A woman who underwent a double mastectomy and hormone therapy as part of
her medical transition to living as a man has shared her ‘regret’.
Sam, who has decided not to share her full name, decided to de-transition
after starting the process.
Now aged 26, her treatment began when she decided to save up for private
therapy sessions for her gender dysphoria to avoid what could have been
two and a half years of waiting for an NHS appointment.
After self-diagnosing as a trans man and having two hour-long
consultations, she was given the go-ahead to start taking testosterone and
have both of her breasts removed.
However, two years after undergoing the irreversible treatment, she began
suffering health complications and realised she did not want to go ahead
with a hysterectomy at the age of 24.
Her perspective on the process is now much different and Sam argues that
more therapy and support should be provided to trans people at every step
of their journey.
She said: ‘I do still feel regret towards medical steps I took during my
transition but I am working on loving and accepting my body for how it is
rather than how used to be and how I wish it was.
‘Therapy should be involved at all stages of the transitioning process to
help spot and explore red flags that may appear in someone’s transitional
‘More information should be given to individuals to make sure that their
informed consent is truly informed.
‘It has been a really difficult journey for me, and I have lost a lot of
friends in the process who felt that I am in some way anti-trans.
‘I saw a community full of so many people who had transitioned and it had
finally made them happy; and with hindsight, I looked at them and thought
that would be what made me happy too.
‘I now know that I am not a trans man, but I didn’t have enough therapy to
explore what was really going on with me and help me realise that I don’t
have to fit into a box of one of society’s defined gender norms.’
Sam is currently de-transitioning to being a woman, the gender she was
assigned at birth.
Dispelling myths around de-transitioning in the trans community
The debate about gender dysphoria has become polarised in recent years,
with anti-trans movements arguing that young people like Sam are pushed
No one disputes that ‘transition regret’ exists and that there are trans
people who return to the sex they were assigned at birth.
But there is also a lot of disinformation and misinformation spewed online
about the phenomenon.
Trans advocates have previously argued that stories like Sam’s tend to get
more attention and as such, they push the false narrative that de-
transitioning is much more common than it actually is.
There is currently no up-to-date data about such cases but LGBTQ+
charities including Stonewall say they are rare.
In fact, most people who transition do so without any regrets, statistics
According to Stonewall, from 3,398 trans patients with appointments at an
NHS Gender Identity Service between 2016 and 2017, less than 1% said they
regretted transitioning, or had de-transitioned.
Even more, the charity argued that de-transitioning does not always equal
It can also mean that a person no longer identifies as trans, or they feel
they are now a different gender to the one they previously identified as.
This is a discovery that may not have been able to happen without the
person taking the path they did.
Meanwhile, statistics from the US reveal that the main reason for patients
taking the decision to de-transition is ‘pressure from parents’ (36%).
This is closely followed by difficulty of transitioning (33%) and
harassment and discrimination (31%).
Throughout her teenage years, she ‘fluctuated around identities’ until
discovering videos online about people who were transitioning, which
struck a cord with her.
‘I identified with it a lot as I struggled to pinpoint who I was,’ she
‘I wasn’t masculine and I wasn’t hugely feminine and I wanted to feel this
happiness and freeness I was seeing in others.’
Back in 2017, her GP referred her to a local NHS gender clinic but because
of the wait times she chose to go private.
Sam was given an appointment to see a specialist several months later
after she had also changed her legal name.
At the time, she says she was identifying as non-binary, but she later
chose to identify as a man because she thought it would get her ‘the
‘I had decided I wanted to start taking testosterone and wanted surgery to
remove sexual parts of my body, especially my breasts because they were
very distressing for me,’ Sam said.
‘I was diagnosed with gender dysphoria which meant I could apply to start
‘It was crazily fast, but there was such a sense of urgency because I was
feeling distressed and I didn’t want things to get worse.’
That same year Sam was prescribed cross-sex hormones and five months later
she was able to undergo a double mastectomy, despite rules saying the
patient must have lived as a man for a year before that.
This was a ‘huge relief’ to Sam, who had been binding her breasts for
Her hairline had also began to recede a little, and she noticed a huge
change in her emotions.
But two years after the major surgery, Sam began to suffer from vaginal
atrophy – a condition where the vagina tissue begins to die off because of
the lack of estrogen.
NHS doctors told her the only treatment available was to have a
hysterectomy – an operation which she did not feel ready for.
The patient said: ‘I felt distressed as I didn’t feel properly informed
about the side effects that came with taking testosterone.
‘I was experiencing imposter syndrome. I didn’t feel like the other men I
was around, and I felt like I was constantly pretending.
‘So I started questioning why I wanted to identify as a man. I didn’t want
to regret my decisions but I was no longer comfortable living as a male.
‘I researched more and I discovered a group of de-transitioners, so I
explored the femininity that I had suppressed for all of these years and I
came to accept that I was female.’
Against the advice of her doctors, Sam stopped taking her hormone
She is currently identifies as a woman and is working on ‘loving and
accepting my body for how it is rather than how used to be’.