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by Katie Herzog:

"Instead of talking to therapists, Jackie found a community online. She's now a moderator of Detransition Info, an online resource for people to ask questions and share their experiences.

Jackie and other detrans people I spoke to said their online community is in the hundreds, but no one knows precisely what percentage of the population has detransitioned. It's not even clear how many people are transgender. The United States Census Bureau doesn't collect data on gender identity (or sexual orientation), but a 2016 study from the Williams Institute at UCLA Law estimates that there are 1.4 million trans adults in the United States, or about 0.6 percent of the adult population. That's double previous estimates.

By all accounts, detransitioners make up a tiny percentage of that already small population: A 50-year study out of Sweden found that only 2.2 percent of people who medically transitioned later experienced "transition regret." (The rate of cosmetic surgery patients who are dissatisfied with their nose jobs, by comparison, is estimated at about 17 percent, according an analysis published in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal.)

There have, however, been almost a dozen studies of looking at the rate of "desistance," among trans-identified kids—which, in this context, refers to cases in which trans kids eventually identify as their sex at birth. Canadian sex researcher James Cantor summarized those studies' findings in a blog post: "Despite the differences in country, culture, decade, and follow-up length and method, all the studies have come to a remarkably similar conclusion: Only very few trans-kids still want to transition by the time they are adults. Instead, they generally turn out to be regular gay or lesbian folks." The exact rate of desistance varied by study, but overall, they concluded that about 80 percent trans kids eventually identified as their sex at birth. Some trans activists and academics, however, argue that these studies are flawed, the patients surveyed weren't really transgender, and that mass desistance doesn't exist.

"The desistance myth was promoted by reparative therapists, concern trolls, and charlatans," trans advocate Brynn Tannehill wrote on the Huffington Post. "It's time for the 80 percent desistance figure to be relegated to the same junk science bin as the utterly discredited link between vaccines and autism."

Indeed, some of the studies cited by Cantor had sample sizes as low as 16 people and were more than 40 years old, and one was an unpublished doctoral dissertation. But the most recent study, published in 2013 in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, followed up with 127 adolescent patients at a gender identity clinic in Amsterdam and found that two-thirds ultimately identified as the gender they were assigned at birth."


More information

Read more about the phenomenon of detransition:

Boyd I, Hackett T, Bewley S. Care of Transgender Patients: A General Practice Quality Improvement Approach. Healthcare. 2022; 10(1):121.

D’Angelo, R. (2020). The man I am trying to be is not me. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 101(5), 951–970.

Entwistle, K. (2020). Debate: Reality check – Detransitioner’s testimonies require us to rethink gender dysphoria. Child and Adolescent Mental Health, camh.12380.

Expósito-Campos, P. (2021). A Typology of Gender Detransition and Its Implications for Healthcare Providers. Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy.

Hall, R., Mitchell, L., & Sachdeva, J. (2021). Access to care and frequency of detransition among a cohort discharged by a UK national adult gender identity clinic: Retrospective case-note review. BJPsych Open, 7(6), e184.

Littman, L. (2021). Individuals Treated for Gender Dysphoria with Medical and/or Surgical Transition Who Subsequently Detransitioned: A Survey of 100 Detransitioners. Archives of Sexual Behavior.

Marchiano, L. (2021). Gender detransition: A case study. Journal of Analytical Psychology, 66(4), 813–832.

Roberts, C. M., Klein, D. A., Adirim, T. A., Schvey, N. A., & Hisle-Gorman, E. (2022). Continuation of Gender-affirming Hormones Among Transgender Adolescents and Adults. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 107(9), e3937–e3943.

Vandenbussche, E. (2021). Detransition-Related Needs and Support: A Cross-Sectional Online Survey. Journal of Homosexuality, 20.