James Caspian, a psychotherapist, has over ten years of experience working with transgender and transsexual patients. When he began to hear more often that individuals were wanting to reverse their gender-reassignment surgery, he decided to do some research into the issue. He enrolled at Bath Spa University and submitted his research proposal, only to have it rejected by the university ethics committee. Their reasoning? The topic was “politically incorrect” and “the posting of unpleasant material on blogs or social media may be detrimental to the reputation of the university.”
Caspian began researching anyway:
I found that, particularly in the US, there are increasing numbers of very young women who decided they were trans, had taken testosterone, some had breasts removed and then realised, typically in their early 20s if not before, that it was a mistake. This is a hugely under-researched field.
He also spoke to a leading genital reconstructive surgeon, Miroslav Djordjevic, who said that he had performed seven gender-reassignment reversals. The patients were all transgender women who wanted to recover their male genitalia.
Individuals began contacting him to tell their stories. Caspian saw just how many people had regretted and/or reversed their reassignment surgeries, but were too intimidated to speak about it. One woman told him:
Quite a lot of us have taken testosterone, had breasts removed and have gone back to living as women. But we don’t all reverse our surgery, which would mean breast implants. So we just live with the scars.
And if activists have their way, these men and women will continue to be silenced, instead of receiving the support they need and being able to help others who may be considering reassignment surgery. (Read about a new National Health Services (NHS) proposal in the United Kingdom in which hundreds of general practitioners would be designated “champions for transgender healthcare.”)
Caspian has many concerns about how the nature of the gender reassignment process is changing. Activists are pushing for it to be allowed at younger ages, which could be harmful to teenagers who are still growing and may be influenced to make this decision that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
Another concern is how gender clinics are transitioning to an affirmation basis instead of questioning and delving deeper into the other issues affecting the patient. In fact, there are even laws that prohibit counsellors from questioning a patient’s assertion that they are transgender. Additionally, many requirements for counselling have been removed, making it too easy for patients to start the gender transition process. These changes have been a result of efforts by The World Professional Association for Transgender Health.
Eroding the counselling process for gender reassignment surgery is a terrible mistake because it puts individuals who are suffering from other issues at risk. Oftentimes, individuals who initially express a desire to gender transition have other underlying issues.
If transgender activists really care about those struggling with gender dysphoria, they should not silence the voices of these individuals who regret their gender reassignment surgeries. They need to allow them to be heard, so that others do not make the same mistake.