Tides Turn on Gender Pseudoscience as Left-Wing Publications Acknowledge Detransitioners
“Only one to two percent detransition. Why should we gate-keep health services to the ninety-eight percent of happy trans people to help such a small minority?”
We can refer to this as the Greater Good argument, which is frequently used to dismiss complaints expressed by detransitioners about the state of “gender affirming care.” It’s a problematic and narrow mindset, as it ignores the needs of a vulnerable population and discourages inquiry into alternative treatment methods for managing gender dysphoria.
In an article published in 2019, NBC asserts that“[Trans advocates] say that the current narrative makes ‘transition regret’ seem more common than it is and contributes to misconceptions about transgender people in general”(1). The feature then proceeds to condemn the spread of “misinformation” about the transition process whilst platforming agenda-driven activists, including Jack Turban, a researcher specializing in gender medicine who receives stipends from the same pharmaceutical companies that manufacture puberty blockers (2,3). Ironically, the piece is packed with misinformation about detransition (among other dangerous myths, like the Suicide Myth and the myth of puberty blockers being reversible).
The article cites the 2015 US Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, noting that it found that eight percent claimed to have detransitioned at some point, but that an overwhelming majority did so due to external factors such as social pressure and discrimination (4). According to the authors, only 0.4 percent of the participants detransitioned after realizing transitioning wasn’t for them. Researchers like Turban, news outlets like NBC, and trans-positive organizations like gendergp.com and Stonewall cite this figure as confirmation that detransition is generally rare, and that most who detransition do so because of external factors (5-7).
On a surface level, this conclusion may seem logical. However, the authors of the 2015 US Transgender Survey describe their methodology as inclusive of all individuals who identified as “transgender, trans, genderqueer, and non-binary.” Notably, “detransitioner” was not one of the options listed.
Of the detransitioners who have shared publicly on social media as well as conventional media, the vast majority no longer claim a trans, genderqueer, or non-binary identity, so the 2015 survey’s design would have omitted all of them. It also doesn’t account for the numbers of individuals who, tragically, may have taken their own lives after transition didn’t turn out to be the cure-all that trans activists and clinicians promised.
Observation and speculation alone aren’t the most reliable sources, but in addition to what we see in the media, recent research also indicates that most people who detransition no longer identify as transgender. A 2021 online survey of 237 detransitioners revealed that seventy percent of those surveyed reported detransitioning because they realized their gender dysphoria was related to other issues (8). A second survey of 100 detransitioners, also published in 2021, found that the most common reason for detransitioning was that participants became more comfortable identifying as their natal sex (9). Ideally, there would be more studies on this population with larger sample sizes, but it’s remarkable that detransitioners’ own accounts of their experiences prove to be wildly different than how trans advocates characterize them.