Detransition pertains to the halting or reverting of gender transitioning. It involves the discontinuation of hormone therapy, surgical reconstruction, or both. Detransitioners should consult health care professionals to know the consequences of detransitioning.
Researchers at Princeton University also discovered that 2.5% of transgender kids detransition to the gender presumed for them at birth. The research began in 2013 and tracked 317 kids to report their current gender identities five years after their social transition.
For instance, Luka “Bunny” Hein was only 16 years old when she underwent a double mastectomy. However, four years later, she felt the doctors threatened her to transition medically. According to Hein, the doctors should have focused on her mental health issues rather than saying surgery was the only choice.
It is best to contact a lawyer immediately if you have been a victim of negligent gender-affirming treatments. An attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve. Moreover, they can assist you in fighting for your rights.
Transitioning involves making changes to live your gender identity. Gender identity refers to your conception of yourself as a male, female, both, or neither. If you do identify with neither or both genders, you are non-binary. If your gender identity changes through time, you are gender fluid.
There is no definite formula for transitioning. You may take social, medical, and legal actions to transition to the gender you want. Some transgender people only transition socially without undergoing medical interventions. Others may wish to alter their anatomy to match their gender identity.
On the other hand, gender dysphoria pertains to the emotional distress felt by transgender due to the mismatch between their gender identity and physical appearance. They may feel anxious, depressed, isolated, and in extreme cases, suicidal. The treatments for gender dysphoria include social transitioning, psychotherapy, hormone therapy, gender-affirming surgeries, and legal transition.
Social transition involves adopting the name, pronouns, and gender expression that match your gender identity. For instance, gender transition may start by dressing and accessorizing in ways that align with your identity. You may also come out to your friends and family as transgender.
Alex Schmider, an associate director at the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), stated that using people’s correct pronouns is a way of respecting them. In the same way, they may also go by a different name. Some people may also use a feminine or masculine voice to match their gender identity.
A person may medically transition through surgery and hormone therapy.
A double mastectomy removes breasts some trans men and non-binary people choose to undergo.
This procedure may also include the removal of lymph nodes and glandular tissue. If you have a small chest size, you can have a nipple-sparing mastectomy, which spares your nipple, areola, and skin. However, the doctor might need to take off the nipples and areolas if you have more chest tissue. They will then resize and put them back into position to create a more masculine look.
A hysterectomy refers to removing the uterus and, sometimes, the ovaries or fallopian tubes. Many transgender people choose to undergo a hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Salpingectomy means excising the fallopian tubes, while an oophorectomy means removing the ovaries.
Medical interventions for trans women and non-binary people include breast augmentation and vaginoplasty. In breast augmentation, surgeons use breast implants to increase breast size and change the shape of your chest. Doctors may also use fat taken from other parts of your body instead of implants.
In vaginoplasty, surgeons remove the penis, scrotum, and testicles to create a vagina. The doctors rearrange tissues to create a vaginal opening and external genitalia, including the labia and clitoris. The procedure also requires the combination of skin surrounding the penis and the scrotum to make the vaginal opening.
Aside from surgery, the medical transition includes hormone treatment. Depending on your gender identity, you may choose between feminizing or masculinizing hormone therapy. Cross-sex hormones contain either testosterone or estrogen.
Doctors may also recommend puberty blockers that contain gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Puberty blockers stop the body from releasing testosterone or estrogen. Minors use these medications to suppress the physical changes that puberty does to their bodies.
Aside from gender-affirming care, some transgender people also undergo a legal transition. It includes changing information about your gender in official documents, such as the following:
- Birth certificate
- State ID
- Driver’s license
- Social Security card
- School ID
Risks of Transitioning
Although surgery and hormone therapy can treat gender dysphoria, these procedures carry short and long-term risks. Hence, transgender people, especially young ones, should be aware of the side effects before deciding to go through gender-affirming treatment.
All surgeries entail a small risk of complications, such as bleeding and infection. However, each surgery carries different risks.
For instance, double mastectomy complications may include damaged nipples, solid swelling due to clotted blood, chest tissue imbalance, and scarring. Some patients also experience fluid buildup and poor wound healing, which can be painful.
Vaginoplasty also carries possible risks, such as hematoma, nerve injury, injury to the urinary tract, and narrowing of the vagina. Other side effects include inadequate depth of the vagina and painful intercourse. Some patients suffer from poor healing of incisions.
Phalloplasty is a gender-affirming treatment that includes the creation of a penis and scrotum. It is a complicated surgery with side effects, such as urethral complications, pelvic pain, bladder injury, lack of sensation, and rectal injury. The patient may also experience hematoma and decreased mobility on the donor site.
Aside from the medical risks, some patients are also dissatisfied with the results. Although gender-affirming surgeries may not be purely cosmetic, appearance is still important. Hence, dissatisfaction with the results can affect their mental health.
Long-term hormone use risks
In 2022, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned about the risks among patients taking products containing GnRH agonists. These include headaches, blurred or loss of vision, double vision, pain with eye movement, tinnitus, dizziness, and nausea. Some of the products mentioned are Lupron, Fensolvi, and Synarel.
Leuprolide acetate, commonly called Lupron, is a GnRH agonist widely used off-label to treat gender dysphoria and as an anti-androgen. While effective, prolonged use has been linked to bone thinning, osteoporosis, degenerative disc disease, and chronic pain. According to some people who took Lupron, they experienced anxiety and depression.
Histrelin acetate is another kind of puberty blocker often prescribed for minors. However, it may increase a child’s risk of having seizures. It may also cause increased pressure in the head. Children may experience ringing or buzzing in the ears, hearing loss, eye pain, and severe headache. People using histrelin may also display abnormal behaviors, such as irritability and agitation.
Cross-sex hormones for trans women also carry side effects, such as infertility, heart problems, blood clots, high potassium levels, high blood pressure, and stroke. Likewise, hormone therapy for trans men may cause infertility, high cholesterol level, pelvic pain, and type 2 diabetes.
Present Status of Transitioning in the US
As of 2022, more than 1.6 million people identify as transgender in the US. Out of the 1.6 million, 300,000 are young adults. The UCLA School of Law Williams Institute also discovered that there are slightly more transgender women than transgender men. Their study shows 39% are trans women, while only 36% are trans men.
To serve the community, Undark identified more than 50 pediatric gender clinics in the US. Moreover, the US has over 60 comprehensive gender clinics where the transgender community can seek gender-affirming health care.
Social media and medical transition
Social media plays a critical role in disseminating information about medical transitioning. A Miami-based plastic surgeon named Dr. Sidhbh Gallagher used TikTok to persuade vulnerable teens to undergo transgender operations allegedly. She was reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for allegedly boosting the benefits of sex-reassignment surgeries while downplaying their risks.
Dr. Gallagher allegedly used catchy videos to attract transgender adolescents into undergoing gender-affirming surgeries, such as double mastectomies and bottom surgeries. She reportedly took advantage of the gender dysphoria that many teens experience.
However, the Gallagher Plastic Surgery clinic responded that their videos sought to educate and celebrate the transgender community. According to their statement, several groups targeted Dr. Gallagher because of her work with transgender teens.
Criticisms of pediatric gender clinics
Aside from Dr. Gallagher’s clinic, a few hospitals have also received criticism. The Vanderbilt Transgender Health Clinic has paused transgender surgeries for patients under 18 amid pressure from Republican leaders. Dr. Wright Pinson said they are reviewing new guidelines for treating transgender patients.
Social media accounts, bloggers, and news outlets threatened Boston Children’s Hospital due to their YouTube videos about surgeries for transgender youth. The hospital took down the videos and said they are working with authorities to protect staff, doctors, and patients. The hospital further stated that it does not perform genital surgeries for patients below 18 years old.
Minimum age for medical transition
The World Professional Association for Transgender Health reduced the age restrictions for medical transition to 14. On the other hand, the Endocrine Society suggested starting gender-affirming treatments when the patient is at least 18.
Some major medical organizations declined to offer age-specific guidelines. These include the American Medical Association (AMA), American Psychiatric Association (APA), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
Medical centers have varying requirements for minors who want to transition medically. For instance, the Seattle Children’s Gender Clinic requires patients below 18 years old to acquire parental consent before undergoing gender-affirming treatments. Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City requires letters of recommendation from a psychologist or psychiatrist in transgender care.
Notable State Laws on Transitioning
Arkansas was the first state to ban gender-affirming health care for transgender minors. Tennessee, Arizona, and Alabama also enacted laws restricting young patients from undergoing gender-affirming treatments. As of March 2022, the following states are also seeking to ban such surgeries and treatments:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
The American College of Physicians (ACP) reported that Alabama considers providing gender-affirming care to minors a felony. The proposed law seeks to punish the said medical interventions with up to 10 years of prison time.
Aside from banning medical interventions, almost half of the proposed laws bar insurance providers from covering gender-affirming care. They also exclude gender-affirming treatments from the list of tax-deductible medical expenses. Moreover, the bills prohibit using state funds to cover surgeries and hormone therapy for trans youth.
However, not all states subscribe to this attitude. There are efforts in several states to support gender-affirming care, such as bills introduced in Maryland and Vermont. The Maryland Senate passed a bill requiring comprehensive Medicaid coverage for transgender care. Moreover, the Vermont House of Representatives aims to pass a law that allows minors to consent to non-surgical, gender-affirming treatments.
Recent Lawsuits on Transitioning
Clinicians, doctors, and mental health professionals have been the subject of complaints regarding medical transition. Transitioning carries significant risks, and medical professionals must ensure patients understand them.
Recent lawsuits involve transgender and non-binary individuals who suffered injuries and mental health issues due to transitioning. The following are some of the notable ones in the US and UK.
Bell v. Tavistock
Bell v. Tavistock is a legal precedent in gender-affirming care of minors in the UK. The trending case involved Keira Bell, who started taking puberty blockers at 16.
However, five years after transitioning, she began to detransition. She believes the Tavistock gender clinic staff should have challenged her more because she was a teenager when she started.
There are two claimants in this case: Bell and Mrs. A. Mrs. A is the mother of a 15-year-old girl with autism who was awaiting treatment at the clinic at that time. Bell stated that she underwent three appointments before the medical staff prescribed puberty blockers for her gender dysphoria. However, she felt the assessments were not enough, considering she was very young.
In 2021, the court of appeal‘s decision favored Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust. The court ruled that it was for clinicians to decide regarding consent.
However, the National Health Service (NHS) England announced the closure of Tavistock in July 2022 due to reckless prescription of cross-sex hormones. Moreover, the clinic failed to collect data on patients below 16 years old who have taken puberty blockers. Due to this breach of standards of care, established regional hospitals will now handle gender-affirming care for transgender youth.
Brandt v. Rutledge
Brandt v. Rutledge is a lawsuit challenging Arkansas’ ban on gender-affirming treatments for young people. Brought on by the families of trans youth and two doctors, the trial ended in the first week of December 2022. US District Judge Jay Moody has not indicated when he would rule.
During the first part of the trial, medical experts testified on the safety of hormone therapy, surgery, and counseling for minor transgender. Dr. Michele Hutchison and Dr. Kathleen Stambough also explained the processes involved in making decisions regarding a minor’s treatment for gender dysphoria. They and the children’s families had considered the possible risks and benefits of the treatments.
Dr. Paul Hruz was the state’s final witness. According to him, such gender-affirming care needs further scientific investigation. He testified that the risks were too significant for treating young people.
Kiefel v. Ruff
Camille Kiefel is suing two gender counselors and Oregon gender clinics who employ them because of the fast-tracked surgery she experienced. Camille suffered from physical and mental health problems since her teenage years, including anxiety and depression. It was also at this time that she identified as non-binary.
Court papers showed that Camille only had one-hour and 40-minute consultations before being recommended for a double mastectomy. She argued that she is now living with a physically painful chest and deep feelings of regret. Moreover, Camille permanently lost her choice to breastfeed a child. Due to the injuries she suffered, Camille seeks up to $850,000 in damages.
Growth of Detrans Community
Because of the complexities of transitioning, thousands of people are becoming interested in detransition. The Reddit community focusing on detransition now has more than 43,000 members. Moreover, Detrans United has several testimonies from detransitioners.
Posts from the Detransition Subreddit showed several concerns about transitioning. A member said they felt like guinea pigs because they were given harmful medications at an early age. They only received a 50-minute therapy session before getting approval for their gender-affirming health care. This problem is similar to the issues raised in Keira Bell and Camille Kiefel’s cases.
A member complained of debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome after taking cross-sex hormones and filed a lawsuit against medical practitioners. According to another member, their mental health suffered because of transitioning at a young age. Their medical transition also stunted their sexual development. Hence, they lack a proper sense of sexual identity.
These detransitioners commonly complain about medical and surgical malpractice. Fortunately, the subreddit seeks to build a community where detransitioners can share experiences and ask for recommendations about lawsuits and lawyers.
Detrans United is an online community of former transgender-identifying youth and adults to support detransitioners. It published a video compilation featuring detransitioners to share the dangers and risks of gender-affirming medical care, especially for minors.
One of them was Cat Cattinson, a singer and molecular biologist. At age 17, Cat’s parents took her to a gender therapist. However, the therapist affirmed Cat as a boy immediately. By the third appointment, the doctor suggested Cat should start taking testosterone. Her parents disagreed.
But her desire to medically transition persisted, so she called Planned Parenthood. After a 30-minute consultation, she was prescribed testosterone. Within months of starting testosterone, she experienced liver damage, heart palpitations, and permanent loss of her natural singing voice. Hence, she detransitioned.
She emphasized that she was lucky because she did not use puberty blockers at an early age. If she had, she believes she would have suffered from long-term side effects, such as osteoporosis, infertility, and stunted brain development. Hence, she advocates for the complete termination of prescribing puberty blockers to patients under age 25.
Another one is Billy Burleigh, who used to be transgender. He followed the advice of medical therapists and researchers to change his body by taking testosterone blockers and estrogen.
He also underwent a penile inversion, Adam’s apple shave, and labiaplasty. After several feminization surgeries, he developed more problems than before he started transitioning. Therefore, he decided to detransition. According to Billy, it should be unethical for doctors to prescribe gender-converting treatments for patients under 18.
Future of the Detrans Movement
The detransition community gained popularity among news sites, medical practitioners, clinicians, researchers, and government agencies. It also captured the attention of the book industry.
One example is Torrey Peters, who wrote Detransition, Baby, a book about Ames, a detransitioner. Ames was once a trans woman who went by the name Amy. One day, he called his former partner, Reese, and made her an unusual offer. Ames asked Reese if she wanted to join him in raising his kid with another woman.Due to its exciting plot and valuable lessons, the novel may start the rise of fictional stories about detransitioning. The book also received several reviews from reputable news sites and magazines. Time says it offers a tender and bold exploration of gender. CNN recognized Peters’ courage in navigating the taboo regarding sex, gender, identity, and relationships.
Did you know?
Michael Irwig published a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM) on the many aspects of detransitioning. Among other things, it showed that many detransitioners lost support from the LGBT community and experienced hostility.
What a Detrans Lawyer Can Do for You
Personal injury and medical malpractice lawyers can help you gather evidence, prove elements of medical malpractice, and help ensure you get the rightful compensation. If you wish to take legal action, you should hire experienced attorneys.
Gather and analyze evidence
Critical evidence in a medical malpractice case includes medical records and sworn testimonies of the alleged negligent doctors or medical staff. You also need testimonies from other medical professionals in the same field. Your lawyers will examine and arrange the essential evidence to establish a strong case.
Prove the elements of medical malpractice
Your lawyer can help prove the four elements of medical malpractice as follows:
- Duty of care
- Breach of duty
In a medical malpractice case, your attorney must show the existence of a doctor-patient relationship. This relationship entails the standards of care that the doctor must follow. When the medical professional fails to meet this duty of care, resulting in injury, you can seek damages.
Ensure that clients receive the proper compensation
Your attorney can help you secure damages, which is the payment for injuries. In detransition lawsuits, you can receive compensation for the following:
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of earning capacity
- Mental anguish
Choose the Right Personal Injury Attorney
Detransition lawsuits are complicated, so you need competent legal representation when claiming damages. Your lawyer must prove the elements of medical malpractice, correctly calculate damages, and negotiate for a fair settlement.
At The Personal Injury Center, we understand the confusion and difficulties that detransitioners experience. We have valuable resources to help you understand your rights regarding medical malpractice and detransitioning. Visit our website to find malpractice attorneys who are experts in gender-affirming care. Book a free consultation today.
Are you suffering due to negligent medical transitioning? The Personal Injury Center offers the proper resources and network to help protect your rights. Book a free consultation today!
FAQs on Detrans Lawsuits
Why do people decide to detransition?
A cross-sectional online survey revealed the common reason for detransitioning. Most detransitioners realized that their gender dysphoria was related to other issues. Sixty-five percent of the participants underwent both social and medical transition, and 46 percent medically transitioned through gender-affirming surgeries.
Most participants in the survey have mental health issues. Their comorbidities include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attention deficit disorder, autism spectrum condition, eating disorder, and personality disorder.
How long must you decide whether to sue or not?
States have different statutes of limitations for medical malpractice. For instance, in Texas, you must file your claim within two years of the breach of duty. On the other hand, the state of California requires individuals to file medical malpractice cases within one year after the death or discovery of the injury.
What is the difference between desistance and detransition?
Desistance is for people who chose to transition non-medically despite experiencing gender dysphoria and stopped. Detransition refers to halting or reversing gender-affirming treatments, such as surgeries and hormone therapies.