As a teen suffering from physical and mental health challenges, including autism and body dysmorphia from repeated abuse, Laura Becker learned about the transgender movement on Tumblr and thought that being transgender could be the root cause of her struggles.
She first identified as gay, then she started identifying as a man at the age of 18. Just a year later, she started to undergo medical intervention that would change her body forever.
“At the time, I was so mentally unstable,” said Becker. Instead of directing her to counseling to receive mental health support to address these underlying concerns, a transgender-identifying college professor recommended that she go to a clinic for free testosterone. She was given 200-milligram vials of testosterone to inject, despite that being what she called an “extremely high dose” for someone like her, whose polycystic ovarian syndrome meant she already had elevated testosterone levels.
At age 20, she decided to have a double mastectomy to remove her breasts to further masculinize her body. The surgeon asked for two letters of recommendation for the procedure. One of her letters came from a general practitioner she rarely saw, and the other came from a psychiatrist who was aware Becker had recently committed herself for inpatient treatment due to suicidal thoughts.
She has expressed frustration that these doctors prioritized “short-term interventions” over getting to the root of deeper, long-term issues.She had to stop her testosterone injections to have the surgery—and never went back.
Instead, she began the process of detransitioning as her emotions stabilized. And she had to face the trauma of having made changes to her body that are irreversible.
Now, she is working to be a voice for young people who struggled as she did—and who are often encouraged to make the same life-changing decisions when in a fragile state of mind.
“I just try to expose the gaslighting because it’s not helpful to anybody except the person who just gets to vent whatever their frustrations are and just dump it on someone who is basically a trauma victim—a medical abuse victim,” Becker said.Unfortunately, there are many who want her silenced.
In order to raise awareness of those who have regretted a gender transition, Becker started an Etsy store selling items such as a hat that says “De-Trans Awareness” and a shirt reading “Believe De-Transitioners.”
The store was subsequently attacked by online trolls who harassed Becker for her vocal support of detransitioners.
She reported the harassment to Etsy and Etsy responded by letting her know that the user would no longer be able to contact her.
Two days later, many of her products—even those that have nothing to do with gender identity—were removed or listed as unavailable.
She appealed the decision to Etsy and in response, the popular online marketplace has threatened to permanently ban her from selling. While Etsy later said this was an error and she would be allowed to sell, her products related to detransitioning are still listed as unavailable.