Under the Radar, the Detransitioner Movement Is Surging
With the explosive phenomenon of gender dysphoria continuing to ripple across America’s youth, a related but much less highlighted trend is simultaneously occurring — a movement almost completely ignored by the mainstream media. New studies are now emerging showing that the “detransitioner” movement is far larger than what is commonly acknowledged, with detransition rates nearing 30% in some instances.
The phenomenon of “gender dysphoria” (the condition of being mentally distressed due to a perceived mismatch between one’s gender identity and one’s biological sex) has seen a colossal increase among children in the United States over the last five years. A recent investigation by Reuters found that a minimum of 121,882 minors in the U.S. between the ages of 6-17 were diagnosed with gender dysphoria between 2017 and 2021, while admitting that this is probably an “undercount.” In 2021 alone, they tallied 42,167 diagnoses, an almost 70% increase from the previous year.
But thousands of young women and men who once identified as the opposite sex — many of whom attempted a “gender transition” by ingesting drugs and undergoing elaborate surgical procedures to impersonate the opposite sex — are now rejecting the transgender identity and are once again embracing their natural sex.
As reported by The Post Millennial, new studies are showing that the rate of individuals who detransition away from a trans identity is occurring at paces that far exceed what the legacy media is reporting. At the Re/Detrans Canada event held at York University in Ontario last month, researchers presented a number of studies that showed detransition rates ranging from 2% to almost 30%. Three other studies from England show rates between 6.9% and 9.8%. Another yet to be published study of 774 young Canadians and Americans revealed that 16% had halted gender transition treatments, citing “health concerns, change in identity, and cost.”
These rates contrast sharply with the “less than 1%” rate that is constantly trotted out by transgender activists and the media. As noted by The Post Millennial, other cultural indicators also point to a swelling detransitioner movement. Reddit, an online discussion forum that in early 2022 was the 9th-most-visited website in the world, has a “Detrans” chatroom (or “Subreddit”) which currently has over 40,000 members.
Online accounts and testimonies of young women and men who have detransitioned from pursuing a gender transition opposite from their biological sex have exploded in the last five years, and distinct similarities are emerging from among many of these testimonies. While the causes for gender dysphoria are often complex and multifaceted, cultural and institutional influences beholden to a pro-transgender ideology have become primary contributors to the confusion over biological sex that is occurring among thousands of adolescents.
Here is a sampling of 20 testimonies from among the hundreds of detransitioners who have publicly shared their stories. The power that social media has to shape the minds of young people who have experienced abuse and are looking for affirmation is readily apparent in these accounts, along with the potent influence that medical and psychiatric professionals have in pushing their young patients down a path of gender transition drugs and surgical procedures that often create irreversible physiological harm.
- Daisy Strongin spent seven years from age 15 to 22 attempting to transition from female to male. It began when she immersed herself on the internet due to depression from low self-esteem. “Chances are the kid who is spending 14 hours a day on the internet probably doesn’t have a lot of in-real-life friends, and so they probably feel alienated. I mean, that’s how I felt,” she said. She soon discovered the world of “genderqueer” and “gender fluidity” on social media sites and began closely following “trans influencers.” Strongin began getting testosterone injections and eventually underwent a double mastectomy. Soon, however, she began feeling remorse for her decision. “It just got so hard to look in the mirror because I felt more of a disconnect between my mind and my body than I did before,” she said. “I felt like I was in some kind of weird gender purgatory.” She now rejects gender theory and gender identity, calling it “a scam.” Strongin is now 24 and newly married with an infant son.
- KC Miller began taking testosterone at 16 and underwent a double mastectomy only six months after starting the injections. She says that she was introduced to gender ideology through influencers on YouTube. After noticing that the testosterone treatments were causing severe hair loss, she decided to detransition. She now admits that “social contagion” played a role in convincing her to transition. “The more detransitioners that speak out, the more that will feel comfortable to come forward,” Miller says. “We’re going to see a huge wave.”
- Chloe Cole went on puberty blockers and testosterone at just 13 years old. She had been diagnosed with autism and ADHD at age 7 and spent a lot of unsupervised time online, where she was exposed to gender ideology. When she began questioning her gender identity, she was fast-tracked by medical personnel into transitioning, and her parents were pressured to sign off on it. She underwent a double mastectomy at 13 and still suffers medical complications to this day five years later. Cole soon came to regret her decision and has now become a spokesperson to advocate for protecting children from undergoing transition procedures. She also launched a support group for detransitioners called Detrans United.
- Helena Kerschner struggled with “depression, isolation, self-harm, an eating disorder, and suicidal thoughts” as a young teen. At 13, she was exposed to gender ideology through Tumblr. At 18 she began taking testosterone and soon began having fits of uncontrollable anger, eventually resorting to going to a psych unit where she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and psychosis. Seventeen months later, she decided to stop taking testosterone, and her symptoms immediately stopped. Kerschner noted that no medical professionals suggested that the hormones could be causing the symptoms.
- Camille Kiefel experienced a traumatic event in her childhood, and she subsequently felt uncomfortable and vulnerable as a female and desired to look more androgynous. After being exposed to gender identity ideology in college, she began to identify as nonbinary, but not as transgender. “I struggled with severe mental illness and suicidal ideation,” she says. After only two appointments with mental health workers, they recommended she receive a double mastectomy. The procedure caused her to suffer from acute distress, and she is now suing the health care professionals for what she calls an “abhorrent misdiagnosis.” “I just don’t want what happened to me to happen to someone else,” she says.
- Grace Lidinsky-Smith described a euphoric feeling when she started taking testosterone. She soon went ahead and also had both of her breasts removed. But afterward, she described having “intense, suicidal despair.” She eventually stopped taking hormones and started using her birth name again. “It became important to just accept myself as myself,” she said.
- Cat Cattinson began taking hormones and described it as “one of the better antidepressants I had taken.” But after three months, her voice dropped dramatically. “Nothing was coming out except air and squeaks,” she said. She soon stopped going to social events and singing onstage, which had previously been one of her passions. After believing that transitioning would solve her depression, she soon discovered that it actually made it worse. Cattinson was able to find an online community of detransitioners and stopped taking hormones.
- Keira Bell grew up in a troubled home in the U.K. and didn’t have very many friends in her adolescent years. She decided she wanted to be a boy at 15, but what she says was really going on was that she was “insecure in my body who had experienced parental abandonment, felt alienated from my peers, suffered from anxiety and depression, and struggled with my sexual orientation.” She went to a National Health Service clinic, which put her on puberty blockers at 16, testosterone at 17, and a double mastectomy at 20. “I was an unhappy girl who needed help,” she writes. “Instead, I was treated like an experiment.” After deciding to detransition, she sued the NHS clinic that treated her and won her case.
- KathyGrace Duncan grew up in an abusive household and began to believe it was “unsafe” to be a woman. She began taking hormones at age 19 in the early 1980s and changed her name to Keith. Eleven years later, she was challenged by a fellow churchgoer and decided to start detransitioning. Duncan now works as a women’s ministry leader to help women reclaim their femininity in a time of identity crisis in our culture. “It’s time for women to break the mold. We don’t have to look feminine, we just need to draw it out,” she explains.
- Walt Heyer was dressed in girls’ clothes as a four-year-old boy repeatedly by his grandmother. He was later sexually abused by his uncle, which made him not want to be male. He would cross-dress and wish he was a girl. As an adult, he began living two separate lives as a married man and as a cross-dresser. He eventually decided to undergo both top and bottom gender transition surgery at age 40, and his marriage soon ended. After eight years of living as a woman, he found himself still distressed about his gender identity. He eventually got counseling for his emotional trauma and received healing. He detransitioned at age 50 and now provides support to other detransitioners through numerous authored books and his com ministry.
- Elle Palmer had a traumatic online sexual experience as a young teen which she says greatly shook her confidence and self-worth. She started taking testosterone when she was 16 but started losing her hair, and soon decided to stop. “If I had been going to a good therapist, if I had been going to school, if I had had friends and had meaningful relationships with people outside of the internet, I know that I would have been able to reconcile my female identity with myself the way that I was,” she says. “I was just living so disconnected from my body and so disconnected from who I really was.”
- Luka Hein suffered from mental health issues at age 15 in which she experienced discomfort with her body. A therapist encouraged her to come out as transgender, and by 16 she underwent a double mastectomy. Her parents had been told that she was at high risk of suicide if she did not transition. She has also undergone changes to her voice and body as a result of hormones. Now 20, she regrets listening to the doctors, who she says manipulated and misled her into irreversible damage to her body.
- Laura Becker was diagnosed with a developmental disorder as a child, which today falls under the autism spectrum. She was also “verbally, emotionally, and psychologically” abused. She began having social anxiety and attempted suicide. She also began viewing pornography, which gave her a “misogynistic view of women.” She began identifying as “genderqueer” after finding influencers on the social media site Tumblr. A psychiatrist diagnosed her with gender dysphoria after only two visits and said she was of “sound mind” to get a double mastectomy. She also began taking testosterone which “escalat[ed] her feelings of desperation and hopelessness.” She came to regret her decision and is disappointed with the medical guidance she received. “There is a lot of bad therapy out there,” she says.
- Abel Garcia was raised by his grandparents and says he “didn’t have a male role model in my family.” The transient lifestyle he grew up with made it difficult to make friends. He learned about transgenderism on social media. When he came out to his parents, his father forced him to see a prostitute to “cure” him. The experience traumatized him. He saw a therapist and was “astounded at how quickly his therapist affirmed him as transgender, despite his mixed feelings.” He began taking estrogen and had breasts surgically implanted on his chest. Three months later, he realized he had made a mistake. He has since suffered from a plethora of health complications as a result of taking estrogen. “We should obviously give people the actual help that they need, instead of affirming this illusion that they have and that we are feeding to them,” he said.
- Laura Beth Perry Smalts believed she was a man born in a woman’s body and felt she “just needed to fix the body.” She began to take male hormones and underwent a double mastectomy and hysterectomy. She later regretted her decision and married a man. She is now “deeply troubled by the lack of medical oversight and the ease with which young people are able to obtain opposite-sex hormones and surgeries.” “It’s so maddening when I look back. … Where were the doctors willing to say, ‘Hey, wait for a second, this is really not good for your body?’” she asks.
- Dagny began experiencing gender dysphoria when she was around 12 after experiencing discomfort with her developing body. She was heavily influenced by people she met on social media who encouraged her to identify as trans. According to LifeSiteNews, “she no longer wishes to ‘transition, and is distressed that other young people with gender dysphoria think they have no other choice. ‘It’s time to change that,’ she said. ‘It’s time that we become aware of how much pain and negativity this narrative is causing.’”
- Michelle Alleva experienced intense bullying at school as a child, and the trauma led to very low self-esteem. She began to find community online at places like Tumblr, where she connected with an LGBT community. After initially identifying as asexual, she developed feelings of wanting to change her body, and she received constant reassurance online that she should begin a gender transition. She started testosterone at age 20 and underwent a double mastectomy two years later. After an initial mental high, she soon began experiencing intense depression. She was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and post-traumatic stress symptoms. Three years later during the pandemic, she experienced a breakthrough and realized that her transgender identity was not solving her mental health problems and began to detransition.
- Arianna Armour was adopted by Christian parents and went to church every Sunday, but faith did not take hold in her life, and she began to identify as a lesbian at age seven. She spent the next 14 years identifying that way before spending two years identifying as transgender. She had lost her faith and was suffering from depression and drug addiction. She was invited to come back to church in 2019 and decided to let go of her transgender identity after spending time in prayer and reading Scripture. “It all came down to a choice,” she says. “I decided to follow Christ.”
- Samuel Jordan grew up in a Christian household and dreamed of becoming a pastor. But he was sexually abused by a friend’s family member at age eight. After repeated abuse, he began exploring homosexuality as an adolescent. After a broken relationship with his mother who passed away soon after and his father moving in with another woman, Samuel found solace in the homosexual community, and soon began identifying as a woman and received breast implants. But after dropping out of college, he needed a place to stay and was taken in by a friend on the condition that he return to church. After experiencing a reconversion during a church service, he detransitioned and had the implants removed. “God told me ‘You just gotta say yes, and I’m going to show you that I am God enough to fix it,’” he says.
- Jeffrey McCall was bullied as a child, and by age 15 was living a homosexual lifestyle. When his relationships with other men ended and left him unfulfilled, he turned to drug abuse to cope. Eventually his inner turmoil led to him taking on a transgender identity as “Scarlet.” This led to a continued pattern of promiscuity with other men and performing at drag shows. He eventually came into contact with two mentors, a college professor, and a pastor, who encouraged him in his faith journey, despite continuing to live a double life outside of church. One night, he broke down and asked God, “Will I ever live for you?” He heard God reply, “Yes, you will live for me.” McCall soon gave up his transgender and homosexual lifestyle. “It was a lot to handle,” he says. “I had to explain to people that it wasn’t about becoming ‘straight.’ It was a choice not to follow sin. The alcoholic, transgender, homosexual, prescription drug life I had was not what God had created me for.”
For more information, here is a list of websites of detransitioner advocacy groups and communities:
- Post Trans – “A collection of detrans stories from female detransitioners and desisters”
- Detrans Voices – “A community resource created for, by, and about people who have detransitioned and/or desisted from transgender self-identification”
- Detrans United – “A group of former transgender-identifying youth and adults who have come together to voice our dissent against ‘gender affirming care,’ influence policy, and provide a network of support for detransitioners”
- Detrans Foundation – “Therapy for detransitioners, desisters & people experiencing transition regret”
- Sex Change Regret – “Take back your life. Others have, you can too.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.