Oct 20 16 9:42 PM

Tags : :

I been seeing a lot of stories recently talking about people who detransition or who regret transitioning.  These stories almost always try to push a myth that many transgender people end up regretting trantion.  So, I thought that debunking this myth would be a good first post for me in this forum.

Most of the time I have come across this myth, it is by people who reference a man named Walt Heyer and a certain nefarious website he runs (that I won't name here).  For those who never heard of him, he is a man who transitioned and then detrasitioned and believes that because SRS was wrong for him it shouldn't be available to anyone.  Now he devotes himself to trying to keep others from considering transitioning by twisting facts and studies to scare people away from considering transition.  

The truth of the matter is that transition regret is INCREDIBLY rare.  It has been found to be less than 4% and most likely between 1-2%.  This puts it in the same ball-park as the people who regret lap-band surgery and far less than the average regret rate for people who undergo cosmetic plastic surgery.  Yet, no one is trying to put an end to people getting either lap-band surgeries* or plastic surgery!  In fact, over 90% of trans people who choose to transition report being satisfied or very satisfied with their choice.

In conclusion I would like to leave a link to this Zinnia Jones piece on the issue and her amazing take down of the subject!


Last Edited By: Lost247365 Oct 20 16 11:37 PM. Edited 1 time

Quote    Reply   

#1 [url]

Oct 22 16 5:43 PM

I guess there's lots of different things to regret or not regret. 

I regret not speaking out sooner, about all the things that were very obvious to me as a teenager that I subsequently suppressed, ignored and then practically forgot about, often for years at a time afterwards while I kept myself socially isolated and busy with work.

I regret all time that I wasted not really understanding what the heck was going on around me. 

I regret that I never got to tell my grandmother or my father who I really was, out of fear that they wouldn't understand. 

I regret that I practically had to get to breaking point before deciding to do anything. 

I regret that even after having decided to do something the process seems impossible to even begin. 

So when the specialist doctor asks things like, "Do you really hate any part of your body?", or "Are you wanting to have the surgery?", that kind of seems like they are asking irrelevant questions, which don't need to be answered until at least a year after you start on HRT and involve a lot of practical considerations like taking masses of time off work for recovery and risking death on the operating table and infection afterwards and all that dilating stuff and well lots of painful icky messy bits that I guess have to be properly thought through in detail at some stage, but aren't really the main point of the exercise, which to me is all about being less tired and depressed all the time with a more functioning brain and a less suppressed personality, which doesn't actually require any surgery to achieve 

I regret all the additional years I end up stuck like this, and the fact that it all seems so hard to explain to anyone, even the people who are supposed to be the ones to know all about it, but who still seem to see it as a purely psychological problem despite ever increasing scientific evidence to the contrary, and who supposedly aren't going to jump down your throat on ideological or religious or financial grounds like so many others will do. 

No I don't want to be hedwig and the angry inch with a botched halfway job for bits, that would probably make me very depressed, but the chances of my even getting that far seem pretty remote, and I think I'd have to be a lot more sure of my appearance, personality and situation before actually going under the knife. You can trust me, having mulled it over for several years before even telling my immediate family, it isn't something I would take to lightly. 

Quote    Reply   

#3 [url]

Oct 23 16 1:53 AM

The over reporting of regret cases rests in part by transphobic forces in the media, but also there is a lot of 'what is unusual gets reported' and then people believe what is reported is normality...
Two other examples;
1. Ask some people in Britain and they will tell you people of social security benefits are on the make and steal from the system because its the people who do who get into the news. Social security fraud is at quite a low level but that never gets reported because it doesn't sell newspapers
2. Perhaps even more important, very few people of the Muslim faith commit atrocities. Most condemn them, but again that's not a story for the media. I'm not of the Muslim faith - I'm an Atheist from a Christian tradition - but its clear to me that most Muslims, though they would make claims about a deity I don't agree with, just want to hold their believes quietly and get on with life .. but those people are not and never will be a story that sells newspapers.

And that - apart from a few who want to spread their prejudice, against trans people, poor people, people of another Faith - is what newspapers really care about - sales figures. So they will latch onto what is unusual

Quote    Reply   

#4 [url]

Oct 23 16 9:16 PM

I'm like Xora in that I wish I'd dived into the transgender deep end long ago. But I'm so glad that I did it. I was always so worried that I'd chicken out at the fears I had.

But you the point: I agree that it's in the transphobes best interest to play up detransiion rates. I've also heard that it's actually quite low.

I can't imagine making that decision. Very hard to do, at least for me.


Quote    Reply   

#6 [url]

Apr 12 17 6:20 PM

A lot of the fundamentalists actually understand that there is a huge apparent contradiction between their religious beliefs, which are supposed to be about loving your neighbor. and their obvious hatred of trans people. For them, the resolution of that comes from believing that they have the best interest of the trans at the heart. In other words, the trans are crazy people who will ruin their lives by transitioning, and it's the duty of every "caring" Christian to stop that from happening. Of course, any bogus statistics on regret help to reinforce that fantasy.

Quote    Reply   

#7 [url]

Apr 13 17 12:47 AM

Perhaps it's a generational thing, I don't know.

On the one hand there's a firm belief that people start off more or less as a blank slate, and somehow develop a flawed personality, due to bad parenting and/or childhood trauma, and so decide they would rather be on the other side of the line due to 'grass is always greener', and then go for surgery and find they have to spend the rest of their life merely pretending to be something they aren't and are still just as unhappy with their lot. I'd say that most people 40+, who don't actually know any of us personally, still believe that kind of thing, and that's kind of how it was always presented in the populist media when I was young, basically they are crazy people who did a totally freakish and shocking thing and had to suffer the 'natural' consequences of their unnecessarily making themselves a social outcast.

Isn't it nice to know?
That good will conquer evil?
The truth we all believe'll by and by
Outlive a lie
For you and--

No one mourns the Wicked!
No one cries: "They won't return!"
No one lays a lily on their grave
The good man scorns the Wicked!
Through their lives, our children learn
What we miss
When we misbehave..

And goodness knows
The Wicked's lives are lonely
Goodness knows
The Wicked die alone
It just shows, when you're wicked,
You're left only
On your own...

But then growing up it started to change, as from when I was about 18 onwards I started to see more sensitive portrayals, films like 'Different For Girls' and various characters in one-off episodes of other dramas, and then people like Nadia Almada on Big Brother who may have originally been put in there for the shock value but who obviously was really happy being a woman and wasn't a man who was just playing the part of being a woman full time.

But it wasn't till I got to reading the TSSuccess pages from Lynn Conway that I really understood it was actually possible to live an ordinary, perhaps low-key, life as a transsexual woman, and actually be good if not sometimes totally brilliant at a regular jobs outside of the entertainment industry, (often particularly in computing, apparently..), and well the UK law itself started catching up so that it is now possible, though still difficult, to get all of your documentation including your birth certificate amended, and you are now allowed to get legally married and so forth.

Then it finally dawned on me what the real problem was, it wasn't the men who spent their entire lives pretending to be women who really had the problems, it was the people who were essentially subconciously psychologically women who felt they had to spend their entire lives pretending to be men, who really had the most difficulties, especially the ones who had so dissociated themselves from childhood trauma so they didn't even really know they were women. They would surely feel unnaturally socially disadvantaged and very threatened by the world, pehaps without their properly understanding why, and get increasingly stressed out and desperate as they get older.

Then all the stuff about Asperger's syndrome fell into place, and after spending so long in the geek community I started to pick up on a lot of the psychological patterns and see the same things happening over and over again, are lot of these people really do basically think like girls, even if they think they aren't, and all the ideas they are using to build all the systems are actually elements of their innate subconcious female psychology sort of bubbling to the surface as supposedly rational thoughts, and operating system design elements..
Till I guess I figured out that it was a lot of the same people that were visiting Fictionmania and so forth that were having the kids with autism or were already diagnosed with asperger's themselves, only no one seemed to be putting two and two together that perhaps it was the people who weren't really subconciously men to begin with, who would much prefer to be living as women, but were trapped by much greater social pressures of having been born in the 50s or 60s, and who maybe were also just too scared to do so, who were getting themselves more and more trapped in their existing lives by producing yet another generation with 'special needs' and feeling responsible for looking after them as well.

Then when the Chelsea Manning thing happened I read all of the stuff she had written in the chat logs with Zinia Jones and Adrian Lamo, the letters sent from her therapist and commander in Iraq, the psychologist report from her trial, the stories about her parents and their job difficulties and alcohol problems, and decided I ought to actually do something about it, if no one else was going to, as no one else seemed to be seeing the whole picture.
(10:19:00 AM) bradass87: im kind of coming out of a cocoon… its going to take some time, but i hopefully wont be a ghost anymore
(10:19:53 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: You mentioned gender identity, I believe.
(10:19:59 AM) bradass87: ive had an unusual, and very stressful experience over the last decade or so
(10:20:53 AM) bradass87: yes… questioned my gender for several years… sexual orientation was easy to figure out… but i started to come to terms with it during the first few months of my deployment
(10:21:09 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: May I ask the particulars?
(10:21:34 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: I’m bi myself, and my ex is MTF.
(10:21:34 AM) bradass87: im fairly open… but careful, so yes..
(10:22:00 AM) bradass87: im aware of your bi part
(10:22:24 AM) bradass87: uhm, trying to keep a low profile for now though, just a warning
(10:23:34 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: I’m a journalist and a minister. You can pick either, and treat this as a confession or an interview (never to be published) & enjoy a modicum of legal protection.
(10:24:07 AM) bradass87: assange level?
(10:25:12 AM) bradass87: or are you socially engineering ;P
(10:25:51 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: You must not have done your research 
(10:25:57 AM) info@adrianlamo.com: I could have flipped for the FBI.

Yes, well, it just goes to show that some people can't ever be trusted with handling any of the valuable sensitive information that they promised to keep a secret.. ;-)

It's like a game theory situation, where no one wants to be put at a disadvantage by being the one making the first move to break with tradition, yet if everyone just keeps on doing what they are doing the stress levels and living conditions for nearly everyone just keep getting worse and worse.
If the government already knows everything about what we do online anyway, what sites we visit, what books we buy on Kindle, who is really hiding anything anymore? 
So we might just as well use the 'big data' analytics thing we have to solve some real biological/psycho/social problems, and perhaps finally understand what actually makes us tick.

So now I'm on the other side, and looking at the kids like Kim Petras and thinking how lucky they are that their parents were more understanding, and they won't have to go through some of the things I did in my late teens, and that people should be more aware of neurological differences but not necessarily just to pathologise them with labels like 'autism' when we now have the actual science to understand what is really going on, how and why it actually works that way, and if you could just send the kids to school in different clothes they likely wouldn't have half the social difficulties and drug problems growing up. We wouldn't need to escape to places like FictionMania if we, avoiding male puberty, learned from the other girls, and could just go out on regular dates as teenagers, so people should not see transition as a pathalogical last resort and we should not be prevented from accessing actual medical treatment as young as possible.

Because that actually is just a girl not a boy.. and her mother was actually more of a man when she got pregnant..

But then I'm now also on the other side of the fence from the religious fundamentalists and as far as they are concerned I'm the one promoting a 'pathogenic meme' and leading the oh so vulnerable young 'autistic' kids down the terribly scary and obviously 'wrong' path to bodily self-mutilation.

Last Edited By: Xora Apr 13 17 5:13 AM. Edited 6 times.

Quote    Reply   

#8 [url]

Apr 13 17 11:52 PM

There is no proven link between gender dysphoria and ASD as even Zuker admitted in one of his papers (though in public he contradicted his own research). About the only thing that makes sense is that trans kids with some ASD (maybe) will tend to ignore signals from parents and parents and be more stubborn in pushing what they want....and even that is very speculative. Then again they might just be stubborn....

But I knew what I felt as a kid was 'wrong', I was very sensitive to other's feelings and carefully censored my behaviour and acted to gain their approval, esepecially from my father who I loved so much..

For example: I loved imaginary play, either by myself or with others. I remember once doing a thing from the Batman TV show (I was 7) in front of my parents and my father made a derogatory remark ..I never did it in front of him again...one comment was all it took...and I remember it vividly to this very day.

So if you have some less sensitivity to others then you 'might' push your own feeling and wants a bit more.

There is also zero proven links between childhood trauma (especially sex abuse) and being trans ...or homosexual. That is a long repeated argument by the homophobes that, like so many homophobic arguments, has spilled over to trans people.

The problem is the numbers don’t add up. About 16% of boys are sexually abused and 25% of girls, and nearly all grow up to be straight (though often with psychological damage) ..after all only 2-4% are LG and about 0.6% trans. If that argument was true then there would be a lot more LGBT people.

I was sexually abused...but not until about 11 by my uncle...but my very stoing trans feelings started far earlier, 6 from memory and at 7 I tried to cut my penis off.(and stopped real fast when it hurt).

Correlation does not mean causality. Like the those later transitioning trans people who worked in STEM fields. As I did. Bit of a correlation...maybe ..again no real proof.. It ignores the life stories of so many trans people who never were in STEM areas... Lots of those. Bit racist too ignoring POC trans women totally.

Plus, and this is my personal experience, doing that sort of work was part of the psychological coping mechanisms I developed to deal with my gender dysphoria. That work (and lots of other things I did as hobbies and activities) gave me short term relief from what I felt. I could lose myself into them But I am an addicted reader, I read more books in a month than many do in their whole life ...that was another coping mechanism I developed. So is reading a sign of being trans? Or motorcycles, scuba diving, 4WDing, camping... of course not.

And I was lucky enough to be able to do that . cope ..those that didn't are dead though direct or indirect suicide.

Though I made the classic mistake of ‘coping’ for too long and that delayed my transition, my biggest mistake in my life.

Quote    Reply   

#9 [url]

Apr 14 17 1:03 AM

I think the higher levels of interests in STEM subjects and careers within MtF's in relation to the overall Female population just points to the way social pressures work on male and female children. For all the internal dysphoria felt, MtF's growing up get the same pressures/expectations as others who grow up seen by others as boys.. and so get the encouragement to get involved in STEM.

To me that shows its this expectations that is a deciding factor, not gender itself, and is an argument to STOP RIGHT NOW the discouragement of Girls to go into STEM.

I'm never too sure about the 2-4% LGB.. My feeling is the % is 5-10%.. just going on my own observations.

Quote    Reply   

#10 [url]

Apr 14 17 2:06 AM

I don't think you really got what I was trying to say here at all. 

Yes, I know, being trans is not caused by childhood trauma, being trans is caused by being trans, a straight biological fact, it's more like the cause of childhood trauma. 

The correlation between being trans and ASD is the reverse from what you think I'm suggesting, being essentially born a girl and then thinking that you ought to/have to at least try to conform to with being a man is what creates a whole bunch of mental conflicts and behavioural difficulties, which the psychologists are now calling ASD. 
You think, 'I'm just a girl, but I have to spend everyday pretending to be a man', but someone else thinks, 'That's a very awkward man with an immature self-centred attitude and rather stilted body language, he must be autistic'.

The trans people who don't try so hard to conform are the ones like Paris Lees who were never going to blend in as men and didn't really care to bother, since they were into boys from a young age, and cared far more about that than they did pleasing their parents. So they don't have ASD, because they didn't try to hide who they were through excessive intellectual pursuits. 

Yes exactly, there is no neurological reason for girls not to get into STEM, because the kinds of people who have actually made some of the most significant contributions to STEM were the ones who were basically neurologically female anyway. But if you were cis-female, you'd probably have better things to be doing during your late teens and twenties, than spending every waking moment reading programming books, so the girls who are stuck indoors trying to pretend to themselves and their parents that they are really going to grow up to be men tend to have a something leg up getting in their necessary 10,000 hours of practice in.

Also, the kind of boys who are basically girls but still think they aren't, are the ones who see STEM as being a 'safe space' just for people like them, and so don't want to let the 'icky girls' or 'fake geeks' in. But that's just down to their screwed up personalities driven by their own insecurities, not due to the actual relative talents of the women, though they aren't ever going to admit that. They get into STEM not because it's the best thing going, and they want to prove a point, but because they are looking for a way to escape their depressing reality, and they want to make cool stuff that really works. 

The trouble with the cis-females is that they've been brought up with so much indoctrination with a victim mentality that they seem to think they are owed a job in STEM just because they are women and there aren't enough women in STEM, whether they have any talent or not, and if you try to let them down gently they take the attitude that they only reason they are not getting the jobs is because you are discriminating against them for being women. 

By the time we get to our thirties we've basically figured this stuff out, and no one cares so much anymore, and we recognised actual talent when we see it, regardless of the package that it comes in. 
So yeah, Sophie Wilson and Lynn Conway, and Rebecca Heineman and so forth were/are prodigiously talented women in STEM, though they didn't start out being women. There are probably lots more really prodigiously talented women in technology who still have their penises attached, and whose work colleagues probably think have ASD. Actually I'm getting a bit fed up with being asked how many digits of Pi I have memorised as if I'm actually trying to be like Rain Man or at least Daniel Tammet, when I'd so much rather be like Kerry Ellis or Samantha Barks, and I never really cared that much about maths, and while I did spend a lot of my former years painstakingly memorising things like Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, nobody ever asks me about that, but the evolution of programming languages and large scale system architectures are also really cool, and since I gave up the ballet when I was 5 or something, because I was the only boy in a group of 20 girls, and I don't exactly have the physique for it any more, I don't stand that much chance of making it to broadway right now.

Last Edited By: Xora Apr 14 17 6:21 AM. Edited 1 time.

Quote    Reply   

#11 [url]

Apr 14 17 3:08 AM

"The trouble with the cis-females is that they've been brought up with so much indoctrination with a victim mentality that they seem to think they are owed a job in STEM just because they are women and there aren't enough women in STEM, whether they have any talent or not,"

I don't agree with this at all.. I think CIS women don't go into STEM subjects because they are indoctrinated into the idea that the subjects are not 'feminine' enough - not in all cases obviously but in enough to make lack of women in STEM professions a significant pattern... I've noticed very little assumptions among women that they are 'owed' a job in STEM subjects; Quite the opposite in fact. They don't go for the jobs because they think they won't get one.

Quote    Reply   

#12 [url]

Apr 14 17 9:05 AM

I don't think women actually are being discouraged from entering STEM, at least not by the sensible people who already work in STEM, they may be discouraged by their parents, by their peer group as teenagers, or they may just have far better things to do with their life. Just sitting in front of a computer all day every day isn't actually that much fun after the first decade or so.

If I were cis-female I'd be off having babies by now, but since I'm not, I put all the mental and emotional energy I would have invested into making and raising babies into designing software. It's fun some of the time when you are really on a roll, and really frustrating a lot of the time when you feel like you'll never get it exactly right and never be any good, and when it devolves into an exercise of big fix after bug fix or baby-sitting something you wrote a decade ago and feel like you could do much better if you started from scratch but never have the time, it's kind of depressing. If you could do something less intellectually demanding, and probably more financially rewarding, and get to have a private/personal life at the same time you should absolutely go for it, but don't complain that 'there aren't enough women doing x' when 'x' is not necessarily something that you really want to get into. There probably aren't enough women coal miners, deep sea fishers or oil rig workers, because cis-women in general aren't just expected to tough it out like that, and they've really no idea what it's like on our side of the fence, computer programming is a job for nerds/sissy's after all.


When I was 18 I really wanted to go to university to learn how to make robots, I was hardly aiming for MIT though as I already hadn't got straight As all the way down the line, but I went to my second choice of college, and my course load seemed to be way more intense than in most other subjects, like always 4 lectures a day + tricky homework assignments and projects, compared to other people seemingly only expected to go to about 6 a week. I was also really depressed a lot of the time, had basically been going downhill since I was 16, had a load of 'social difficulties', and I still don't feel like I've really made it yet as I haven't actually built any cool robots, though I have ~15 years of experience in software nowadays, while basically never doing anything else through my 20s, but whatever I have actually been successful in, I'm still waiting for 'the big one' to feel like I've really achieved something.

Last Edited By: Xora Apr 14 17 11:44 AM. Edited 1 time.

Quote    Reply   

#13 [url]

Apr 14 17 10:24 AM

I would like to get back to original op for as second, although I find the subsequent discussion very interesting. Just yesterday, a transhpobic twitter account linked an article by Walt Heyer (mentioned in the original op). When thinking of Heyer, I am reminded of something an old friend once said who was a major leader in alcoholics anonymous. He said “an ex anything makes for a really obnoxious person”. He explained that by saying that such people tend to see certain behaviors as rooted in serious character flaws, primarily a lack of discipline. The more religious types will add to that that there are demonic forces at work to bring people to a depraved circumstance. The way out of that is finding that discipline they are lacking, but always realizing that they are controlling primal urges, but are never really cured. And the best way to accomplish that is to constantly spread the message of sobriety to others who are well off the wagon. The demand of the group, for a mutually imposed conformity, is what keeps everybody pointed in the same direction.

I have watched Heyer, and few other Ex trans like him, sell their snake oil for almost 20 years. They constantly play fast and loose with the facts about transition regret, and love to produce de-transition “success” stories that often don’t turn out to be the success they claim. Along the way, they have borrowed heavily from the substance abuse models. The fundamentalist types absolutely eat it all up. Being trans is just a character flaw that can be prayed away, and with a lot of repression (my word) can be permanently brought under control, or so they say.

Quote    Reply   
Add Reply

Quick Reply

bbcode help