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13% of trans, gender diverse people report history to ‘detransition’ largely due to family pressure, societal stigma

Among TGD adults with a reported history of detransition, the vast majority reported that their detransition was driven by external pressures. So clinicians should be aware of these external pressures, how they may be modified, and the possibility that patients may once again seek gender affirmation in the future.

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A big number of transgender and gender diverse (TGD) people ‘detransition’ largely due to external factors, from pressure from family members to pressures from society. This is according to a study – “Factors Leading to ‘Detransition’ Among Transgender and Gender Diverse People in the United States: A Mixed-Methods Analysis” by Jack L. Turban, Stephanie S. Loo, Anthony N. Almazan, and Alex S. Keuroghlian – that appeared in LGBT Health.

“Some TGD people will ‘detransition’, a process through which a person discontinues some or all aspects of gender affirmation,” said the researchers, who sought to examined reasons for past detransitioning among TGD people. Here, a secondary analysis was performed on data from the US Transgender Survey, a cross-sectional nonprobability survey of 27,715 TGD adults in the US. Participants were asked if they had ever detransitioned and to report driving factors, through multiple-choice options and free-text responses. A mixed-methods approach was used to analyze the data, creating qualitative codes for free-text responses and applying summative content analysis.

In total, 17,151 (61.9%) participants reported that they had ever pursued gender affirmation, broadly defined. Of these, 2,242 (13.1%) reported a history of detransition. Of those who had detransitioned, 82.5% reported at least one external driving factor.

Frequently endorsed external factors included pressure from family and societal stigma.

History of detransition was associated with male sex assigned at birth, nonbinary gender identity, bisexual sexual orientation, and having a family unsupportive of one’s gender identity.

A total of 15.9% of respondents reported at least one internal driving factor, including fluctuations in or uncertainty regarding gender identity.

“Among TGD adults with a reported history of detransition, the vast majority reported that their detransition was driven by external pressures,” stated the researchers. Due to this, “clinicians should be aware of these external pressures, how they may be modified, and the possibility that patients may once again seek gender affirmation in the future.”

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