Hundreds of trans people regret changing their gender, says trans activist

A trans activist woman who detransitioned in 2018 has sparked controversy by claiming that many people who have gender reassignment regret the decision and want to return to their original sex.

transgender-regretAquarius Studio | Shutterstock

Charlie Evans, aged 28 years, from Newcastle, UK, says hundreds of people who want to return to their original gender have contacted her since she announced her detransition and stopped taking her hormone therapy.

Evans was born female but decided to live as a male for almost ten years before detransitioning. She says she has received a huge response since announcing that she would no longer be identifying as a male or taking her testosterone therapy. Hundreds of people – just 30 in the Newcastle area alone – have contacted her seeking help, she says, either asking her to speak out or to help them find support over their decision to detransition.

"I'm in communication with 19 and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn't, and their dysphoria hasn't been relieved, they don't feel better for it. They don't know what their options are now.

Charlie Evans

There is a lack of information about how many people regret transitioning

The number of young people seeking gender transition is at the highest it has ever been, but little is reported about how many of them regret the decision later, finding they are unhappy with their new gender.

Evans, who made her story public last year, says she is shocked by the number of people who have contacted her saying they have found themselves in a similar position to her.

The people who contact her share similar characteristics:

"They tend to be around their mid-20s, they're mostly female and mostly same-sex attracted, and often autistic as well.

Charlie Evans

“I felt I had to do something”

One 21-year-old woman who reached out to Evans said gender reassignment did not help her gender dysphoria and that she has therefore also detransitioned.

"She said she felt shunned by the LGBT community for being a traitor. So I felt I had to do something," Evans said.

The woman had identified as male since the age of 13. After taking testosterone therapy, her voice deepened, she grew facial hair and her body started to change. She was due to undergo breast-removal surgery this summer, but started to change her mind in May and decided to stop taking her hormones and to identify as female again.

The woman, who asked to be called Ruby says:

"I didn't think any change was going to be enough in the end and I thought it was better to work on changing how I felt about myself, than changing my body. I've seen similarities in the way I experience gender dysphoria, in the way I experience other body image issues."

For example, Ruby says she has also had an eating disorder, but that she does not think the problem was explored properly in the therapy sessions she attended through gender identity services.

"When I was at my gender clinic to get referred for hormones, we had a session where I went over my mental health issues and I told them about my eating disorder and they didn't suggest that that could maybe connected with my gender dysphoria," she says.

"For everyone who has gender dysphoria, whether they are trans or not, I want there to be more options for us because I think there is a system of saying, 'okay here's your hormones, here's your surgery, off you go'. I don't think that's helpful for anyone."

The Detransition Advocacy Network

Evans is now setting up a charity called The Detransition Advocacy Network, which will hold its first meeting in Manchester at the end of this month. The non-profit organization aims to provide guidance to trans people who have undergone gender reassignment, but now want to change back to their original gender.

Evans, who is a freelance science journalist, has previously tweeted: “We know that there is no such thing as a boy brain or a girl brain or that you can be born with the wrong one. We know hormone blockers are unsafe because we need testosterone and oestrogen for development. We need to #BeBrave, and stand together.”

Gender transition offered to children as young as 3 or 4

NHS facilities in the UK have started to offer guidance on gender transition to children as young as 3 or 4 years old and participation in gender transition programs has skyrocketed.

One center, called the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, says that compared with ten years ago, participation has skyrocketed, by 3,200%, with the rate for girls up by 5,337%.

With its records showing that referrals are more common than ever, the center suggests that cases of destransition will also rise.

In a statement, one trust spokesperson disputed Evan’s description saying:

"Decisions about physical interventions made in our care are arrived at after a thorough exploration process. While some of our patients may decide not to pursue physical treatment or drop out of treatment, the experience of regret described here is rarely seen.

However, some people think further research and more discussions are needed surrounding the topic of gender dysphoria, as well as potential alternatives to gender transition.

Sally Robertson

Written by

Sally Robertson

Sally first developed an interest in medical communications when she took on the role of Journal Development Editor for BioMed Central (BMC), after having graduated with a degree in biomedical science from Greenwich University.


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  1. Douglas Gray Douglas Gray United States says:

    Transitioning provides a temporary lift; the person thinks, "I am trying something to be different, maybe this will help."  Initially it does, in the same way that painkillers help us feel less pain.  But for many, it does not relieve the underlying psychological stress.  The novelty of the new identity gives a temporary boost.

  2. Catalina Eason Catalina Eason United States says:

    But people CAN have male and female brains, because the amount of chemicals and hormones they receive in the womb depends on the sex of the fetus. They don't always get the specific ones they need, and may end up with a male body and a female brain, or vice versa, maybe not to a high extent, but still. It's part of the reason everyone thinks and feels differently as well, and why everyone has a different emotional maturity levels at different ages.

  3. Catalina Eason Catalina Eason United States says:

    Also, if a trans person regrets transitioning, they likely weren't trans, but have another issue with dysphoria. People can be misdiagnosed, and don't question it, which is why things like this need to be addressed carefully, so stuff like that doesn't happen to people. And yes, other treatment options for gender dysphoria would definitely help fix the problem.

  4. Bill Houngle Bill Houngle United Kingdom says:

    Although it is not wrong to voice the perspective of the detransition movement, you are misrepresenting a lot of the facts. In an NBC article [] they show the statistics that about 8% of people transition want to detransition, and about 65% of these people changed their mind later.

    Besides, there has been a lot of research suggesting that there might be "boy brains" and "girl brains", but most research you will find will fairly say that we simply don't have the technology to be certain. I remember having difficulty finding articles on this 5 to 10 years ago, but I found one indicating that researchers found a specific clump of cells having a certain shape for male-identifying individuals which differed from female-identifying individuals which was unrelated to their sexuality but purely related to their gender. Nowadays you can find way more articles on this, it doesn't take much time to look. But the bottomline is that our ability to map brains isn't as advanced as some people think (we can, for example, differentiate between ADHD and neurotypical brains in terms of neuroanatomy, but we cannot use this to diagnose people with ADHD yet because the technology isn't there).

    Please don't be so irresponsible posting an article as clearly biased as this one on a site called "" claiming, with a writer with a Bachelor in Science of biological sciences. Some people actually won't do their own research and have the knowledge that a writer with no experience on neuroanatomy/-science shouldn't be taken as a figure of authority on genderstudies.

  5. Natalie Lenka Natalie Lenka United States says:

    I think it’s super important that people share both successful trans operations and people who perhaps weren’t really trans and suffering more from lack of self acceptance - or perhaps fit somewhere in between. Native Americans had 5 genders not 2 Smile People shouldn’t be shunned for transitioning back or changing their minds - no judgement. If I were trans I would want to read both sides too to make sure I had the right diagnosis.

    I am autistic and as a young teen I desperately wanted to be a boy and even cut off all my hair... I think as someone as autism I didn’t fit as either boy or girl. I eventually accepted myself as a girl even though I loathed myself later in my teens although I’ll never be like other women. I only realized it was autism in the last few years - I just didn’t fit anywhere and have chronic body dysmorphia that’s linked with treatment resistant depression. It’s weird because people tell me I am so pretty but I never felt that. I still feel ridiculous wearing a dress but thankfully I can wear what I like. I think autism is such a major factor and so little research has been done on high functioning autism. Living with autism in this society will almost certainly result in depression, too. It’s a very hard world for people who feel too much.

  6. Caleb Murdock Caleb Murdock United States says:

    People who are thinking of transitioning should go very slowly and deliberately.  They should also consider a simple fact:  Transitioning is not actually possible.  The body you end up with is not a true male or female body, but only a facsimile.  My recommendation is that you try to adjust to your body as it is.  If you are a woman who feels like a man and is attracted to women, be satisfied to be a Lesbian -- and I would offer similar advice to men who feel like women.

    • Isabella Simmons Isabella Simmons United States says:

      A trans woman is a person with a woman's brain trapped in a mans body, and vice versa for trans men. A "woman" who feels like a man, and is attracted to women will not be happy being a woman, because they ARE NOT a woman, they're a man, even actual science and biology studies support this. This article is clearly politically biased and are clearly using detransitioners and trans people for a nefarious purpose.

  7. Gabriela Ribeiro Gabriela Ribeiro Brazil says:

    My story is very differente than others. I never had interest in sex. Never. But I though I was a girl since I was born. But because of my parents and society, and enter into a swimming pool with 3 years old, judo with the same age, tennis with 6 years -- regional competitions, national, and international... I'm black belt judo, balck belt karate, full contact, basket with 14 years old (I'm 1,87m high or 6.2 feet high) in very high level, athletics (400 meters in 48 seconds, without any trainning, and 4.300 meters in 12 minutes, and after that I went to play basketball and after that to swimming 2 to 3 miles a day)... And I did all the above sports while studying Psychology, Economics (University)... My body, my genre, is very strong, but I went to a sex surgery and breasts. Only 10 years after my transition I found out that my hip and my waist are very different than woman's body. And I have nothing like a feminine butt. Now I have 61 years old, but I only use shorts all day, every day, years and years. I never go out to a restaurant at night (I prefer to be at my home all night for the last 8 years. If I try to use pants or other feminine costume, all people would see that something is wrong with me.
    Because I love sports since as a child, I can't ran the way I'm used to do. If I decided to play basketball no woman could get me (I usually dunk every basketball) no way. No way to be in a female team on Judo, karate, Basketball, Tennis... And how I could go to a beach??? No way. I can pass as a woman every day, but using shorts and other things, but I lost all the rest of my life.
    I could go to a club (and I was accostumed to go to any club to do sports and to swimming). How to enter a Sauna with women there? No way.
    So, I decided to change my name again, to the original name (male name), and use what a man uses. It's very easy to use man's clothes (the clothes are larger than feminine clothes). So, I will continue to have my female breasts (male clothes can cover-up it) and my vagina (I would never have the thing males have, but I love to have a vagina).
    I hate to say the name of that thing men have. Vagina is 100% with me. Breasts I don't know what happened to my brain if I removed it. So, it's better to be with it. Judo and Karate clothes can hide it. If I go to a beach, someone could find my breasts something bigger than normal, but some man has hormonal problems... So, I think I would be fine.
    What I wrote here is only to say that you can go to a sex surgery, but gender is impossible to be changed. It's genetics. You can change your sex, your name, but if you're a sport player, like me (someone who is very strong and get muscles very easy), you only change your name and your sex, but never your gender. Unfortunately, gender is what you are. I'm very happy for the transsexuals who never go to sports, like me, and they can pass very easy as a woman in all ocasions (night or day). Congratulations to them, but my case is very, very different. So I'll change my name to male, and I will use male clothes to go out of my house. Inside my home, I'll use my female clothes (with no one seeing me). Hahaha.

  8. Simone Noli Simone Noli Italy says:

    this is how you should write a medical article.

    not a feel-bad story with literally no context other than 1 person regretting their decision like its a wide amount. parroting FOX NEWS for a quick cash is really, really unethical of the profession. go write for the Daily Sun.

The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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