When Carol Costello, CNN reporter, interviewed me in June on the subject of Olympian, trans-Jenner, she couldn’t help beginning with a false narrative that only 2 percent regret of transgender have regrets. That is, the media’s propensity to fluff over the regret statistics.
Early in the interview, she made the statement, “We have researched… and we found a recent Swedish study that found only 2.2 percent of transgenders, male and female, suffered from sex change regret.”
Costello is a bright reporter. That it is why it was so puzzling she would use her interview of me to misinform her audience, unless the intent was to diminish and dismiss reports of sex change regret among the transgender population. Costello used only one study to reach a conclusion on the frequency of regret. She or her staff did not look at the wealth of other studies that suggest sex change regret is quite common. One such study commissioned by The Guardian of the UK in 2004 reviewed 100 studies and reported that a whopping 20 percent (one fifth) of transgenders regret changing genders, ten times more than CNN’s Costello reported.
The review of 100 studies also revealed that many transgenders remained severely distressed and even suicidal after the gender change operation. Suicide and regret remain the dark side of transgender life.
The Media—Unwilling to Show the Dark SideThe media cover-up of regret and suicides isn’t a new phenomenon; it was in play 36 years ago. In 1979 Dr. Charles Ihlenfeld, who worked alongside the famous Dr. Harry Benjamin for six years administering hormone therapy to some 500 transgenders,spoke to an audience in New York about his experience: “There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery. Too many of them end as suicides.”
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