Q&A With Sophie

Age 19, Female

UK

Interviewed February 2022

 

Hobbies, interests, and/or favorite school subjects:

Music, horror films and games, badminton

Dream job / dream career:

Musician

Favorite quote:

N/A

Anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself, to be included in your intro?

I have OCD.

 

History with Transition and Detransition

Age when first identified as trans: 15

Age when stopped identifying as trans: 19

 

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?

I wasn’t really taught about gender roles, especially not by my parents. My brother used to dress up in my princess dresses, I played with his toys, and that was fine. I guess it was when I went to secondary school, an all girl’s school, that things began to change. Anyone who didn’t fit the stereotypical girly girl type was automatically an outcast.

How did you learn about transgender identity, gender dysphoria, and transition? What do you think drew you to those concepts?

There was a trans boy who knew one of my friends. I was introduced to him and immediately thought “maybe I’d be happy as a boy”. I’ve had a very weak sense of identity all my life, so I guess it was something for me to cling to. It could also have been part of my OCD, but I don’t know.

What sources (friends, specific websites, specific social media sites, therapists, books, etc) did you rely on the most for information on how a person can figure out if they are transgender? What thoughts, feelings, or internal experiences did these sources say were evidence that a person is trans?

I Googled “am I trans” quizzes and looked at trans Instagram and tiktok. Most of the posts I saw were of the belief that cis people don’t question their gender and you don’t need dysphoria to be trans.

What thoughts, feelings, or internal experiences did you have that you believed were evidence that you were transgender? What do you believe now about the origins of those thoughts and feelings?

I auditioned for a male part in a primary school play (I simply wanted a bigger part than I’d previously had). I bought pyjamas from the boys section and felt happy (I just liked buying clothes from that section). I’d always felt “not like other girls” and had never fit in.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting to wonder whether they are transgender, or starting to wonder whether they should transition?

See a therapist. If you have mental health problems such as depression, OCD or BPD, or have suffered trauma, it’s especially important to get a professional opinion. You do not want to make a mistake and start medically transitioning only to regret it later on.

 

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?

I was having therapy when I started identifying as trans, though this was for phobias and OCD. We occasionally talked about being trans, but the real problem was my OCD so that was discussed primarily.

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?

I never got a diagnosis of dysphoria – chickened out the day I was supposed to book an assessment and that made me realise that I really did not want to transition.

What advice would you give to someone with gender dysphoria who is working with a therapist?

Be open about absolutely everything. Don’t lie about anything to try and obtain HRT – if you have to lie about it, it’s likely not for you.

What advice would you give to a therapist who is working with a patient with gender dysphoria?

Assess what other problems could be causing the desire to transition and how desperate the person seems to be. Don’t discredit things like sexual trauma or depression.

 

Detransitioning

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 detransitioned four times, first two years after I’d first come out. I was able to turn my “dysphoria” off, but I retransitioned because of how comforting my trans identity had become. Now, I think I just didn’t allow myself enough time to grow into the woman I could’ve been and have a lot of internalised misogyny and internalised homophobia to overcome. I’ve since realised I’m also a lesbian.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting to wonder whether they should detransition?

Read other detransitioners’ experiences and see if you relate. Really reflect on why you transitioned and at what point you started to identify that way.

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?

The awkwardness around changing my name back, especially with my parents. Everyone was supportive but it still feels quite embarrassing.

What advice would you give to someone who is detransitioning?

Find other detransitioners to talk to and surround yourself with friends. Personally I’m having trouble reconnecting with my childhood self, so I’m engaging in things that remind me of her, e.g. watching old shows I used to like, and the music I used to listen to.

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?

What’s challenging is that I feel like I’ve lost a huge portion of my life that would’ve been important in discovering who I am. I’m still trying to work through that. The only thing that I think is rewarding is that I was logical enough to give up the facade that was transitioning in order to find my own identity as a woman.

What advice would you give to someone who is working on building a good life after detransitioning?

Live what you enjoy. If, like me, you enjoy playing music, really focus on that and make it your comfort, especially while you’re readjusting to being your birth gender to everyone.

 

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?

No, at that point I had stopped therapy.

What advice would you give to someone who is detransitioning, or considering detransitioning, who is working with a therapist?

Still be open about your transition and explain the reasons behind it. A therapist may be able to give you more closure.

What advice would you give to a therapist who is working with a patient who is detransitioning, or considering detransitioning?

Understand that your client may be very vulnerable and really fixated on who they are as a person. It’s a difficult and isolating thing to not know who you are.

 

Bonus Question: What is your spirit animal?

Probably a house cat!