Translate this blog.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Prequel: Gathering information for an article I am writing on Transsexual Regretters

This discussion will tie into something I've recently taken an interest in and am writing an article about; transsexual regretters. What role, if any, does the  informed consent model contribute to the rate of transsexual regretters? I am looking at statistical outcomes for my article. If 5% of people who have come to regret their decision to transition and have grs, that becomes significant and can become an argument against informed consent, or even providing the means to have access to HRT and GRS via WPATH SOC.
Do you believe this is a significant issue? To be honest, and in the interest of full disclosure, I advocate for the WPATH SOC and am a member of WPATH.  I am a psychotherapist who is post transition and pre op. I have chosen to adhere to the SOC despite having the means to circumvent the process because I believe that WPATH's SOC is a reasonable and thoughtful approach for people coping with our issues. I am, however very open to other points of view. I don't believe I have the lock on what is "correct" or "right".
When I look at the recent study by NCTE and their statistics on substance abuse, poverty, victimization and attempted suicide rates (> 30%) which are magnitudes above the general population, then read what those who regret transitioning and their perspectives, I recognize that something significant has occurred and there seem to be far too many who think they made a terrible mistake.

Many of those who regret their decision to transition do not take much personal responsibility for their tragic regrets. They indict a system that allows almost no review in the process they undertake and see tragedy as a result.

Others rail against any kind of system that compels a person to engage in a process of examining their motives and potential for poor or disastrous outcomes in the hopes that system will provide better outcomes for those who transition from a biopsychosocial perspective.

I am exploring why those who regret their choices are so vocal in opposition to allowing others to proceed in this process and why whatever decisions they made to transition ended in such tragic results.

There are no clear compelling arguments for the extremes of each position here. What is your opinion?


  1. I'm one who regrets GCS, but who fully complied with the SoC. I don't have an issue with the SoC per se, but I do with therapists and doctors deciding to extend its requirements, such as fitting stereotypes like being a housewife (that I drive heavy machinery for a living was a major problem to them, which directly caused them to require that I complete extra years of RLE before they would approve me for surgery.)

  2. Dear Lauren,

    I greatly appreciate your blog, having recently found it. I'm curious to learn if you published this article as I'd love to read it!


  3. Perhaps I am not in the least qualified to comment on this topic but I have a very strong opinion based on my study and my condition. I have at times over my life been very depressed being transgendered. I have never attempted suicide, never had substance abuse problems, and have not considered transition. But I know that GRS represents a very serious step that must have strict guidelines and protocols to protect the patient. It can't be reversed and unlike other surgeries the evidence is not a simple scar that can be covered and forgotten. I have read so much on this topic that leads me to believe that without a qualified therapist transition will fail and the regrets will surely follow. Is this a little like the bipolar patient that can live a full life with the proper medications but at some point stop taking them because they feel they are cured? I would think that transitioning and GRS patients need to remain with there therapist for a very long time afterward. This is really about more than outward physical appearance isn't it?

  4. I am not trans, so maybe I have no right at all to comment, but my feelings are like this: You can have all the surgery in the world, but unless you keep the body you were born with, you can't help create a child. If you were born female, you can grow a child inside you & help create life, but only if you biologically remain a woman. & vice versa for a male. It does not seem that the best surgeon in the world can actually change your sexual equipment to be like (or as good as) the real thing. Having children & hetero sexual relations is not everything, maybe, but, if your goal is to feel like a regular, ordinary member of the opposite sex, you never will. Because you won't & can't possibly be one. If you want to raise afamily , you have to think of repercussions for your children in the future. The procedures are very expensive and there are many to undergo and if you are not wornout emotionally before you undergo them, I'm sure you would be afterward. So, if the person goes through all that, and then realizes that it wasn't the ideal situation they thought it would be, and they still feel like they don't quite fit in anywhere, I can see where they could have great regrets. And then they are basically mutilated and kind of an "it". Very sad. I have thought that if I had a child with gender identity issues, I would try to stress that we live in a time when most jobs can be performed by either sex. I raised 6 sons & we are raising a grandson & two granddaughters now, so though I have not experienced this major issue, I have raised a lot of children. If I had a son that liked to dress up a lot, I would encourage him to go into theater, or dance, maybe. To experience different identities that way. Or if he is very nurturing, he could become a nurse or a paramedic. The daughter that is a true tomboy can play any sport she wants pretty much, if she has the talent and ability. She doesn't have to be male to be a pilot or a surgeon or even a Navy Seal; a lot of fields that were predominantly male a few generations ago are wide open to women now. So as a mother of six and a grandmother of 16, I would try to stress to my child that they were born how they were born & not a mistake, but they are not limited by that body at all. That body gives them the gift to help create life, it is precious. I would try to stress the positivity of whatever sex they belong to. Maybe this makes no sense at all. I am not a psychologist or an expert. These are just merely my thoughts and feelings after thinking about this subject for quite a while and reading a lot about it.

    1. Hi Flabeachlas,

      Thank you for contributing to my blog. I noted that you posted the same comment three times, by accident I'm sure, so I deleted two of them to maintain the flow of the blog.

      You have many good points, but I would ask you to consider several things. It is true that a post op person can not biologically parent a child. However I'm not sure if this disqualifies a person from being able to live an authentic life in the social role of their gender identity. After all, please consider that there are many biological males and females who are born with birth defects that do not allow for biological reproduction. Are they any less of a man or less of a woman? I don't think so. In fact there are some people born with a condition called androgen insensitivity syndrome who are born with xx chromosomes but have completely female bodies. They are born with a vagina, and at the age of puberty, they develop female breasts, but never menstruate, because they do not have ovaries or a uterus. Their condition is only discovered after they fail to have a period. Typically this condition is discovered when the young woman is in her late teens or early 20's when doctors begin to assess why this young woman has not begun to menstruate.

      You raise a good point that men and women can do almost anything they want, but the issue for people like me is not doing as I want whether it is a "male" or "female" activity, but it is about my identity which is female ever since I can remember.

      Yes, the medical procedures are expensive and can be quite physically challenging, but for people like me, they are medically necessary.

      I think that the decision to transition gender roles is a very serious decision, not to be made lightly. I think that it is important to try to live in your birth gender and resolve the problems of having a cross gender identity if at all possible, and that transitioning is essentially for people who just cant make a good adjustment in their birth gender. For most people the WPATH standards of care provide the opportunity to really explore if transitioning is the right thing for them to do. It is not something to be entered lightly. I believe in working with the standards of care to the degree that I put myself through the same process. Because of my work as a therapist, I could have easily bypassed the standards, but I believe this is the best way for a person to make a well informed decision about moving forward with a transition.

      You make another good point that life is not all a bed of roses after transition. You are right about that. I traded in one set of problems for another set of problems: the life of an everyday woman. For me though, that was something that increased my quality of life. I also found that all the problems I had going on that were not of my gender identity issues were much easier to deal with since I didn't have the overriding problem of my gender identity not matching my body. So because I am so much happier now, those problems seem so much easier to deal with.

      I hope that this helps you understand people like me a little better.

      Again, thank you so much for your well thought out position and posting to my blog.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.