Here’s the video I made for Carey Callahan (and the others she was working with) to show along with a presentation on detransition at USPATH in Feb 2017!! Incredibly impressed with her for actually showing up there. I’m going to list myself as a USPATH telepresenter on a bunch of resumes now 🙂
At the time when I started to detransition, I was already getting a lot of relief from coping strategies other than transition- relationships with animals, spending a lot of time in nature, connecting with other women with similar experiences, being in a supportive relationship and having a home environment where I was able to relax.
On some level when I was transitioning at 16, I had thought of “being a woman” as everything I wasn’t- pretty, compliant, content with the way I was treated as a woman, and content with my female body.
I thought that women didn’t ever hate their bodies the way I did or believe they’d be better off as a man. I learned this wasn’t true. I learned many women, especially lesbians, have experienced periods of wanting to be men in intense and visceral ways, ways that met the diagnostic criteria for GID or gender dysphoria, but that they were eventually really glad that they had instead made peace with themselves as one type or another of unconventional women. I learned, from connecting with other women, that womanhood could hold women like me, that I could be a woman even if I’d had a mastectomy, didn’t really like shaving, and would rather be called Max than Abigail. I learned that I’m a lesbian.
I loved the standards of care and used them to self-advocate in medical offices as a teenager who met the diagnostic criteria for GID and really thought I’d kill myself if I didn’t transition. I didn’t know there were ways to get relief from those feelings that didn’t come from a therapist, endocrinologist, or surgeon. I generally refused to talk to my old gender therapist about anything except wanting to transition. I have been diagnosed a lot of ways but haven’t talked to a doctor or mental health professional for almost anything except a bad flu in a couple years, and I feel better than I can remember ever feeling in the past. The dynamic of relating to another person as an expert on my body and/or my problems is something I avoid whenever practical.
I count myself as extremely lucky that I had misgivings about the hysterectomy I was about to schedule a while before I stopped transitioning. I am extremely grateful that, at this point in my life, I can usually stay far away from the fields that I feel did me an awful lot of harm. The history of psychiatry is riddled with examples of medical/psychiatric abuse of noncompliant women that was regarded as revolutionary and even sought-after by individuals experiencing really tough stuff. I understand that others feel their transitions were lifesaving, I used to believe this about myself. Do others understand that transition can also do profound harm? Detransition wasn’t forced on me by anyone. This was a realization that was really healing for me, that I could stop transition and it was okay to be a woman the way i was. A lot of detransitioning to me was about listening to myself and believing myself that I had been hurt by this treatment.