Responding to criticism

Been receiving some criticism recently which is good. I’m glad to encourage discussion. I think this is something that is badly needed around trans issues. There is a troubling strain of thought that if one disagrees with the views of the trans community, one is transphobic. It is possible to disagree with someone and not be motivated by hate or malice. Indeed, my primary motivation in writing this blog is to help people with gender dysphoria. I feel that through my journey I have gained a map which might be helpful to others, so I present it for those who might find it useful.

A few people have said that they think I believe that because detransition is right for me, it is right for everyone. That is not true, I don’t believe my experiences are universal, neither do I believe they are unique. If you find my map to be valuable than that is great, if you find it partially useful use the parts you like, if you don’t find it useful than don’t use it. My map does not invalidate any of the existing ways through the difficult territory of gender dysphoria, I will repeat again that I support those that transition. I do apologize if I have been strident at times, sometimes I feel angry over some of what has happened, I am human and that comes through.

I do get frustrated when my positions are misrepresented, here is an example by Zinnia Jones. I attempt to further clarify in response to Zinnia what I am saying here.

The importance of doubt

I was banned from Reddit’s /r/asktransgender sub after making the following comment in response to a thread asking about regret:

“I ultimately found that transition didn’t actually cure dysphoria (except for temporarily) and just caused a bunch of other issues. I eventually transitioned back after 20 years. I still regret all of the lost time and what I did to my body, as I eventually learned I could have lived with a male body after all.”

Yes, that is right I was banned after stating that I regretted and had detransitioned in a thread about regrets! I do understand these issues can be sensitive and delicate and potentially triggering, but I surely thought it was okay to talk about regret in response to someone asking about regret!

I sent a note to the moderator and asked why I had been banned and received the following response:

“TERFs and folks from the detransitioning subreddit keep making throwaway accounts to come here and cause trouble. Trying to deride people and spread doubt about who they are and what they’re doing with their own lives.

Unfortunately, you fit that description to a T. To the point where I probably ought to message admin and see if we’ve banned you for these sorts of shenanigans before.”

I have no doubt there are people who do troll and try to disrupt the forum, this topic attracts a lot of vitriol. I also oppose deriding others, and have never derided anyone on this blog or on reddit. And I can understand the job of moderating this has to be a tough and thankless one. However, what I find troubling is the idea that people should not doubt. Hell yes, when making as big a decision as transitioning one should doubt! It makes me wonder what other voices are being silenced, and if there are people who never leave the bubble and seek multiple perspectives.

I will reiterate that I am not opposed to transition or hormones or other interventions. Each person must make that choice for themselves. It is clear that there are many people that have undergone these interventions and feel positively about them. What I am opposed to is the idea that it is the only way. There are plenty of people who have dysphoria and don’t transition, there are plenty of people who transition and still have dysphoria.

The idea that one shouldn’t doubt is a dangerous one and I worry when questioning, vulnerable people who pose questions are only presented with voices encouraging of transition, and other voices are silenced. The point of questioning is to question.

And please, if you are reading this do criticize my ideas. I’m sure there are things I am not right about. I have my own experience, plus my observations, plus I am well read on matters of psychology and the research, but I know my experience is not a universal one. One of the reasons I am writing this is to sort out what is more unique to me and what other people resonate with. Also, if you are reading this do read multiple perspectives on this issue, people that are happy with transition, long-term transitioners, short-term transitioners, cross dreamers and even folk that are gender critical all have something to contribute.

Why I am writing this blog

My last post made me realize I did something I want to avoid, which is to get into the ongoing fight between radical feminists and trans activists. That is not really my goal for the blog. In fact one of the reasons I do this is so that there is someone other than radical feminists or religious conservatives talking about some alternative ideas around this issue!

I am no radical feminist, I am unabashedly pro-male for one thing (and pro-female too!) One of the things I had to get over in my retransitioning was a distorted view of men as being evil. Being around several kind, compassionate, and gentle men helped with that. I do however, agree with the radical feminists, that people should be free from a mandatory class system around gender. Retransitioning is certainly not about becoming a stereotypical man! I work in a female-dominated field in psychology, I like to cook and even bake, I do a lot of dance, and my favorite color is purple. I don’t have to be a woman to do any of those things! I just no longer have to use my voice in affected ways, or wear clothes that aren’t built for my body, or move in unnatural ways, or suffer poor health effects from hormones that don’t belong in my body.

When I was contemplating retransitioning, I had people assume my current state of thinking on my gender based on what clothes I was wearing. This was nutty, as if I was feeling more male because I was wearing black or more female because I was wearing purple!

Neither am I a religious conservative. I have no moral or ethical issues with transitioning. I just think it frequently does more harm than good, and is not the only response to gender/sex dysphoria. I see transitioning as the most drastic possible response to dysphoria, and therefore not the one that should be attempted first. It is a general principle of medicine that we try the least invasive treatments first. Full gender transition is the equivalent of high-powered chemo for this issue. Still it can be right for some, also the alternatives aren’t completely documented and known. I am hoping to help with this issue.

I have a few different goals for the blog. One is to tell my story to get it out there. Another is to share the map I have gained as a result of my journey back home in the hope it is helpful to others. A third is to give and receive support particularly to retransitioners and people that are contemplating retransition. This can be an even lonelier journey than the first one! Also, I hope to help those that are contemplating transition to have an alternate perspective. I think there might be a surge of retansitioners (and it may be already starting) as the ramifications of the surge of transitioning in the last five years start coming to the surface.

I also hope to work with the psychological community as I feel like my experience exposed some holes in the idea of gender identity. I thought I had to transition because I had an immutable gender identity and this turned out to be untrue, having that idea in my head made it a lot harder to get out of it. I see a lot of people blindly encouraging and supporting transition both in the queer community and the therapeutic community and I don’t think this is good. I feel that my transition did tremendous harm to my life, and there is definitely a part of me that is angry about it.

So I’m trying to write to a lot of different audiences at once, but I want the blog to be more for general audiences. I’m also contemplating writing a book, or an academic paper or doing some research on this topic. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that yet.

Are there any suggestions of what you might like to see more/less of?