Change Your World-NOT your Body

Sunday, March 2, 2014

FTM Regret-The REALity of Transition

Recently a young woman contacted me via this blog:

I immediately wrote her back asking what she needs/what can I do? Her reply:
I tried to stress to her two main points; that those who love/care for her will always love her, and that trying to squeeze herself into something she wasnt in the hope of feeling comfortable was what got her into this situation. She doesnt need to revisit that, she can carry female in ways that are comfortable for her, bugger the Gender Straight Jacket! And that she just might be surprised to find how differently people respond to her when she finds that comfortable spot. And most certainly that she is definitely NOT alone in this. I also asked her age and transition timeline, her reply:
She had suffered multiple mental struggles requiring hospitalization, and the medical community saw fit to remove her breast and put her on testosterone in a four month span straight from hospitalization! Why she developed anorexia wasnt examined, why she was cutting herself wasnt examined, all was ignorantly clinically PRESUMED to suddenly disappear once her living breast were murdered from her body and her body was pumped full of poisonous life shortening life threatening hormones!

We exchanged a few more emails. She said she felt better, a sense of hope and I believe her. She game me permission to use her brief trans-experience with the hope that it might help other young lesbians from traveling down the road that should NEVER be taken. But one thats been traveled so much in recent times it is now paved, scenic with signs everywhere ensuring the deadly destination be reached.

dirt
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32 comments:

  1. Why she developed anorexia wasnt examined, why she was cutting herself wasnt examined,

    It's so sad, and I wish this beautiful young woman all the best. Did anyone ever tell her that women are strong and courageous, and that they can do any thing? Eating disorders and cutting are common in young women, and if we dig deep enough we see emotional scars from abuse and what girls and women often experience.

    No amount of surgery or hormones can heal the heart or soul.

    These are good detransition blogs.

    Crashchoascats

    Atlas Strawberries


    For any young woman to truly accept and cherish her body is a revolutionary act in and of itself.

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  2. This courageous and beautiful young woman is not alone.

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  3. So awful! I don't know if I should cry or scream.

    Two things that stand out - she believed that to be female she had to look a certain way. I think this is part of the problem with modern theories about gender and sex. For earlier generations, we could say of course I am female, I have a vulva or a uterus, etc. We hadn't been told that female is a category imposed on people and you can declare yourself female or male.

    The other thing that really stands out to me is her feeling of guilt and self-blame. She doesn't correct people because she feels stupid. She regrets her decision.

    She was struggling with an eating disorder and some doctor prescribed surgery and hormones for her, yet she thinks it is her fault.

    This is one of the most toxic things about treatment for gender dysphoria in America. If it is utterly wrong for you and makes you miserable, it is your fault, mot the doctor's.

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  4. Her story made me cry, I feel so sorry for her. :(
    I wish I could give her a hug.
    She's definately not alone and things will get better in time.

    This is the reason why this blog exists. Not only to help women like her, but to prevent others to go that road.

    Big

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  5. There is another detransition blog:

    http://twentythreetimes.tumblr.com/

    she lived as man for 3 years and took T for 1 year. Now she wrotes down her thougts and experiences.

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  6. It's outrageous that the medical/psychiatric industry gets away with perpetrating these types of abuses on vulnerable people. What happened to this young woman at the hands of doctors is as severe a human rights abuse as the lobotomies that were performed on schizophrenics and people with depression last century.

    Could detransitioners bring a class action, or even individual suits, for medical malpractice against their doctors? What's preventing these butchers from being held to account?

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  7. @March 3, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    Could detransitioners bring a class action, or even individual suits, for medical malpractice against their doctors? What's preventing these butchers from being held to account?

    Excellent questions. I hope this young woman is reading this. She and others should get together and seek legal advice. If we are wrong about FTM "transitioning", it does resemble female genital mutilation.

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  8. Doctors cover their butts first and foremost. Most doctors require not only a therapists approval for HRT and surgeries, but also require a signature from the person undergoing these "treatments" stating they take full responsibility and want what's happening. If the doctor is solely patient consent, the papers a person signs are just more in depth. Either way they are covered, since the signing of the papers takes responsibility from them and placed on the individual choosing the "treatments."

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  9. Doctors just like to cut, it's their job. They're not shrinks and if a shrink says it's okay, they do their job. The cut on demand, you ask and they fix it. Nothing more, nothing less.

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  10. To the young woman and any other woman out there considering or stuggling about transitioning....

    I'm sorry you went through such a dramatic process and that you went through all those struggles. Eating disorders, I can relate. I attempted suicide at one point. I miraculously survived a lethal and intentional overdose and should have died. I also had a few other issues going on at the same time. I grew up as a tomboy. 'Girliness' was pushed onto me all my life so the fact that I liked to look more boyish always felt wrong. My family was and still is into girls should wear pink and dresses while boys wear blue and do 'boyish things'. Many of them still don't have a clue as to how hurtful that is when it's constantly pressed onto children. Definitely not interested in boys and fell in love with girls so I came out as a lesbian. Found butch and Butch lesbians. It wasn't until later that I found a friend who suggested that transitioning would be a good idea. This discussion came out because I was venting about passing as a man so frequently and the response was that they were envious of me. First of all, I don't try to pass. I am quite obvious a woman. Somehow it got into my head that maybe....just maybe I would do better as a man. I began to play with it. Experienced some male privilege and it was 'fun'. Started researching....started fantasizing about top surgery. I hated my breasts. I still do only because there is so much stigma attached to them from growing up. I have body issues due to incest in my life. Then I came across Dirt's blog. I cried and I read her blog for days on end. I contacted her and felt relieved that she was a real person. Transitioning isn't for me. I no longer pass for fun because it's just not right. I still pass and still befuddled that people can't see that I am a woman. I correct them but it doesn't bother me as much.

    I remember that loneliness I felt...the rush of how transitioning could be the answer to all my problems and the surprising support I immediately got when I shared it with a few close ones. I was on a fast track to a 'new life'. To stop or prevent transitioning all I had to do was step off. That step was hard. So very hard. But I am glad I did. I have one friend who was close at one point. She has transitioned. He...shows no resemblance of his former life. I only know because of his name he changed to. Every once in a while I envy him. Most times I wonder if he tells anyone. I don't like the deceit he poses. When I start to think in the slightest that transition could be for me, I read Dirt's blog. I always walk away feeling glad I haven't done that route.

    Am I proud to be a woman? I don't know. I still have some issues and until I finally work on those issues I can't fully answer that question. I am glad not to go through that mutilization. Surround yourself with people who love you and support you. Ignore the haters.

    I am not yet strong enough to sign off with my name but perhaps someday I will.

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  11. The most important take away I got from this was when Dirt said that she might be surprised how differently people respond to her when she finds that comfortable spot... and I can't back that up enough. I've found that now that I'm strong and unapologetic as who I am (a butch female that "passes" as male more often than not to the untrained eye), people treat me very differently, and especially even differently than they did when I was "transitioning". There's more respect, more understanding, and I think people can tell when you're giving off a vibe that you're totally cool with yourself rather than constantly shifty and uncomfortable. Humans are social animals, and lots of time people will sniff out that you're uncomfortable or being disingenuous and react to you in less than respectful or even hostile ways almost as an act of self preservation.
    Now, of course this isn't to say that I don't ever face discrimination or harassment, it's just to say that my social life is so much easier and more comfortable now that I'm just myself and don't care at all what other people think or how they see me. It has taken years (as I'm sure it may take years for this young woman to recover), but detransition is so completely possible. More than that, happiness is out there, post-transition. You'll find it. Stay strong, stay you, stay tough, and don't let them get to you. Anything you think or feel or want has no bering on your femaleness - in fact those feelings are overtly female due to the fact that they are your feelings. Own them and protect them. So much strength and hope to you.

    Best,
    Zombie

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  12. There are standards of care for a reason. Some people do t follow them and shit like this happens. It shouldn't be so easy for people to get hormones and surgery. I came out as FTM at age 15, didn't start hormones til 20, and at almost 30 have not have any surgeries yet out of financial reasons but I live my life just fine. People who "need" surgery or they will kill themselves have other issues they bed to work on first.

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  13. Hey Kevin, even when standards of care are followed this can happen. I was "socially transitioned" without hormones for 5 years before I decided to start hormones. It still wasn't the right decision for me. Making blanket statements that this only happens when standards of care aren't followed is blatantly misleading and false. I know several other now de-transitioned females who followed standards of care to the letter and were full time also for years before medical transition. Many of these females still feel some levels of dysphoria but we understand it and combat it in different ways now. It happens, and it happens a lot more than people talk about.
    I'd argue that anyone who "needs" anything cosmetically changed about them actually doesn't "need" anything at all rather than some really, really solid talk therapy and hand holding and love and compassion and understanding and time.

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  14. In fact, before my words get misinterpreted, let me be entirely frank. No body modification is a "need." There are plenty of "wants" and I think humans should be allowed to pursue and achieve those "wants" if the desire is true, but cosmetically altering your body is never a "need." A "need" is something that you will quite literally die without. Insulin is a need for diabetics. Clothing of some variety is a need for human beings as we have no real fur to speak of to protect us from the elements. Hormone treatment is only a "need" for those humans that do not produce enough endogenous hormones on their own for their bodies to function properly and to not perish.
    You setting your hormone use apart from those that pursue surgery comes off as very self-serving. They are not one and the same, but both are "wants" and not "needs" in a very specific sense.
    I want to modify my body, and I do, but I recognize that it is a want. I will not perish if I do not work out and build muscular strength and size. I will not perish if I do not poke holes through my body and put ink under my skin. However, these are cosmetic changes I desire (and to some extent, functional especially in the sense of fitness), so I pursue them. I understand that my motivations are desires and cosmetic. I do not fool myself into thinking that I "need" to work out and get big or that I "need" to wear mens clothing.
    I think we would all do well to more closely examine the true differences between our "wants" and our "needs." Too often our culture confuses the two.

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  15. It really just bugs me that people would transition and then turn around later and pretend to be a victim of something other than your own lack of self. It was extremely hard for many of us to lose our friends and family, to know that we will likely never been seen as fully human by everyone. The sense of isolation and shame is complete in some individuals. I support people doing what they will, but dalliance with gender identity followed by transference of blame to someone who was only responding to YOUR pleas? How am I supposed to respect that? How do you have any respect for yourselves as women if everything you do is someone else's fault?

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  16. I'm not blaming anyone. In fact, I wouldn't necessarily even change anything about the path that I've followed to get to where I am. I do feel that our medical professionals should be responsible for more due diligence, but at the end of the day it is the individual that makes their own choices and will reap their own consequences. I did not lack a strong sense of self when I transitioned, nor do I lack a strong sense of self now. That "self" has purposely grown and changed as I have gotten older and more mature.
    Believe you me, I understand this sense of isolation and shame. It is not unique to trans* identified or transitioned/-ing individuals. I do believe that there is a special type of isolation and shame that the gender non-conformating community may have largely in common, but those trans* individuals share it with all non-male defined feminine women (Butch women, if we want to stay more colloquial), as well as their male counterparts.
    What I do wish and hope for is that there would be more conversation regarding alternate options. I wish that when I was 22 I would have had someone to talk to that experienced dysphoria and handled it ANY other way than medical or social transition. That's all I'm doing here. I'm providing an example of alternate ways to deal with the mental and sometimes physical anguish that those of us that experience dysphoria encounter, as well as the social anxiety that can sometimes be heaped upon those that do not conform to the myriad expectations of society at large.
    You've made your choice, and that's your right as a human being to do so. But I gotta tell you, what really gets to me, is people who make choices and then try to pretend that they somehow had no choice, and that their path was out of their hands.

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  17. Well, if you had come to me at 22, I never in a million years would have even suggested transition to you. Its extremely taboo to push trans identity on people in my community, while self-esteem for all queer bodies is strongly supported. It never would have occurred to me that butch women were very different, or any enemy of mine if they hadn't been actively displaying shitty divisiveness towards transpeople. Its clear to me that this comes from fear and pain. Why direct it towards us and why not focus on real love and support for each other. It's almost as if some of you are so steeped in hate that you can't even see how to really turn this around.

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  18. I would like to make this explicitly clear: No one pushed, coerced, forced, or even suggested transition to me. It was a decision made 100% of my volition, as is the right of *every* human being. You are either misunderstanding my narrative or trying to put words in my mouth, but I will choose to believe that you sincerely misunderstand.
    Just because I saw no viable alternative does not mean that someone suggested that I transition or pushed me into it. Also, I have not been divisive. I've proposed an alternative, while recognizing that individual choices are just that, choices, and it is the individual's right to make those choices. I am now a living example of the alternate narrative that I wish I could have been exposed to as a younger person. I live with dysphoria. I deal with it. You deal with your dysphoria in a different way. When I have I said either/or was the best or right way? I've merely said I wish both were posited more often.
    I have no reason to hate trans* people. I do have pain in my life, and I recognize that it's pain that is similar to and possibly derived from the same shame and isolation that I spoke of earlier. You know, the shame and isolation that we share.

    Truly, my motive here is to provide support and strength for this young person as she is figuring out what's going to be best for her in the long run. And yes, part of that is discussing alternative ways of dealing with dysphoria, the same as medical professionals should do. But do you know what? Medical professionals do not generally discuss different ways of dealing with dysphoria. The only narrative I had ever heard up until a few years ago (after I had already detransitioned) was that dysphoria meant that you were trans*, and that there was no alternate option other than social/medical transition if one were to have any sort of happy life. I have now found and am living that alternative happily.

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  19. @Kevin - "There are standards of care for a reason. Some people do t follow them and shit like this happens."

    I would say some doctors and therapists don't follow them.

    The big issue for this young woman wasn't the standards of care, though. It was that a therapist was willing to believe that a clinically depressed person might suddenly realize that they were trans and should then be treated for that. Someone had to sign a letter for the doctor saying that this was a medically necessary procedure.

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  20. @ Anon above - "I support people doing what they will, but dalliance with gender identity followed by transference of blame to someone who was only responding to YOUR pleas?"

    I think we forget how desperate people are. The young woman who wrote to Dirt was already dealing with hating her body and harming herself. She had been hospitalized. She was looking for anything that might help and solve her problems. She read about being trans and thought maybe that was her answer. A therapist agreed with her.

    It's not about dalliance. It's about people who are looking for something that will help them and find really bad medicine instead.

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  21. Dirt, I just wanted to thank you for being here for this young woman.

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  22. @March 3, 2014 at 11:51 PM

    Issue One:

    This assumes that the person was mentally capable of making rational decisions, and the doctor or surgeon had the necessary skill to treat the patient and perform surgery.

    Issue Two:

    Children do not have the mental capacity to make informed decisions. The children who are being chemically sterilized from GnRH agonists and cross gender hormones aren't old enough give informed consent.

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  23. @March 4, 2014 at 9:49 AM

    Thank you...

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  24. @Kevin

    It shouldn't be so easy for people to get hormones and surgery.

    I agree, but no one wants to do anything about it.

    They admit it, but it's still business as usual.

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  25. Im sorry Zombie. I did misunderstand and I respect your position. Presenting alternatives is not hateful in and of itself. I am inherently distrustful of people when it comes to trans issues for good reason. For every one of you who has good intentions, there are 10 with "good intentions" that are just a smokescreen for bitter judgment towards us. I think that self-esteem for all bodies has never been more important. Working on that would go a long way towards solving alot of problems.

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  26. She never should have transitioned in the first place. Real transmen don't say, one day, "maybe I hate my body because I should have been a boy". She obviously has some psychiatric issues and I sincerely hope she's getting help for them. People like her make real transmen look bad. I first verbalized that I was a boy when I was around 3. I have NO regrets about transitioning. I only regret not transitioning sooner. The problem isn't with transpeople- it's with people transitioning that aren't really trans. They hear about being trans, that think it'll solve their problems or think it's cool. There seems to be a competition among young LGBT people to be the most "diverse" or choose the most interesting labels. Being lesbian or bi is "boring"- being a pansexual, genderqueer, FTM sounds much cooler. Also, some people are confused about what being trans actually is. I watched an MTV True Life episode about de-transitioning and the former FTM said she transitioned because she wasn't girly. What a ridiculous reason to transition. If you don't have gender dysphoria, you shouldn't even consider transitioning. If you're not a "girly" woman, you can still be a woman. However, if you never look in a mirror, want to cut off your breasts, avoid having sex just so no one will see you naked, have always thought you were a boy (and not because you like boy things), have been through counseling, and would rather die than live as a woman (or man if you're MTF), then you're probably trans and you won't regret transitioning. Once I transitioned, I stopped being suicidal, I stopped drinking, and I felt comfortable in my body for the first time in my life. It's still hard at times but it's so much better than it used to be.

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  27. The problem is with therapists who tell people that they are trans and should transition.

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  28. @anon March 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    I believe you, your post makes sence to me. Real gender dysphora is rare and for a small group transition is the right choice.
    I also worry aobut the kids who transition just because it's interesing and cool. The so called transtrenders. That's why I'm on this blog, to help Dirt warning people.

    Zombie,
    Your story is very clear and you know how to tell it. Your words are needed and I'm glad you share them with us.

    Big

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  29. @Anon March 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM

    I understand what you are saying and I respect it. I do, however, respectfully disagree that it is a foregone conclusion that people with dysphoria who "never look in a mirror, want to cut off your breasts, avoid having sex just so no one will see you naked, have always thought you were a boy, (etc) ... you're probably trans and you won't regret transitioning."
    Possibly, however, it is because our notions of what "trans" is differ. I do not think that "trans" is something that is inherent to a person's being. I believe that experiencing dysphoria is sometimes inherent to a person's being, and that this dysphoria can either be interpreted and labeled as "trans" or it can be interpreted and labeled as extreme discomfort with your body, alienation from your sexual characteristics, and usually is combined with a social dysphoria of just feeling like you either do not fit in with your own sex or that you actively fit in better with the opposite sex (otherwise known as the lived experience of many Butch women and our male equivalents). True, the second definition becomes more verbose but, in my opinion, gets much more directly to the heart of the matter. I think using "trans" to describe these feelings, at least in this discussion space, really functions to silence the lived experiences of people who feel dysphoria to the same extent and in the same manner as those who identify as trans* but do not identify as trans* themselves.
    I do not think it is fair or correct for anyone to come down and say "this experience is what trans is, and anything else is 'transtrending'." Transitioning is an active choice that any individual can make, and usually is proceeded with intense dysphoria. However, dysphoria does not equal trans and transitioning does not necessitate dysphoria. To equate the two in this way is far too common.
    I could say as a counterpoint to your comfort in transitioning that I was extremely comfortable with myself transitioning as well. However, the years went on and I grew and changed and my viewpoints began growing and changing as well, until eventually I leveled with myself and started trying to work on the root cause of my dysphoria rather than doing what I felt was "covering it up" by transitioning. I also want to be explicit at this juncture to say that just because I felt like transitioning was "covering up" my symptoms rather than dealing with the root cause does not mean that I'm saying all transitioned/-ing people are "covering up," but that it is my personal experience. I still feel dysphoria, still feel what I can only describe as a "phantom penis" every day of my life, but I can say for myself right now that I know in every biological and factual sense of the word that I am female, and biology and facts are really all that matter for me, in my own life, and my own pursuit of my own truth.

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  30. @Big
    Thank you for your kind words as well. I am always happy to read your comments on this blog. Best wishes, I hope that you have a good end of your week and weekend.

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  31. @Anon March 5, 2014 at 7:32 PM
    I feel that I should also quickly interject that my first feelings of "being a boy" were around four years of age, when I just assumed I would grow up to be a man and that eventually my penis would grow in. My alienation and dysphoria have not been a flash in the pan, but rather something that I have dealt with my entire life in different ways. One thing that struck me very much while I was transitioning was something that my father said to me, and he asked me what I would have done with these feelings if we were a hundred or two years in the past and the medical advancements and technology that we have available today were not yet discovered or refined. I find it very useful and reassuring sometimes to remind myself that there have been many, many females who have walked this path before me, and who have dealt with the emotional and psychological difficulty and disconnect likely in the same manner that I am right now. True, I even have more freedoms than the women who walked before me because I can be unabashedly myself without as much fear of social or legal repercussions, which makes dealing with the inner turmoil slightly easier. These things still exist, of course, but they are nowhere near the hurdles that they were for our foremothers.

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  32. Preference versus reality oftentimes is masked by confusion and societal pressures. Family are accepting in the case of those of us blessed to have strong relationships within these family spheres.

    Self exploration is key and understanding ourselves makes things so much clearer. Bias also comes from our individual selves as much as it does from society.

    Choice remains that of the individual concerned and regret unfortunately is something in this case is heartfelt. I commend an individual with the courage to know in their hearts they have discovered themselves. Naked in a way, seeing themselves for who they are. Irrespective of sex or gender identity. Turning back the hands of time is not an easy feat but to the one seeking advice and direction, trust in yourself and believe. Speak to someone, grab hold of all things positive, and take one step at a time. Life is to be lived, find your path and live it. My words may be a little too late but need to be said nonetheless. Each person for themselves in their respected and privileged lives. Everyone is privileged as each of us have the power to chose and yes we fail at times, and we stand again, heads held high and try again. So please do try again. Privilege offers us independence and freedom. Find yourself.

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