Sometimes, You Can Go Back (Him) Again

Christine Daniels was heralded as a hero when she stopped being sportswriter Mike Penner. Since she went back to being Mike last autumn, it's been a little bit quieter.

Although most people that choose to go through the public gender transition (which generally precedes surgical reassignment, if they choose to do it), a small percentage of people return to their original gender identities, reports USA Today.

"It's unfortunate and it's relatively uncommon but certainly not unheard of," says Denise Leclair, executive director of the International Foundation for Gender Education, a Waltham, Mass.-based transgender advocacy group. "The simplest way to think about it is being trans is something that never goes away. ... There's just a fairly constant social pressure to just go back. You don't have to be a genius to understand that society doesn't really accept this."

Most of the people cited in the article seem to agree that a person doesn't stop being transgender, they just seem to succumb to social pressures not to be.

Donna Rose, a male-to-female postoperative transsexual in Rochester, N.Y. [says] "The thing that people have to understand is that even though Mike decided to retransition, that doesn't mean he's not trans. It's not like you go all of a sudden, 'Uh, I'm better.' Going back doesn't automatically clear the conundrum that causes you to get there in the first place."

Rose reversed course on her own transition at first because her then-wife became so distraught and co-workers were insensitive. Six months later, she went through with it and ended the marriage.

Rose and Leclair also make mention that one also becomes a "visible minority" because even though you have chosen to live as the other gender, secondary sex characteristics, like size, remain visible to others.

One doctor, however, says that transgenderism is a choice, not a condition.

"You can live any way you want, but don't come to us and ask us to give medical resources to this proposal of yours, because we think it's a social construct and not a condition of nature," [Paul McHugh, director of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine] says.

"No one has demonstrated any physical mechanism or physical problem that causes this. The burden of proof is on them to prove that."

Right, because obviously this is something people would just opt into (or out of) willy-nilly. Kind of like being gay!

For Some, Shadow Of Regret Cast Over Gender Switch [USA Today]