Irreversible Healing: What Testosterone Has Done For Me
TERFs say T causes ‘irreversible damage,’ but the hormone has dramatically repaired my mental health and relationship to my body.
In the years between realizing I was trans and finally deciding to take testosterone, I read a lot of blogs written by trans-exclusionary (or TERF) detransitioners. I believed I was obligated to read the stories of people who regretted going on hormones and no longer understood themselves as trans. Many TERF detransitioners claimed they’d been socially pressured into transitioning, or had only identified as trans because of trauma or dissociative mental health symptoms. As an Autistic person who wasn’t particularly in tune with my own emotions, I thought I had a responsibility to question my identity and desire to medically transition from every possible angle.
It was self harm disguised as judiciousness.
Most people who detransition remain friendly to the trans community and still identify as part of it in some way. But TERF detransitioners reject the movement for trans liberation, viewing their own transitions as a terrible mistake that should have been prevented through stricter medical, legal, and social gatekeeping. In the UK, TERF detransitioners such as Kiera Bell have impacted public policy in significant ways, restricting trans youth access to hormones blockers. Though the ruling in Bell’s favor has since been overturned, the social impact of her vocal criticism of trans identity remains, the English media and public opinion both turning increasingly transphobic in recent years.
On their blogs and social media pages, TERF detransitioners say society’s misogyny pushed them to identify outside of womanhood. Many former trans men say that they were tomboys and closeted lesbians who were pressured to transition and become “straight.” Many also claim that identifying as trans has become a form of social contagion, and that the trans community is a predatory cult seeking new recruits. They encourage the parents of transgender teens to challenge their kids’ identities, and offer up “alternate treatments” for gender dysphoria that one former member of the movement, Ky Schevers, describes as akin to antigay conversion therapy.