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  • Writer's pictureLa petite Sirène

Detransition and Desistance Among Previously Trans-Identified Young Adults

Lisa Littman - 1er décembre 2023

  • Lisa Littman ,

  • Stella O'Malley ,

  • Helena Kerschner &

  • J.Michael Bailey


Persons who have renounced a prior transgender identification, often after some degree of social and medical transition, are increasingly visible. We recruited 78 US individuals ages 18–33 years who previously identified as transgender and had stopped identifying as transgender at least six months prior. On average, participants first identified as transgender at 17.1 years of age and had done so for 5.4 years at the time of their participation. Most (83%) participants had taken several steps toward social transition and 68% had taken at least one medical step. By retrospective reports, fewer than 17% of participants met DSM-5 diagnostic criteria for Gender Dysphoria in Childhood. In contrast, 53% of participants believed that “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” applied to them. Participants reported a high rate of psychiatric diagnoses, with many of these prior to trans-identification. Most participants (N = 71, 91%) were natal females. Females (43%) were more likely than males (0%) to be exclusively homosexual. Participants reported that their psychological health had improved dramatically since detransition/desistance, with marked decreases in self-harm and gender dysphoria and marked increases in flourishing. The most common reason given for initial trans-identification was confusing mental health issues or reactions to trauma for gender dysphoria. Reasons for detransition were more likely to reflect internal changes (e.g., the participants’ own thought processes) than external pressures (e.g., pressure from family). Results suggest that, for some transgender individuals, detransition is both possible and beneficial.


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