I detransitioned. Now I’m back.
I’ve always used stories and writing as a way to communicate with other people and even myself, as far back as when I was in elementary school and wanted to write books about being reborn into an animal. Animals didn’t have to go to school, figure out what the deal with sports bras was, get bullied, or worry about starting to shave their legs. I’ve changed a bit (now I tend to do more autobiographical stuff than using animal metaphors), but I still tend to talk about difficult subjects via writing, especially when it comes to my transition. Be it through poetry, narrative essays, or just carefully crafted texts, typically I come out through the written word. Sometimes it goes wonderfully (like in classes) and sometimes it goes poorly (like to my parents).
This is no different.
I’ve finally come to peace with a few immutable facts. My name is Tony, I am a transgender man, I am 20 years old, on testosterone, but saying how long I’ve been on it can be tricky because I took a break. I detransitioned; but here I am, retransitioning after my little break.
I came out at school in August of ’19, went on testosterone for the first time in February of ’20, then came out to my parents that Thanksgiving. This wasn’t the first time, at least for my mom. I had been telling my mom I was transgender since I was 14. The first time, I was given a warm reception, told she would find me a therapist, offered a haircut (god I was stoked) and was bought a couple of shirts from the boys’ section of Kohls. But.. days later, the warmness dropped off, I was told not to bind my chest, and that therapist who would help us get through my transition was never actually found. I went through a cycle of trying to be my birth sex out of guilt and embracing my transness, coming out to my mom again and again, basically every year. But every year led to the same response- I couldn’t be transgender because I was too feminine. I must be a girl. And, then she’d guilt me, and we’d be at the beginning again.
The night before Thanksgiving, though, I had brought my boyfriend to be around my parents for the first (extended amount of) time. We had dinner, talked a bit, and the drinks came out. My boyfriend, now fiancé, managed to accidentally start talking about many controversial topics with my father, like race and sexuality. Then- my dad and I started talking, and I, a bit inebriated, came out to my father as transgender before I was quite ready.
It went okay at the time, until it didn’t.
My dad started doing his own research, but he ended up on his usual conservative websites and was fed wrong and negative statistics. My parents decoded that I was on testosterone and, rather than reading into it as ‘maybe he is serious’, started comparing me to a drug abuser and telling me how much they cried over my transness and medication. It got worse and worse until three things happened at the same time: Planned Parenthood didn’t refill my testosterone, I felt incredibly guilty for being trans, and I had started talking in transphobic ‘detrans’ circles who encouraged the guilt and the coincidence as well as similar beliefs on transition to my parents as a reason for me to stop testosterone and start being a ‘girl’.
I did. I felt good because the burden of seemingly impossible medical expenses was lifted off of my shoulders, and my parents were happy with me again, finally. I’m someone who thrives off of acceptance, so this was a bigger hit of dopamine than anything could have given me. With squashed doubts, I continued this way for 6 months, until I realized lying awake at night that I had made a massive mistake. Detransition wasn’t the answer. I am still dysphoric, still trans, still really a man, so now I’m back.
It can be hard, don’t get me wrong. I’m terrified to try and start talking to my parents about this again, and I know that they may never come around. I know my parents may never really love me, and that’s hard. But I also know that I’m not going to be 20 forever, and when I move out of this conservative state and get to be the husband to a wonderful man, I’ll be so much happier than if I caved and decided I had to live as someone I could never really be. While I wish I had never detransitoned and had showed resilience in the face of my parents’ pushback, I know now that this is who I am. I tried it the other way; truly and thoroughly.
Most detransitioners, and even a lot of TERFS, are like how I was. Trans men who faced a lot of really hard stuff to the point where it was so much easier to just not be trans, and are facing how bad it hurts by pushing back against trans people who are where they, deep down, wish they were. Trust me on this, because I was there, and I would have hated the person who said this just as much as these people are going to hate hearing it from me.
Have compassion for our brothers through their hard times. Hopefully, one day, their issues will lift and they can be part of, and love, our community again. After all, I was there, and now I’m back.