Detransitioning: Starting the Conversation with Ellie

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being invited to talk about the topic of detransition at the Estonian LGBT Association in Tallinn. Eva Marta, the

community coordinator, invited me after we met at the Annual Members' Conference of IGLYO a few months before. I told her about my activism as a female detransitioner, and she wanted to create a space to discuss this topic in Estonia.


It was the first time that I was invited by an LGBT organisation to talk about detransition. I started my activism only less than a year ago, shortly after deciding to detransition myself after almost 4 years of testosterone treatment and a mastectomy. Stopping my transition was a very lonely journey at first, because resources for people who decide to detransition are so scarce. There is also no support coming from the trans community once you decide to step off the trans path. I didn’t know where to find help for my medical, psychological and social needs. I didn’t know any other detransition stories.

Photos from the Post Trans Facebook page.


That’s what brought my partner and I to create the Post Trans project, with which we aim to give more visibility to female detransitioners like us, and offer resources on the topic. Through this project, I started to get in contact with other detransitioners and I discovered many different stories coming from people of various backgrounds, ages and beliefs. Though they were different, I observed recurrences among their stories: misinformation on the effects of hormone treatments and surgeries, lack of psychological support before and during transition, co-existing mental health issues, difficulties to fit into gender roles, internalised homophobia, etc.


Seeing all this made me realise that I was far from being an exception. That the affirmative system, which is currently advocated for by a big part of the trans movement, has harmful consequences on a non-neglectable number of individuals.


This is a difficult conversation to have, and, honestly, I was scared to bring it to an LGBT organisation. But we need to have this conversation, because it is not about denying the needs of transgender people, it is about aiming at helping people with gender dysphoria in the best way we can, without taking risks at the expense of their health and well-being in the long run.

Ellie, Eva Marta and the Post Trans cards you can find at our center.

When I look back at my own experience, I believe that my 16-year-old self deserved better than what she was offered. She deserved better than an incompetent doctor lying about the effects of testosterone. She deserved better than having to go through this process without any proper psychological support. She deserved better than never being given the option of loving her body exactly the way it was. All dysphoric people deserve better and that’s the message I am trying to carry.


I felt very vulnerable sharing my story at the event at the Estonian LGBT Association, but I was amazed by the interest and the support I received from the people attending. It gives me hope that we can work together as a community to give detransitioners the visibility and support they need.


I am very grateful that Eva Marta invited me to talk about this issue, and I hope to see an interest in this topic by more and more LGBT organisations and activists in the future!

You can find Ellie's Post Trans project on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

You can also contact her at el.vandenbussche@gmail.com.


Cover photo from the Post Trans Facebook page.


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