Invalidating stories of de-transition

I’ve read a number of articles about de-transition recently. My heart goes out to every person who has gone through this experience. It must have been an especially shattering and difficult experience. Your voice is important and I value it and respect it enormously.

Every transgender experience is different, difficult and uncertain. None of us can know how we will feel at the end of our transition or lived experience. We can only follow what our hearts and souls tell us is right. Sometimes we misread or even mislead ourselves.

We should always consider all outcomes when deciding on our own transition. That’s why the voices of people who have de-transitioned are so valuable.

But to use the example of transgender people who have decided to de-transition as an invalidation of all transgender transition is simply absurd. We could use the same argument to invalidate marriage.

As is always the case in almost anything, there will be a wide distribution of experiences felt by trans people going through transition. Ranging from very happy with transition right through to very unhappy.

The very unhappy people will most likely de-transition. But that doesn’t mean they determine the efficacy of transition for everyone else.

In my view, transition in whatever form works for you, does seem to be an effective way for many transgender people to find some peace and begin to live their lives.

People who detransition aren’t our enemies but equally they don’t speak for us or predict our outcomes.

We are beautiful unique individuals striving to find happiness. We are not all the same.

I wish she could have helped me

My six months of therapy led me to suspect that my Mum knew I was trans whilst I was growing up.

She used to let me grow my hair longer than most boys. She styled it in, what I can now see in old photos were feminine styles.

Growing up I was forever being mistaken as a girl when I was supposed to be being a boy. I used to find it embarrassing but also reassuring. It was next to impossible to use the Men’s bathroom without being stopped so I used to avoid it just to avoid the embarrassment.

My Mum also kept my older sister’s old clothes in the spare room in a wardrobe. I used to wear them whenever I could. I know lots of Mum’s did this with old clothes. But when I grew bigger than my sister, clothes and shoes appeared in the wardrobe that were larger than would ever fit her or my sister. They were amazing, beautiful grown up clothes. I adored them and with makeup I looked perfect in them. My heart aches just remembering the joy I used to feel. I could see with my own eyes that it wasn’t too late. I could still be me if only I could find someone to help me go through the changes I so desperately needed.

Ok so now I’m crying. It’s just so awful. I remember feeling totally alone and sure I was a vile disgusting freak. I remember the feeling of terror at what more puberty would do to me. I felt my time was running out. It was. There wasn’t going to be a miracle.

I am so glad children today face a more open and accepting society. Although there are still many bigots playing gender politics to mask their bigotry.

I always wince when I read people saying that trans kids don’t know what they want until they are older. I knew from almost my first memories. My feelings have stayed exactly the same my whole life. I believe gender identity is like sexual orientation, it is fixed and doesn’t change.

I just wish, if my Mum did know about me, that she would have found the courage to help and support me more. Maybe she helped me as much as she could at that time.

Let’s let our children be themselves, whatever that means and let’s not worry what other people think. As long as it’s not directly harmful to your child or others it’s fine just let it be. They will find their own path safe in the knowledge you love them and support them.

I saw her standing there

I was chatting with a friend online recently. She was telling me about the moment she looked in the mirror and accepted herself as a woman for the first time.

She had been dressing for a long time but this was the moment she looked in the mirror in that casual way we all do but instead of just seeing herself in women’s clothes, now, for the first time, she saw herself as the person, the woman she was to be for the rest of her life. It was the pivotal moment in her transition and she never looked back from it.

Having now read a little more about this, I now understand it’s quite a common moment in transition and by no means unique to her.

Many of us spend years dealing with doubt and skepticism. Self acceptance can be the most difficult obstacle. But this sounds like a wonderful moment to experience and it gives me hope. I would love to, one day, look in the mirror and see her (me) standing there.

If you, as I do, feel stuck, in the closet, unable to be the person you feel yourself to be, reaching this goal, this moment can seem like climbing Everest. We hide so much of our true selves scared of discovery and the outside world. Terrified what the consequences might be.

But if you can find the courage, if you can summon the words then you owe it to yourself to take the next step.