‘Transitioning did not fix my problems’
Ryan Barnes seemed to have completed a perfect transition.
His family and friends were supportive. He started over in a new city where he would never have to explain himself to anyone.
Because Ryan “passed,” he was never misgendered. Even his new roommates had no idea that Ryan had spent 18 years as a female.
Ryan had never suffered from dysphoria or felt discomfort as a girl before transition. That experience only came with the euphoria of being on testosterone.
In a video made at the beginning of her detransition, Ryan explains that she would still “misgender myself” in her own mind. Despite her “physical voice” getting deeper, she still heard her “inner voice” as female.
“When I dreamed, I was a chick, I wasn’t a guy,” Ryan says. “Subconsciously I still thought of myself as my old self.”
Eventually, Ryan realized that she missed doing hair and makeup, and that she was “not satisfied by how I looked as a guy.”
The decision to begin cross-sex hormones was “impulsive,” Ryan says. “Impatient” to begin, Ryan thought: “this is gonna fix me, this is gonna make everything better.”
Dating proved impossible, too. “I couldn’t figure it out,” Ryan says.
But transition did not fix what was wrong with Ryan, and none of the online transition support groups seemed to have any real answers for her problems.
In part, Ryan admits, her difficulties came out of resistance to therapy. There were things she “decided not to think about,” and a prior bad experience with therapy meant that she never sought professional help for her issues.
Now she sees the value of a therapy relationship before transition. “If you think you are trans, see a mental health professional” before doing anything irreversible.
Once Ryan realized she no longer wanted to be a man, it “freaked me out” to realize she had already changed some body parts permanently.
So Ryan began to experiment. “Makeup can do miracles,” she says. A wig made it easier to see herself as female again.
There was a sunk cost problem for Ryan. She had done all the work of changing her name and documentation, and now she faced the process in reverse.
“I didn’t want to admit I was wrong…how could someone make that drastic of a mistake and not know your own identity?” She worried.
Ryan also worried about her new co-workers’ reactions, but their acceptance turned out to be much easier to win than she expected.
“Nobody gives a shit. It’s only weird if you make it weird,” Ryan says. “If you’re thinking of detransitioning, you are absolutely overthinking it.”
After a little awkwardness, humans do adjust and move on. “Other people’s worlds do not revolve around you,” Ryan advises.
When listening to detransitioners, it’s important to let them tell their own stories and have their own opinions rather than trying to shoehorn them into a political agenda.
In other videos, Ryan makes it clear that she doesn’t believe that all transition is wrong. She still uses the preferred pronouns of trans friends.
Yet her experience with the transition fad among the current generation of young women underlines the dangers of letting its claims to solve all their problems go unchallenged.
“Transitioning did not fix my problems,” Ryan says.
I have watched scores of detransitioner videos by now. They all say the same thing, more or less, sometimes in different words.
We should listen to them.