A trans man commented on twitter that of 22,725 trans people operated on, only 62 regretted the operation, and only 22 of those “changed gender identity”- I think he means detransitioned. So I asked him where he got the information. He referred me to this article from PRS Global Open, the International Open Access Journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
Dr Sara Danker and others wrote to about 150 surgeons who had registered for the WPATH or USPATH, World or US Professional Association for Transgender Health, and asked them how many patients they had treated, and how many patients had regretted their transition or sought detransition care. 46 surgeons responded, and they had seen between them about 22,725 patients. 49% of respondents (I don’t know how it could be other than 50% or 48%) had never encountered such a patient. 12 surgeons had had one patient, the rest had encountered more, and the total was 62. 13 regretted chest surgery. 45 regretted genital surgery. 16 trans men, 37 trans women, and six nonbinary people sought detransition, a total of 59.
22 said their gender identity had changed. Eight said they were rejected by family and social support, and seven said they had difficulty in romantic relationships. Of the trans women, seven had vaginal stenosis (shrinking of the orifice, which is unsurprising. If you regret surgery you won’t dilate as much), two had rectovaginal fistulae- holes between their rectum and their vagina- and three had chronic genital pain. Two trans men had a urethral fistula and one had a urethral stricture.
If I detransitioned, I probably would not seek further genital surgery. Any surgery would have a risk of reducing sexual sensitivity even further. If I could afford it, I consider a hydraulic penis would be a poor substitute for the original. If I had a fistula, which sounds appalling, I would not go back to the surgeon who had originally performed the surgery, whether it was his fault or not.
To check the figures, I would want to know the incidence of recto-vaginal fistulae in post-operative trans women. If the incidence was greater than 0.0088% then I would not trust the incidences given here of regret or of other problems. I’m blogging. No sooner written than done: I googled “recto-vaginal fistula in transgender” and found this study, where 1082 trans women had 25 fistulae between them- that’s 2.3%.
I don’t trust the three in 20,000 figure for pain either. A trans psychotherapist, Iore M Dickey, says trans people experience higher rates of chronic pain. I would not go back to a plastic surgeon for pain relief.
I don’t trust this study. I have no idea how many trans people have transitioned or detransitioned. The Detransition Advocacy Network don’t give figures. Fantasist Walt Heyer, who has made a career of speaking and writing against transition after he reverted, claims “up to 20%” regret, but “up to” makes the “20%” meaningless. He writes of being “safe in the arms of Jesus”, to attract the batshit Evangelical market, and writes for The Federalist.
62 regretters out of 20,000 operations. Would that it were so. I regret my operation, and say so repeatedly, though I am not going to revert. I consider I had the operation because of social pressure, and it would be better for trans people to find a way of enjoying sex with the genitals they have rather than have them altered. I consider trans people are mostly glad of transition, and if some people regret, enough benefit that it should not be made difficult. It would be good to have the figures of those who benefit, but that short article is not it.
Hendrick ter Brugghen, ladies and gentlemen, follower of Caravaggio. The painting of fabric is exquisite, especially the clothes of the bagpiper, and the command of light and darkness follows the master well- in execution, but not in subject. He could not paint Judith like Caravaggio did, though there is foul sexual power here, and strong antisemitism.