Content warning: Suicide

I came out as nonbinary in the summer before I started high school. My mom was concerned, and eventually joined a support group for parents of trans teenagers. In the meantime, I was starting high school, making trans friends and slipping into a mania-like episode that no psychiatrist has ever been able to confidently name. That year I would lose my best friend after he told me to kill myself, and then attempt suicide several months later.

I got into the gender clinic at my local children’s hospital around the same time. They asked me basic questions in order to diagnose me with gender dysphoria, but even at the time, I thought the process seemed flawed. The nurse would ask me, “do you hate any feminine parts of your body?” and I would tell the truth, saying, “yes, all of them,” but the follow-up question of “why” never came. It didn’t matter to them if I hated my body because of an innate disconnection from my body, or my eating disorder and the increased exposure to misogyny I’d experienced in high school and middle school. It just mattered that I said “yes.” I started the hormone blocker Lupron when I was 14 or 15, and then testosterone when I was 16. I’d stop testosterone exactly a year after I’d started it.

A year after I stopped taking testosterone, I started to feel like I could talk about my experience without bursting into tears. I still felt shame and regret, but it was becoming bearable. One day, I tentatively began a discussion with my mom about my regrets, unsure of whether she’d agree that my care had been handled poorly. She told me about the time a doctor from my gender clinic came to her support group to give a presentation. A section of his slide show was about detransition rates. After he’d left, one of the group leaders apologized to the parents. “I’m so sorry you had to see that slide about detransition,” she said, “I’m going to have a word with him about it.”

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