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This Jungian Life

Apr 28, 2022

Beth underwent gender transition from natal female to trans male and has since de-transitioned. In her early teens, Beth felt she was not like other women and began to question her gender. She saw people who were nonconforming, but although she adopted a non-binary identity in college, people still saw her as a woman. Beth became drawn to a masculine identity and associated transitioning gender with empowerment: she would be free from the perceived social constraints and physical vulnerabilities of womanhood. Beth’s parents, the therapist she saw a few times, and the surgeon all affirmed her desire to transition. Beth underwent testosterone therapy and top surgery to remove her breasts, sacrifices in service of liberation. In time, however, Beth discovered that physical changes did not transform her inner world, and her post-surgical chest remains numb. Beth says, “de-transitioning brought me down to earth” and into adulthood. She feels some of her urges to transition were healthy, and some were self-annihilating—and wishes she had had more help in differentiating her inner world from her gender expression. Beth hopes to be a voice for the complexity of gender transitioning.

Here’s Beth’s dream:

“I met a woman in a lush forest. The forest was filled with strange relics—an abandoned child’s playground, a little home, and abandoned campsites. I knew she was a detransitioner, but unlike me, she was proud, unabashed, and free. She told me I could be free like her once no one knew where to find me. Then she ran off into the jungle. There was an exhilarating feeling of freedom and hope.” 


Music and lyrics by Wells Hanley ©2021

You were my lost lover
I tried for so long
just to find you here beside me
I was so wrong

I wandered darkened highways
I turned every stone
far beyond the point of breaking
but I was never alone

So afraid I would die waiting
How I hoped you would be there
and that you’d find me
out beyond the breaking point

So I swam in shark filled waters
I swam in despair
My flesh was eaten, bruised, and beaten
My blood was spilled everywhere

And as I sank down to the bottom
and my life began to fade,
you opened up your eyes
out beyond the breaking point

And as we gaze into the heavens
where we dwell among the trees,
you’re always with me

here beyond the breaking point


Music and lyrics by Wells Hanley ©2021

Singers: Laura Ann Singh at and Rei Alvarez at


Currently, there is limited research on the factors that correlate with detransition and the percentage of individuals who chose to detransition. Of the available studies, methods and definitions vary, suggesting a need to establish standardized criteria in the future. Five studies are mentioned below. One concludes, of 17,151 who identify as transgender and gender diverse people, 13.1% reported a history of detransition or going back to living as their sex assigned at birth. Another concludes that only 0.2-0.3% of patients expressed post-operative regret and requested reversal surgery. In another study, 6.9% of patients detransitioned. Additional research is necessary to understand these phenomena more fully. 

Boyd, I.; Hackett, T.; Bewley, S. Care of Transgender Patients: A General Practice Quality  Improvement Approach. Healthcare 2022, 10, 121. 10121

Hall, R., Mitchell, L., & Sachdeva, J. (2021). Access to care and frequency of detransition among a cohort discharged by a UK national adult gender identity clinic: Retrospective case-note review. BJPsych Open, 7(6), E184. doi:10.1192/bjo.2021.1022

Littman L. Individuals Treated for Gender Dysphoria with Medical and/or Surgical Transition Who Subsequently Detransitioned: A Survey of 100 Detransitioners. Arch Sex Behav. 2021 Nov;50(8):3353-3369. doi: 10.1007/s10508-021-02163-w. Epub 2021 Oct 19. PMID: 34665380; PMCID: PMC8604821.

Narayan SK, Hontscharuk R, Danker S, Guerriero J, Carter A, Blasdel G, Bluebond-Langner R, Ettner R,  Radix A, Schechter L, Berli JU. Guiding the conversation - types of regret after gender-affirming surgery and their associated etiologies. Ann Transl Med 2021;9(7):605. doi: 10.21037/atm-20-6204.

Turban JL, Loo SS, Almazan AN, Keuroghlian AS. Factors Leading to “Detransition” Among Transgender and Gender Diverse People in the United States: A Mixed-Methods Analysis. LGBT Health. 2021 May-Jun;8(4):273-280. doi: 10.1089/lgbt.2020.0437. Epub 2021 Mar 31. PMID: 33794108; PMCID: PMC8213007.

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