10 October 2020 - Janice Turner
If Keira Bell’s case succeeds, it will have global implications, especially for countries such as New Zealand and Australia, with similar Gillick tests. It will also open up medical negligence claims against GIDS. The fallout from an unexamined global rise in young women transitioning — 75 per cent of Tavistock referrals are now female — is a growing number of detransitioners like Ms Bell.
26 July 2019 - Lucy Bannerman
Jacob has just turned 16 and for the past four years the teenager’s body has been put on pause. He has been on hormone blockers to stop puberty while he decides how far he is willing to go to become a transgender man. He claims that taking blockers was “the worst decision I’ve ever made”.
Jacob also claims he was not warned about the side-effects of the drugs. These have included insomnia, exhaustion, fatigue, low moods, rapid weight gain which caused his skin to become covered with angry, itchy stretch marks, and a reduction in bone density. “I’d never broken a bone before [taking puberty blockers],” he says. “I’ve since broken four bones. “I stubbed my toe, it broke. I fell over, my wrist broke. Same with my elbow.”
As he took the blockers, Jacob’s mother watched her child become even more introverted and body-conscious. “The blockers contributed more to the self-image problems that were already there,” she said.
In hindsight, Jacob finds it surprising how little his background — and the reasons why he didn’t want to be a girl — were discussed before being referred for treatment. “They didn’t even look at my history or trauma,” claimed Jacob. “They sent a child whose circumstances and feelings they didn’t understand [for hormone treatment].” Jacob is speaking out about his experience to warn other transgender youngsters to think twice before starting blockers. “I was sold a miracle cure. They promised happiness with little evidence behind it. Then four years in, you realise, oh my God, I’ve no idea about the long-term effects. “They asked a 12-year-old to make a decision an adult would struggle with. “It was like, ‘here are the drugs’ and off we went. It’s a ridiculous process. It’s not gone the way they told me it was going to go.”
12 July 2020 - Laura Dodsworth
“I want to work on accepting my body exactly the way it is now,” Ellie, pictured on the cover of this magazine, told me. “This is what should have been encouraged from the beginning.”
I wanted to be a boy when I was younger. From 15 it intensified. I googled “I’m a woman but I wish I was a man” and through the power of the internet I found out about [gender] dysphoria and transition.
A few painful and difficult things have happened to me that I think were behind me wanting to be a man and not be a woman. I know I was not in the wrong, but they are things I can’t talk about publicly. What I know now is that transitioning wasn’t the way to deal with those things.
I’m in group chats with other detransitioners. I know about 100 detransitioned women myself. But we all know others who aren’t active online or in group chats. The official numbers of detransitioners aren’t collected, they aren’t known at the moment. But I think we are the tip of the iceberg. There will be many of us to come.
I came out as lesbian to my family in Belgium when I was 15. They were OK with it and I felt quite comfortable dating girls. At some point, though, I started to question myself a lot. I couldn’t picture myself growing up to be a woman. I found a trans organisation in Europe offering psychological appointments, and so I went and told them what was going on in my head. I was surprised by their advice; they only told me about masculinising treatments and surgeries. I think it was a completely different answer to the one I was really looking for, so I came out very confused, but they had planted a seed.
I’ve tried to talk about background issues with therapists, but gender dysphoria was seen as the cause of my problems and not a symptom of them. Actually I think my gender issues came out of mental health issues, not the other way around
My transition was not necessary, but I don’t want to be regretful. I want to work on accepting my body exactly the way it is now. This is what should have been encouraged from the beginning.
I couldn’t relate to very feminine, heterosexual women when I was growing up in Germany. My mum is a housewife and a mother, and I value that, but I just couldn’t imagine myself living that way. My dad is into sport, and I related to him more. I knew only one slightly more masculine woman who had short hair when I was growing up. Since detransitioning I have met many more gender non-conforming women similar to me. I often think if I’d had people like that in my life when I was a teenager, I don’t think I would have been trans.
Anorexia made it easy for me to fall into developing [gender] dysphoria and wanting to transition because I had already spent so much time focusing on my body and wanting to change it with dieting and starving.
Before I came out I was pretty confident. I didn’t think it was a bad thing to be a lesbian, but then the reactions came. I started dating one of my classmates. We sat together, we were cute with each other and would hold hands, so people noticed fairly quickly. We got some pretty nasty treatment. No one wanted to be in the locker room with us any more. I’m a really romantic person and it felt disgusting to be reduced to my sexuality. It made me feel horrible about being a lesbian.
I’m horrified that when I went for the hysterectomy they didn’t emphasise to me how important these organs are. Now it’s too late. I’m 23 and I am basically in menopause already, with all the health implications that come with that. I can’t comprehend how doctors could let this happen