Age 19, Female
Interviewed February 2022
Early Life, Gender Identity, and Transition
What were some messages about men and women, or about gender expression and sexuality, that you received in your early life, before identifying as transgender? What were your beliefs about those things?
Messages about men and women included the following: men were: confident, cool, relaxed, aggressive, strong (physically and emotionally), more logical, funnier, more easy-going. Women were: submissive, emotional, insecure, high-strung, bossy, more behaved, but because of that, more boring and un-funny. I did not believe those things to be true. I believed that other people believed those things, since those were the messages I gathered from other people from my time being on this planet.
How did you learn about transgender identity, gender dysphoria, and transition? What do you think drew you to those concepts?
I learned about it when I was like 6-7 years old. My older sister asked me “Did you know that science is so advanced now that people can switch their gender?” I said something along the lines of “Wow, that’s so cool” but thought nothing of it. I was re-introduced to the concept at about 12 years old, from the internet. There was no specific website, or video that introduced it to me. Anytime I saw the word “transgender” online I used context clues and knew what it meant without Googling.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting to wonder whether they are transgender, or starting to wonder whether they should transition?
I’d advise to try social transitioning or assuming other types of identities first. Write down all your thoughts about gender and your desires and further understand them by putting “why” after each thought of yours so you know exactly how you feel about everything before transitioning, because I think you’re less likely to regret it if you already tried everything and have high awareness. Therapy isn’t all that useful in my opinion on this matter. I’d advise to ensure HRT is your last resort.
Therapy Before and During Transition
Did you work with a therapist while considering transition, or during your transition? What are some things the therapist said or did that was helpful, and what was unhelpful? Do you think there is something that a therapist could have said or done that would have led to a better outcome for you?
The therapists only affirmed me in my feelings and gave me space to vent. They did not offer any help in terms of helping me accept my birth sex. They believed the solution was to transition. A better outcome would’ve been if they tried to help me be okay with my birth sex (since that is what I wanted). It’s not “conversion therapy” if the person consents and wants that.
Did you receive a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, and what was that process like? What beliefs did you have about what your diagnosis meant, and what did your therapist communicate to you about the diagnosis?
Yes, twice. They just asked me questions like “On a scale of 1 to 5 how strong is your desire to have secondary characteristics of the opposite sex?” and at the end of the questioning, said, I have gender dysphoria. It was just like a depression diagnosis. Just asking questions. I believed it meant that I had a mental disorder that made my brain want to be the opposite sex. The doctor just asked me about my plans of transitioning. And told me that transitioning could help me with this.
What advice would you give to someone with gender dysphoria who is working with a therapist?
If you want to try to become okay as your birth sex, tell the therapists that. Therapists tend to assume that trans people all want to be trans and that transitioning is the solution for all. Truth is, not everyone with dysphoria does transition. Some deal with it in other ways. Maybe tell the therapist if you’d like to deal with dysphoria in another way. (At least to try it out. Doesn’t have to be permanently.)
What advice would you give to a therapist who is working with a patient with gender dysphoria?
Ask them what they want from you. Do they want you to help them try to cope with the dysphoria to make transitioning be their last resort? Or do they 100% know they want to transition but just want your help coping with the process? Make sure you ask them about what they want you to help them with, do not just assume. Make sure you’re 100% confident on what they want help with.
When did you first start to question your trans identity or consider detransitioning? What factors do you think led you to no longer identify as trans?
I started to consider transitioning at the 5 months point. The thing that made me stop is the fact that I really wanted to make sure this was the last resort. I wanted to make sure I had tried to accept being a female. Once my voice began to get very deep, I began to think “Why am I doing this when I’m not even completely sure about this”, so I stopped hormones.
What advice would you give to someone who is starting to wonder whether they should detransition?
I would recommend to maybe lower the dose or stop. Because that will give you time to think and figure it out. But the longer you are on hormones while unsure, the harder it will be to revert back if you do end up changing your mind. Even if you halt hormones only for a bit, you can always continue on. Don’t worry about what other people may say. It can be embarrassing to be “wrong” about yourself but don’t force yourself to keep transitioning because of worry of what others may think.
What are some challenges you faced as part of detransitioning, and how did you support yourself in overcoming those challenges? Did you have support from others?
I didn’t have support and I didn’t face any challenges.
What advice would you give to someone who is detransitioning?
I would say to not beat yourself up over what happened and try your best to love yourself. Try not to self-blame. It’s never the person’s fault for having dysphoria or thinking transitioning was the solution. You were just trying to escape pain and/or make yourself happy. Because there is probably a part of you, whether big or small, that cares about yourself.
Is there anything especially challenging or rewarding about life as a detransitioned person? How do you support yourself through those challenges, and how do you take advantage of the rewarding aspects, if any?
Not for me, no. I was only transitioned for a little over 5 months so nothing insane happened to me.
What advice would you give to someone who is working on building a good life after detransitioning?
I would recommend to stay far away from sexist or ignorant people. Find people who are genuine, authentic and like you exactly as how you are. Usually when you are in a health environment, everything else will fall into place and your mental health will get better.
Therapy Before, During, and After Detransition
Did you work with a therapist while considering detransition, or during your detransition? What are some things the therapist said or did that was helpful, and what was unhelpful? Do you think there is something that a therapist could have said or done that would have led to a better outcome for you?
What advice would you give to someone who is detransitioning, or considering detransitioning, who is working with a therapist?
I would recommend to make sure you tell the therapist what you want from them. Make sure the therapist isn’t too biased on one side. Make sure the therapist is on the same page as you in some beliefs you have that are important to you.
What advice would you give to a therapist who is working with a patient who is detransitioning, or considering detransitioning?
Just ask the person how you can help. Do they want help to love their self again, do they want help to accept their birth gender, do they want help coping with dysphoria, do they want help in the dating field, just ask them exactly what individual struggles they want help with.