Detransitioner Perspective: Unscathed
I consider myself to have escaped unscathed from my trans identification. I am one of the lucky ones.
I conducted my transsexual experiment almost in a vacuum—I didn’t have the peer pressure or influence from social contagion that is so prevalent today. This was helpful for me to later evolve away from it. Now, I rarely think of that period in my life and when I do it is not upsetting. I’m able to consider it a valuable lesson, in which I earned that, despite my preconceived notions, men don’t have it any better than women and are, in some ways, even more constrained by societal expectations.
It was only during the lockdown a few years ago that I read Abigail Shrier’s “Irreversible Damage” and rekindled some of those memories from my time as a transsexual. And, at the same time, a friend let me know that her niece, was now her nephew. I felt that I was in a position to help, and so that is why I am here.
This is how I came to be transsexual, and also how I came to detransition.
I was adopted as an infant and diagnosed with autism by age 3. I did not speak until I was 4 and was with speech therapy until age 8. From a very early age I preferred “masculine” clothes and toys. There was a picture of me at about 4 holding a doll by the hair—I had no idea how to nurture and still really don’t only now I accept that and it doesn’t bother me. I have a cat I love and that’s enough for me. There is a picture of me at age five, standing in the cabbage patch wearing mini overalls just like my Grandpa’s. Now I think they let me dress this way because I insisted and because they were afraid of the tantrum which would ensue if they said “no”. Or maybe they felt sorry for the little autistic one who still could barely speak. I do remember when a shop keeper complimented me as a boy I snapped “I’m a girl!”
When I was young, I was a loner by choice. Most of my time was spent alone reading or playing solitary sports and practicing viola. I also collected and polished rocks, and performed amateur science experiments with the microscope and other tools my parents provided. I was obsessed with rubber chickens and those sippy drinking birds. I had a TV in my room and I watched Dragnet, Batman, Star Trek, Gilligan’s Island. I had a Hot Wheels track in my room, and those little green army men figures you might remember from your childhood.
I also later loved to skateboard. My parents indulged me in this even though, at that time (1970s), there were few females in the sport. My first board was hot pink and I loved it. I was very athletic and won many awards for running and especially long distance cycling where I was the youngest in my community to complete 200 miles in under 12 hours. My father would drive me to my races and let me fix my bike in his garage. I loved using tools and being with the machines. He taught me to box, let me “help” him work on the car. I felt he really wanted me to be a boy, although from as long as I can remember I wanted to be a boy. I’m not sure if my parent’s encouragement hurt but it sure helped. I really appreciated my mother bringing me to the boy’s department and at age 12 I boasted in my journal of my “men’s” size 28 pants. They were actually too big but nothing a belt couldn’t fix. My dad had my hair cut at the barber shop. They said it was to keep me from pulling and twisting it—the autism again—but I’m not so sure they didn’t really want a bacha posh.
My crushes were on boys and men. Patrick Duffy! Man from Atlantis! I got a scuba diving watch and practiced holding my breath underwater to swim like him. Robert Redford! “Grizzly Adams” book/movie had me reading all the camping/survival books at the library because I wanted to be a hermit in the snowy mountains just like him. I swooned over him but not in a sexual way. I wanted to BE him.
Overall, I was deemed a tomboy and my family left it at that. I am grateful. I couldn’t imagine growing up now with the forced gender identification. I was allowed to find my own way—and I did finally get there, but not until about age 30.
To encourage some level of femininity I went to modeling school when I was 12. At the time I was not model material—I was gawky and skinny, complete with zits and glasses. At age 15, I was suddenly transformed into a beautiful teen and actually became a model who loved wearing makeup and posing for pictures, and I became addicted to Fashion magazines, especially the glossy European ones. I left home around the same time and was largely left to my own devices with no role models and found myself in many uncomfortable situations with men wanting sex. Though I was never raped it was close a number of times. Despite my model appearance, my autism struck again and I couldn’t understand why men kept hitting on me.
Later, I joined the Air Force, where despite such a high score on the electronics portion of the ASVAB that they wanted to assign me to that field, I insisted on being a police officer. This was a big mistake for me. I was always very aggressive and got in many fights at school, mostly with boys and this didn’t stop in the Air Force. In my position as a police officer, I assaulted a senior officer and received a medical discharge despite being reevaluated for autism by a top autism specialist at UCSF who confirmed I was indeed autistic. I was sent home at only 19 years old.
Failing at the Air Force seems to have been the trigger that led me to pursue social transition. I had never seriously considered this route seriously prior to that, although as a child, I had discovered and voraciously read transsexual biographies from the adult section of the library.
In 1983, I saw a specialist for gender issues. He had me live as a boy for a year before hormones were even considered. This was in the days before instant self-diagnosis and immediate access to hormones was the norm. After the trial year, I took testosterone briefly, but I couldn’t handle the side effects (they made me even more aggressive)—and I knew there could be liver damage and cancer. I never considered an elective double mastectomy as my boobs were basically nonexistent to begin with so an ace bandage was enough to achieve the desired effect.
Thereafter I became a “gay boy”, and I hung out on Polk and Castro. Being with gay guys was safe—until AIDS. I remember the horror of seeing my first glimpse of the Karposi’s sarcoma lesions. That ended my mild promiscuity in the Castro!
This period was followed by a kind of limbo for decades. I only just legally changed my name to a female one though I have yet to change my ID and other official documents. My old friends try to use the new name and it doesn’t bother me when they slip up. “Deadname” is another of those “woke” terms I refuse to accept. I may have autism and have detransitioned but these things do not define me.
That’s why I believe I escaped unscathed.
The suicide rate is actually highest AFTER transition. Don’t let yourself get manipulated with threats of suicide if your child doesn’t submit to medical malpractice! I am so grateful I didn’t get fully sucked into it. I just deduced/intuited the reality that I am a complex being beyond such categories as gender—in fact there is no word for what I am - I am just ME.
Yes, my physical form is (boyishly) female and it is beautiful whether in men’s clothes or with makeup and hair done in feminine styles. Or in men’s clothes with makeup and hair (my favorite configuration). Or feminine attire with no makeup…the possibilities are endless. I draw the line at high heels—all that skateboarding may have broadened my big feet. I literally can’t stuff my feet into them! It’s actually an insult to me to feel I have to adhere to any stereotype to be “real”. And I refuse to do it.
I’ll reiterate—by being solo with no external influence such as social media, Reddit, Tumbler Twitter and also, without a group of peers influencing me, it was much easier for me to just kind of slide right out of trans. All the fighting with straight guys, the chest binding, the bathroom anxieties just became too much, and not worth it to me. Besides I was too small and pretty to make a convincing man. I also didn’t want to harm my body any more than I already had. Those hormones are harsh. As are the surgeries. Mainstream media glosses over the side effects.
Buddhism is a large part of what led to my acceptance of myself without labels. IT stresses the “Middle Way” or freedom from extremes. It also stresses the non-existence of self, which is, to me, the opposite of identity politics.
“Trans” is extreme.
I am interested in the subject of gender ideology again now, after discovering the massive proliferation of the politicized“trans” ideology and the concomitant harm to young people, especially girls, who are being fast tracked into a lifetime of medical/pharmaceutical dependence and possibly regret. I now subscribe to many groups on this subject. Favorites include Eliza Mondegreen, Gays Against Groomers and Graham Linehan’s Glinner Update.
One of the challenges we detransitioners face is the low visibility in the media. I had to dig diligently to find this group for example. Like it or not the pro trans voices are the loudest. It’s the cause du jour, the most “oppressed” minority,
It is my strong belief that a movement that can marginalize and silence viewpoints it finds threatening is not a victimized group. “Trans” is the current mainstream media darling; and we should never forget that medical/pharmaceutical companies are waiting in the wings, quite excited to have clients for life. Transition is expensive and there are always those who take advantage. Doctors. See this subreddit on “top surgery” for examples of medical malpractice. And see this one for only pictures of mastectomies with no nipples.
If my experience can help in any way I fearlessly put it out there.
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