Montana Republican Admits Detransition Is Rare, Witness States “0 Of My Patients Regret Transition”



Montana Republican Admits Detransition Is Rare, Witness States “0 Of My Patients Regret Transition”

A Montana hearing for Senate Bill 99, a gender affirming care ban for trans youth, featured incredible moments. A therapist, when asked, said “none of my patients regret.” A Republican conceded that.



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Montana’s House Judiciary Committee met today to hear a bill that would ban gender affirming care for trans youth. Senate bill 99, which passed the Montana Senate previously, bans gender affirming care, explicitly legalizes nonconsensual intersex surgeries on intersex youth, and attacks Medicaid coverage for institutions providing such care. One of the ways that the bill is supported by proponents is through the use of detransitioners, including multiple political detransitioners. The House hearing was filled with expert witnesses, including people like Dr. Anna Peterson, who has treated transgender people for over two decades. When asked how many people she has cared for have regretted their transition, she stated that of the hundreds of patients she has seen, none have expressed regret. Ultimately, this led to Representative Jennifer Carlson (R) admitting that detransition is indeed rare, undercutting a major justification for the bill.

Montana’s bill would ban gender affirming care entirely for trans youth. It states that no person may provide gender affirming surgeries, hormone therapy, or puberty blockers to anyone under 18, in violation with widely accepted standards of care and medical evidence. It removes doctors licenses and even removes their ability to indemnify themselves using malpractice insurance for youth gender affirming care. A severability clause at the end ensures that if parts are found unconstitutional, other parts will remain in effect, indicating proponents of the bill know that it is likely the bill will indeed be found to be unconstitutional:

Severability clause in SB99

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In order to argue for this bill, people often point to and raise the fear that those who are transitioning will later come to regret it. We often hear this with respect to outlandishly high detransition rates that are often claimed by proponents of bills like this. In this hearing, they brought forward one detransitioner to make this case – he did so using religious justifications for his detransition, not that unlike the old ex-gay movement.

We know from modern studies that detransition is very rare. In the hearing, multiple witnesses in favor of the bill brought up the much-debunked “80% detransition rate.” This rate is based on decades old data and standards. Much of the data comes from a noted conversion therapist, Ken Zucker, who advised the parents of trans kids to do things such as avoiding “wrongly-gendered toys.” We know from modern studies that the actual detransition rate among trans youth is only 2.5% – and many of these who do detransition do so because of lack of acceptance rather than because they are “not trans.”

It is upon these facts that Representative Zooey Zephyr (D) asked Dr. Anna Peterson, a therapist who has worked with transgender youth for two decades, how many people she has seen who have regretted their transition. Dr. Peterson responded, “I’ve worked for many years with this population. Of the hundreds of people over many years… the incidence of regret in my practice, simply put, is zero. And I work with these kids over time, into adulthood.”

See the exchange:

The exchange was enlightening, and it seemed to throw Republican questioners off, who may have intended to rely on high detransition rates to get their point across. Later in the same hearing, Representative Jennifer Carlson (R) brought up detransitioners, but clearly had to adjust her questioning. She stated, “With respect to those who reverse course… go back… which we know is a small number…” and proceeded to ask about the reversibility of the procedures. The moment was significant as it was the first time in the hundreds of hours of legislation I have witnessed where a Republican conceded that point.

It is also notable that in this hearing, there was only a single detransitioner. Many trans people spoke against the bill. If there was an “explosion of detransitioners” as some proponents tried to claim before this exchange, where are they? You might expect that they would out in droves to testify in these hearings, especially if the number is as high as what is commonly cited and the procedures are so damaging. There continues to be no evidence that this is the case.

There were other remarkable moments of questioning, such as when Representative Durham questioned multiple doctors about the use of blood tests to determine someone’s biological sex. When both a psychiatrist and an emergency department doctor both stated that you cannot use blood tests to conclusively determine someone’s biological sex by measuring hormone levels, the Representative seemed to grow dubious, stating that he disagreed. When the crowd shouted, “you’re not a doctor!” he responded, “But I’m married…”

SB99 will come up for executive action in the coming days, and if it is voted out of the committee, it will go to the full Montana House. Should it pass, Montana will become the 10th state to ban gender affirming care fully for trans youth. It is an extreme bill that will harm trans kids in Montana and will usurp parental rights over healthcare decisions. The representatives who are on the fence on this bill should use these lines of questioning and the answers they received to help them realize that this bill does not base itself on scientific fact or any material good for the patient population they seek to legislate.

Disclosure: Representative Zooey Zephyr is the author if this article’s partner.

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4 thoughts on “Montana Republican Admits Detransition Is Rare, Witness States “0 Of My Patients Regret Transition”

  1. Scottie, why is a question that must be asked of elected officials who believe this is the most important thing they could discuss. This is one of those contrived and exaggerated issues that one party wants to focus on as they truly do not have a voted on platform of policy issues dating back to the summer of 2016, almost seven years ago. Besides stripping rights, banning books, whitewashing history, what does this party truly stand for? What about climate change, water crisis, healthcare costs, job retraining, etc. ? Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Keith. I agree that some republicans are using it as a cynical way to divert the attention of their voters and to keep their voters enraged /engaged. However Keith it scares me that a lot of the republicans now pushing these hateful harmful oppressive regressive bills are doing it because they believe all the advances in social progress based on advancements in medical understandings and the idea of gender equality to be against not only their comfort but their religious views of how their god wants society to be constructed. Keith it is not good enough for these people to be allowed to live as they wish organizing their homes / social circles but they feel they must be allowed to force everyone else to live by their doctrines also. If they cannot force your child to only see / watch / read what they allow their child to read then it is you oppressing them. Keith there are republicans in office demanding to return the rights of women to the 1950s, the rights of workers to the 1910s. I can only think that is because of fundamentalist religious views for women and for the removal of other civil rights I have to think it is due to racism. Regardless of how a person might feel about trans kids / people the fact is medical science is fully behind accepting social medical transition as it is behind Covid vaccines. To force all these kids to detransition is horrific and goes against all medical peer reviewed science. This is the same as saying a pregnant person dying due to a miscarriage can not et medical help because it makes a republican feel icky as it means an abortion.

      Keith what is happening is a redefining of what is acceptable to a small minority of people being able to rule what is acceptable in all of society. This is the US maga Taliban and the Christian moral / vice police in full force. This is what the republicans in charge feel is more important than everything you listed. I think people think this is just a distraction but I disagree, I think this is the main focus of a lot on the right. Remember the republican part is a minority that does everything they can to stay in power and when in power they rule as if by a landslide as a majority. Look at DeathSantis first election. He barely squeaked a win against a black guy in the south. As soon as he got in office he went full in hard driving to gerrymandering, voter suppression which included staging arrests of black people before the election, and daily threats of armed white gang thugs at voting places which is one of the reasons he had such a large victory in his second election.

      What people do not realize is how completely managed DeathSantis is and how badly liked he is. He is never interviewed by any not friendly media and insists on all questions in advance which is becoming standard with right wing republican office holders. He is never near the public, all events staged to show him in the best light, in fact a recent appearance at a republican event his team insisted that bicycle racks were set up to prevent any interaction between him and the public. The question is this. Is DeathSantis who is the driving force behind the most venomous attacks on LGBTQ+ and supper pro Christian a true believer or is he doing this simply as a means to power. From what I have learned of him, a military JAG officer who laughed at the destress during torture of the inmates at Gitmo, who takes any offence at being disagreed with to the point of using the police forces of the state against state employees and journalists that disagreed with him.

      Thanks Keith. I enjoyed your comment and trying to reply, I do miss the comments / interactions. I hope you will take few minutes to give me your thoughts on my reply. Best wishes and hugs.


      1. Thanks Scott. Good comment. What you speak of is troubling. A large part of this positioning by the GOP per a former Republican strategist named Steve Schmidt (one of the co-founders of the Lincoln Project) is demographic related. The Koch Brothers did a forecast showing the party will be in trouble if they don’t recruit new members or restrict voting rights of the opposition. They know the white majority in American will become a plurality in the next decade plus, so that scares them.

        Since the recruiting process is going more slowly than hoped, the restricting the voting and rights of others has become more prominent. This began in earnest when they used Barack Obama’s race as a rallying cry to win seats in the 2010 midterms which was a census year. That is when the gerrymandering and ALEC efforts to restrict voting started in earnest.

        Now, in a Hand Maid’s tale sort of way, women’s rights, minority rights and LGBTQ+ rights are being restricted. And, history is being purposefully white washed to expunge perceived derogatory references to what whites in leadership did. We must push back on this purposeful gaslighting of American citizens. Fox News is not the only group that is guilty of this, as per their own emails. Elected officials like DeSantis, Abbott, McCarthy, Trump, et al are gaslighting Americans. I made yet another call to McCarthy’s office pleading with him to be a leader and not a gaslighter.

        As you note, what is happening is not right. Elected officials, especially GOP ones, are not doing as many town halls, debates and interviews as they do not want to be called on the carpet for their untruthfulness. WE voters must call them out. But, do your best not to name call. Your voice must be heard and acting like some of the politicians is not the way to be.

        Many thanks my friend, Keith

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hello Keith. I have read your reply several times. I am not up to posting nor to replying to comments but I really appreciate your response. I am not sure of the future but I have to think one or both parties must change. Talk later. Hugs


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