Detransition, retransition

Charlotte brings up the topic of detransition, which is often followed by retransition. Video responses touch on reasons why some might take this option while others couldn’t bear it.

In honor of recently deceased sportswriter for the Los Angeles Times, Mark Penner/Christine Daniels.

Posted by on December 5th, 2009 at 08:00 am

Category: video 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Detransition, retransition”

  1. B-Rae

    I absolutely understand the reasons you are talking about in terms of why people detransition and retransition. I think it acknowledges that we are impacted and identify as so many things and there is, for many of us, a distinct flow and shift of priorities in our lives depending on where we are at and what is going on. If I am living alone in a city with no friends or resources or even a place to hang out and have coffee and am at a place in my life when I don’t have anyone to really engage in emotionally and intellectually, you can be sure I will adjust my life accordingly until I find those supports again. Not gonna’ lie.

    Additionally, I think that people keep learning and growing and if someone transitions, they may realize it only reinforces more gender rules that they are not comfortable with, and so they proceed to detransition or transition in a new direction. For instance, if someone wanted to transition specifically from MtF or FtM, they may then realize that they want instead to identify as Trans – no M or F.

    I think this is the dark side of politics and activism. Like, it’s awesome to fight for people’s rights to live in a way that feels right for them – as long as they don’t turn around and do something that could be perceived as threatening political gains. Know what I mean? Ultimately, what a person decides to do should be what works best for them. It is then up to them, at whatever point they are at, to decide if they are able to press through the resistance, or step back to find their footing.

    Regardless, I think people should be supported in their process of figuring it out and living as authentically as they can. Even if it means temporarily or permanently, partially or fully detransitioning.

    Thanks for posting.


  2. ranj.

    I am a transwoman who passes very well and transitioned three years back. I have lived happily with a nice man and had the support of my family except my father though not intially.
    Now, my relationship has gone south due the fact that I am seriously thinking about retransitioning back as I feel that i have had to give up a lot of happiness to be who I am and it is really not worth it being Trans sacrificing everything else


  3. ranj.

    i dont know wht to do. i have evaluated all things that will come my way if I do transition back to be a man. I dont look anything like a man. I had some surgeries but no SRS yet. How does one decide which way to go? I feel the need to align my body and my soul is needed but for many many years I concluded there was no reason to align them. I dont know wht to do.


  4. atto

    At the time i was diagnosed as transsexual, i was at the end of my rope. I was living as a woman before i even knew much of anything about GID. The primary etiology of my detransition involved encounters with therapists who were clueless about how to treat the condition. Other therapists ran mills and if you could not afford their services you were pretty much left for dead. Other so called professionals point blank were afraid of the potential of having such freakish clients and would straight up say “you are better off dead.” Oh you should sue them! With what? My not so pretty face that was crushed in when i got raped?
    So in the light of a corrupt treatment scheme ( regaurdless of the ISOC), those of you that found good therapists should consider yourselves very lucky. Hooray, you made it, you avoided getting shafted.

    But for those of us that got screwed over by these mediocre few “professionals” the exclusion is totally and absolutely devastating. Especially in areas away from big cities. Then on top of it, you get labeled as a “wannabe / loser” by those once considered to be esteemed peers (other ts individuals). So in the end, these realities become exclusions that are very effective at undermining both peer support and the core faith of ones being. And you lose everything you had before in the process.

    Once the damage is done, willingness to trust is as rare as a gold brick in a ghetto.

    So go ahead exclude, shun and reject all of those not as fortunate as you. Your special, you know everything. You made it.


  5. Daisy - Netherlands

    Well, I have been living full time as a woman now for over three years. I pass well due to my FFS. I still work for the same airline company as a captain. My co-workers accept me and most of them are really nice to me. So all is well.

    Or is it? I have come to realialize that although the puzzle of me being a man doesn’t fit nicely, the puzzle of being a woman, that is a transgendered woman, doesn’t fit either.

    What is bothering me is the dilemma of being honest versus going stealth. I prefer to give my whole self and be open about who I am, but that means that everybody keeps on refering to me as a man. That eats away my confidence as a woman. Because nobody really believes that I am a woman I get so much self doubt. Otherwise, living in stealth is very lonely and fearful of being outed. Also living in stealth feels like I am withholding part of myself, not being a whole person, and that doesn’t suit me.

    Also what is bothering me is that I come to realize that I must honestly admit that I don’t have so much a female identity at all. I just like everything female, but I don’t feel female in my core identity. I love playing the gender role, but it is acting just like when I was acting to be male. My identity still feels more male than female, maybe 60% to 40%, although not it is not constant either.

    And what I really hate is my disconnect with my past. Building a new life is very lonely. The old life wasn’t. But now the connection with my past is basically severed. I don’t want to end up living in the past and neglecting building a future

    Last winter I came very close to getting the SRS, but I cancelled it just weeks before the operation. It was rescheduled, and I did cancel that one too. Much doubt about whether I would regret it stopped me. I am happy I left that option open.

    I had to stop using hormones in preparation for the operation. That has caused quite a shift because my body was getting back to life. So far, I had been on autopilot, a bit depressed even by the suppression of the testosteron. Now I opened up more. More doubts: is my attraction to being a woman fueled by my male testosteron or is it really my identity? If it the first reason, then having an SRS would surely be a disaster.

    Now, with all the doubt my gender is not stable anymore. I have worn my male clothes again some days in the weekend. Funny, how that feels like crossdressing as a man this time! It also felt like all my problems as a transsexual went away, after which I felt very very normal, just a boring man in stead of a georgeous, but fake, woman.

    So, I really don’t know what to do. I have the option to detransition, although I will have soft lines in my face. Or I can stay put, or continue. My feelings about it are far from stable. Some days I really want to quit and just be a man again, although I know I will feel confined. Other days I enjoy being free to express myself as a woman and remind myself that I don’t want to be a man anymore. So I use caution. I have found a new therapist, an independant one, to help me answer these questions. If I ever get an answer. Having doubts forever is also an option.

    The Netherlands


    Anonymous replied:

    Daisy, you are wise to postpone SRS until you are sure about yourself. I had SRS 36 years ago and only lately have begun to question things. I am definitely not male but have noticed over the years that I am not exactly like a genetic woman either, but the world has no category of ‘other’. Because I am so many years post-op I do not get ‘read’ much, having learned the more subtle aspects of being female. Because we have only some female anatomy and none of the female neurohormonal functioning, we will never know what it is like to be truly female. I have come to realise that it would be better to be either a natural male or a natural female than to be an SRS person. Surgically reconstructed junk never looks or works as well as the natural things; but there is no going back for me as SRS is irreversible. I might get the boobs removed because I rather enjoy wearing male clothing now that I do not have to. The moral of my story is to make damned sure about yourself before you make any irreversible changes to your body. Best of luck girl!


    Gregory replied:

    Correction: there are several U.S. and Belgrade surgeons doing reversals. I am in therapy now to seek a reversal (Phalloplasty.) Your only stuck if you think your stuck. Why continue living this lie? We both know SRS did not make us women. Fake approximations of women. The whole industry feeds off our sickness and should be shutdown. Too many therapists and surgeons are making a great living off our delusion.


  6. Anonymous

    I am going through a rough time right now. Have been out as a transwoman for a year now and recently I have been really considering retransitioning back to being a man. For one I do not look like a woman at all. Genetics play a big role in this and I have bad genes when it comes to looks. The other is that when I am in male mode, I do not live full time as a woman yet, I tend to like the male idenity. The problem is I have become very suicidal in the past couple of weeks and things are not getting any better. Not sure what to do. Do I go back to being a guy or do I continue on in my transtion as a woman, just a non passble woman.


    XylophoneGender replied:

    Anonymous- my heart goes out to you. While I hope Genderfork is helping you through this rough time, I hope you are also seeking aid through trained outlets, since non of us on staff seem to be trained in guiding someone through things as serious as suicide prevention. Community can be incredibly helpful & strengthening, but safe, professional help is priceless. Also, since we don’t have our forums set up (yet) where more in-depth discussion can occur between readers, you might check out the GenderQueerRevolution yahoo group.
    Other resources: Since you didn’t state your age I won’t rule out The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention hotline aimed at queer and questioning youth ages 13-24. Help is available either through online chat or by calling 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
    There are also some scheduled online groups & chat forums available through Laura’s Playground:
    If you would like to mention here or contact us with info about where in the world you are, we may be able to find local resources and safe, understanding, trained support for you.
    All the best!


    Anonymous replied:

    Anonymous, if you are more comfortable in the male role, stay with it! As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I had SRS 36 years ago when I was 17 years old (I am now 54); I am still uncomfortable in my own skin. I am 6′ 2″ and weigh 320 lbs. I look at Jennifer Love Hewitt and see everything I ever wanted to be: beautiful, classy, poised, and elegant; when I look at her, I feel like a linebacker in a dress even though I have had a vagina and boobs since Gerald Ford was President. I can tell you firsthand that surgically reconstructed junk never looks or works as good as what Nature makes! There is no going back for me short of reincarnation, but if I can help one person keep from making an irreversible mistake, it will be good. Transitioning and even SRS do NOT make the depression go away and you might be wise to focus on treating the depression first and leaving the gender issues for later. I always thought that my gender issues caused my depression but I very well may have confused cause and effect! Find out what’s truly right for YOU. Passability is a valid concern; even if you become post-op, if you don’t pass well, you will get shit upon. This is something the therapists don’t tell you. I learned it the hard way.


  7. Elle

    This thread breaks my heart. Transition is an incredibly personal process that we have no choice but to make open to an uncaring or antagonistic public. While sharing experiences with others can give us an idea of how we would like to proceed, this isn’t a topic that’s open to advice or suggestions. Only the individual can decide what will make them happy, and we often don’t have the experience or understanding we need to make the right choice. Often there is no right choice. Sometimes in life, we really are damned if we do or if we don’t.

    Your pain is your own, but in different ways we all hurt. All I have to say is that you are not alone, and while we may not know you, we still care.


  8. Tricia Black

    I recently have made the decision to de-transition and this was made around many of things you have enumerated in this video and thank you for that by the way. I still consider myself a vibrant member of the Trans Community at large and have many friends whom have enriched the fabric of my life and hopefully will remain a part of my life. Re-transition is always something that is in the back of my mind.. in fact the split second after I cut off all of my hair and switched wardrobes.. it doesn’t get any easier but unfortunately there are other considerations in life which sometimes get in the way of what I want to do or even need to do. I’m very upset about this but I’m wanting to be 100% sure before I step back into it. I was on HRT for close to 2 years and while it takes less time to get ready in the morning.. it still feels like I’ve let myself and my community down on so many levels. The dysphoria remains.


  9. Di

    Trying to keep this short.

    I had SRS 16 years ago and lived as a woman for 6 years. I guess you could say I was “successful” in that I was able to keep my good job (where everyone knew my history) and lived with a somewhat handsome boyfriend who wanted to marry me. Outside of work I was mainly stealth (made easier because I was characterized as beautiful or pretty woman).

    Living stealth felt somewhat like lying to people which caused stress. My family was split in acceptance and caused me stress. The main other stress was constantly having to alter my voice.

    I decided to transition back and have lived as a male for 10 years. I have been living with a woman for 7 years and it is comfortable except for times in the bedroom.

    At this point I feel that I am also living somewhat of a lie. I feel I need to keep my chest covered due to appearance (no swimming for me) and using public mens rooms.

    I want to live as a woman again and just “tough it out” because that is what I am physically. I am really concerned about my girlfriend though. When we first met and she accepted me I was extremely happy. The thought of hurting her emotionally is almost too much to bear.

    Do we leave a “trail of destruction” in our wakes when we try to find peace?


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