‘Detransition Diaries’: ‘The Greatest Medical Experiment of Our Time’

BOOK COMMENTARY: New book unveils tragic stories of regret — and offers advice on combating the heartbreak.

The true stories Lahl and Fell have collected of seven young people who believed they needed to medically alter their bodies to match the opposite sex are harrowing including detransitioner Chloe Cole.
The true stories Lahl and Fell have collected of seven young people who believed they needed to medically alter their bodies to match the opposite sex are harrowing including detransitioner Chloe Cole. (photo: Creaive Commons/Courtesy / Public Domain/Ignatius )

The Detransition Diaries

By Jennifer Lahl, Kallie Fell

Ignatius Press, 2024

246 pages, $18.95

To order: The Detransition Diaries (ignatius.com)


In our sexually confused age, in which some boys think they can become girls and some girls think they can become boys, a welcome new book, The Detransition Diaries, explains how this fanciful political movement developed, why it’s everywhere in the news, and what loving adults can do to fight this madness and save our children from what has been called “the greatest medical experiment of our time.”

“Gender ideology,” co-authors Jennifer Lahl and Kallie Fell explain, “claims that being a woman or a man is a feeling in a person’s head rather than a biological reality.” (Italics added.)

A pediatric nurse and hospital manager who founded the Center for Bioethics and Culture (CBC), Lahl has produced several award-winning documentaries, including Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender? and The Lost Boys: Searching for Manhood. Fell, a perinatal nurse, is CBC’s executive director and hosts Venus Rising, a podcast about women’s fertility and reproductive health.

Disturbingly, Lahl and Fell write, “One of the fastest areas of growth in the trans movement has been so-called gender-affirming care for children.” The number of transition facilities for children in North America has skyrocketed from only a handful 10 years ago to more than 400 today.

Medicalized for Life

The true stories Lahl and Fell have collected of seven young people who believed they needed to medically alter their bodies to match the opposite sex and express their “true selves” are harrowing.

At age 13, Chloe was prescribed puberty-blocking medications, which stopped her periods, and testosterone injections, which caused her to develop larger shoulder muscles and bigger bones in her nose, forehead and jaw. At 15, she went on to have a double mastectomy, which involved removing not only breast tissue but also part of her chest. At age 16, she regretted her previous decisions and began to “detransition.” And yet, at age 18, her nipples were still bleeding and leaking, and she now realizes her previously healthy female body has been permanently damaged. Even if she is ever able to conceive and have a baby, she will never be able to breastfeed.

Tragically, girls like Chloe are hardly alone. Time magazine declared 2014 to be “the transgender tipping point.” Since 2013, the number of girls in the U.S. receiving double mastectomies in order to become “boys” has increased 13-fold.

The lasting effects of testosterone injections are equally disturbing.

The highly respected Mayo Clinic, which oddly enough has not come out against gender transitioning, lists more than a dozen possible side effects of testosterone injections on the female body, including infertility, acne, male-pattern baldness, type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure and blood clots in the lungs.

After testosterone injections, one young woman Lahl and Fell interviewed who always loved to sing, lost her pretty soprano singing voice, and even though she quit the testosterone supplements years ago, the loss of her singing voice appears to be permanent.

As Lahl and Fell observe, “It can no longer be denied that medicalizing gender has short- and long-term detrimental effects on the body, creating a situation where transitioners and detransitioners alike become bound to a health care system of medications, hormones, and surgeries” — often for life. And yet “studies on people who regret their decision to transition have yet to be done.”

One detransitioner named Rachel warns that what’s called “gender dysphoria” (the unhappiness a person is said to feel over being in the “wrong body”) is not the cause of a person’s problems — it’s a symptom. Rachel says in the book, “Your discomfort is coming from trauma, abuse, depression, sexual orientation issues, circumstantial issues, [or] the sexism in our culture.”

What We All Can Do

If you have or know of any children or young adults who have been conned into believing they can change their inborn biological sex, Lahl, Fell and others offer a number of helpful suggestions:

Know what your child is being taught about sex in school. Psychiatrist Dr. Miriam Grossman, author of You’re Teaching My Child WHAT?, traced gender ideology back to pseudo-scientists like John Money (who coined the term “gender identity”) and Alfred Kinsey and came to realize more clearly “how we had reached today’s madness. It came from disturbed individuals with dangerous ideas, radical activists who wanted to create a society that would not only accept their pathology, but celebrate it. These men were pedophiles. It was in their interest to see children as miniature adults who enjoyed sexual contact, and had the right to consent to it, without other adults, or the law, interfering.”

And yet Kinsey’s pseudo-science, along with Money’s, is being taught to kindergarteners in our public and private schools. Is this false ideology masquerading as “science” being taught to your child? Find out. Examine your child’s textbooks. Ask questions.

Don’t trust every doctor or therapist you meet. Those who call themselves “gender therapists” are often in business not to heal emotional wounds but to confirm children and young adults in their desires to become the opposite sex. Lahl and Fell note that in contradiction to the first principle of medical ethics, “Do no harm,” there have been “plenty of times when doctors have ignored this promise and done grave harm to many people” and have treated people as “disposable objects without dignity or rights.” By 1942, 38,000 physicians had joined the Nazi Party and were swept up in its ideology of eliminating the “unfit” and its attempt to “cleanse” the entire human race. In the infamous Tuskegee Experiment, which lasted from 1932 to 1972, impoverished Black men in the South who had syphilis were not offered treatment for their disease, even after penicillin became the treatment of choice for syphilis in 1942. And in the 1930s, thousands of psychiatric patients (often homosexual men) were given lobotomies before the treatment was found to be dangerous and often deadly.

Regulate/monitor your kids’ internet usage. Many detransitioners Lahl and Fell studied were lonely, depressed, wounded children or adolescents who found and connected with “trans” friends on the internet, and these peers, in turn, urged them to embrace this false ideology.

Reject the sin, but love the sinner. The vast majority of boys and girls who embrace the “trans” identity are in pain and suffering from such problems as depression, sexual trauma, divorce or death in the family, eating disorders, and drug or alcohol abuse. As one pediatric endocrinologist told Lahl and Fell, “In my experience, not one single patient that I have treated [who] has come to me with transgender issues has come from a mentally healthy state.” These confused, unhappy youngsters need compassionate love, gentle correction and lots of prayer — not self-destructive, scientifically unproven medical “treatments” that could ruin their health.

Matthew Heidenreich, one of the National Eucharistic Pilgrimage’s Perpetual Pilgrims, walks in prayer along the headwaters of the Mississippi River at the May 19 start of the Marian Route. Heidenreich and 23 other young adults will be praying on behalf of Catholics across the country on the two-month journey to Indianapolis.

Midwest’s Marian Mark and True Confessions (May 25)

Pilgrims are trekking on four different routes for a National Eucharistic Pilgrimage that covers more than 6,000 miles. The Marian Route traverses the Midwest. And Jonathan Liedl, who hails from Minnesota, gives us highlights of Midwestern Catholicism. Then we get a broader glimpse of Catholicism in America as told through Fran Maier’s new book True Confessions: Voices of Faith from a Life in the Church.