“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.”
― George Orwell,
In this part, I’ll be debunking myths which are prevalent in the trans community. This part will contain a very clear divide between my own personal opinions, and indisputable, sourced, objective facts. Still, anyone reading is free to agree or disagree with whatever they wish.
Violent Crimes of Individual Trans Women
(Please note that these links contain graphic content, including detailed descriptions of child sexual abuse and rape.)
When I was disidentifying, I was told that the notion of trans women being violent or sexually predatory was a stereotype. I even learned that because trans women identify with womanhood, they are by association disidentifying themselves with violence, a traditionally male quality.
Here’s what I didn’t know.
In 1993, Synthia China Blast was convicted for killing a 13 year old black girl named Ebony Williams. Ebony was raped, murdered, and her body was then set on fire beside a highway. According to Blast’s own words in this article, she was originally to be convicted for rape as well, until it was revealed that she had been wearing a skirt that night. “They had to switch their story in the trial because how do you tell the jury that he had on a dress and then he was raping a girl?”, she says.
A few years ago, online activist Sarah Nyberg was exposed as a paedophile. Chat logs from Sarah’s own website emerged in which she contributed in viewing and sharing child pornography, and openly discussed sexual fantasies about her own eight year old cousin.
In 2016, activist Cherno Biko posted an article confessing to the rape of a trans man who had revoked his consent after Biko refused to use a condom, with the explicit intent to impregnate him and have, quote, “a black nonbinary baby”. Biko then heavily edited this article, and was later invited to speak at the DC Women’s March in January 2017.
Also in 2016, Andrew “Andrea” Balcer brutally murdered his parents and their dog. As of this post being written, he voluntarily uses a male name and pronouns to protect himself in prison.
Last summer, a transgender activist named Dana Rivers was arrested for murdering a lesbian couple and their son. She was caught fleeing the scene “covered in their blood”.
Another transgender activist was accused of preying on and sexually assaulting younger trans people she met through her activism. This person also went on to attempt to defend herself by posting screenshots of one of her victims sending her flirtatious texts. Her name is currently redacted from this essay for legal reasons.
In 2017, a trans-identified person named Randy Stair committed a mass shooting in a grocery store, killing three people.
Also in 2017, a trans woman named Evie Amati attacked people in a convenience store with an axe, injuring two.
In the realm of more minor internet personalities, popular tumblr user monetizeyourcat disappeared from the internet circa 2014 after being exposed as a rapist after a younger trans woman came forward about her abuse. Tumblr user leftbians deleted her online presence after it was proven that she was soliciting and grooming underage girls for fetish roleplays. Twitter user and artist Shmorky left the scene after an underage victim came forward about being groomed and encouraged to engage in online sexual roleplays wherein Shmorky pretended to be a toddler. Andi Dier, the trans woman who recieved praise in the media for ‘calling out’ Rose McGowan in early 2018, was immediately accused by multiple people of assaulting them when they were thirteen or fourteen years old, and was found to have repeatedly engaged with simulated child pornography on her personal Tumblr.
And none of this even touches on stories that don’t have hard evidence that I can show you over the internet. There now exist well-populated online communities afab people who were abused by trans women. And of course, there exist people who were abused or raped by trans women and have never told anyone out of fear of being accused of lying, or having their experiences downplayed as an “anomaly” when, frankly, this kind of abuse is all too common.
To reiterate, I am not saying that all trans women are rapists or murderers. What I am saying is that the idea that trans women are inherently trustworthy benefits abusers of all kinds who happen to also be trans women. In the trans community, we’re encouraged to shrug off any discomfort or “creep vibes” we experience around a trans woman, and to see such feelings as transmisogynistic and close-minded. Evidence that it’s possible — not even likely, but just possible — for trans women to violate and abuse others is purposefully covered up and brushed over. Feminist and LGBT publications don’t cover these stories, even when the victim is a woman or transgender, out of fear of being accused of bigotry.
A community where it’s proclaimed that every member is a good person inherently disguises and protects bad people. In a healthy community, trust is earned.
Trans Rights Overseas
In the trans community, Iran is framed as a benevolent, tolerant country due to their remarkable policies on transgenderism. While homosexuality is criminalized, transition is not only completely legal but subsidised by the government. Even in Iran, it’s no secret why this is the case. In the Western trans community, though, it’s a little known fact that the Iranian government explicitly uses transition as a form of conversion therapy.
The sourced articles are difficult to read. However, I believe all trans people should have a right to know why transition is and has been so encouraged in other parts of the world.
Once a relatively progressive country, Iran became a fundamentalist Islamic state where homosexuality is punishable by death after the fall of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in 1979. Public executions of gay men in Iran is a frequent occurrence. In fact, the noosed bodies of young men are sometimes put on trucks and paraded through cities, towns and villages for all to see.
– from a preview, HBO’s VICE Uncovers Gay Iranians Forced to Surgically Change Gender
“They show how easy it can be,” Shabnam says. “They promise to give you legal documents and, even before the surgery, permission to walk in the street wearing whatever you like. They promise to give you a loan to pay for the surgery.”
“My father came to visit me in Tehran with two relatives,” he says. “They’d had a meeting to decide what to do about me… They told me: ‘You need to either have your gender changed or we will kill you and will not let you live in this family.'”
– from BBC.co.uk, The gay people pushed to change their gender
Sorena’s family had raised her as their youngest son, but she saw herself as a woman when she dreamed. She’d also recently had sex with a man for the first time, and the fear that she had sinned beyond redemption drove her into a panic that lasted weeks.
Sorena didn’t tell the mullah about having had sex; she just told him about her desires. But her revelation didn’t shock the mullah, even though homosexuality is punishable by flogging and execution in Iran. He did not denounce her as a sinner or a pervert.
Instead, he told her, “Don’t feel sinful … this is completely acceptable to us.”
In the Islamic Republic of Iran — unlike any other country in the Persian Gulf region — sex reassignment is not only allowed, but also subsidised by the government.
“You are transsexual, and you have to go for the surgery,” he pronounced. “It is accepted in our religion.”
– from Buzzfeed’s Why Iran’s Mullah’s Bless Sex Reassignment. (And please read between the lines in this one. Sorena sleeps with men, Danial has a wife, and we’ve all had dreams where we were the opposite sex. No matter how biased the source, the information remains disturbing.)
Meanwhile, in the United States, studies find that a majority of dysphoric children referred to gender specialists are same-sex attracted.
From this study,
Wallien & Cohen-Kettenis (2008) reported prevalence rates for bi- or homosexuality in attraction, fantasy, sexual identity and behaviour for 68% – 81% of the boys and 60% – 82% of the girls, in 44 gender dysphoric children followed up in adolescence and adulthood (31 boys, 13 girls).
Using the same metrics of sexual orientation used by Wallien and Cohen-Kettenis (2008), the percentage who self-identified as ” bisexual or homosexual ” (in relation to natal sex) was 69% (total n = 39), and the percentage who were bisexual or gynephilic in attraction, fantasy, or behavior ranged from 68% to 87% (total ns were 38, 35, and 29, respectively).
4thwavenow has an interesting article on the subject of homosexuality in paediatric gender clinic patients which references both of the linked studies.
Rates of Hate Crimes, Murders and Suicides
There are three dubious, and yet commonly shared, statistics regarding the deaths of transgender individuals. They are:
- The average life expectancy for trans women of colour is 35 years old.
- 1 in 12 trans women will be murdered.
- Radical feminists have killed least 50,000 trans people in the United States.
The first statistic is one that I have seen many variations of. While the misinterpreted study that this statistic originated from does specify the number “35”, I have personally seen this statistic both rounded down to 30 years, and applied to trans women in general, encompassing all races. Anecdotally, I have known white trans women in my own country (the UK) to apply this modified version of the statistic to their own lives, assuming the average life expectancy of their demographic is only thirty years old.
From the Guardian, and including the study from which this statistic actually originated,
In the past eight years, 74% of all reported murders of trans people were in Central and South America, according to a 2016 report from Transgender Europe (TGEU). Due to violence, poverty and the risk of HIV, the life expectancy for trans women in Latin America is estimated at between 35 and 41 years.
While the statement is technically true in that Latin American trans women are trans women of colour and have a life expectancy of approximately thirty-five years, the phrasing is misleading in that the statistic does not apply broadly to “trans women of colour” across all nations or just in the United States. It refers specifically to Latin American trans women, living in Latin America. This death rate is related specifically to the cultures and laws in Latin American countries. The struggles of Latin American trans women are unique, and deserve to be recognised without being baselessly applied to trans women globally.
As for the second point, here is an article wherein the author tries, and fails, to find the origin of the statistic that one in twelve trans women will be a victim of homicide. She discovers and sources many horrifying and real statistics about violence against trans people, but none which confirm that this particular one has any basis in reality.
Let’s do some math.
As of 2015, the average life expecancy in the United States was 78.74 years old. Let’s round that down to 78 years old.
According to this 2011 article, it’s estimated around 0.3% of people in the United States identify as transgender. Let’s assume there’s a perfect fifty-fifty split between trans men and trans women, so 0.15% of the population are trans women.
If we made some extreme generalizations and assumed that 22 trans women are murdered in the United States every single year, and that 78 years is one person’s lifetime, then in one person’s lifetime, 1716 trans women would be murdered in the United States.
If 1716 accounted for one in twelve of all trans women, the approximate population of trans women in the United States throughout any one person’s life would be 20,592.
If 0.15% of Americans identify as trans women, and the population of the United States is around 323 million, then there would be 484,500 trans women currently living in the United States.
If 1 in 12 of 484,500 trans women were murdered in one person’s lifetime, an average of over five hundred trans women would be murdered per year in the United States.
And to reiterate, 2016 broke GLAAD’s record for the most transgender homicide victims in only one year.
If you disagree with my methods (I am not a mathematician!), please feel free to do the math yourself. If you manage to come up with something that supports the 1 in 12 statistic, I would greatly appreciate it if you left a comment explaining your process.
A reader very kindly informed me that this statistic actually originated from Kay Brown, and is explained in her own words in this blog post. I’m going to leave the original portion of the essay discussing the statistic intact though, because I think my points that, a) this statistic is never attributed to anyone, and b) finding these numbers via the estimated number of trans women in the United States isn’t possible, are still valid.
I would highly recommend reading Brown’s post, but to summarize:
a) she originally started discussing this statistic in classes she taught at the Harvey Milk Institute circa 1998, and it spread through word of mouth, partly explaining the detachment from her name
b) her estimate is based on numbers from a Dutch study which I assume was also published prior to ’98, rather than the estimated % of trans people in the US in the late 2010s, which is what I was using. Brown explicitly states in her post that she’s critical of these estimates because they take into account people who identify as trans without medically transitioning, and also people who transition late in life, and as such,
c) the statistic is supposed to refer exclusively to male-attracted trans women who transitioned early, as teenagers or in their early 20s, and who experienced dysphoria before puberty
d) most relevant to the contents of this essay, Brown subscribes to the belief that trans women divided sharply into two types: genuine trans women, ie the demographic referenced above, and autogynephiles. In her post, she expresses annoyance that her statistic, meant to refer to a very specific experience, is being applied to late-transitioning, female-attracted trans women, who, Brown says, are at nowhere near the same level of risk.
Knowing this, it’s no mystery why so many reputable news sites deign not to source this statistic when they use it, and why I struggled to figure out when it came from even when I went looking. Personally, I no longer feel that this statistic is baseless or confusing. When it’s applied to the correct demographic, I think that it is probably accurate. But I also think, similar to the life expectancy statistic, that these numbers have been co-opted inappropriately, with absolutely no regard for where they came from and the context in which they were supposed to be applied.
The most bizarre myth of all is that radical feminists have killed at least 50,000 trans people in the United States. This statistic is usually presented in those exact words, implying involvement in hate crimes or murders. However the actual accusation being made is that radical feminists influenced legislation in the United States which then led to the deaths of 50,000 trans people, a claim which is also easily debunked.
As far as I know, the specific number ‘50,000’ originated from this 2013 article from The TransAdvocate, which literally just says,
A very, very conservative estimate of the number of additional deaths that resulted is 50,000. The amount of additional misery – incalculable.
I have searched high and low for some explanation of this statistic and found absolutely nothing. Who estimated this? Based on what mathematics, what logic? How can such a vague “estimate” be disproven when there is absolutely no indication of where it came from or why someone thought it seemed accurate? Can we all invent statistics whenever we want and get away with it by calling them “estimates”? And frankly, is it not obvious why it is an abuse of one’s readership and an insult to their intelligence to expect them to believe an extreme claim like this with no evidence whatsoever?
For context, the meaning of this quote is that fifty thousand trans people lost their lives after it was decided in 1980 that insurance companies and the state should not be legally obligated to cover transition-related medical expenses. Due to the fact that this decision occurred in the pre-Internet era, specific sources and details are difficult to find and most articles on the subject are, frankly, conjecture, written decades after the actual events that took place. Most articles on the subject have no sources to speak of. Please be mindful of this while doing your own research on the matter.
As a result, I believe that the only facts that are certain are that Janice Raymond, a radical feminist academic, submitted a paper on her views on the ethical ramifications of what was then termed transsexuality, and this paper was reviewed by the NCHCT along with several other submissions. The conclusion of the NCHCT was later reviewed and it was decided that insurance companies and the state would not be obligated to provide transition-related healthcare to trans individuals.
Even if you believe that the contents of Raymond’s paper were transphobic and directly influenced the lives of many trans people — which is absolutely a valid opinion to hold — the assumption that every single trans suicide in the United States from the 80’s to the present day was caused by insurance policies is, in my opinion, egregious to say the least. Trans people face a myriad of other problems, including an increased risk of sexual and domestic violence, employment and housing discrimination, comorbid mental health issues, and dysphoria itself — and that’s not even taking into account the impact of unrelated financial and personal issues which can lead to suicide in the non-transgender population as well.
Also, I would point out the strange lack of similar statistics about other minority groups who have been negatively impacted by legislation. How many LGBT lives were lost to suicide as a direct result of the legal status of conversion therapy in some states in the US? How many undocumented individuals have ended their lives due to the threat or reality of being deported? How many unfairly imprisoned men and women of colour have committed suicide before, during, or after serving their sentence? How many disabled people take their own lives after any given cut to their welfare? How many women have taken their lives because their male abuser or rapist was excused by a corrupt justice system? We don’t know, because we can’t know. Because that data isn’t collected. Data certainly has not been collected about transgender suicides since the dawn of time until the present day, where transition is still not always covered by insurance in every state.
So, to reiterate: the issue with this statistic is not that Janice Raymond has been unfairly persecuted for her involvement with the NCHCT, or that literally anything she said was accurate. It’s that “50000 trans people have died as a result of radical feminists” is a baseless statistic made up by Cristian Williams of the Transadvocate. Condemning transphobia does not have to involve treating unrealistic, unscientific “estimates” as gospel truth. There are valid, genuine reasons to criticize Janice Raymond and her paper. There is no need to invent false statistics to justify doing so.
Testosterone and Lupron
Let me be clear about one thing: the problem with the prescribing of testosterone and Lupron to trans people, including trans minors, is not that they have dangerous side effects. Plenty of medications have dangerous side effects, and providing frightening lists of potential complications does not negate how necessary a type of medication can be.
However, dangerous side effects become an ethical problem when:
1. The medication is being prescribed when safer treatments are available, because these alternative treatments are either less lucrative, or require more effort on the part of healthcare professionals, regardless of the risk to patient health.
2. The medication is being prescribed without the patient having a full understanding of the risks, OR, the medication is being prescribed has not been researched, and potential side effects are not known and understood by the doctor. In the former case, informed consent is not being upheld. In the latter, informed consent is literally impossible because the information is not available.
3. The medication is being prescribed to children who are too young to fully understand the consequences and consent to taking it, ie. people under 18. Informed consent cannot be upheld when one party is too young to consent.
Here are some facts about trans healthcare, including testosterone, Lupron, and the experiences of those who have taken them.
117 of the individuals surveyed had medically transitioned. Of these, only 41 received therapy beforehand. The average length of counseling for those who did attend was 9 months, with a median and mode of 3, minimum of 1, and a maximum of 60. I’d like to have something cool to say here, but I’m honestly just stunned at the fact that 65% of these women had no therapy at all before transition.
– Female Detransition and Reidentification Survey, sampling an online community of detransitioned and reidentified individuals.
The doctor told him that he is experiencing these phantom pains as a result of his body being on testosterone for so long. In other words, his reproductive organs were saying, ‘Hello up there. Don’t know if you’ve forgotten about us, but we would like out now please.’
So what was the solution? He needed to have a full hysterectomy as soon as possible.
– The Pain That Most Trans Men Are Ashamed To Talk About, from the Huffington Post. The author and her partner discovered that being on testosterone for around five years necessitates a full hysterectomy, casting some doubt on the myth that the effects of testosterone are not necessarily permanent.
4. Abdominal pain is also commonly reported by trans men and can suggest hysterectomy. Testosterone causes atrophy of the uterus and vagina, which puts tension on surrounding muscles and ligaments which can cause painful cramping.
– Reasons For Transgender Men To Get A Hysterectomy, from hysto.net
“There’s definitely been a lot of complications in terms of the bottom surgery,” Jennings explained on Tuesday’s PEOPLE Now. “We’ve been talking about it a lot. You’ll see in the show, there’s some problems because I’ve been on the hormone blockers and basically I haven’t had a lot of development — so we’re debating if I have enough material to work with.”
– Jazz Jennings Gets Real About Complications Delaying Her Bottom Surgery, from People. Jazz explains that because of the effects of puberty blockers, she lacks the genital tissue required to perform bottom surgery. Prescribing puberty blockers to trans children is still untested and experimental, and can lead to unforeseen consequences like these.
“We are proposing it needs to be made law that when getting an injection in the doctors [sic] office you have to sign the most current, up to date printed out ‘Warning Label Consent Form’ before giving any patient an injection,” the petition states. “As a patient we don’t get to see that information and the doctors are not giving it to us! We need protection implemented for our safety, protection, well-being and human rights.”
– Lupron Put My Body Into A State Of Menopause, from the Huffington Post. A community of people who suffered permanent bone density issues after being prescribed Lupron claim that they were not warned about the severe side effects and that the drug is unsafe.
Treatment with puberty delaying drugs leads to sterilization if it is followed with the administration of cross sex hormones at 16 years, as the Brill and Pepper handbook on “transgender” children (2008), explains, “the choice to progress from GnRH inhibitors to estrogen without fully experiencing male puberty should be viewed as giving up one’s fertility, and the family and child should be counseled accordingly” (Brill & Pepper, 2008, p. 216). For girls, sterilization is the outcome too, because “eggs do not mature until the body goes through puberty” (Brill & Pepper, 2008, p. 216).
– (quote sources this book). In the trans community, sterilization is a common concern when it comes to bottom surgery being a requirement for legal gender changes. Thus, it is incorrect to assume that fertility doesn’t matter to trans people. Sixteen year olds cannot consent to being permanently sterilized.
The issue of whether blockers and HRT are necessary is a completely different issue from the issue of whether they are being ethically prescribed. Are dysphoric people offered alternative or even supplementary treatments like talk therapy, and if not, why not? Is there a culture of misinformation around success rates and side effects of HRT and SRS and are the voices of people who have had bad experiences with HRT and SRS deliberately silenced? Who benefits from this? Who profits? Who suffers?
Some consider it transphobic to question any of the ethics in place around trans healthcare, but I think it is just a fact that the people harmed the most by these unethical practices are trans people themselves. I don’t think it’s transphobic to believe that trans people deserve the same healthcare standards as non-trans people. It should be beneficial to the trans community to demand that trans people are not exploited, lied to, or unknowingly subjected to experimental treatment, and to ensure that people who are unwilling to expose themselves to the risks and side effects of medical transition are given the support that they need to cope with their dysphoria and pursue their transition in other ways.
Autogynephilia is a highly controversial topic within the trans community. The term describes the concept of a person assigned male at birth being sexually aroused by the idea of being a woman. Anyone who has spent time in the trans community is probably familiar with the argument that there are no true “autogynephiles”, only crossdressers (who fetishize the idea of wearing women’s clothing without actually becoming women), male-identified trans women who have not yet come to terms with their gender identity and are sexualising womanhood as a coping mechanism, and openly trans women who are simply expressing their sexuality like any other women, by imagining the body they already feel like they have.
But there are no true autogynephiles: amab individuals who experience a desire to embody womanhood solely as a fetish, and may or may not transition as a result of this.
On a personal level, I am not very comfortable discussing this topic and would not have included it in this essay at all if the nonexistence of autogynephilia was not such a prevalent myth. Without getting too in-depth, I want to quickly address the argument that medically transitioning precludes autogynephilia because estrogen and anti-androgens curb one’s sex drive, and sex reassignment surgery involves the complete removal of the genitals.
To be blunt, it is a complete myth that trans women’s genitalia ceases to function after a certain amount of time on HRT. Erectile dyfunction might be a side-effect, but it is in no way a universal state. Trans women can still become aroused, have sex, and reach orgasm while on HRT. After complete reassignment, it is possible for trans women to no longer be able to enjoy sex, but this is in no way the intended result: SRS is supposed to preserve genital sensation and full sexual functioning, and when this is not the case, the operation is not considered entirely successful.
With this in mind, I want to direct you to this post from transgenderreality. I would honestly suggest reading the entire website, because every single post is written by trans people and describes their experience of being trans in their own words. In this article, please note the complete lack of anyone saying, “no, being turned on by womanhood isn’t the same as being trans. No, there is a concrete difference between being transgender and being an autogynephile”.
Thanks to the hard work and bravery of detransitioned people, the myths around reidentification, detransition, and ‘transition regret’ are nowhere near as prevalent as they once were. While I was trans-identified, I regularly encountered (often contradictory) statements such as:
- Cis people never wonder if they might be trans: questioning your gender identity is in itself evidence that you are transgender and should transition.
- Trans men and women’s brains match cis people’s of the same gender. If you have gender or sex dysphoria, it’s because your brain is structured like it belongs to the opposite assigned sex.
- People experience gender and sex dysphoria because of an exposure to cross-sex hormones in the womb. Being transgender is a biological state.
- Expanding on this, people are born trans and so children who are diagnosed with gender dysphoria will never cease to be trans and should be medically treated as soon as possible.
- No one has ever detransitioned or regretted their transition.
- Some people did detransition, but only because they couldn’t handle the social and financial burden of transitioning, and are still innately trans.
- Some people did detransition, but only because they were confused about their identity and were never actually trans.
- People who decide to medically transition but turn out not to be trans will find out because they will be repulsed by the effects of cross-sex hormones on their body.
In one way or another, all of these ideas erase the experiences of detransitioned and reidentified people. Let’s do a reality check on what being detransitioned or reidentified is actually like.
First of all, terminology: we usually use “detransitioned” to refer to individuals who identified as transgender and also underwent some level of medical transition. Conversely, “reidentified” refers to individuals who identified as transgender but did not pursue medical transition, though they may or may not have been socially transitioning. You cannot assume anything about a detransitioned or reidentified person’s life other than these exact statements. There is no singular narrative you can apply to the lives of all detransitioned and reidentified people. For example, by virtue of someone being detransitioned or reidentified you cannot determine,
- whether they experienced dysphoria and how bad it was
- whether they experienced specifically sex dysphoria and how bad it was
- what gender they identified as previously (ie. whether binary or nonbinary)
- what they look like currently
- how they feel about their own transition or trans identification
- how they feel about gender or transgenderism as concepts
Everyone’s circumstances are different. Everyone has different feelings, thoughts, and opinions. The same way that the only thing all trans people have in common as that they identify as trans, the only thing all detransitioned and reidentified people have in common as that they used to identify as trans and don’t anymore.
As a reidentified person, the thing I want to make clear about detransition and reidentification is this: we, the community of detransitoned and reidentified people, are not a threat to anyone. We’re not a political group; we’re not recruiting. The message we’re putting out there isn’t that people who are totally satisfied with their transition should go back to living as their assigned gender. It is instead that detransition is a possibility, reidentification is a possibility, transition regret exists and can happen — and if it does, if you identify as trans but then really, honestly feel like transition is not the right thing for you, it’s okay. You can survive that. There are people out there who’ve been through that and who can offer support. It is not the end of the world. It is not the end of your life.
Again, this doesn’t mean that any detransitioned or reidentified person is out there actively hoping that more trans people will come to regret their transition or reconsider their gender identity. The point is that, for reasons outside of anyone’s control, it happens. It happened to us. It happened to me. It simply will happen to a certain percentage of people who at one point thought transition was best for them and then realised that was not the case. This population exists, and we need to make resources, and we need to keep finding strategies to heal from our dysphoria, and we need to connect with one another, and the fact that we’re out there doing these things does not constitute an attack on anyone else’s right to be trans.
So why do trans people feel so attacked by detransitioned and reidentified people?
The truth is that the most extreme myth put forward by the trans community is that if you experience dysphoria or in some way don’t identify with your assigned gender, you must identify as trans and pursue transition as soon as possible, or, to put it bluntly, you will eventually be driven to despair and kill yourself. It is no-one’s fault if they viscerally associate the idea of detransition or reidentification with hopelessness and death. That is what everyone is told will happen if they cease to identify as trans, for whatever reason. And who has ever been helped by this narrative, really? Whose mental health is protected by the idea that suicide is somehow inevitable if they don’t deal with their dysphoria in a certain way, and in a certain time frame? And who profits from the notion that dysphoria is impossible to understand, cope with, and heal from, without spending the rest of one’s life requiring medication?
The truth is that there are some people who have dysphoria and can’t transition, and some people who don’t want to transition, and some people who aren’t sure if they should or shouldn’t transition and need to take the time to seriously consider that choice without being pressured to act before they’re ready — and all of these people deserve to live, and are capable of achieving genuine comfort and happiness. To deny this is to say that those of us who decided not to transition for whatever reason cannot survive, and will never be happy: that we must all be miserable or dead in order to validate people who did transition.
This is a product, I believe, of valid insecurity. I am convinced that far too many trans people were threatened by this idea that they must immediately conform to a certain trans narrative if they wanted any relief from their pain. I believe that throughout the whole trans community there is an undercurrent of manipulation, and part of that manipulation involves convincing vulnerable individuals that they cannot understand why they are hurting, that they cannot do anything to help themselves, and that their wellbeing and recovery depends entirely on other people, so that they may be made more susceptible to being taken advantage of by the very people who are supposed to provide them aid.
Now, my question for readers who are transgender, or have transgender friends. If you’ve been convinced that even one of the ideas stated above is true, would you share it with your friends who are trans, or who are trans allies? And if not, could this be considered evidence that it is indeed the case that there is a culture of misinformation in the trans community? That people are punished for speaking out, about the realities of detransition, about medical malpractice, and even about known rapists and abusers? And even, perhaps, that some people might benefit from imposing these limits on not only what you are allowed to say and do, but what you’re allowed to think and believe?