Woman Who Thought She Was a Man on Transgender Treatment: 'It's Not a Cure at All'

chairs with male and female symbols

Transgenderism has gained steam and tremendous popularity in recent years, and the stigma of people switching from one gender to another has greatly diminished, if in fact it hasn't gone the opposite way. A growing number of transgender people who took hormones and surgery to identify as the opposite gender are expressing regret and returning to their birth gender. Their stories are particularly harrowing.

Max Robinson, a 21-year-old Oregon resident born a woman who once identified as a man, later soured on her transgender hormones and surgery. "It's not a cure at all," Robinson said. "If you go into it really screwed up you're going to come out of it really screwed up. Make sure this is what you want to do."

Robinson was insistent. "Make sure there is no other option because this is truly the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. You put everything that you are in jeopardy," she insisted. "Be sure."

This woman's transgender experience (female to male) is often referred to in shorthand as F-to-M, but in reality she went from F-to-M-to-F. In retrospect, the tell-tale signs of a false transition emerge throughout her story, but in the moment when she was 15 and decided she was a man, nothing could convince her otherwise.

"As soon as I started thinking about transition I had obsessive thoughts of doubt," Robinson admitted. She wondered whether she would come to regret making her body masculine, and so she did.

Robinson recalled expressing her doubts to her therapist, and worrying that internalized misogyny might account for the desire to transition. When the therapist asked her if she really believed that, she said no. She did not raise the issue again because she didn't want to give the therapist "any reason to doubt that surgery was right."

Robinson's remarks, first printed in The Economist's 1843 magazine, are harrowing and revealing. Indeed, the magazine explained that after the social transition, the woman "felt he was treated better because he was now a man in a culture that privileges men. His anxiety and depression faded into the background."

That very statement — that this temporarily transitioning woman considered society to be "privileging" to men — revealed a great deal about Robinson's mentality. "The grass is always greener" is a horrible reason to put one's own body through the process of chemical and physical gender transition. The woman herself admitted that "the longer it went, the less I felt like that."

Indeed, Robinson recalled facing drawbacks to being seen as a man. "Women he passed on the street were 'scared' of him. He couldn't talk about his childhood without lying or leaving things out. He found laddish banter distasteful."