Luka “Bunny” Hein was in her early teens when confusion about her true gender developed.
Doctors provided what seemed like a solution.
“It was presented both to me and my parents as, ‘This is your option to fix things or not. There’s not really any other choices. This is the track that you’re going to be on if you want to fix these things,'” said the Minnesota native.
She was only 16 years old when she had a double mastectomy and was prescribed hormone treatments as part of her transition from female to male.
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Four years later, she regretted her transition and reverted to her original gender.
She says she feels that her mental health issues were ignored and that she was pressured by doctors to medically transition.
“I feel like dealing with some of the more underlying issues in depth would have definitely been a better place to start,” Hein said in a recent interview with Fox News.
“Seeing that I was clearly … a teenager that had mental health issues. I was on psychiatric drugs at the time for depression and anxiety.”
As gender-affirming surgery becomes more prevalent, a growing number of people who go through the treatment are choosing to detransition.
“Dealing with that stuff instead of almost sweeping it aside and being like, ‘You’re clearly not in a good place mentally, we’re not going to even consider that you could consent to any of this’ would have been the much better way to go.”
She added that doctors could have said to her, “‘Just take a wait-and-see [approach] and make sure you’re healthy before anything else.'”
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As gender-affirming surgery becomes more prevalent, a growing number of people who go through the treatment are choosing to detransition — the halting or reversal of gender transition through social, legal or medical means.
Many of those who choose to revert to the gender they were assigned at birth had similar experiences — they felt that they were rushed through the process to transition without any focus on their mental well-being.
A 2021 study from the Institute for Comprehensive Gender Dysphoria Research found that over half the individuals who detransitioned did not receive adequate mental health evaluations before starting their original transition.
“The moment you mention trans identity, everything else is forgotten,” Dr. Joseph Burgo, clinical psychologist and head of the Beyond Transition program at nonprofit organization Genspect, said to Fox News.
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“So, you could be suicidal. And if you announce you’re trans, then all of a sudden transition becomes the focus of treatment and addressing all the other things that were going on before then just falls into the background. You see [this] all the time. Everything goes out the window once you identify as trans.”
Burgo said he is in favor of slowing down the process of transition among young teenagers without any kind of psychological exploration.
“There’s no evidence that gender-affirming transition actually reduces suicidality.”
“They often use this threat of suicidality or self-harm as an argument in favor of encouraging transition,” he said. “The argument being that if you don’t, this will, as you said, encourage their stress and will increase the likelihood that they’ll commit suicide.”
He added, “That is not true. There’s no evidence to support that belief. And if you look at the actual data, this cohort has a high suicidality rate, and it starts beforehand, during and after transition. There’s no evidence that gender-affirming transition actually reduces suicidality.”
Laura Becker of Wisconsin was 19 years old when she started testosterone treatments before having her breasts removed seven months later.
She recalled how she even had suicidal thoughts the day of her top surgery.
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“On the day of the surgery, the surgeon called me, and he said, ‘How are you feeling about this,’ and I’m sure I said something to the effect of, ‘You know, I’m not doing very well. I’m feeling suicidal. You know, a lot of anxiety, those sorts of thing,'” Becker told Fox News.
She went on, “And basically [he asked], ‘Is it related to the surgery?’ And I said, ‘No, it’s not related to the surgery.’ So we went ahead. But in retrospect, I can see it was partly related.”
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Now at 25, Becker said she regrets the decision to transition and has started the process to return to her original gender.
“The surgery is the biggest regret,” she told Fox News.
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“Parts of my body that I had never even really gotten a chance to appreciate or understand or respect or use … I’ll never be able to experience, sort of, that intact female form.”