Escaping The Gender Ideology Cult: True Detrans Stories

"Every single detransitioner I spoke with said they were absolutely fast-tracked through the medical system."
Transgender covered with the transgender flag and holding a flag in the hand for defending her rights
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The following is an edited transcript of a recent interview between Daily Wire editor-in-chief John Bickley and senior reporter at the Daily Signal Mary Margaret Olohan on a Saturday Extra edition of Morning Wire. They discuss Mary Margaret’s new book “Detrans: True Stories of Escaping the Gender Ideology Cult” and why so many young people felt fast-tracked by medical professionals to “transition.”

JOHN: Joining us now to discuss her new book “Detrans: True Stories of Escaping the Gender Ideology Cult” is Mary Margaret Olohan, a senior reporter at the Daily Signal – and our guest host this last week. Mary Margaret, thanks for coming on.

MARY MARGARET: Thanks so much for having me. This is so fun to talk about my book on Morning Wire.

JOHN: Your book, “Detrans,” comes out later this month. It tells the true stories of people who have detransitioned. This is a very controversial topic – though it’s becoming something that people are paying increasing attention to. First, tell us something about the people you talked to for this book.

MARY MARGARET: The people I talked to were largely young people who transitioned in their teens or attempted to transition. Because we know that a man can’t actually become a woman and a woman can’t actually become a man. But that’s the lie they were sold by doctors and therapists and medical professionals. So these young people, including Chloe Cole, Prisha Mosley and Abel Garcia, they went on hormones to try and become another gender. And so, for the girls, when they would take testosterone, they would notice all these bizarre physical and mental changes. For example, their hair changed, their voices became really deep, and, their skin started getting a little coarser, just like their hair. Also, some of the girls could no longer scream or cry, and they found that really disturbing. Then, mentally, a lot of these girls were describing extreme rage and very increased sexual urges. They said they sort of felt like they were going through a male puberty, but at the same time, it kind of felt like they were going through female menopause in their teenage years. So just really confusing, disturbing emotional and physical side effects, that they weren’t actually able to give informed consent for. These are kids we’re talking about. When they supposedly consented to these procedures, they had no idea what they were getting into. So now a lot of them are suing.

JOHN: Right. And I want to get to those lawsuits soon, but what age did these transitions begin?

MARY MARGARET: Most of these transitions began when these young people were in their teens. So Chloe Cole, by the time she was just 16, had undergone a double mastectomy and removed her breasts forever.

JOHN: So, sometimes surgeries – and I assume all of them underwent hormone treatments as well, correct?

MARY MARGARET: Yes, though some of them did it in different orders. For example, Luka Hein, a young woman who was trying to become a man, got a double mastectomy before she went on hormones. And these hormones, I should add, are a costly investment for young people that they’re going to continue taking for the majority of their lives. I remember Matt Walsh did a really great investigation on how these young people are often gaining hormones and how they’re accessing them – and the kind of profits that organizations are making from giving hormones to young people to try and change their bodies. And we still don’t know all of the experimental effects that these hormones are going to have on them.

JOHN: Right. More studies are coming out on that with some very troubling findings. Did any of these detransitioners discuss with you what really pushed them over the edge in terms of deciding to transition in the first place?

MARY MARGARET: Yes, I actually talked to them about this at length because I think it’s really, really important to understanding where our culture is at and why so many young people are feeling called to do this. Most of the detransitioners I talked to had a little bit of a turbulent family life – nothing that we might consider crazy, but many of them had parents who were not doing well in their relationship with one another — perhaps they were getting divorced. One young woman who I spoke with had a mother who was alcoholic. Another young man that I spoke with had a parent whose relationships weren’t great and was largely raised by his grandmother. So, most of these young people were not in stable family situations. None of them were in families that were practicing faith, which I found really interesting. None of these people that I talked to were playing sports. They largely felt lonely and ostracized at school. They felt like they either were on the spectrum or they suspected that they were on the spectrum and that’s something that is actually very common for those who are identifying as transgender is that they are on the spectrum, and, and so all of these factors were playing into them feeling lonely and disconnected at school, not sure whether they were fitting in, and looking for identity and companionship in other places, which unfortunately, in our, our day and age, often ends up being the internet.

LISTEN: Morning Wire’s interview with Mary Margaret Olohan

JOHN: So they saw people promoting this, or people in groups that they felt like maybe they could connect with that also had similar feelings. And then, at some point, they sought medical help. How did the medical process go? How thorough was the assessment? Was it fast-tracked or slow-walked – what was that process like for them?

MARY MARGARET: Oh, every single detransitioner I spoke with said they were absolutely fast-tracked through the medical system. I think it was Luka who was just saying that when she went in and told her therapist that she wondered if she was a boy, it was like she had said the magic words and from there on out she was right on the way to her transition. I think it’s worth pointing out that a lot of these transition procedures are very much attached to the next step. So, for example, when Chloe starts talking to her doctors about getting puberty blockers to stunt her puberty while she supposedly “figures out” what gender she is — that’s what the doctors would tell her. So when she’s about to go on puberty blockers, the presumption is the next thing she’s going to do is go on testosterone. Then the presumption from there is that of course she’s going to get a double mastectomy. And the presumption from there is that she might get a hysterectomy, and the presumption from there is that she might want to get fake male genitalia. So it just compounds and compounds and compounds. It’s very costly, very invasive. And all of the detransitioners I spoke with said that they just felt like they were put on this road with very few questions asked and sent on their way.

JOHN: Did you see patterns in terms of how the parents or the family handled the transition process? Were they involved? Were they worried? Was there pushback?

MARY MARGARET: Yes, and that’s one of the most tragic aspects of this crisis that we’re seeing all these young people going through. Largely, when it comes to teenagers and young adults who are going through this “gender dysphoria” and identifying as a girl, identifying as a man, their parents love them and they want to help them. What the parents are told by doctors and the medical system is, “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a living son?” And that’s a threat to these parents. And these parents, many of whom are not well-versed in politics or gender ideology, are left thinking, “My daughter or my son is struggling so much, very obviously mentally struggling, and I want to help them, so I’m going to trust that these doctors know what they’re doing.” Unfortunately, the doctors are betraying not just the parents, but also the young person, and they’re lying and promising things that cannot be attained, including that these surgeries and these procedures will make things better, make the young person happy. These doctors shouldn’t be promising that. They have no ability to provide that happiness. That’s why I call it a “gender ideology cult” in the title of my book, because this is very cult-like. It’s not scientific. It’s not safe. It’s experimental and cult-like, and it’s incredibly scary.

JOHN: Now, one of the entities driving this movement, particularly in the medical industry, is WPATH. And a lot of these doctors will cite WPATH standards of care as sort of their cover for the action that they take, their playbook for how they carry out these procedures. Did you look into WPATH?

MARY MARGARET: With the recent exposé of the WPATH files, we now know that many of these so-called experts involved with WPATH are actually not experts at all. They’re conducting experimental treatments and they’re aware that these treatments are experimental and dangerous. For example, the WPATH files showed that these doctors were aware that sometimes hormones are causing tumors in young people; they were aware that sometimes young people, by taking hormones or puberty blockers, will suffer losses of fertility. And yet they weren’t sharing these things publicly. Meanwhile, all of these pro-transgender sites and all of these medical organizations will tout the WPATH certifications or the WPATH doctors. And media outlets will say things like all major medical organizations support “gender-affirming care” and they’ll cite, guess who, WPATH. So, it’s a very circular little game that they’re all playing here, in condoning these treatments that we know to be experimental. I’ve said this before, but I do think there is a reckoning coming for these doctors involved with WPATH. I do believe that the exposé of those files was the beginning of the end for this organization. I hope it is.

JOHN: We’ve heard rumblings of lawsuits being filed or in the works and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see some directed their way. So, you described this process where these kids who are lonely, often feeling isolated, seek out a sense of identity and then seek medical help. But now you’ve talked to some who have come through the other side of this and feel a lot of regret and a desire to detransition. What was that process like for them – trying to turn around and turn back to who they were biologically?

MARY MARGARET: Well, it began on a very traumatic note. Because to decide to detransition means that all of these people have to, first of all, recognize that they were lied to. And so many of the detransitioners in my book told me that the moment they realized that everything was wrong, it all kind of came crashing down around them because it was really a moment of realizing, “Oh my gosh, I’m not happy. I’m still struggling. In fact, I feel worse than I felt before my surgery, before my hormones.” And from there on out, some of them would go to their doctors and say, “I don’t like this anymore. I don’t want to be a man. Can you help me detransition?” And the doctors don’t want to hear that. I believe it was Abel Garcia who told me when he went to his doctors and asked them to help him detransition, they told him this was just part of his gender journey. And, first of all, it’s an incredibly insulting and hard thing to hear when you have been through so much suffering and you’re asking for help. But also, the doctors made it clear that they, A) didn’t know how to help, and B) weren’t really interested in trying. So that’s something that I’m going to be doing more reporting on — the cowardly doctors who were refusing to help detransitioners who’ve been very hurt by the medical system. Now they have no choice and no medical professionals to help them. And so they’re, they’re going through this process of detransitioning alone and they’re finding that they have a lot of complications from the hormones. They’re still figuring out if they’re infertile, they’re still figuring out what kinds of medical complications they have from the hormones, changes in bone density, aches and pains in their shoulders and in their back. Chloe Cole, for example, her double mastectomy wounds have not fully healed and it’s been years. So, these are just a few of the things they’re still trying to deal with and with very little medical help.

JOHN: Did you see any pattern in terms of timeline? Is this months or years later that this regret usually starts to kick in? Was it individualized?

MARY MARGARET: I do think it was very individualized, depending on the person I talked to. Luka, for example, was on testosterone for four years before she stopped taking it. Helena was on testosterone for a much shorter time – and thank God, Helena did not get a double mastectomy. So she detransitioned more quickly than some of the other ones. But I will say that, though there are a lot of patterns in all these detransitioners stories, each one is really unique in the really sad way they suffered. I think they would all tell you they have very individualized experiences, but they’ve all started speaking up. Specifically, the detransitioners who are in my book, they go and testify before state lawmakers, they speak very frequently and try to help other people with gender dysphoria. They would tell you that detransition is not the end, and that they’re living very fruitful and exciting lives. Prisha Mosley, for example, is about to have a baby, which is honestly a miracle, given what she has been through. I’m really happy for her and excited to see her start a family.

JOHN: Speaking of families, we talked about how much they supported (or not) the transition process. What about the detransition process? Did you see any patterns there?

MARY MARGARET: In terms of detransitioning, that is something that’s very hard for the detransition to tell their parents. Because, in Luka’s case, her parents hadn’t wanted her to transition. They were nervous, they were scared, but they thought that it was the best thing to do. They were told by doctors, however, that it was the best thing for their daughter, and she herself had to convince them to go through with it. So, she said that when she called her mother to tell her this was all a mistake, it was one of the hardest conversations she had ever had because, in effect, she was saying, “You were right, and my life has been fundamentally changed by all of this, and you knew what you were talking about, but you trusted the doctors instead of yourself.” That’s a really tragic conversation to have to have with your parents.

JOHN: What about the opposite – was there any resentment for the parents that were overly supportive of the transition process?

MARY MARGARET: I am interested in knowing that myself, John, because some of these detransitioners are very respectful of their families and they don’t want to necessarily throw them under the bus. I didn’t hear a ton about resentment when it comes to the detransitioners’ relationships with their families. I think they’re aware that this is a topic they have to be careful about because many are quick to call out parents for allowing their children to go down this path, and rightfully so. But at the same time, the detransitioners want there to be empathy for their parents and what they went through. Although, I should add, there absolutely are parents who are pushing their children down this path for selfish and narcissistic reasons, and those parents really should be held accountable for their actions.

JOHN: So the last chapter of your book is about the tragic story of Abby Martinez and her daughter. What happened there? And why did you include that story?

MARY MARGARET: Yeah, this is probably the most emotional chapter in the book to me. I spoke with Abby Martinez, the mother of Yaeli Martinez, a young girl who grew up in California. Yaeli stumbled into some bad friendships in high school. The school then began socially transitioning her, speaking to her as though she were a boy, having her meet with a therapist who was similarly treating her. Yaeli slowly, but surely, began to distance herself from her mother, from her family. Ultimately, the California Department of Child and Family Services took Yaeli away from her family and started her on testosterone. Abby, her mother, was understandably distraught. She was trying to see her daughter, and was struggling with making contact with her daughter in a positive way because the girl was just very upset and confused. Ultimately, Yaeli threw herself in front of a train and ended her life. It’s a very sad and emotional story. Abby herself sobbed on the phone as she shared it with me. I included it because all the detransitioners in my book, these are people who’ve been through very hard and traumatic things, but they are okay. They’re on the other side of it, and thankfully, they’re living fruitful lives. They’re doing well. But in this case, Yaeli did not make it. Yaeli is no longer with us and her mother is still suffering intensely from what her daughter was put through. Abby told me that she wants people to know what she’s been through so that they can avoid having this happen to their own children. She said this pain never ends. I think it’ll be a deeply impactful story for people to read. It was very impactful for me to write. I obtained the police report from the officers who found all the pieces of Yaeli’s body all over the train tracks. And I included a lot of that because when I read it, it stayed with me and I don’t think I will ever forget it. And I think it is a really horrific but powerful testimony to what gender ideology can do to any young person.

JOHN: A truly powerful story. Like you said, tragic, but important to hear that testimony. Mary Margaret, thank you so much for coming on and good luck with this book.

MARY MARGARET: John, thank you so much. I’m so grateful to be able to share this with your audience.

JOHN: That was Mary Margaret Olohan, author of “Detrans: True Stories of Escaping the Gender Ideology Cult” – and this has been a Saturday Extra edition of Morning Wire.

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