Lately, there has been a number of ‘transition regret’ stories in both Australian and international media.
On Sunday, Sky News Australia’s/ Win’s Outsiders had Walter Heyer on, a man who claimed identified as trans, but then wanted to transition back to male. The hosts of Outsiders and Andrew Bolt have really lapped up Heyer’s story and others like it.
Other media outlets, including Christian Concern, Daily Telegraph and USA Today have all published stories on people who apparently regret their transition and have worked to get their original sex back.
Is this the new ‘ex – gay’ movement
Are there some people who originally identify as trans, then realise they’re actually cis – gender? Maybe.
Let me clear, if someone originally identifies as trans and then realise they’re not, then that’s fine.
However, what I’m hearing and reading does concern me. I fear that the de -transitioning movement that will force trans/ gender non – conforming people to be something they’re not.
I can hear elements of ‘conversion therapy‘ language in these ‘testimonies’. Using early childhood (usually sexual) trauma as the reason for a person’s identity was very common at the height of the ex – gay movement.
Deliberate misuse of terms and using, frankly, unlikely stories have been used in the ex – gay and de – transitioning movements. For example, gender dysphoria (which is what many transgender people go through) and disassociate identity disorder (DID) have been conflated.
One unlikely story I’ve heard is a de – transitioned’ man who ‘felt’ he was a trans – woman after his wife died. He ‘felt’ that way in order to be closer to her. While some may realise they’re trans or gender non conforming later in life, I think that’ll be the exception, rather than the rule.
According to Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital, children begin expressing their gender between two and three. Even transgender people that I’ve heard about who have transitioned much older realised their gender identity as children, not after becoming widowed.
Even if some of these stories about de – transitioning do turn out to be true, I don’t want these stories to be used to give false hope to young people who are questioning their gender or do know they are trans. I don’t want them to be left feeling they should change how they feel, then fail and feel hopeless.. As seen in conversion therapy, this cycle only exacerbates the high suicide rates of LGBTQ+ people.
What the media needs to do
I believe the media has a major responsibility in this. Misreporting and fear mongering about transgender/ gender non – conforming people needs to stop.
De – transition stories need to be told with caution. They should not be used to pressure transpeople to be someone they know they’re not. I’m not exaggerating when I say lives are at stake.
LGBTQ+ people do not need more discrimination. They don’t need more misrepresentation. And they certainly don’t need to be told that who they are is wrong and needs to change. Too many lives have been destroyed.
What do you think about the wave of ‘transition regret’ stories in the media? Helpful or harmful? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.