Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of sexual violence. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.
A teenager on TikTok named West (@theneorin), who started their account to open up about their transitioning journey, has recently taken to the platform to share why they are currently detransitioning — the process in which an individual who’s undergone some sort of gender transition returns to the gender they were prior.
West, 17, says they began their transgender journey at 11. Over the next few years, West became a victim of repeated sexual assault four times, which led their parents to take them out of high school and use an unschooling method, in which the student doesn’t attend school or follow a set curriculum. This series of events put West in a negative mindset moving forward.
“It was probably the worst year of my life,” West said about their sophomore and junior years while unschooling. “I started hating the way I looked and sounded, and it got so much worse than ever before. I thought I must be in the wrong body.”
Describing themself as “gender fluid,” West explained that they had initially attributed their feminine side to only how they were perceived and to what others had done to them — even starting the TikTok account to document the transition process. However, West has found that transitioning into a boy is not the path that is right for them.
“I don’t know my pronouns or anything like that yet, but I know that I’m not a boy,” West said. “I’ve been doing this pretty slowly, but I think I finally hit a point where I’m either gender fluid or don’t know what’s going on.”
After telling their followers and millions of viewers, West received plenty of support from commenters.
“Just be yourself and do what makes you happy,” said @tech_zombie.
West is in the minority population of trans people who have changed their minds or expressed regret following transition. In 2020, Kaiser Permanente published a study that began in 2013, reporting that less than 1% of patients that underwent mastectomies during the transitioning process felt regret.
In the Know by Yahoo Reached out to West for comment, but didn’t receive a response.
“Medically, de-transitioning may involve potential physical and emotional challenges, such as hormonal imbalances, psychological adjustments, and potential dissatisfaction with the reversal process,” Brian Clark, BSN and founder of United Medical Education, told In The Know.
There are also potential hurdles with the law that a detransitioning person may have to overcome.
New York attorney Min Hwan Han, Esq, told In The Know that one of the main concerns stems from updated legal documents amended in the transitioning process, such as birth certificates and passports.
“Another important legal aspect to consider is the potential breach of contracts or agreements related to transitioning, such as medical service agreements or insurance policies. In some cases, the individual might face legal challenges or financial penalties for violating such contracts,” she wrote.
West turns 18 in June and will be emancipated then, which will take their journey into the adult world. However, West repeatedly reassured everyone watching that things were fine.
“Everything’s OK,” they said. “For anybody watching this, no matter what you’re doing or what you’re questioning, it’ll be OK.”
If you or someone you know needs support after experiencing sexual violence, contact the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-4673 or chat online with a trained counselor. You can also connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741.
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