The Ranks of Gender Detransitioners Are Growing. We Need to Understand Why

Jan 3, 2020 by

by Lisa Marchiano, Quillette:

A recent NBC News report warned that media coverage of detransitioners—formerly transgender individuals seeking to return to the gender associated with their biological sex—is misleading and potentially harmful. “No one disputes that transition regret does exist,” author Liam Knox writes. “However, trans advocates say some of the recent coverage around the topic portrays detransitioning as much more common than it actually is.” The article suggests that journalists are creating a “panic” about detransition, and fuelling the “misconception” that trans individuals are “just temporarily confused or suffering from a misdiagnosed psychological disorder.”

Knox quotes Dr. Jack Turban, a psychiatric resident at Massachusetts General Hospital who researches the mental health of trans youth, to the effect that “affirming” a child’s gender transition in general (and providing puberty-blocking drugs, in particular) is usually the most prudent course of action—though the article does not offer evidence to support this assertion, nor specify how the associated risks and benefits might be compared.

Readers of such articles might not realize that data regarding the medical transition of children and adolescents is limited. As Dr. James Cantor wrote in a peer-reviewed journal article published last month, there are few studies examining adult outcomes for children who present as transgender; and those few studies indicate that the majority of pre-pubescent children who present as transgender eventually drop their trans identity and desist to their natal sex.

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