Lost boys - Part II
Detrans man talks about why there are so few male detransitioners
If you were to look up detransitioners in news, twitter, wherever you will find an overwhelming amount of detrans women, but very few detrans men. Actually, just thinking about all the videos I’ve ever seen there are only handful of guys who have spoken out on youtube, but many female detranstioners. Why?
It’s a question we should all be asking as we move forward. Why are there so few detrans males?
You may think this is because there are more female to male trans people, but its simply not the case, the numbers have been on par even with the increase, there is an even number of MTF/FTM’s according to this paper. In 2010, Middle aged men in the UK were most likely to access gender identity services; with a mean age of 42 - female to male trans people were extraordinarily rare, this has only very recently been overtaken, but still not enough to hugely outnumber males.
“The age at initiation has been dropping over the past 25 years, and we have seen a steady increase in the number of FTM such that the incidence now equals that of MTF. Possible reasons for these changes are discussed.” Matthew C Leinung , Jalaja Joseph (2020)
Studies around detrans people are beginning to come out without the prior social restrictions of cancelling, painting a clearer picture of our needs and requirements. And whilst studies around OCD and Gender Dysphoria have been carried out as early as 2016, they have largely went by unnoticed, despite the connection being absolutely apparent. A good friend of mine called gender dysphoria “trans OCD” and it fits very well.
Right now, our own communities are doing their own research whilst we wait for organisations to be a little braver and conduct comprehensive research that doesn’t end in the words “we need more research”. AlexIS, who runs the Detrans Discord and Reddit page tirelessly ran a comprehensive survey on detransitioners/desisters at great personal cost to her own wellbeing. I would strongly encourage readers to check out the full survey, it makes for some interesting reading and does draw similiar conclusions to Elie Vandenbussche paper on the needs of detransitioners.
However, I want to expand on this research and ask a critical question; why are there so few male detransitioners/desistors?
How come for every one male there are 4 female detranstioners behind them? Why is it that despite the number of MTF/FTM transitioners being relatively similar; we don’t have an equal cohort of detranstioners? What are the mechanisms that make landings for detrans women easier than detrans men?
Where are they?
They’re around, they’re waiting for the same landing that detrans women have. They’re waiting for male titans, equal to JK Rowling to speak up for them. They’re waiting for men’s charities to do what women have been doing all along; and speak up for their peers.
I understand why this dynamic exists and why these organisations first popped up to begin with, it was to support women who had been victimised by men. And I think men, empathetic men especially are bearing the burden of responsibility, when in fact it is those who are unempathetic and harmful that should be taking responsibility.
And here in lies an issue detrans males face. We are empathetic to women, to trans people, to gay people, to men, everyone and we’re more likely to feel responsible for others actions. We feel awful when we justifiably get angry, and we feel shame for being sad and there is no victory for us, we’re either ‘low value males’ or some form of oppressor.
A detrans woman on the other hand, already has a lot of backing and empathy, from feminists, charities, MP’s and press to rally on their side. What do we have? We have blame, we have hatred, we have confusion and we are homeless when it comes to detransition.
Is it any wonder, we feel lost?
Part of the reason I transitioned because I felt it was easier to be in a relationship with a man as a woman, rather than a man as a man. My desires for men disgusted me to the point where I felt I needed to fix myself. I wasn’t just worried about being seen as male, but being seen as a gay man too.
The double bind of detransition
Imagine, you spend years working on yourself, you finally get to the point where you loudly and proudly call yourself male, but it is only you cheering. Many people shrug and look down on you with pity and whilst Trans people in particular look at you through patronising lens; no matter what happened to you. “You are at fault for making the choice, you are at fault for doings this to your body, no one else can be blamed but you.” Is the general gist of it.
It’s so deeply important for the anti-detrans narrative to place the lotus of control on the detranstioner, where as many other mechanisms that impact detrans males the same way as trans males; take the control from the individual, e.g. healthcare, employment, social, etc. In other words, as a trans person you are victimless, but as a detrans person you are either a victim to ‘cults’ (ironic, no?) or you are just another antagonist ‘cis male’.
At least when the world hated you as a trans person, you had a tribe to fall back to and others who could understand the pain of isolation, rejection and fear - perceived or otherwise.
What do detrans men have? We certainly have empathy from female detransitioners, but some of the same mechanisms of misandry are flowing into those spaces too - that tend to sing hymns from other churches that make speaking about the male experiences very difficult without being policed.
Some feminists tend to look down on us with sympathy, but not empathy. We are very useful to confirm their own bias and belief, but in doing so have received some pretty heartless and albeit destructive views on why we transitioned to begin with, our views and observations have been dismissed and once again we are unheard unless we tow the line, which often means hiding our true thoughts and feelings.
Society doesn’t like feminine and unmasculine men. Though I feel free walking around, I also know how dangerous being an effeminate man is, perhaps more so than being trans. It is any wonder then why males are far more likely to retransition than female detransitioners?
What happens if I get confronted by other men out and about? What can I really do? I have no chance, I have no strength and I cannot defend myself like I used to be able to before transition. What happens if they rip down my pants and see a vagina? Which toilet do I use?
Currently people read me as a gay woman or a very gay man. I feel confident about my appearance, but I recognise it triggers an internal fear in men, especially who look at me and then realise I’m male and feel guilty for showing attraction. The fear in their eyes can be quite amusing to me, but I’m quickly reminded this internalised panic can end badly.
Once you get over that hurdle, you then have the hurdle of living as a male, because all the past discomforts and misunderstanding return, though diluted; they still come back. Some of us do far better than others, some of us sail through it - but for many whose trauma completely overtakes their identity; makes this very difficult.
I’m going to be completely honest and say that being masculine or seen as a man scares the living shit out of me. Growing older as a man terrified me and was a huge driver for my reasons behind transition. But I never stopped to ask why?
They say that trauma can create a loop in our brain, where in a vein attempt to understand and make sense of what’s happened; we never complete the loop and therefore are never able to grow past the trauma. Then the fear of getting older creeps in because we haven’t resolved the loop and we realise we are past our due, yet we are still distressed and locked in an increasingly more childlike mentality, free of consequence, free of responsibility.
Plugging the gap
I’m a huge believer in single sex spaces - men and women are equal, they are not the same though. To deny their equality and to deny their difference is part in parcel of the reasons we got here. Let us, men; take inspiration from women and begin sticking up for ourselves and support each other the way women have. To do that we need to lay some foundations down, grassroot organisations that aim to address homophobia, racism, addiction, tribalism, abandonment, mental health, physical health and many other topics.
Men are more likely to be murdered by other men, men are more likely to take their own life, more likely to take risks, live shorter lives, less likely to seek medical attention. This isn’t the behaviour of an oppressor in my opinion and its messages that painted men as evil that made me fear being male too.
I’m confident women will be okay, they have got their shit together for the most part. But my dudes, we are way behind in this game and there is so much work to be done.
We need our own spaces, but we also need to integrate. And as we do so, its imperative that we work together, men and women - to ensure that going forward we don’t return to feckless strife.
In my last substack; ‘How to rebuild and move on” I talked about a ceasefire and the importance of refocusing our energy on the great rebuild that will be coming. Thousands will need you, men and women, girls and boys, trans and detrans in the years to come, so I’m appealing to everyone once again to focus their efforts on support, research and fair discussion rather than firing off bullets that cost a great deal of emotional energy, it’s not a good place to be.
And my advice to anyone reading is if you haven’t; consider building something, whatever it is! Build your own outdoor space, make a birdhouse, a website, a budget, a healthier diet, travel plans, new outfit ideas, anything that you want to just do something for yourself first.
After the dust clears from this, there wont be any parades or celebrations. There will only be anger, grief and confusion. It’s therefore up to us, to build something to make this landing as easy as possible and focus our energy on building networks, encouraging fair research and disengaging from stalemates.
We all have a stake in this, every single one of us.
As usual, whatever path you take, whatever you do in life; take good care.