Common Sense Rainbow

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What The Data Says About Detransition And Regret

Feb 10 2022

Detransition and regret are often cited as reasons why we should not allow people to transition by anti-transgender activists. The problem is that science says the opposite. Let's look at the statistics and causes of detransition and regret, and the science showing transition helps.

Before we look at the science around regret let's look at the positive outcomes of transition. There are numerous peer-reviewed studies showing the befits of transition. A meta-analysis run on 55 studies that looked at the effects of transition found that 51 of the studies showed gender transition is positive. Only 4 studies had mixed or no results and 0 studies showed negative results. In another article, we looked at some more studies showing positive outcomes for kids who got hormone replacement therapy.

Now let's look at the data for regret rates. A study sampling more than 6,000 transgender people found regret to be around 0.5%, that's 1 in 200 people. Another study that did a meta-analysis of 27 research papers found regret for surgery to be around 1%, we will focus on this study because of the larger scope though the other study is certainly insightful.

While a source of regret was found to be someone not really being transgender, other sources were identified. One source was a bad surgical outcome, this is expected to improve over time. Another source was transphobia, this tells us that TERFs who say they protect kids are only adding to the problem. Another source was being nonbinary and not binary transgender, this is also expected to decrease as knowledge of nonbinary identity increases. The final source was surgery not being the right option for the patient. Because of all of this, the amount of people who transition but are not really transgender is likely to be lower.

Remember that the regret rate is around 1% so these problems are only happening to 1 out of 100 people, the treatment is good for the other 99%. As we have shown above the gains far outweigh the losses. If we were to prevent people from medically transitioning it would cause a lot of harm.

Now let's look at why the regret rate is so low. The thing is people who transition are not doing so overnight. It's a long and hard process so the vast majority of people transitioning and making irreversible choices are doing it with lots of knowledge about themselves and treatment options. Before making irreversible choices there are requirements in place and people will have to talk with medical professionals.

To recap TERFs are making the argument that transition is bad because about 1 of 100 will experience regret while ignoring that around 99% will greatly benefit from treatment. Transition literally saves lives and should not limit or ban this life-saving tool because of isolated cases.