Transition regret is not transphobic
I can't believe I had to write that.
About a week ago, a trans influencer tweeted something about detransition. This morning, it found its way to many of the detrans women that I follow, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
The tweet claimed that detransition would only be considered a ‘bad’ outcome if you consider “trans bodies” to be “less than” “cis bodies.” Women with deep voices and extra hair should be normalized, therefore feeling regret over your transition says something negative about trans women.
In other words, it was not-so-subtly framing transition regret as transphobic.
I was stunned. I still am.
Instead of considering all of the complex reasons that a person might have negative feelings about their transition, the entire experience of regret was flattened into a superficial worry about aesthetics.
The next tweet essentially suggested spending more money to fix whatever problem a detransitioner might have. Regret your mastectomy? Get reconstructive surgery. Don’t like your voice? Take vocal training. (Isn’t it a known fact that the trans population is low-income in the first place? That’s why there are so many top surgery fundraisers, right? Personally, I’m on disability. I’m not swimming in cash.)
This kind of attitude towards medical trauma is shockingly flippant. But for ideologues, it has to be. Seeing irreversible hormones and surgeries as anything but life-saving might cause one to encounter some serious cognitive dissonance. (I know, because I went through it myself.)
I have this person blocked on Twitter now. (I am very liberal with blocking on Twitter; the chances of persuading someone to agree with me in 280 characters are slim-to-none, and I also don’t want to be targeted by people’s followers… so I just save my mental energy.)
As such, I don’t think they’re ever going to see this, and I don’t particularly care. But I have some rhetorical questions.
I had a partial hysterectomy as part of my transition. Is the solution to my inability to get pregnant to just go out and get a uterus transplant? Any idea how much those cost? Any idea how few of them have ever been performed? Any idea how many of those very few transplants have ever resulted in successful pregnancies?
Because I’ve done the research, and I know the answers to all of those. It’s not comforting.
If I hadn’t had the hysterectomy, would I not be allowed to mourn the fact that I could never breastfeed my children because I had my healthy breasts surgically removed? Is it transphobic for me to be upset about the fact that I no longer have something I once had?
I currently cry pretty much every time I see a parent interacting with their child — because I am reminded of how difficult it will be for me to become a parent, if ever. Is that also transphobic? Do I think “trans bodies” are “less than” because I’m in mourning about my own infertility?
I actually still have ovaries, so I do have biological options. But do you know how much money egg extraction and IVF cost? Do you know how much it costs to reimburse an altruistic surrogate mother where I live? Do you know about my hesitance to go that route because of the moral stigma in choosing surrogacy? Do you realize I’m going to have to go thousands of dollars into debt in order to even try to have a child?
And my friend had an orchiectomy. He can never have biological children. He also has to take hormones for the rest of his life — an outcome that could have been entirely avoided with proper mental health care instead of irreversible surgery. What’s your quick fix for him?
Is being angry at the people who enabled these decisions transphobic as well? Professionals whose literal duty is to “do no harm” have put me (and others) through medical trauma. I think a lot of them might have meant well, but nothing will change the fact that I will never have the same body that I once had.
How in the hell does someone see people experiencing personal surgical regret and conclude ‘detransitioners just think trans bodies are gross’? How does a tweet so completely tone-deaf get thousands of likes?
I can’t talk about how I ended up identifying as trans in the first place without someone calling me a TERF for saying that I was influenced. (But I was influenced, and I’m sorry that disrupts your own narrative of hormones and surgery being “life-saving.”)
I can’t get justice for the medical trauma that was done to me because there’s no legal precedent and no baseline agreed-upon standard of care. (But I still believe I am a survivor of medical malpractice, and I’m sorry if trying to prevent outcomes like mine sounds “selfish.”)
Now I can’t even express regret that I no longer look like the woman that I used to be without trans activists somehow managing to make it about themselves.
Take a break from victimhood for five seconds and learn some freaking empathy.