Trigger Warning: I am about to lay out some of what I see and feel about young people transitioning and the huge issues that are starting to surface surrounding this very touchy subject. I invite anyone interested to this conversation, as long as we can maintain decency and mutual respect for one another, understanding that every individual is completely entitled to their own opinions. No one is wrong, even though some of us may disagree.
Reference: Youtuber Arielle Scarcarcella from NYC recently did a video discusssing this topic and had some interesting points and statistics that were pretty surprising. She also has other fairly current videos on this topic in her playlist. Now, I do not always agree with this particular Youtuber, who I’ve watched for about 10 years now, but I respect that she is not afraid to take up some pretty controversial stuff on her channel and she catches a lot of flak because of it. To understand what sparked my interest in writing and doing my own videos about this topic you should give Ariellle’s vids a watch. Here’s the main one I am referring to: “Thousands of “Trans” Teens Want to DETRANSITION...”
Transitioning and De-Transitioning
This topic has come up between myself and several of my Butch buddies. It’s often suggested directly TO us by other people, who do not understand yhe Butch identity,
“Why don’t you just transition? You want to be a man anyway, right?”
You don’t even know how many times I have had that exact statement directed at me. I don’t feel any need because I am not unhappy with my gender. I’m just fine living as a Butch woman and thus do not need or want to transition and change my gender marker.
I have no problem with those who DO choose to transition and for those who it works for and who are most happy they have undergone the processes and procedures to make themselves at home in their bodies and minds. I have several trans friends (mostly MtF) who I have mad respect for, fully support and love dearly. I do understand that it IS the right thing for those who consider it carefully, understand all of it and are consenting adults.
I am LESS comfortable with young people choosing this path at too early an age. I believe that there should be a minimum age requirement. Let the kid grow up, mature both physically and mentally and experience life before performing irreversible changes to their bodies. I personally believe a person should be a minimum of 25 years old and have gone through at least 2 years of intensive therapy and medical testing before undertaking this monumental process.
I am in no way saying or suggesting that any kid who claims that they are trans are not. I’m just saying I believe it should be handled very carefully. I believe many younger Butches often go through the “I wanna be a boy” or “I think I am really a boy” phase. And yes, for some – like me personally – it’s just that – a phase. I went thru it and once I realized that I could love other girls even though I AM a girl too and the world may not “like” it, but as long as I was true to myself instead of thinking that only boys could love girls, I didn’t have that desire to change my gender any longer. Sometimes I think that is the bottom line thinking of a 14 year old. That YOU have to change, when it’s really the WORLD that needs to change. YOU should just be YOURSELF and make yourself happy. The world will catch up one day. And THAT is my PERSONAL opinion.
I am 58, so perhaps my view and experience in observing what has been happening regarding transitioning, and how much it’s increased and progressed in the last 10 years is different from the experiences of the younger generation who does not recall a time when this wasn’t even considered by almost anybody – and oft times not even known about as an option. Transitioning from female to male (MtF) seems to have been discovered and has become epidemic among younger people because the concept and procedures have received far more exposure in the last decade than ever before.
As a statistic, 75% of those transitioning are female at birth who choose to transition to male, thus it has become more popular with young women comparibly than with young men in the same age brackets.
The topic is really taboo in the community. No one wants to talk about it because they think that others will view them as “transphobic” Thus, it’s not being discussed and studied as it should be right now. I think this is something, transitioning/detransitioning, should be discussed much more – especially with our younger community. Many times it’s children who discover this idea and convince their parents to allow them to permanently change their bodies with surgery and hormones in an attempt to become the gender opposite of what they were born.
I definitely understand that there ARE individuals who ARE legitimate in transitioning. I am in no way saying that trans people are all confused or doing anything wrong. Transitioning is a very personal choice and one that should not be taken lightly, done quickly, done unsupervised by good medical staff, and really considered with some good therapy before it’s undertaken by anyone.
My biggest concern with transitioning is that many children are convincing their parents to let them do this. And some with very little medical diagnosis, or a very quick “diagnosis”.
Doctors are afraid to say “no” or even “wait” now because they are so afraid of being labelled “transphobic” This is dangerous to the patient and often results in an unhappy individual down the road who decides maybe this “isn’t” what they wanted and then they go through the process of “de-transitioning” which is pretty tough as well.
Transitioning from one gender to another is a long process, a heavy mental process as well as physical changes. There’s not enough room here to dive deep into the processes – and there are actually a few ways to do it. Should you wish to know more about transitioning and what it’s like I highly recommend doing some basic online research to get more of a grasp on the topic.
Youtube is a great place to start as there are literally thousands of videos by individuals who have gone through the transition process. And there are also thousands by people who have chosen to reverse the process and “detransition” I will include a few links at the end of this article that I feel are good places to start.
Note: Please try to have an open mind and a kind heart. This is a very serious thing for those who suffer with feeling that they are living in the wrong body, have body dysphoria and are going through transition for their own personal reasons. It’s a very tough thing to go through, emotionally as well as physically. Suicide rates among young people who identify as “trans” are alarmingly disproportionate. Trans kids commit suicide at 3 times the rate of kids who identify as “gay or lesbian” – which is also a very high rate as well. It is not helpful to be judgemental and you’ll learn more if you keep an open mind and ask questions instead of assuming. It’s not easy living in a world where you don’t feel like you “belong” or “fit in” because of your sexuality or gender presentation – believe me, I experience is all the time with just being an openly, visible very Butch lesbian.
To me it feels like that ever since the introduction of personal computers and cell phones to our lives, around 1990-95 lots of things in life changed, particularly in the realm of communication with the birth of “e-mail”. As time passed they started to become available and somewhat less costly and less ugly, but it did take a while! In the beginning they WERE pretty damned expensive still. If I recall correctly I paid over $4000 for my first desktop computer which was an Apple. Laptops were not on the market until a few years later. And dial-up connection was the only way to get “online” which confused the hell out of just about ALL of us – Haha…admit it, you were baffled too, unless you were under 20 and were just getting into adulting and were less paranoid about pushing the “wrong button”. That “blue screen of death” was a very scary, real and costly occurrence!
When I got mine the sales guy set it up in my office – back then that’s how it worked, you didn’t just buy one at a store. You had to call a computer sales company and they would meet you and pitch their product, figure out what you wanted to use it to do and try to match you up with the correct equipment. Yup, quite an ordeal. Buying anything short of a car or house, that cost over $4K back in 1990 was considered a major purchase and nlicot to be taken lightly. And the desktops were HUGE, awkward looking, had tiny black and white screens and made a whizzing, humming noise which you became accustomed to pretty quickly in my experience anyway. We were all just overly fascinated by the damned things that we thought all the noises, humming, clicking, whizzing and the dreaded going down the drain sound that would happen when something went wrong!
So, yeah, the whole world shifted when we discovered the personal computer and a telephone that you could carry in a big ass pouch slung over your shoulder. Those were some clumbsy and ugly as well. But hey, nothing is really beautiful in the very beginning….gotta have room for improvement! Now, where I was going with this…was getting to how much these devices changed our lives in so many ways. Good thing I had taken typing in high school and was pretty proficient at 160wpm, so adjusting to the keyboard was a pretty slick event for me. I do love to type and I can type far faster than I can hand-write anything.
Once computers became our “go-to” communication and working devices with email and the world wide web they continuously improved. When they finally got rid of “dial-up” and that screeching noise it made connecting – and invented fiberopticsd, then satellite, broadband, and faster and faster ways to connect to the world – we stared using them most all day long to do business, communicate with clients, friends, family and eventually the introduction of the wonderful snake pit called “social media” ! Now THAT got everyone’s attention like real quick! And it’s become and ever-expanding worlds where you can interact with just about anyone, anywhere in the world – oh, maybe except like No. Korea and China where it’s restricted or just non-existent due to that over-extended hammer of communism, sadly.
So, social media plays a big part in just about all of our lives – unless you live under a rock with no cable access. We’ve made friends, found long-lost relatives, fallen in long-distance love, had fights with people on far away continents, and looked at photos that you just cannot “un-see”..hahaha…those are fun! And for the LGBT community it’s been a great point of access for many of us to connect with our own community, which is spread far and wide and often operates on a stealth platform to avoid the sinister amount of taunting, homophobia, hate and violence oft directed at us.
It’s become a great way to stay in touch and discuss things that we don’t always have like-minded people in close proximity to talk about with. This is the part I love about the internet. I’ve met some awesome people – and some real dopes as well, but hey…gotta have a little bad with all that good! 😉
The internet definitely became a huge gateway of access to information, and in the topic of this blog I am writing – transitioning – the internet has been a huge plus for millions I am sure. It’s a place where you can privately search and read about anything – especially stuff you don’t know how to discuss with anyone in a face-to-face situation. It’s a great tool for this, and for keeping communities together in a cyber kind of way. I believe it’s been the best thing that’s happened for the LGBT community next to the tenuous huge, very important issue of legalizing same-sex marriage.
I now believe that had we NOT had internet to introduce, explain, debate and discuss transgenderism and the challenges accompanying being trans or loving someone who is trans, supporting our trans community members and their partners and families on a wider scale, I bet that we would still be trying to educate about the issue via paper and snail-mail forever…it never would have happened as it did because the internet gave us the platform and tools that allowed us to have those very important conversations and connections that eventually made it all come together and happen for our community. Yes, the internet has had it’s finer good points, such as uniting communities in a faster and better manner with some sense of privacy when desired. It’s kind of amazing to take a look-back at how online access and social media have changed the scope of access to so many things in today’s world.
I’ve read articles that have been written on this topic. Some call it the “disappearing Butch” phenomenon. I can definitely see how it looks that way. Old school Butch femme dynamics are dying off rapidly sadly. Those of us who still love the life are still here though!
So, dear readers, what are your thoughts on this transitioning young topic?
I’m going to stop here for this chapter of this topic. I will be writing more I am sure.
Be kind. –MB