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  • Writer's pictureLa petite Sirène

Exploring the gender care experiences and perspectives of individuals who discontinued their transition or detransitioned in Canada

Kinnon R. MacKinnon ,

Wren Ariel Gould,

Gabriel Enxuga,

Hannah Kia,

Alex Abramovich,

June S. H. Lam,

Lori E. Ross

Publié : 29 novembre 2023



Those who detransition have received increased public and scholarly attention and their narratives are often presented as evidence of limitations with contemporary gender-affirming care practices. However, there are scant empirical studies about how this population experienced their own process of gaining access to gender-affirming medical/surgical interventions, or their recommendations for care practice.


To qualitatively explore the care experiences and perspectives of individuals who discontinued or reversed their gender transitions (referred to as detransition).


Between October 2021-January 2022, Canadian residents aged 18 and older with experience of stopping, shifting, or reversing a gender transition were invited to participate in semi-structured, one-on-one, virtual interviews. A purposive sample of 28 was recruited by circulating study adverts over social media, to clinicians in six urban centres, and within participants’ social networks. Interviews ranged between 50–90 minutes, were audio-recorded, and transcribed verbatim. Following constructivist grounded theory methodology, interview data were analyzed inductively and thematically following a two-phase coding process to interpret participants’ experiences of, and recommendations for, gender care.


Participants were between the ages of 20–53 (71% were between 20–29). All participants identified along the LGBTQ2S+ spectrum. Twenty-seven out of 28 of the participants received medical/surgical interventions (60% were ages 24 and younger). A majority (57%) reported three or more past gender identities, with 60% shifting from a binary transgender identity at the time of initiating transition to a nonbinary identity later in their transition journey. To access medical/surgical interventions, most participants were assessed via the gender-affirming care model pathway and also engaged in talk therapy with a mental healthcare provider such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. Some participants experienced their care as lacking the opportunity to clarify their individual treatment needs prior to undergoing medical/surgical transition. Decisional regret emerged as a theme alongside dissatisfaction with providers’ “informed consent” procedures, such that participants felt they would have benefitted from a more robust discussion of risks/benefits of interventions prior to treatment decision-making. Overall, participants recommended an individualized approach to care that is inclusive of mental healthcare supports.


To optimize the experiences of people seeking and receiving gender care, a thorough informed consent process inclusive of individualized care options is recommended, as outlined by the World Professional Association of Transgender Health, standards of care, version 8.


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