I originally wrote this for my old tumblr blog some time during the summer of 2020. I ended up deleting my tumblr and my other online media related to detransition a few months later.
Detransitioning didn’t work out for me. About five years after detransitioning, I started wondering if it had really been worth it. I felt disappointment and regret. I went through a lot of hardship to detransition and live as a woman and it just didn’t seem worth the trouble anymore. Along with that, my sense of self started shifting and I started feeling more like a trans person again. I resisted this at first and tried to work through these feelings and re-establish an exclusively female sense of self but doing that felt wrong. It felt like I was going against myself. Accepting these feelings, accepting that I was trans made me feel more whole and at peace with myself.
Detransitioning seemed to work for a while but ultimately it didn’t give me what I was looking for. Disidentifying from being trans didn’t help me heal from past trauma. Processing how other people had hurt me in the past for being a dyke and a genderfreak was helpful but casting aside the trans parts of myself was not. But I thought I had to do that to heal and claim a dyke identity. I didn’t. I can be a dyke and still be trans. I rejected being trans because I hated myself, I hated that part of myself. I wasn’t overcoming a dysfunctional coping mechanism, I was denying a part of myself. Treating being trans as a delusion or false consciousness made me more dissociated, not less. Not surprisingly, I suffered from boughts of extreme depression during that time, feeling horrible about my transition and time spent living as a trans person.
Now I feel like I wasted a lot of time and energy. I cannot be whole or heal if I deny or reject any part of myself, including being trans. That aspect of myself receded to the background for several years but eventually it returned and when it did I could not ignore or deny it. I couldn’t get rid of those feelings.
I tried. I tried to get rid of them and it didn’t work. Trying to get rid of those feelings was like bending a part of my body the wrong way and feeling like I was doing damage to myself and that I should stop doing that. It felt contrived. It felt like I was trying to practice some kind of conversion therapy on myself, trying to get my reality to fit inside an idea of what should be, not what is.
This time of my life was terrifying and upsetting. I thought my sense of self had settled and that I was going to feel and live as a lesbian/woman for the rest of my life. My sense of gender had changed around a lot in the past but I thought I was done with that. I wasn’t expecting it to change again but then it did.
I didn’t know what to do. A decent chunk of my life revolved around being a public detrans woman, trying to increase visibility and understanding by writing and making videos of my experiences and doing what I could to advocate on the behalf of detrans and re-identified women. I’d given multiple interviews with the media about my experiences, including being the subject of a long form profile. I helped create the detrans women’s community with other women I’d met online. And now I found myself feeling like “detrans woman” no longer felt right, no longer fit my reality and feeling more and more like a trans person again.
I also knew that many in the detrans women’s community see trans identity as false and unhealthy and see transitioning as inherently harmful. I’ve heard a detrans woman compare people who come out as trans again after detransitioning to alcoholics returning to drinking after a period of sobriety. As if being trans is a kind of addiction. I was close to this woman for years. It’s hard to think of people in the detrans women’s community thinking of me like that. Self-harming, mentally ill, delusional, dissociated, suffering from false consciousness.
I tried holding onto to being a detrans woman long after I stopped feeling like one. I resisted being trans for a few years after my sense of gender started shifting because I was afraid it would turn my life upside down, that people would think I was nuts and that the community I helped create would reject me. For a good long stretch of time, I called my feelings of being trans “dysphoria” and treated them like a problem to be overcome, something to work through so I could go back to feeling like a woman again. But that didn’t work and gradually I came to accept these feelings and accept myself as a trans person.
I no longer consider myself detrans but I do still consider myself a butch woman/dyke. I’m also transmasculine, a female man and a passing woman. I’ve felt like both some kind of dyke and some kind of trans for a good chunk of my life but it’s taken me a long time to really know that I can be both. It’s been quite a process to get to where I am now. I transitioned and found that passing as a cis man felt off. Living as a genderqueer transmasculine person in the queer scene was better but still not quite right. Detransitioning and living as a butch dyke worked for a while but eventually I started feeling trans again. I tried to get rid of those feelings but that didn’t work and eventually I decided to reclaim being trans just like I had reclaimed being a woman.
Just as many definitions and ideas of what it means to be a woman clash with my own reality, so do many definitions and understanding of what it means to be trans. I’ve realized that I don’t need to accept definitions and ideas of what it means to be trans that confine or harm me, whether they come from the dominant culture or the trans community, just like I don’t have to accept sexist definitions of what it means to be a woman. I can create my own understanding of what it means to be trans based on my own experience, my own perceptions and observations.
Being trans isn’t about believing in any particular theory about how sex and gender works, it’s not about being a member of a particular subculture, using certain words, having particular politics. For me, it’s about lived experience, about navigating the world as a genderweirdo with a history of medical transition. It’s about struggling with gender dysphoria and experiencing myself as a female man. It’s about feeling like both a woman and a man and different from women and men at the same time.
I feel more whole and integrated thinking myself as a both transmasculine person and a butch dyke than I did just thinking of myself as a woman. I feel more connected with different parts of my past. I feel more at peace with myself.
At the moment, I don’t feel particularly good about the time I spent detransitioning. I was suffering and trying out something that I thought would help. I feel a huge sense of loss. I do regret detransitioning. I don’t regret coming out as a dyke. I was a person trying to figure out what I was. I regret falling for transphobic ideas. I regret that so much. I regret turning against myself and other trans people.
I have wounds and scars from living in a violent patriarchal society that hates women, gay and trans people. I’ve absorbed that hatred into my psyche. I’ve hated myself for being a dyke and I’ve hated myself for being trans and I’ve hated myself for being both. Overcoming that hatred has been a long hard process, one I’m still working through.
I’m not sure how much I want to post about how I got to where I am now and how I currently view my time spent detransitioning. People used my experiences as a detrans woman in ways that traumatized and harmed me and other people and now I’m wary about writing about my life online. I felt the need to come out again publically because I disliked the mismatch between my past online writing and my current reality. I felt stuck and I also knew I was keeping quiet because I was afraid of how people would react if I came out again as trans. I don’t want to be held back by fear. I feel like I need to do this to move on in my life and leave my detransition behind. I need to be able to move beyond that part of my life and part of that is being honest about how I’ve changed and where I’m at now.
So here I am, seven years after I started my blog to talk about detransitioning, coming out again as a trans person. I spent a lot of time as a detrans woman talking about how one can never know for sure the outcome of one’s transition, if it will work out as one thought it would, how one will see one’s self in the future. Turns out the same holds true for detransitioning. Detransitioning is not going to work out for everyoe who does it and not everyone who disidentifies from being trans is going to do so permenantly. So it goes.
If anything, this whole experience helps me to realize and accept how uncertain life is and how much things can change over time. I don’t know where I’m going to be or how I’m going to think or feel in the future. There’s no way I can know. I can’t say that this never makes me anxious or afraid but I believe I can learn how to handle living in a chaotic, ever-changing world. I can learn how to grow from all that I’ve lived through. Detransitioning may have not given me what I wanted but I can still learn a lot from that time in my life and I intend to. Sometimes I get depressed about detransitioning but that suffering is not going to last forever. I know I can work through it and writing this post is part of that.
This is where I am at the moment. Accepting that detransitioning didn’t work and processing my time as a detrans woman. Reclaiming trans and accepting that part of myself. Still working on past trauma, still learning how to be whole and live in the present.
It feels odd to talk about my changing sense of gender when there’s so much else going on in the world that’s so catastrophic. Especially after keeping quiet for so long. Why does it seem so urgent to do so now? Because this world is uncertain and I’m thinking about how I don’t know what’s going to happen, how much time I’ll have left. And I want to accomplish as much as I can however long that ends up being. I want to heal from past wounds, I want to be as whole and true to myself as I can be. And coming out and being open about detransitioning not working for me helps me move on from that time and be more in the present. As painful as that part of my life seems now, it’s the past, it’s thoughts, memories and feelings in my head. It’s psychological stuff to work through.
And I will work through it. Already, after writing this I feel freer. The future is uncertain and scary but all the same, I feel at peace with myself and excited to see how my life will unfold.