De-transitioning is considered a big “no-no” within the transgender community, when discussing topics related to the community. We are afraid if it’s discussed, then our enemies would use it to deny us our ability to transition. I can understand this, but I think that we need to be open to the fact it still happens.
Not everyone will live happily transitioning. There are many reasons people de-transition: financial or social barriers, hormone therapy increases instead of decreases gender dysphoria, the inability to cope as a member of a different or minority gender.
Some people think there are benefits as living as a member of another sex or gender, without considering the costs that group often must endure; in the past therapists would make sure candidates for gender affirmative therapy weren’t disillusioned with such thinking. When using “informed consent” instead, often people try to transition without thinking about the legal and social costs, as the forms usually only cover the medical, and sometimes psychological, consequences, but not the legal and social.
Without proper medical supervision, many people who thought they wanted to transition regret it and end up de-transitioning. Parents sometimes think their kids are trans—not gender variant—and rush into therapy, and then kids and teens eventually regret it. These rushes to “transition” people have now skyrocketed rates of depression, anxiety, and de-transitioning in general, and opponents of the trans community are using this fuel to further push their ideas that gender dysphoria is little more than severe mental illness.
People need to realize that just because someone doesn’t “fully” transition, doesn’t mean they are in de-transition. Sometimes we can only get certain procedures done, and can’t obtain others. Many trans men only ever get mastectomies and hysterectomies, because by law all insurance companies have to cover these as a part of “women’s” healthcare coverage, but they may not be required to cover gender affirmative surgeries. These two principle surgeries are enough for FtM individuals, and they live quite happily on the masculine end of the spectrum going forward. Does that mean they have somehow de-transitioned, or aren’t as “trans” as others who do undergo everything else?
See how slippery this discussion can often go?
On and off over the last six years since I came out and transitioned, sometimes I thought about de-transitioning. No, not re-identifying as a woman, but somewhere outside the scope of the gender spectrum. For about a year before transitioning, I lived as “agender”, as in I did not identify as man, woman, or something else. (Many agender folk will explain that just because they do not live as a specific sex or gender, doesn’t mean they should be classified as “non-binary”.) I didn’t consider myself a woman (though sometimes used the words “butch” or “dyke” to describe myself), but didn’t exactly consider myself as “trans” or “male” either. I did want to get rid of my chest and reproductive organs, and microdose on testosterone—did that exactly make me “trans”?
Even today, I often don’t adhere to gender roles—most cisgender people aren’t as rigid as the we make them out to be. I have no qualms entering men’s-only spaces (e.g. the bathroom or changing/locker rooms); I have no problem when people address me as a man. I am happy to live with a masculinized body, while retaining my vagina. I still often bond much better with my butch, tomboy, and masculine-of-center siblings, because our experiences are more relatable.
I am glad I underwent counseling instead of using informed consent, because it saved me from making bad choices amid all the confusion I had about myself. I have made too many investments and sacrifices to de-transition. Transitioning has helped me live more easily and authentically, the ability to me. And nothing can take that away. 👍