Detransitioners' 'horrifying' struggles, dark side of 'gender-affirming care' exposed

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Getty Images

"Generation Indoctrination," a groundbreaking new podcast, recently delved into the harrowing experiences of individuals who have undergone body-deforming trans procedures, only to regret their decisions and pursue detransitioning. 

The fifth episode of season 3, hosted by The Christian Post's Brandon Showalter and titled "In Their Own Words: Detransitioners, Advocates Decry Deceptions Of 'Gender-Affirming Care," shed light on the profoundly personal and societal challenges faced by detransitioners.

Forrest Smith, a young man from Oregon, shared how, at the age of 20, he was prescribed cross-sex hormones and, over the next five years, underwent a series of irreversible body-mutilating surgeries, including breast implants and a double orchiectomy, which left him permanently sterilized. 

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"I lived for five years in my identity," he said of living as "Ramona." 

Living in subsidized housing in Portland, Smith was deeply embedded in a network of social services targeting the LGBT community. However, the promise of a new identity soon gave way to regret and a host of unintended consequences. 

"I suffered immensely in the ensuing months with alcoholism. I was living in poverty at the time. I quickly got COVID," he recounted, highlighting the turmoil that followed his surgeries.

Smith realized that he needed to detransition during a particularly vulnerable period when COVID-19 forced him to move back in with his parents.

"I had been going through multiple, bizarre, sort of gender crises at the end of my transition. I had made several attempts to detransition," he shared. 

The process of reintegrating with his natal sex was fraught with challenges, from finding a therapist who would accept him to facing the physical and emotional scars left by his transition.

He reflected on the initial diagnosis of gender dysphoria at a gender clinic, highlighting the swift medicalization of his identity without addressing underlying issues such as pornography addiction and a lack of male guidance in his life.

"I would say I was kind of pushed and pulled into the medicalization before I hadn't nailed down the identity," he said. 

Smith also reflected on the hurt he endured from the progressive church he attended that twisted Jesus' words to affirm his gender dysphoria. 

"I still deal with interactions with that former community, and I can tell that I'm judged; I feel pretty shunned. I've had visits from the community in the past where they make strange little comments where they're trying to correct me," he said.

Despite the severity of his ordeal, Smith found solace and direction through the guidance of a Pentecostal pastor whose approach to healing was rooted in non-judgmental support and spiritual reflection.

"I was really in a place where I wanted to turn around," he said, highlighting the importance of repentance and the pastor's ability to guide without casting judgment. 

The podcast also featured Laura Becker, a detransitioner from Wisconsin, who shared her journey through gender transition and subsequent detransition. Becker was also prescribed cross-sex hormones and underwent breast removal, decisions influenced by her personal history of abuse and the allure of liberation from gender norms promoted by feminist ideologies. 

Reflecting on her thought process, Becker said, "I had done a lot of thinking but not about Biomedical Ethics. ... And because of all the propaganda from the trans community online ... I was just happy and relieved to find providers that seemed to accept me."

However, Becker's relief was short-lived as she later recognized the negligence of her healthcare providers. This realization propelled her into activism, where she and her fellow detransitioners advocate against the practices and institutions that enabled their medical transitions. 

Becker shared how she's faced backlash for her work, including protests at public events and personal attacks online. Despite this, Becker said she's undeterred in her mission, driven by the conviction that the narrative around gender medicalization for young people needs a critical reevaluation.

"To me, these things I'm saying are very objective, but in a lot of people's minds, they're associated exclusively with right-wing, homophobic, kind of backward conservative values or ideas. And I feel like that's not an accurate assessment," she said.

Bioethicist Jennifer Lahl and Center for American Liberty attorney Mark Trammell also discussed the legal and ethical dimensions of detransitioning, including medical negligence lawsuits and the broader implications for consent and standard of care in "gender-affirming" practices. 

"You can't rebuild genitalia that has been removed ... they're kind of left as is," Lahl said. "A lot of these people will just have to live forever with the harms to their body in real life, and they may have shortened their lifespan."

Lahl drew parallels between the detransitioning issue and past medical ethics failures, such as the Nuremberg trials, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment, lobotomy scandals and forced sterilizations. However, she stressed that medicine can return to its ethical path due to public awareness, whistleblowers and legal actions.

"I do believe it's evil, what's going on," Trammell said. "The financial motivations, I think of big pharma, of these hospital systems, these gender-affirming clinics, that the money is enormous. If big pharma gets a 12-year-old girl on puberty blockers and on testosterone, they have a client for the rest of that person's life. These gender-affirming clinics that are popping up all over the country are making huge amounts of money off of these procedures. … It's horrifying; it's abuse."

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