At the center of the transgenderism fight is the debate about how best to help those who suffer from gender dysphoria or guide those merely caught up in the craze, especially children. The loudest narrative from the left says acceptance equals kindness, but new research on so-called “detransition” reveals that the conservative stance against social playacting and medical intervention is actually the compassionate one.
In debates about trans treatment, the left invariably plays the “suicide” and “discrimination” cards. When pushing for surgical and chemical castration (commonly called “gender transition” or “gender-reassignment surgery”) or capitulation to false pronouns, leftists typically claim that if doctors, parents, teachers, and strangers don’t let Nick change to Nicole, he will kill himself. On the other hand, if Nicole “detransitions” back to Nick, they explain it away by claiming the causes are transphobia and discrimination.
A new study authored by Lisa Littman shows this just isn’t accurate. She researched 100 people who said they had experienced gender dysphoria, underwent social changes or medical interventions to “transition,” and then subsequently “detransitioned” back to their real sex.
Although reasons for detransition varied, only 23 percent reported it was because they had experienced discrimination. Nearly half (49 percent) reported fears about complications from medical interventions as a reason, with 38 percent realizing their so-called dysphoria was actually the result of a particular trauma, abuse, or other mental health issues. Forty-two percent said the transition didn’t improve their mental health, with 36 percent saying it actually made their mental health worse.
A whopping 60 percent, however, detransitioned because they realized they were actually more comfortable living in their “natal sex.” In other words, the majority of detransitioners recognized that denying biological realities didn’t make them more content.
These findings are consistent with anecdotal evidence from detransitioners. Walt Heyer — a man who identified as a woman for eight years — now runs the website SexChangeRegret.com, where he interacts with thousands of people, young and old, who regret having attempted to alter their biology.
“I do not know of one single case someone detransitioned because of bullying or discrimination,” Heyer told The Federalist. In the past seven years, he’s compiled more than 10,000 emails regarding detransition and had more than 2 million visitors to his site. “The vast majority of people detransitioned because they realized the surgery never accomplished making them a woman and they just wanted ‘their old life back.'”
The sad truth is that so-called transition and those who peddle it as a solution can’t deliver on their promises. According to the study, 71 percent of respondents reported that prior to transition, they “thought transitioning was my only option to feel better,” and 65 percent said they “thought transitioning would eliminate my gender dysphoria.” They later detransitioned when these beliefs were exposed as lies.
There’s a reason these trans-affirming therapies such as hormones, puberty blockers, surgeries, and fake pronouns don’t work. As Dr. Paul McHugh, the university distinguished service professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says, the notion that a person can change his or her sex is “starkly, nakedly false.” He continues:
Transgendered men do not become women, nor do transgendered women become men. All (including Bruce Jenner) become feminized men or masculinized women, counterfeits or impersonators of the sex with which they ‘identify.’ In that lies their problematic future.
Leftists who say acceptance is compassionate ignore these realities. And when they claim that not allowing people to gender-bend leads to suicide, they show their ambivalence toward the many lives lost because of transition or other unaddressed mental health issues. Research shows 10 to 15 years after surgically altering their bodies to look like the opposite sex, transitioners’ suicide rate is 20 times higher than that of their comparable peers.
Given the causes of detransition — paired with other staggering revelations about the transgender craze, such as how it’s harming females and children, with even gender specialists blowing the whistle on the dangers and unknowns of these experimental therapies — it’s becoming clearer that the compassionate case actually belongs to those who affirm biological reality. But that means we have a responsibility to make that case, and how we do it matters.
Heyer said the most effective way to help people, particularly youths, is by asking good questions. Rather than barking that they’ve got their facts wrong, he suggests getting them to open up with thought-provoking queries: Why do you want to erase that part of who you are? What caused you not to like who you are? Was it because of another person or people? Did something pique your interest on the internet, in the classroom, or in your friend group that made you think your life would be better if you “switched genders”?
“Everyone has a story we need to hear, and listening is the best way to help people,” Heyer said.
There’s another thing this detransition data shows us. As conservatives go into fight mode against relentless trans ideologues in their kids’ classroom, the clinic, the statehouse, or other arenas — the correct posture when truth is at stake — they must resist the urge to fight victims. That’s exactly what many of these detransitioners and others swept up in transgender falsehoods are.
The science agrees: Conservatives against transgender transition have the compassionate case. Let’s not lose it in the delivery.