A man who underwent drastic surgery to appear like a woman has now ‘detransitioned’ and says he is glad to be living as a man once again.
Richard Hoskins, an author and criminologist, began living as a woman after his son David died and his second marriage ended.
He initially tried wearing makeup and ordering hormone treatments over the internet, but was forced to seek medical help when the drugs made him “desperately ill”.
“the system bends over backwards for anyone who wants to transition”
‘Gender identity machine’
Richard, then going by the name Rachel, was quickly enrolled in what he called the NHS’s “gender identity machine”.
“Normally I would be required to ‘live in role’ first. As I soon discovered, however, the system bends over backwards for anyone who wants to transition. I was not so much fast-tracked as catapulted through the system.”
What would usually be a two-year process of being interviewed by consultants took just six weeks. “I’m sure I was fairly convincing, but then anyone can give convincing answers with the help of Google”, he said.
Richard was prescribed testosterone blockers and oestrogen and underwent 80 hours of electrolysis on his face to remove his stubble, but he felt facial surgery was still necessary to be “convincing”.
He flew to Thailand where he underwent surgery of “astonishing brutality”.
“anyone can give convincing answers with the help of Google”
He said that at the time the surgery was what he wanted most profoundly, and that it was the bravest moment of his life. “Yet I was deeply mistaken.”
When the NHS referred him for full vaginoplasty, he instead sought out a private psychotherapist who diagnosed him with complex PTSD.
“I didn’t have gender dysphoria – or gender confusion – as I had thought. I was trying to escape real, visceral and gut-wrenching pain.
“I had chosen profoundly the wrong way to fix it and the NHS had been all too ready to help me on the way.”
“What shocks me in hindsight is that no one looked more deeply into my life story.”
Richard said that at no point did anyone in the gender clinics talk to him about how he was forced to watch his son die a slow, agonising death, or that David was the third child he had buried.
“I didn’t have gender dysphoria … I was trying to escape real, visceral and gut-wrenching pain.”
Neither did they consider how as a child his life “had been ripped apart by a teacher who got a ten-year sentence for sexual abuse”, or that as a criminologist he had assisted the police with hundreds of gruesome cases.
He also wonders, at a time when more young people are being referred to gender services than ever before, how many adolescents who want to change sex “are really trying to escape some other form of pain?”
“How many of the children, often girls, who drag their distraught mothers along to the Tavistock gender reassignment clinic in London are really suffering from poor body image in the Instagram era?”
He now deeply regrets the changes he made to his body, and says returning to his true self as Richard “was one of the greatest things I ever did”.