Potentially Asked Questions

Firstly: trans folks have some pretty big feelings around using their “deadname”; what I’m answering below is unique to, and is not prescriptive. Please do not presume that other trans folks feel the same about these things, and please use the name and pronouns they ask you to use.

While most trans folks call it their deadname, I call it my birthname. Although, if you intentionally and deliberately call me by that name, then yeah, you’re deadnaming me, and that’s rude.

On to the questions:

Q: I’ve known you for [n] years as Waz. Surely you don’t expect me to just start calling you Allie or Alyssa without making a mistake?

A: I don’t, actually. I’m asking you to make the effort. You’re going to forget. If you make a mistake, eh, it happens. The longer you’ve known me, the more likely that is to happen. I’m not going to start screaming at you or correcting you. I’m trusting you to care enough about me that you understand why I made the change.

If you look me in the eye, and intentionally call me by my birthname, that’s a bit different.

Q: OK, but Alyssa or Allie aren’t your “real” names, are they?

A: Neither was “Waz”, but people were comfortable calling me that for decades. In any case, Alyssa is legally my name now. Allie’s my nickname.

Q: I’m sorry, but this is really hard to accept. Do you expect me to change my beliefs?

A: I know how difficult it is, I’m living it. I didn’t choose to be transgender, I just am. My gender dysphoria was the result of me trying to live with the incongruence of the way my brain works, vs the factory-installed configuration.

While being trans isn’t a choice, transitioning is. I made the choice to transition, because nothing else worked.

I still have moments where I struggle to accept that this was the choice I needed to make (and resent that there is no other choice). However, in my attempts to get rid of the gender dysphoria over the decade between 2012 and 2023, and be a cisgender man, I read a lot of transphobic material and internalised it. I tried to hate myself out of it. It didn’t work.

Any anti-trans argument someone wants to make? I’ve already made it to myself during those long dark nights of the soul.

Q: Yeah, but transition? Why didn’t you try [x]?

A: Any treatment or therapy someone wants to suggest? Been there, tried that, got the t-shirt (and free bonus trauma).

Q: Yeah, but [person] did this, and now they’re ex-transgender?

A: Firstly, if you’re not already familiar, please read about survivor bias. Just because it worked for someone else, doesn’t mean it worked for me. If I put on someone else’s glasses, no matter how hard I try, their prescription won’t work for my eyes.

Secondly, if you look back at the number of folks twenty years ago who publicly declared themselves as “ex-gay”, and do a quick “where are they now?” search, it’ll be eye-opening.

Q: What about people who’ve detransitioned? Why won’t you listen to them?

A: I have listened to them. Many of them. There are some loose groupings. We absolutely should listen to what folks who’ve detransitioned have to say, with a caveat (below).

  1. People who weren’t trans, and the issue was something else.
    • This is actually why I went on HRT first, without socially transitioning. If I wasn’t trans, I’d have felt worse, instead of better.
  2. People who detransitioned for social/personal reasons.
    • Being trans is difficult, and there are groups of people trying to make it even more painful. For some, the pain of transitioning was too much, and they detransition. Statistically, this group are more likely to transition again.
  3. People who’ve detransitioned and are weaponising their experiences by trying to apply them universally to all trans people.
    • This is a minority. A loud minority, but a minority all the same. Some are obvious grifters. Others have been deeply wounded; their experiences matter, but using their experiences to try and justify removing treatment for ALL trans folks, when the majority of trans folks who’ve transitioned (particularly as support has improved for trans folks over the last two decades), have an improved quality of life, is reprehensible – and cruel.

My caveat is that for that last group, if you do listen to what they have to say, then please go and find some trans folks for whom transition has improved their lives, and listen to what we (yes, me included) have to say.

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