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Results of PEC's Desistance & Detransition Survey



General Analysis from Partners for Ethical Care's February 2021 Survey of Desisters, Detransitioners, & Parents


Included here are the questions and aggregate responses from an informal and preliminary survey given to people who have desisted (stopped insisting they do not identify with their birth sex) and/or detransitioned (stopped attempting to change sexes and/or present one’s appearance differently than his or her birth sex), and to parents of desisters/detransitioners, during the month of February 2021.


This is a very small, non-randomized and self-selected sample of 60 people who submitted their responses with the opportunity to do so anonymously; 30 respondents provided contact information and 30 did not. (Identifying and contact information is not included with the published results.)


Results must be considered with caution, because of the small sample size, because the sample is not a random selection from the pool of desisters/detransitioners, and because of the lack of authentication and adequate demographic data on the respondents. If this survey reveals anything, it strongly suggests that more rigorous research is needed on the phenomenon of desisting/detransitioning.


Partners for Ethical Care feels confident that all 60 responses included in these results are genuine. Approximately 35 additional false responses were submitted and subsequently deleted. These malicious responses were recognized as invalid by several criteria:

  1. The respondent commented, “I’m just here to mess up your data,”

  2. The respondent left hateful, childish, and/or crude comments,

  3. The respondent entered multiple, identical survey submissions, and/or

  4. The respondent gave contradictory information, such as ticking every box in response to Question 13, “Which of the following did the parent do after the child announced a transgender identity?” including “The parent did nothing different.”

If a survey submission met any of the above criteria, it was deleted. One additional survey submission was deleted because the parent who submitted it indicated that the child had not yet desisted or detransitioned.


Unless otherwise noted, each question was answered by all 60 respondents. The percentages listed beneath some questions may or may not sum to 100%, depending upon whether the question could only be answered with a single response, or if the question included a “Check all that apply” option. Unless otherwise indicated, respondents could choose only one answer for a given question.


Respondents were able to add unique responses to certain questions, which created some difficulty in summing the percentages on those questions, as certain unique answers may have more appropriately belonged with the provided answers, or when multiple unique responses were very similar to each other.


Several survey questions provided space to give comments. Those comments can be accessed via the spreadsheet containing all survey data.

SURVEY QUESTIONS & SUMMARY OF RESPONSES


(Unless otherwise noted, results are listed according to frequency of response.)

Q1. Is the respondent a child or a parent?


71.7% Child

28.3% Parent


Q2. What was the child's sex at birth?


78.3% Female

20% Male

0.7% Prefer Not to Say

Q3. At what age did the child announce a transgender identity?


31.7% Ages 13-15

26.7% Ages 16-18

15% Age 25+

8.3% Ages 19-21

8.3% Ages 10-12

5% Age -10

5% Ages 20-25

[NO GRAPH AVAILABLE for Q4]

Q4. In which of the following types of transition did the child participate? (Respondents could select multiple answers.)


81.7% Changed hairstyle

78.3% Made use of a binder, packer, etc., in order to pass as the opposite sex

76.7% Requested that a different name be used

75% Changed clothing style

73.3% Requested that different pronouns be used

48.3% Took cross-sex hormones

31.7% Changed hair color

25% Underwent some form of sex-characteristic surgical alteration

10% Sought some form of sex-characteristic surgical alteration, but was unable to obtain

5% Took puberty blockers

1.7% Legally changed name


Q5. If the child used puberty blockers, for how long were the puberty blockers taken? (4 responses)


50% Longer than 2 years

50% 1-2 years


Q6. If the child used wrong-sex hormones, for how long were the hormones taken? (29 responses)


62.1% Longer than 2 years

17.2% 1-2 years

13.8% 6-12 months

6.9% 3 months or less


Q7. If the child was unable to obtain a desired surgery, what was the reason? (17 responses)


52.9% could not finance the surgery

29.4% was prevented by a parent or caregiver

17.6% other


Q8. For approximately how long was the child transitioned (presenting with an alternate sex identity) in any way (socially or medically)?


30% 3-5 years

23.3% 1-2 years

20% 6-8 years

10% 6 months – 1 year

10% less than 6 months

6.7% more than 9 years


Q9. Where was the child FIRST introduced to gender ideology (the concept that gender is on a continuum between maleness and femaleness, and/or that people can have the mind/brain/soul of one sex and the body of another)? (Respondents could select multiple answers.)


35% social media

16.7% high school

11.7% middle school

10% unknown

8.3% elementary school (or earlier school)

6.7% friends

1.7% college (or post-high school ed)

1.7% books

1.7% friend, then health class

1.7% both friends and social media

1.7% internet

1.7% anime convention

1.7% friend and high school


[NO GRAPH AVAILABLE for Q10]

Q10. In which communities was the child actively encouraged and affirmed in a transgender identity? (Respondents could select multiple answers.)


85% social media groups

76.7% friend groups

43.3% school

28.3% extended family

25% community groups (sports, activities, etc.)

21.7% job/work

20% nuclear family (parents, siblings)


Q11. Did the parent affirm the child in a transgender identity?


58.3% no

23.3% yes

18.3% did not fully affirm, but used preferred name and pronouns


Q12. Did the other parent affirm the child in a transgender identity?


58.3% no

21.7% did not fully affirm, but used preferred name and pronouns

10% yes

10% the child does not have a relationship with the other parent



[NO GRAPH AVAILABLE for Q13]

Q13. Which of the following did the parent do after the child announced a transgender identity? (Respondents could select multiple answers.)


48.3% did nothing different

36.7% arranged for out-patient therapy/counseling

13.3% took away internet/social media

10% arranged for in-patient (residential) therapy/counseling

8.3% pulled the child and began homeschooling

5% sent the child to live with a relative

1.7% moved the child to a different school

1.7% got more involved with church

1.7% kicked the child out of the home

1.7% completely disowned the child

1.7% tried to talk the child out of the trans-ID

1.7% threw away child’s clothes and forced her to dress femininely; denied same-sex attraction


Q14. If the child saw a counselor or therapist, did the counselor or therapist affirm the transgender identity? (51 responses)


52.9% yes

29.4% no

17.7% various nuanced responses


Q15. Was the child comfortable with the counselor or therapist? (48 responses)


47.9% yes

35.4% somewhat

16.7% no


Q16. Was the parent comfortable with the counselor or therapist? (45 responses)


31.1% yes

28.9% somewhat

26.7% parent was not involved

13.3% no



[NO GRAPH AVAILABLE for Q17]

Q17. What were the reasons the child desisted/detransitioned, to the best of your knowledge? (Respondents could select multiple answers.) The child


63.3% found that transition negatively affected some aspect of life.

58.3% found that transition did not help the gender dysphoria.

31.7% was convinced by social media (illogical and/or not transgender).

25% became bored with transgender ideology.

23.3% was convinced by parents (or others’) arguments.

6.7% was convinced by a faith leader (illogical and/or not transgender).

5% friends desisted/detransitioned.

5% was convinced at school.

1.7% gave the following unique response:

couldn’t pass

dug through internal misogyny

realized the consequences

stopped feeling dysphoric

lack of support for transgender ideology in daily life

a member of the opposite sex liked the child

radical feminism and self-love

found the trans community toxic and abusive

dealt with traumatic experience

realized that the trans community was controlling

investigated brain study claims and found them false

accepted self and homosexuality

diagnosed with autism

found a friend group at college


Q18. After the child desisted/detransitioned, did s/he immediately revert to presenting (clothing choices, hairstyle, etc.) the way s/he did prior to announcing a transgender identity?


46.7% no

28.3% yes

25% changed, but not to prior presentation style

(Results for Questions 19-21 are ordered according to relational closeness from Very Good through Very Poor. A chart listing each respondent’s results for Questions 19-21 follows the question summaries.)


Q19. How was the child's relationship with his/her parent(s) prior to being introduced to gender ideology?


23.3% Very Good/Very Close

30% Good/Somewhat Close

20% Fair/Neither Close nor Strained

15% Poor/Somewhat Strained

11.7% Very Poor/Extremely Strained or Estranged


Q20. How was the child's relationship with his/her parent(s) during the period that the child was transgender-identified?


3.3% Very Good/Very Close

11.7% Good/Somewhat Close

21.7% Fair/Neither Close Nor Strained

40% Poor/Somewhat Strained

23.3% Very Poor/Extremely Strained or Estranged


Q21. How has the child's relationship with his/her parent(s) been since desisting/detransitioning?


30% Very Good/Very Close

26.7% Good/Somewhat Close

20% Fair/Neither Close Nor Strained

11.7% Poor/Somewhat Strained

11.7% Very Poor/Extremely Strained or Estranged



[NO GRAPH AVAILABLE for Q22]

Q22. Does the child have any diagnosed or suspected health, psychological, or neurological issues? (Respondents could select multiple answers.)


75.9% depression

50% suicidal ideation

46.6% trauma

37.9% autism

22.4% suicide attempt