcript: I want to talk about passing for male and how that affects me. Someone commented on one of my videos asking me if passing for male ever made me dysphoric. I decided to make this video partially in response to that and also because I’ve been thinking about making a video about passing for a while now. I’ve been passing for male to one extent or another for over half my life, so there’s a lot I could say about it and how that experience has impacted me over the years. In this video, I’m mostly going to focus on how passing affects my life today. My present experience of passing is definitely affected by the fact that I started passing years before I ever took t, often without intending to. Sometimes passing can make me dysphoric but it would probably make me even more dysphoric if I’d only started passing for male after taking testosterone. Read the rest of this entry »

Alternative Treatments for Gender Dysphoria

Transcript: Hey there. I want to talk some about my personal experience with using alternative treatments for gender dysphoria because there’s not enough information out there about this subject.

I have noticed that some trans people are threatened by talk of alternative treatments for dysphoria just like they are threatened by the subject of detransitioning. There were two workshops that recently got canceled at the Philly Trans Health Conference and one of them was on detransitioning and the other one was on alternative treatments for dysphoria. And this included treatments for people who didn’t want to transition, people who had transitioned and then detransitioned  and people who were still, currently transitioning but found that transitioning didn’t relieve all of their dysphoric symptoms. So it didn’t necessarily have to be a replacement for medical transition, it depended on the person. Like it could be or it could be in addition to medical transition. Anyway, some trans people objected to this workshop because they thought the presenters were trying to discourage people from transitioning or spreading misinformation or dangerous perspectives. Some of them mocked the treatments listed in the program description, even though many detransitioned and dysphoric people have found significant relief using those methods. So these trans people apparently didn’t trust that people attending the conference could judge for themselves whether these treatments would work for them or not. Instead they felt that they had to “protect” attendees from such information, lest they apparently be mislead into hurting themselves, I guess. I don’t know, I think that perspective is really patronizing and insulting and harmful. I don’t see how people can make truly informed choices about treating their dysphoria if they don’t know that some people find that alternative treatments work better than medically transition.

So here I am now, to talk about my experience with such treatments because despite what some people think this is valuable information that many people find helpful. And I trust that people can listen to what I say and figure out for themselves if any of this is applicable or useful for them or not. I know every dysphoric person is different, what causes our dysphoria is different and what works for one person is not going to work for others.And this applies for trans people and detransitioned people because a lot of what has worked for me as a detransitioned woman doesn’t work for other detransitioned women that I know. Okay? We’re all individuals trying to figure out what works for us.
Read the rest of this entry »

Philly Trans Health Cancels Detransition Panels


Transcript: I want to respond to the recent cancellation of two workshops that were going to be presented at Philly Trans Health Conference. One was about detransitioning and was mainly addressed to therapists on how to support patients who detransition. The other was about alternative ways to treat gender dysphoria aside from medically transitioning for people who chose not to or can’t transition, people who transition and then end up detransitioning and for people who medically transition but find that it doesn’t address all their symptoms. Some trans people found out about the workshops from the conference schedule posted online and objected to them being presented because they thought the presenters had a “terfy” or anti-trans agenda or that their presentations would other wise be harmful in some way. They contacted the conference organizers and managed to get the workshops canceled.

I know one of the presenters, Carey Callahan and she’s a very talented, compassionate and insightful person. She has stated multiple times in her writing and videos that she thinks many people do benefit from medical transition and supports people doing what’s best for them. She has repeatedly resisted attempts by transphobes to use her work against trans people. She tries to speak to multiple audiences with different viewpoints and refuses to adhere to any specific ideology, which I think is one reason people find her threatening. She doesn’t bow to the prevailing trans ideology or the gender-critical feminist one for that matter. I personally respect her for trying to bridge differences between groups that have often wildly conflicting understandings of transitioning and trans identity and politics. That takes a lot of work and a lot of skill and energy. We need more people like her. Her writing and videos have helped me a great deal throughout my own process of detransitioning. Philly Trans Health is missing out big time not letting her present. Read the rest of this entry »

Why I Speak Out/Overcoming Shame


One of the biggest difficulties of being detransitioned is that I don’t get to just be a person. My existence gets politicized, people don’t just read my story to learn about how one woman has lived her life. They read it for evidence, they try to use it to win an argument, they pick it over for information proving or disproving a certain point. I know I’m not the only one out there who has this problem. A lot of people aren’t seen as humans with complicated lives but are instead treated like symbols, case studies, objects. I try to use my experience to enhance my overall empathy. Knowing I’m far from being alone doesn’t make this any less exhausting. The more visible I’ve become the more careful I’ve had to be about what I do and don’t say. Not just because I’ve become a representative of sorts but to protect myself. There are some parts of my life that I’m not going to make public because I don’t want to expose those parts to other people’s distorted projections and misinterpretations. Maybe I just need to stop paying so much attention to other people’s reactions. It’s hard though because I want make sure I’m effectively communicating and so I look for feedback, for how I’m coming across. Read the rest of this entry »

Socialized Trans-the video

I recorded a video of myself reading one of my older essays about pressure to transition. You can read the essay Socialized “Trans” here. I mistakenly said in the video that I wrote it three years ago. Actually it was four years ago. Can’t believe I’ve had this blog for so long!

I decided to make this video because there needs to be more discussion about social dynamics that encourage transition and I thought I could reach more people this way. It also helps to have a face to go along with the experiences being talked about. I want people to know that pressure to transition is a real problem that happens to real people. It’s easier to dismiss it as a myth when it’s an abstract possibility instead of a story someone’s telling about their life.

I hope more trans people can learn to listen to stories like mine and not be threatened. I want there to be more talk within the trans community about how social factors can influence people’s identities and choices because I think this can help gender dysphoric people figure out what’s best for them. Sorting out your psyche and motivations can be complicated and it helps to hear many perspectives. Having access to what I know now would’ve helped my younger self discover what I needed sooner, I’ve been thanked by so many other women for talking about my experiences because it’s helped them accept themselves as female and realize they don’t need to transition. My story doesn’t have the power to take away someone’s real identity but it can help people figure out what they are and how they want to live.

More Detransitioned Women Respond to the Article in the Stranger