Detransitioner Testimonies

Young people who previously identified as transgender or nonbinary but then “de-transition” (reclaim their sexual identities), often after undergoing medical or surgical transitions, are becoming increasingly visible. It is hard to obtain accurate numbers on how many previously transgender-identified persons have de-transitioned or regret their transitions. Because gender clinics assist a person’s transition, but generally are not set up to facilitate de-transitions, they are poor sources for information about the number of de-transitioners. The few studies that report low rates of regret over time are of limited use, as they typically report sizeable numbers of patients who are “lost” to follow-up over time (which means that clinicians were unable to contact them and have no data on their long-term results) or their sample populations are unlike today’s adolescent transgender population.  

The testimony of de-transitioners sheds some light on the impact of gender ideology on vulnerable young people. Some young de-transitioners have begun to advocate against gender-affirming approaches, urging better mental health treatment and individualized support instead. Other de-transitioners speak out about the vulnerability of young people, particularly adolescent girls and people on the autism spectrum, to peer pressure—especially on social mediathat encourages them to transition. Adolescents or troubled young people may be taken in by false promises that “coming out” as transgender and transitioning will solve their depression, anxiety, unhappiness, and isolation. De-transitioners offer compelling testimony about the lopsided messaging they heard from gender-affirming networks, including gender therapists, gender clinicsschool personnel, and transgender social media communities. These “affirming” networks almost invariably downplayed the risks and permanent impact of transitioning and dismissed the possibility that the young person’s depression, social discomfort, or body issues might be caused by unresolved trauma, mental health issues, or family dysfunction rather than “stigma” or “transphobia.” Too often, these “affirming” networks drove a wedge between the young person and their families, unjustly labeling anyone (including parents) as “transphobic” if they questioned a teen’s desire to transition. 

In fact, de-transitioners have expressed their disappointment that parents, physicians and counselors quickly validated their new identities and facilitated their transitions and related medical interventions. They ask, after the fact, why no one tried to stop them and why no one asked why they were rejecting their natural sexual identity or their body. Keira Bell, for example, is a 23-year-old woman who is suing the Tavistock gender clinic in London for not adequately investigating the underlying causes of her dysphoria when she sought a “gender transition” at age 16.  “I should have been challenged on the proposals or the claims that I was making for myself,” she lamented. Instead, clinicians put her on puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones, and at age 20 she had a mastectomy to remove her healthy breasts.1 

What can we learn from detransitioners?

Unfortunately, parents often feel tremendous pressure from counselors and trans advocates to embrace the child’s new identity by accepting the chosen name and identity. Some parents worry that refusing to go along with the chosen name and intended transition might be viewed as unsupportive or abusive or might cause their child to run away or commit suicide.  (See “What about the risk of suicide?” FAQ). Parents and others who want to understand the regrets and experiences of de-transitioners can find information through the resources below.

1. Allison Holt, “NHS gender clinic ‘should have challenged me more’ over transition,” BBC News, 1 March 2020.

Medical Concerns for Detransitioners

Dr. Laidlaw, an Endocrinologist specializing in gland and hormone disorders, covers specific medical concerns faced by detransitioners. This is very helpful information for those who are currently detransitioning or considering detransition.