The most affecting chapter in When Harry Became Sally is devoted to the personal stories of individuals who “detransitioned,” returning to identification with their biological sex after having previously identified with the opposite sex. The transgender movement’s response to such cases is either to pretend they don’t exist or to insist that these men and women were never really transgender in the first place. Of course, since doctors believed them when they said they were, and acted accordingly, these “not really” patients would have a pretty good case for accusing their former physicians of malpractice. And since declared feelings of being “born into the wrong body” are the only basis of a diagnosis that can lead from a change of wardrobe to the surgical excision of healthy sexual organs, no doctor can ever be sure that his patient will not one day wish to detransition. And what could he possibly do then to put things right?
These are truly awful tales of intense suffering. They are the personal stories of men and women, boys and girls, who went to medical professionals with terrible confusion and distress and received only harm where they sought relief. Now, in telling the truth about what happened to them, they attract the abuse and invective of the transgender movement’s ideologues. Some of them, understandably, prefer to tell their stories anonymously. All of them should be applauded for their courage and candor and thanked for their contribution to public understanding.
Anderson writes in his conclusion that these stories, more than anything else, led him to write When Harry Became Sally. “I couldn’t shake from my mind the stories of people who had detransitioned. They are heartbreaking. I had to do what I could to prevent more people from suffering the same way.”