Today, the standard of care has changed. According to guidelines issued by the World Professional Association for Trans Health, health-care providers should ask for a letter from a therapist before medical intervention, but therapists themselves aren’t required to see clients for any particular length of time. Some doctors don’t require a letter at all. “There has been a lot of anger in the past about gatekeeping,” Kaplan said. “So I think clinicians lean toward wanting to help people transition.”
And this, Jackie thinks, is part of the problem.
“I didn’t really feel like I could talk to my counselors about detransitioning in the way that I wanted,” she said, “because they have specific political views, and I felt like if I said I had these criticisms of the whole concept of transitioning, they would have thought I was being brainwashed by transphobic bigots or whatever.”
Instead of talking to therapists, Jackie found a community online. She’s now a moderator of Detransition Info, an online resource for people to ask questions and share their experiences.
Jackie and other detrans people I spoke to said their online community is in the hundreds, but no one knows precisely what percentage of the population has detransitioned. It’s not even clear how many people are transgender. The United States Census Bureau doesn’t collect data on gender identity (or sexual orientation), but a 2016 study from the Williams Institute at UCLA Law estimates that there are 1.4 million trans adults in the United States, or about 0.6 percent of the adult population. That’s double previous estimates.