Parents are not alone in expressing concerns about the increasingly widespread practice of actively transitioning emotionally vulnerable children to a gender identity that does not align with their biological sex. Just as parents are rising up and demanding legislation that protects parental rights and shields young students from gender ideology indoctrination, detransitioners are shining the light on the culture, laws and policies that pushed them down a path of hormones, surgeries and deteriorating mental health.
Detransitioners are the women and men who have stopped taking cross-sex hormones and no longer view themselves as transgender. Many underwent surgeries in order to look more like the opposite sex, including breast removal, castration, facial reconstruction, and even risky surgeries to create faux genitalia. Female detransitioners who took testosterone, even briefly, now have facial hair and permanently altered voices, and those who took testosterone for longer periods have undergone hysterectomies due to vaginal and uterine atrophy. Many detransitioners are infertile due the “gender affirming” care that therapists, gender clinics and surgeons assured them would bring trans joy.
When these young adults transitioned, they received affirmation from doctors, mental health practitioners, and the trans and queer community. After transitioning back, they report feeling abandoned by the surgeons and hormone providers that irrevocably altered their bodies and the therapists who refuse to take responsibility for the dangers of “gender affirming” care. The detransitioners are attacked by the activists who do not tolerate dissent from their ideological worldview, and often abandoned by their friends because they no longer identify as transgender.
The number of detransitioners is growing, and a support system is being constructed. A detrans subreddit has over 26,000 members, with 4,000 new members since December. Organizations committed to helping these individuals recover emotionally and physically have formed. March 12th was the second annual Detrans Awareness Day, a day that included a substantive webinar sponsored by Genspect, as well as detrans stories flooding social media. In fact, #DetransAwarenessDay was trending on Twitter in the United States throughout the day.
Detransitioners and their supporters shared their stories on social media, Substack posts, websites, and interviews. They posted images of signs with messages like, “no child is born in the wrong body,” “self love not surgery,” and “we love you just the way you are.” These statements were common sense until recently. Unfortunately, gender ideology has distorted our culture and our understanding of the truth.
“Gender affirming” care, which rushes a child into medical interventions if they question their gender, is now widely practiced in children’s hospitals across the U.S. and enthusiastically endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. Some doctors and therapists, however, are starting to express concern that the previous safeguards and standard of care have been abandoned. In the past, a patient would have received a thorough mental health assessment and a “watchful waiting” approach as a child and therapist explored underlying causes of the gender dysphoria, which could include depression, anxiety, OCD, ADHD and autism. Even some leading transgender gender-affirmation practitioners are starting to question the “sloppy, dangerous” treatments provided to a skyrocking number of gender-questioning children.
A recently published study by Dr. Stephen Levine, E. Abbruzzese and Dr. Julia M. Mason, Reconsidering Informed Consent for Trans-Identified Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults, reports that gender identity variations were extremely rare until recently – only two to 14 per 100,000 adults. A dramatic increase has occurred since 2015 with 2-9% of U.S. high school students now identifying as transgender. While gender affirming clinics and doctors carelessly “affirm” emotionally vulnerable children’s belief that they were “born in the wrong body” and provide them with cross-sex hormones and surgeries, scientific evidence does not exist that psychosocial and medical interventions are a safe or appropriate standard of care. The authors assert:
“Despite the widely recognized deficiencies in the evidence supporting gender-affirmative interventions (National Institute for Health & Care Excellence, 2020a; 2020b), the process of obtaining informed consent from patients and their families has no established standard. There is no consensus about the requisite elements of evaluations, nor is there unanimity about how informed consent processes should be conducted (Byne et al., 2012). These two matters are inconsistent from practitioner to practitioner, clinic to clinic, and country to country.
…we believe this model is the antithesis of true informed consent, as it jeopardizes the ethical foundation of patient autonomy. Autonomy is not respected when patients consenting to the treatment do not have an accurate understanding of the risks, benefits, and alternatives.”
Unfortunately, detransitioners often report that they never received an initial mental health assessment; they were not monitored after being handed hormones to self-inject; and the social workers, therapists and gender clinics did not offer any treatment to address their mental health challenges, which often deepened as they embarked on transition’s dangerous medical journey. Even the bloodwork that should be closely monitored when patients are taking testosterone, which is an addictive Schedule III control substance that can cause serious health complications, was ignored or rarely done, according to detransitioners participating in the Detrans Awareness Day webinar.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes the risks of testosterone abuse: “serious safety risks affecting the heart, brain, liver, mental health, and endocrine system. Reported serious adverse outcomes include heart attack, heart failure, stroke, depression, hostility, aggression, liver toxicity, and male infertility.” The International Society for Sexual Health reports that, “Side effects of testosterone therapy for women can include acne, extra hair growth, weight gain, and fluid retention. Some women have mood swings and become angry or hostile.”
The risks of hormones on adults are known, but hundreds of gender clinics, including Planned Parenthood, are handing out “T” in high doses to growing and developing girls, and activists are shaming anyone who questions the safety of this reckless “standard of care” as transphobic, bigoted and uncaring. These girls, who can’t see into the future and discern whether or not they’ll want to bear and nurse children, are being robbed of their fertility and their breasts, and few people feel safe or courageous enough to defend them.
The detransitioners are speaking up, though, and we should listen to them and support legal and policy efforts to prevent further harm to vulnerable people. Impacted families should be directed to the law firms that are suing practitioners and the school systems that foster children’s gender-identity obsessions. Concerned citizens should ask state departments of health for statistics tracking the growth of testosterone administered to children. They should demand oversight hearings at the state and federal level on the “gender affirming” practices that irreversibly damage young women and men. Legislators might be aware of the policy issues related to bathrooms and women’s sports. Most don’t understand who has been harmed and what is at risk if activist teachers continue to indoctrinate children in gender ideology, and the medical community continues to follow this reckless new retail model of doling out puberty blockers, hormones and surgeries on demand.
State legislators in Florida recently passed a Parental Rights in Education bill that states: “Classroom instruction by school personnel or third parties on sexual orientation or gender identity may not occur in kindergarten through grade 3 or in a manner that is not age appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students in accordance with state standards.” The bill also prevents school districts from hiding health and education records from parents, and prohibits districts from using procedures and forms designed to hide students’ changes in mental and emotional health. Of course schools and parents should protect young children from sexual content and political activism like gender ideology, and schools should not actively hide information from parents. The corporate media and performative politicians and activists strongly disagree.
Parents should continue to advocate for parental rights legislation that prevent schools from becoming indoctrination centers that aggressively teach young children to question whether girls and boys are real, offer transition closets with chest binders and tucking underwear, and use activist-drafted “gender support plans” and “safe schools” guides to hide a child’s school-encouraged identity, name and pronouns from parents. No school should be empowered to claim that, “parents are not entitled to know their kids’ identities. That knowledge must be earned.”
Detransitioners and gender-questioning children and young adults deserve the support of a society that has abandoned them. France, Sweden, and Finland are now urging caution and encouraging therapy, rather than medical interventions, for minors. A recent report on the U.K.’s Tavistock clinic determined that its gender identity services are “not a safe or viable long-term option” for children and young people. Americans need to ensure this reality is acknowledged in the U.S., as well.