Detransitioner Perspective: Transition was easy...Detransition was not
My name is Abel Garcia, I was born in 1997 to a Mexican family who came to the US illegally. Due to my parents’ illegal status, I was raised by my grandparents because my parents were working non-stop so they could support me. Growing up I was a very shy, quiet, and timid boy, I was and still am an over-thinker. With my father working non-stop, I did not have a male role model in my life growing up. As a kid, I did not feel comfortable as a boy because of my overthinking and also because I was not the most masculine boy growing up. My feeling that I was not a typical boy led to my belief that I must be a girl.
Even though I had issues with what it meant to be a boy or a man while confusing my different nature as a girl/woman, I did not know what the word “transgender” was until I was much older and found the word through YouTube. Not knowing much and assuming that was what I was, especially with my childhood, I believed I was transgender. But because I was a minor I did not move forward on those thoughts, and I just put them in the back of my mind. It was not until after I left high school that I decided to transition from male to female.
I came out as transgender to my friends who were all supportive of my decision, I then came out to my mother a few months later in December of 2015. My mother broke down crying when I came out to her as transgender, she then asked me many questions mostly regarding what if I made a mistake or what if I realized I wasn’t transgender, I informed my mother then that I knew this is what I wanted and that I could not be wrong regarding this. A few months later I went to see a therapist regarding my identity as a transgender woman at my local LGBT center, I received a female therapist. This therapist did not know how to handle transgender patients so, after three sessions with her, she then transferred me to her supervisor who had more experience with transgender patients.
The next therapist that I spoke with, immediately affirmed me as a transgender woman and informed me that she had my letter to transition during my first session with her. When I asked her why she felt comfortable recommending this during my first session with her, I was informed that she did not want to gatekeep me from my transition. Even though I wanted to transition then I waited a couple of months before I accepted the letter to transition— a part of me knew that this could be irreversible and due to that possibility, I took a bit longer to start my transition and gave myself a plan regarding surgeries. My original plan was to wait five years before I received top surgery (aka breast implants) and ten years before I got bottom surgery aka penile inversion/neo-vagina.
Before accepting my letter to start hormones, my father had learned about my plans to transition from male to female. My father being Mexican did not approve of my choice and decided to fix me because, at this point in my life, I had not been in a relationship with a woman. My father’s idea to fix me was for me to have a relationship with a woman. In 2016, my father took me to Mexicali under the pretense that he needed a backup driver to return from Mexico to the United States. Later in the day after completing his business in Mexico, we parked in a parking lot, and my father then brought me into a “restaurant” for a bite to eat.
The building was painted black both inside and outside, and had tinted windows. I had a horrible gut feeling but I went along with my father because I was in a country where I did not know nor knew how to stand up for myself. After a few minutes of sitting down, I heard my father’s voice telling me to stand up and pick a woman. At that moment I realized that I was not at a restaurant but instead at a brothel.
I looked up and noticed a row of women who looked to be in their 20s. My father told me to pick one of the ladies and, not knowing what to do, I picked a random lady from the group. Before she had a chance to lead me inside, my father told the woman that I had picked that he wanted to speak with her alone. I was told to go on ahead without her, but instead I hid around the corner, and I overheard my father informing the young lady “take care of him, it’s his first time”. After my father and the woman who I was supposed to have intercourse with finished their conversation, the woman walked toward me, and together we walked into a room.
I do not recall most of what happened next, not because I was drugged or anything, but because I have chosen to repress those traumatic memories. From what I do recall, after entering the room, I was told to undress and that she was going to give me a massage. Eventually, we went from the massage table to the bed. While I do not recall exactly what happened next, I could not perform with her, and eventually, our time ended. But before we left the room and went back to my father, I asked her to lie to my father that we had a great time and that it went very well, which she did. I was utterly disgusted by the event but, for my father’s sake I acted like I enjoyed the experience. My father seemed proud of me—he believed he had fixed me with this encounter.
Actually though, this experience had the opposite effect. It was the pivotal momental that led to my decision to continue with transition, and to go down a path of self-destruction. I eventually spoke with my therapist informing her of the incident in Mexico but, because she was a gender-affirming therapist who worked with transgender patients, she did not see my recent trauma as a causal event and continued to affirm me as a transgender woman.
I continued to see my therapist for five more months before I finally moved out of my parents’ house and, a month later, I started hormones, after obtaining medical clearance from a doctor who lied to me in sayin that I could become a woman, I just needed hormones and surgeries. The doctor even brought in a transgender activist to inform me that I was not just a feminine man, but I was a transgender woman—and he could tell this by the proportions of my body.I sadly believed the lies that I was told.
Once I started hormones, I was happy that I was finally able to be my true authentic self. I was affirmed by everyone who knew that I was transgender. A few months later I got my name and sex marker changed on all my documents and was recognized as a woman legally. A year after I started hormones, I got my letter to get both top and bottom surgery approved. During that session I only requested top surgery, but I did not want to get bottom surgery yet. I did not know it at the time, but I was given both letters of approval at that appointment. I only found out when I got a letter from my insurance company saying that I was cleared to meet up with my surgeons for both top and bottom surgery. I ignored the letter for the bottom surgery at that time.
In May 2018, I had breast implants. Initially, I was very happy with the results of my surgery. Three months after I got surgery, however, I realized that I made a mistake and that this was not for me. I had to then accept that I had damaged my body, but that I would always be a man even if I continued to go down this path of self-destruction. I was just a man—a man who was in the process of being mutilated to appear as a woman—and I was now a decoy or caricature of what I believed a woman looked like.
When I reached out for help to detransition from the therapist who signed off on my transition, I was met with pushback. My therapist informed me that my desire to detransition was caused by childhood trauma. I realized that this therapist would only affirm my transgender delusion, and would never give me the proper help I needed. I looked for a new therapist through my medical clinic—but this new therapist was as worse as the last one maybe even worse.
This was late 2018. In early 2019 I decided that joining the military was the only or best way to get a therapist to sign off on my detransition, because at the time you could not enlist in the military if you were trans unless you detransitioned or finished your transition. My new therapist did not like that I was willing to throw away my progress regarding my transition because of the military and instead told me to look at other avenues that did not require me to detransition. He informed me that I should not be too caviler regarding my detransition as it could have irreversible damage to my body and be dangerous. I again tried to find another therapist but instead, I found a detransitioner by the name of Walt Heyer.
Mr. Heyer is a detransitioner in his 80s but when I reached out to him, I told him that I had nowhere to look for help and I felt hopeless. After telling Heyer my story and where I lived, he informed me that he had a friend and therapist in my area who could help me fix my life. A few months later I was finally able to see Walt’s friend, my final therapist and the one who was able to help me detransition. During the first session I had with this therapist, he informed me that because we were in California, everything we were talking about and doing, was of my own free choice and not of his doing, because if the state were to find out they would accuse him of conversion therapy and strip him of his license.
A few months later I started my transition back to being a man. As you will see, this process was infinitely more involved, time consuming and difficult than the cavalier sign off of my original transition—the exact opposite of the way it should be. The process required me to find two medical professionals to sign off on my detransition, submit it to my health insurance and then find a surgeon who would remove my implants. Months passed and I was eventually able to find a second medical professional to sign off on my detransition, but this was after pinpointing who was covered by my insurance and explaining my story to the medical professional and his staff until I was given an appointment. It was an ordeal. Once we secured both letters for my detransition, next we had to submit them to my insurance company which was easier said than done.
Once we submitted the documents to my insurance company, we waited—and then, finally, I was denied! Fortunately, I was able to appeal the decision, which I did and after thirty days I was approved. My implants were removed (by the original surgeon!) in December of 2020. I had to then fight the state of California to allow me to change all my documents back to male, which took a total of 6 months. I then spent the next year and two months wearing a chest binder—the same product that young women wear to transition from female to male to make their chest appear flat. For me the binder was necessary because I had developed gynecomastia from the cross sex hormones I took, from the trauma to my body of having implants added and removed, and because I was overweight. Fast forward to February of 2022 I had one final surgery to finalize my detransition, I had my chest reconstructed to be flat and removed all the excess skin that I had developed. Unfortunately, I could not reverse everything done to my chest, I now have a chest with scars that will forever serve as a reminder of the choices I made.
Looking back to these last seven years, I am a young man in his mid-twenties who has damaged his body for a lie. Amongst the many negative side effects of my “trans journey”, many of which may only be revealed later in my life, my genitals have atrophied and shrunk. I have difficulties relieving myself in the bathroom, and pain when I urinate. I do not know my fertility status, but I do not suspect to be fertile after being on estrogen for two and a half years while compressing my genitals with tight clothes and because of the atrophy I now suffer from. I have also developed a shake on the left side of my body, mostly affecting my shoulder and face. I’ve been told it is more than likely Multiple Sclerosis—which estrogen put me at a much higher risk for. I also have numbness in my chest due to the multiple surgeries I underwent.
I am now speaking out—I think it’s long past time that others learn about the costs of transition, which I am now, sadly, paying. It’s not as advertised, to say the least.
Note: For more on Abel, follow him on twitter at @officialAbelG