A former transgender woman says it took him a lot of therapy and personal growth to realize that he had made a mistake years ago.
42-year-old Elan Anthony told The Guardian he transitioned back to male three years ago after transitioning as a female at the age of 19.
An only child growing up in Ohio, Anthony began wondering why he still felt female despite still being attracted to women as he approached puberty. After having multiple girlfriends in high school, however, he started to feel like a man again. But things changed again when he graduated high school and started college.
Anthony’s university counselors directed him to a “gender clinic,” where he met other transgender individuals and realized that he could feel part of an identity group with other people who are also having gender identity issues.
“It was a revelation — other people had these feelings, too, and I could relate to them, so [I] could be really happy,” he says.
This experience is not specific to colleges and high schools; even preschoolers are often encouraged to support an identified gender over a biological one in their classrooms. Just last month, a first-grader in Sacramento, California, was sent to the principal’s office for “misgendering” her classmate.
Now a psychology student with goals of obtaining his doctorate, Anthony said the way he and his psychologists dealt with his identity issue was a mistake.
Anthony explained, “I was just like, ‘This is who I am and this who I want to be’, and they were like, ‘That’s great!’, and after just two sessions I was given hormones, which was actually not good practice.” He added that he started receiving “a lot of positive attention” ever since he began his process of transitioning.
Moreover, his gender identity crisis didn’t go away. He was put on excessive hormone doses and reports taking the “equivalent of 17 birth control pills a day at one point.” Not only was that mentally overwhelming, he said, “it didn’t help my dysphoria.”
Making friends as a woman was also a challenge. He continued:
“This was causing strain and stress on my body and that was when I realised that this whole transition was a problem. It was a long process and the big revelation was that the roots of my problem lay with the early bullying and feeling unsafe being a man. I stopped taking oestrogen and started on testosterone.”
Anthony said that as a trans person, de-transitioning was much more difficult to do than transitioning in the first place. He lamented that now he has difficulty with dating, is unable to have children, and is “still having problems finding a good hormone balance.” He also has to deal with a society that sees him as a threat to an ideology that supports sex transition.
Nonetheless, the aspiring psychologist is committed to helping others deal with their gender dysphoria. And there are others like him.
Other sex de-transitioners have been increasingly vocal about their experiences lately, including a former transgender Navy SEAL who runs a website called SexChangeRegret.com and announced publicly that he agrees with President Donald Trump’s transgender ban in the military. Laura Perry, a former transgender man, lived with her sex transition for eight years before she recently decided to transition back into a woman.
“Being critical about trans issues is definitely going against the grain right now in psychology,” Anthony observed. “I have felt like I was fighting a constant battle for some time, but it feels like there are a lot more people speaking out about detransition, as well as more clinicians who are interested in looking at alternative ways to deal with dysphoria.”