I’ve been in the midst of one of the more extreme periods of mental illness I’ve had in my life. Statistically there were a lot of risk factors for depression in my life: professional burnout, vicarious trauma from clients, new motherhood, new stepmotherhood, moving to a new town. My brain is thoroughly scrambled. You look at the statistics on stepmother mental health, postpartum mental health, and therapist mental health post-pandemic- it’s clear restrospectively I was probably not going to be one the lucky few who sailed through this period without screaming and panic attacks. Many people struggle in similar circumstances. This is why we have zoloft, EMDR, and all that wine mom merchandise.
But in my case, I’ve had a more unique stress laid on top of all that. I’ve had the national discourse on detransition and the movement to criminalize pediatric medical care for gender dysphoria. It’s happening in my state.
I believe there are big gaps in the care provided for people with gender dysphoria, and the lack of care for detransitioners is one of those big gaps. It’s an important big gap. It’s a gap that leaves a lot of people who struggle with mental illness navigating immense life stressors without community and professional guidance- pretty much leaving the door wide open for us to be preyed on by the Heritage Foundation and the ADF. And yes, it’s incredibly easy for detransitioners to get preyed on by extremists. I can tell you from personal experiences how hard it is to vet everyone you interact with online or otherwise. You pretty much have to be willing to dedicate a wall in your home to tracing interactions to figuring out where everyone’s political alliances lie.
In my own life I’ve been burned both by people who were being sneaky about their allegiances, and also by people looking to paint me as being sneaky about my own political viewpoint. When I spent my pregnancy trying to find an effective way to respond to accusations made in the national press I was a crypto-TERF, I gave up. I thought, “I am neither smart enough or sane enough to effectively communicate to anyone about the importance of taking care of detransitioners within the trans community.”
So I withdrew to try to focus on the huge changes in my own life, to only a little bit of success. I tried to dedicate a lot more of my political energy to student loan debt relief. I screamed at my husband a lot. I got a gym habit. I made a lot of over-sharey posts on Instagram. In the meantime, Chloe Cole…