I have just received an email from a journalist who has been commissioned to write a story about transgender people detransitioning. I have reproduced her email below – although I have anonymised it.
Thanks for the fast Twitter reply, very much appreciated. I’m a freelance journalist for XXXXX magazine and I’m writing a report on transgender men and women detransitioning.
I understand you’re a support group for transgender people in the South West but I was wondering if you’ve ever spoken to anyone who’s detransitioned or who wants to?
I’m looking for case studies who have or who want to total about their experiences.
Transgender reversals seem to be on the rise in the UK and the report I’m writing will speak to experts, psyshologists (sic) and case studies and give a balanced view of the procedure and the seemingly increasing demand in it.
I was not particularly surprised to receive this as there has been a lot of negative media reporting going on in both the written and television media over the past year or so, which has rapidly escalated during that time. So this was just going to be another media article about ‘trans regret’.
I therefore sent her the following response
Sorry to disappoint you, but I do not know anybody who has detransitioned or who might be contemplating it. This is hardly surprising as the number of people who detransition is extremely small (around 1 to 2%). However, because the number of transgender people has increased dramatically over very recent years, this might be why you are seeing reports of a much larger number of people who have detransitioned (even though the %age might be the same).
The biggest reason that I have seen quoted for detransitioning is because of society’s attitude towards transgender people (and women who are transgender in particular). The hostility towards women who are transgender has been particularly virulent over the past year or so which has resulted in increased mental health problems for some, especially those who might be in the early stages of transition and are therefore much more vulnerable.
Rather than concentrate on an extremely small percentage of women who detransition, perhaps you should consider writing an article on the majority whose lives are much enhanced by transitioning or the vitriolic attacks by the media and a small minority of people which causes so much damage to the lives of transgender people.
I was therefore not surprised when I received back the following email from her:-
Thanks so much for getting back to me, in this instance, my commission is for detransitioning but I’ll definitely keep your details on file if that suits you and come back to you if I have a commission about transitioning happily.
Many thanks again for your prompt reply,
As she had stated that she wished to do a balanced article, I sent her this response:-
I have no objections to you quoting me (verbatim) in your article, if that might help your readers to understand the situation better.
I have heard nothing back from her other than to say that she would keep my name on file if she is ever commissioned to do an article on the benefits of people who transition. This more or less confirmed that the article will not be balanced as she expressed it would be in her opening plea to obtain the contact details of anybody that I knew had detransitioned. She was not interested in representing my views in her proposed article.
This is an example of why transgender people should always treat any approach from the UK media with great caution. They will approach you with the statement that they want a balanced article, and when you give them the balance that they say they want, you are immediately shut down. A colleague informed me that this particular magazine is one which is published as part of the Sun newspaper, which has a record of transphobic and transmisogynistic hate articles.
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