A former trans-identifying woman is speaking out to highlight how struggling with gender dysphoria is a lot like a mental health struggle, implying that parents and doctors should approach the issue accordingly.
A 22 year-old detransitioned woman by the name of Helena Kerschner was at the Q 2021 Culture Summit to emphasize just how important it is to treat persons with gender dysphoria "the same way we would treat any other young person who's struggling with mental health issues" versus subjecting or enabling them to go through irreversible transition surgeries and harmful puberty blockers.
Kerschner took the stage together with Culture Summit with the Center for Faith, Sexuality, and Gender President Preston Sprinkle, to which she spoke of her experiences as former transgender man.
According to the Christian Post, Kerschner said she felt no signs that she was struggling with gender dysphoria as a teen. But when she hit 15, she became engaged with online communities that often spoke about "social justice" and "gender all the time," including issues on heirarchy and cis whiteness.
The detransitioned woman shared that being exposed to these online communities made her realize that she was a "straight, white girl," an identity that she believed was "very bad at the time being in these communities."
Kerschner then decided to identify as non-binary, but soon after that identification "snowballed into full-on trans." She went on to undergo hormone replacement therapy when she was 18, but safely transitioned back to her identity as a female born individual without any medical side effects from the hormone treatments.
The detransitioned woman spoke about how the online communities had the biggest influence in her life when she was a teen because she believed that at the time, she could not find anything in her school or community that was influencing her.
She added that like her, others have dealt with their mental health issues by transitioning and later detransitioning. She attributed this to people just feeling "very alone and isolated," possible due to a lack of a "welcoming family life." She explained that kids like her "just got caught up in these communities online and just started interpreting their emotional pain through the same lens together."
Kerschner, who established the started the detransition support group Pique Resilience Project, argued that kids and persons who have "comorbid mental health issues" such as depression and anxiety, self harm, eating disorders, and more, should be treated "the same way we would treat any other young person who's struggling with mental health issues" and be allowed to get help for their mental health issues.
Another detransitioned woman shares Kerschner's views. Keira Bell, a detransitioned woman from the United Kingdom, was embroiled in a case against the NHS Gender Identity Development Service, which she believed should have done more to address her mental health issues as a teen instead of allowing her to go through transitioning.
"I should have been challenged on the proposals or the claims that I was making for myself. I think that would have made a big difference," Bell told BBC of the choices she made using guidance from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Trust, U.K.'s only gender-identity development service.
"I think it's up to these institutions, like the Tavistock, to step in and make children reconsider what they are saying, because it is a life-altering path," Bell said.