I found an old quote off of one of my posts on the tumblr “ftm detransition tag,” and that it had been picked up (gleefully? lovingly?) by an anti-transition radical feminist who has also posted about testosterone being a deadly drug. (According to her blurb, she might be an ex-trans-person herself, for what that’s worth.)
And now I feel dirty.
I worry very much about having created this record of de-transition. It isn’t even that I worry that my story will be misused. I feel personally vulnerable to the people who would like to talk about how I was clearly insane and dangerously empowered. Offering up these experiences puts me at risk, like the coed whispering into the mirror. I can’t control the response to what I write.
That potential, and the relief of not having to manage your own editorial (on the solicitation end, at least) is part of the appeal of blogging. It’s why I use a blog as my drafts book: the act of publishing provides an incentive, even when nobody actually reads them. (To my knowledge: it’s possible these new posts are fluttering off into trans-critical nets. If they ever become a book, of course, they’ll become part of the trans-critical record: I’ll be one of the only trans people to detransition because changing sex really was a bad idea.)
It isn’t that I worry that they’ll call me an idiot (that has happened) or a deluded victim (that has happened) or both, each by virtue of the other. I’m afraid of suffering some tangible harm, some slimy interference, but I can’t imagine what I imagine. I’m picturing witches with greasy eyes. They would probably find that darkly telling.
Writing about my surgery could get me fired someday, or classed out of an academic community; I could suffer some invisible stigma. I could be humiliated to my face.
That isn’t what worries me, though.
I think I might be upset just by this experience itself: seeing my words in the mouth of someone I don’t know and disagree with. This person is my enemy. I didn’t have to deal with unwanted quoting very often before–to my face, anyway–and it’s making me very uncomfortable.
I should point acknowledge, too, that this is an inevitable part of any publication–or even any more coherent online presence. Even an attempt to manage this blog in a more constructive, less passive-aggressive way carries not the risk but the certainty that this story will be taken that way.
I don’t even need to exist for that to happen.
Everything I have experienced, and everything I’ve found in my desultory searches thus far, signals that true regret–regret unrelated to pragmatic judgments, transphobia, or an overblown evaluation of both–is rare. It is not typical. People who get a sex change even though they are not trans at all are unusual even within the uncommon outcome of regret leading to retransition.
We are still used as evidence that transition is invalid or overprescribed. We cancel out the far greater number of trans people who stop because transition is incredibly difficult and the even greater number of trans people (that probability approaches one) who report long delays resulting from compromised access.
So I have to assume that actually being here will result in someone taking me as proof that transition is a bad idea–either for a significant number of people who transition or for everyone. I should also assume that my utility could make me infamous.
I don’t know whether to care about that. I feel like I’m tempting fate right now. I feel like it’s a strange concern to have while writing a book on the subject. I don’t know how to resolve this issue except by continuing to write.