UPDATE June 12, 2016: Jenn Burleton, Director of TransActive Gender Center, has responded. See this post for details.
Regular readers will recall ”In praise of gatekeepers,” the 4thWaveNow interview with Cari, a former teen client of TransActive Gender Center in Portland, OR. In her interview, Cari, now 22, told us that TransActive “counselors” made it far too easy for her to be referred for medical transition at age 16; she started testosterone at 17 and moved on to “top surgery” (double mastectomy) soon thereafter. In retrospect, Cari wishes there had been a lot more gatekeeping at TransActive—especially because her counselor never suggested investigating whether Cari’s history of trauma and comorbid mental health issues might have played a part in her desire to transition.
A few days ago, Cari wrote a post pointedly criticizing TransActive’s gatekeeper-free teen transition policies.
Whoever manages TransActive’s official Tumblr blog reblogged Cari’s post, but instead of addressing her concerns, they simply doubled down on their propaganda:
Either this TransActive employee has trouble with reading comprehension, or they just figured that spamming Cari’s Tumblr followers with their superRAD!-no-mean-cis-gatekeeping policy would somehow drown out her silly concerns. But either way, as Cari told 4thWaveNow, “This should give people some insight into how TransActive treats detransitioned ex-clients. Whoever runs their social media accounts has so little empathy, they reblogged a post by a woman who was irreparably harmed by their org and acted like I was praising their services. ”
Additionally, Cari told 4thWaveNow that she had previously written to TransActive to ask what services they could provide to someone who was unhappy with transition and wanted some support for detransitioning. TransActive’s response was to send Cari a list of therapists—all of whom were trained by TransActive, and one of which is an employee of the LLC, BraveSpace, a newly established trans youth counseling org which has replaced TransActive’s in-house therapy program. “This concerns me,” Cari told us. “While I’m speculating here, I know many detransitioned women I’ve spoken with have issues with therapists who think they are simply experiencing “internalized transphobia” or social pressure and therefore try to convince them to retransition.”
Given TransActive’s track record of spurring kids and teens on to hormones and surgeries—as well as the complete absence of any acknowledgement that regretters or detransitioners exist (let alone listing any resources for detransitioners on their very professional looking website), it’s unlikely an unhappy ex-client like Cari would find a sympathetic ear from any of the “counselors” affiliated with TransActive.
A couple of days ago, Cari tagged TransActive (i.e., she invited them to respond) in a followup post with a very clear message about the failings of her former TransActive “counselor” Sheryl:
As of this writing, TransActive hasn’t reblogged nor replied to Cari’s latest post. Maybe they’ll be better at taking a hint with pictures than with words? Stay tuned.