Let’s talk about it…
No person who ever transitions does it with a light heart. Though in saying that Transgender youth can have a slightly lighter one than those who transition later in life/adulthood.
Many sources that are filled with hate like to use those of the Transgender community as poster children to say “Look at this!”. Ignoring the truth behind the full journey. So I would like to talk about De-Transitioning and do it with a true story. I do not wish to make light of the serious nature of this topic.
This story is about me and facing this very same question at times. I am not the only Transgender person who faces this dilemma.
You see at one point I thought I had it all. I even had rose-colored glasses on only seeing the positive in my life. While meanwhile, everything, in reality, was nothing but an absolute mess. I existed in a space where I fought with myself and dealt with the great depression inside. A lot of that depression was caused by another person and their actions. But I was blinded always thinking it was me.
Life can be a bit of an unpredictable journey. Sometimes choices are made that lead to other ones. Resulting in a destination that we may never planned for. I was in a relationship that was very ill, more than I could have ever planned. But in saying that it was not all bad. I loved that person with all my heart even though that person was an agent of destruction. They might not have even loved me as much as I loved them. But that does not change that there were some amazing parts on that journey with that person.
Relationships can be very tricky in any person’s life. That journey can be brought to a very rough patch when it is ending. This does not change if you are Transgender or CIS. The difference is that when my last relationship ended I chose myself over everything and everyone. Living with the chaos of trying to navigate Cis life when you are Transgender is beyond hard in life. When I decided to transition while it may have been very selfish it was all about ending the chaos that I was dealing with.
The cost that many people might not understand is the loss of so many different areas of a person’s life. I lost 95% of my Family and Friends. That is a cost that people are not always prepaid for or even able to handle when it happens. De-Transition then enters your mind because some of those that you lost are important. So you begin to think “What if”. I even think this during dreams and hard times. “What if” I returned to what everyone thinks I should be. This is also part of what they don’t understand that “Going back” is a slow death (at least for me). But, the overwhelming desire to return to a social life that you once knew. Where it was free from the hate that faces the transgender community. But, what you are missing is that you return to the inward hate for yourself.
To be honest, I would give anything to feel loved by a consenting adult as well as being able to love that person. But, returning to what once was could never happen, that was just too toxic. Even though there is always a special place in my heart for that person. I have wonderful memories with that person and it weighs the same as the lost friends. So when we look at De-Transition this sense of loss is very real. It can even invade dreams as the desire and memories of the past can play a large part in them. I need to say that Transition also takes place in your sense of self. Which can play havoc on finding someone that you are compatible with.
With the loss of social contacts, this can be a bit daunting to make new ones. This also can be a big draw for De-Transitioning as your mental health remains more stable with reliable social networks. There is also an issue called passing if a person does not “look” (i.e. passing) like the gender that they identify with. It can be harder for that person to find those new social networks.
Next, we need to talk about safety. It is easier to understand than one might think. Let’s look at Transwomen who right now are being targeted by politicians around the world. This type of pressure places the De-transition at a very favorable option if other pressures are present. But there is a new pressure that comes with the de-transition that is not looked at by most. It is even ignored by those who use a person that de-transitions as a poster child. That is the person who does de-transitions will be the focal point of statements such as “I knew it wasn’t real” or “See it was a mental health disorder, I hope you are getting help”. Which acts as an anchor dragging a person down. It can even lead to suicidal thoughts as the person might not feel like there is any hope for them.
We also need to look at employment-based issues. When I started my medical transition my employer at the time did not like the idea and when I needed time away due to my relationship ending the way it did. When I was ready to return I was not welcomed back. This is not the same as being fired nor was it the same as quitting. There was just a way for them not to give me hours or even when I re-applied heard nothing from them. Is it hard to find employment, oh my is it ever? What also happens is that this lack of true full-time and skilled employment can be very difficult and causes stress. Sometimes depending on where you are in the world this also can be life threatening.
I am lucky to say that for me I am happy with my life and without the chaos that comes with hiding. I have a wonderful social network and close friends. I do not want to make light of this issue, in fact, it is very serious. If you know of someone struggling help them by supporting them in their life. Support comes with more than words, it comes with real actions.