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12 May, 2020 13:15

‘I said I was trans and was prescribed hormones that day’: De-transitioner opens up about the ease of getting body-altering drugs

‘I said I was trans and was prescribed hormones that day’: De-transitioner opens up about the ease of getting body-altering drugs

Prescriptions of hormones are on the rise as more people come out as transgender, but the medication is being handed out far too easily and quickly, often to confused and vulnerable individuals.

“All I said was I thought I was trans and I was prescribed [hormones] that day,” says a source who has asked to remain anonymous for fear he’ll be attacked online. 

At just 20 years of age, this biological male began hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to transition into a female during 2017. Leading up to that decision, he spent years battling with confusion as to what gender he believed himself to be, and wandered into an online environment seeking help and advice. 

“I bounced around a lot in my confusion. Sometimes I thought I was trans, sometimes I didn’t,” he said, before detailing how he fell into communities that helped convince him he was. It was these groups that pressured him into seeking medication, even though he had previously expressed some doubts. 

“Honestly, what cemented it were the people who said even if I'm not sure, I should get on HRT anyway because I'd miss my chance and I wouldn't be able to look the way I want later in life.” He continued: “So I booked an appointment at a clinic that specializes in LGBT [issues] and went [in].”

The clinic is in New York, and he was prescribed hormones that same day.

Sex changes on demand

HRT has become increasingly easy to obtain. As other sources relayed through their own firsthand experiences, Planned Parenthood and its informed consent policies make the process startlingly quick. Appointments usually last an hour, and after blood results come in, patients are written a prescription.  

The process of informed consent bypasses the need for a long-term therapist to sign off on medication. Transgender advocates believe this prevents gatekeeping and uncomfortable situations. In their view, the drugs should be as readily available as other basic meds a doctor may prescribe for health problems – think having a chest cold and being handed cough medicine.

This newfound speed in diagnosing patients as transgender doesn’t just extend to Planned Parenthood or other LGBT clinics, either. Some people I spoke with mentioned bringing gender confusion up to their actual therapists, and in a majority of cases they were prescribed meds within 30 days. Keeping in mind most of them see their doctor once a week or less, that’s not many hours dedicated to handling a very serious topic.

As a transgender person myself I can corroborate these examples. At a Veteran Affairs hospital I sought out a therapist to open up to about gender issues I’d been battling my whole life. Within just a few weeks the subject of medication was broached, and I could have started them right then. I ended up waiting a bit longer just to be sure, but the ease at which I came out of the closet and was offered hormones was shocking, to say the least. 

Under pressure

Perhaps most unsettling are the online communities pushing individuals towards HRT. Trans discussions have proliferated the social media landscape, and confused youth and young adults are going to them for help. But at what cost? 

As my first source would say: “I was confused and vulnerable and I had been put in a position where I believed this would solve my problems and save me.” 

Thankfully for him, he realized it had been a mistake, and after an “extended” period of time he stopped taking his HRT. He still enjoys girly things, but he doesn’t believe himself to be a female. This makes him part of a growing statistic, as people throughout the world are beginning to de-transition. 

Having spoken to others, I can attest that a not-so-negligible number of individuals regret starting hormones as soon as they did. Under a belief they should start them as soon as possible, not everyone is being open and upfront to doctors about their confusion. Some of this stems from an idea that if they exhibit doubt but then do turn out to be trans, a doctor may then still be unwilling to give them a prescription further down the line. 

These meds have permanent effects, such as breast growth and sterility, and mood swings early on are to be expected. This makes it a bad mix for a group of people unsure about their decision and who already battle higher depression and suicide risks. It doesn’t take much to see why downing body-altering drugs and then regretting it could further push people to an edge they can’t quite as easily back away from. 

What the ideal solution here is, no-one can say for certain; even in countries where wait times are longer and rules more stringent, de-transition still exists. For adults, four years is probably too long a time to wait, but here in the States, one day isn’t the answer either – especially in a society where activists are advocating that children be allowed puberty blockers, or even pushing the notion they should also be able to take hormones.

It shouldn’t be controversial to ask that kids not be allowed any transition medications or surgeries whatsoever, but in the era of runaway ‘progressivism’, controversial it is. A sad state of affairs, as nothing stopped me in my tracks quicker than one source relaying a story about how a parent pushed to get their child on blockers within a week of first seeing a doctor. 

For their sake, I hope it wasn’t a mistake.  

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.