‘We are just guinea pigs’: Women describe trauma of transitioning as teenagers

‘We are just guinea pigs’: Women describe trauma of transitioning as teenagers by Tori Richards for WashingtonExaminer.com

The number of teenagers identifying as transgender has exploded. Advocates say it protects young people from marginalization. Some experts, however, many of whom consider themselves survivors, warn against treating adolescent confusion with drugs and surgeries that have irreversible physical and psychological effects. In the first part of this series, the Washington Examiner speaks to some of these women who are still struggling with their decision years later.

The mournful post on Reddit, “My consent was not informed,” details a grim future for a woman who pulled herself out of a transgender lifestyle: weekly injections, diabetes medication, pain, lack of energy, and “who knows what else” for the rest of her life.

“I was a child, allowed to destroy my body permanently, under the assurance that I can always change my mind, and that it’s a beautiful, harmless process,” wrote Lgbtcos in February . “The informed consent model is a lie, because we are just guinea pigs to a medical experiment, my life is permanently afflicted, and I was not informed.”

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The missive was on the Detrans subreddit, which currently has 23,000 members. It caught the eye of Candace Sharpe, 22, who has undergone her own hellish surgeries. She answered the post.


Social media is filled with a neverending stream of detransitioners who are trying to undo the effects of hormone therapy and invasive surgeries such as hysterectomies and mastectomies. March 12 was designated as Detrans Awareness Day, and social media was flooded with postings from people describing their efforts to leave the transgender lifestyle.

The average age to detransition is 23, approximately five years after undergoing transition, a clinical survey of 237 participants showed. Seventy percent realized that their gender dysphoria was related to other issues, such as existing depression.

“When I was younger, I had a lot of mental issues, depression, anxiety, about life,” Sharpe told the Washington Examiner. “When I was 12, I found on the internet that young girls could be trans and it would solve why I hated myself so much, why my life was so horrible, why my life was so wrong.”

Sharpe, who lives in Canada, was a withdrawn child who was bullied at school and spent an inordinate amount of time online. Her home life wasn’t great, so when she told her mother she was a boy, the answer was to see a psychiatrist and obtain antidepressants. No one inquired why she thought she was a different sex. This evolved into puberty blockers and testosterone injections at 15.

She started having infections and pain with the testosterone that lasted years. At 17, a doctor pressured her into getting a full mastectomy followed by a hysterectomy at 19. In Canada, teenagers can undergo surgery at 16 without parental consent.

Regardless, Sharpe said her mother approved of the surgeries.

“It was sold as this thing that’s no big deal. If you don’t like a body part, just get rid of it,” Sharpe said. “Now, I have chronic pain all over my chest. I’m stuck on painkillers. The doctor sold it like it was worth the risk because, ‘You need it.’ Does anyone really need that kind of surgery, especially a young girl at 17?”

The story of Athena, 22, is similar. As someone who didn’t have a lot of friends growing up and was being treated for depression, Athena found a sense of belonging when she befriended a group of transgender adults. She lives in Seattle where society and especially medical professionals see this lifestyle as a cure-all, she said.

Continue Reading / WashingtonExaminer.com >>>

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