transition / transitioningLast updated
Transitioning refers to the process during which trans and nonbinary people align their lives with their gender.
Social transitioning is the process by which someone makes nonmedical changes that align with their gender. It can include name and/or pronoun changes, updates to legal documents, and changes in self-expression (clothing, hair, mannerisms, etc.).
Medical transitioning refers to a process of treatments, therapy, and medical care that may align someone with their gender. It can include gender-confirming or gender-affirming health care, which provide trans and nonbinary people functional abilities and physical traits that align with their gender. This can come in the form of hormone therapy, speech therapy, reconstructive surgery, plastic surgery, etc. Terms such as “sex reassignment” and “sex change” surgeries can imply the person is “changing” their gender instead of affirming the gender they’ve always known themselves to be. News coverage that focuses excessively on trans and nonbinary people’s transitions, particularly their surgeries, can be othering and contribute to stereotypes. Similarly, terms like “pre/post-operative” and “pre/post-op” put undue emphasis on the medical procedures (which, again, not everyone has) and can be invasive of someone’s privacy.
Detransitioning refers to the process of halting or reversing a previous transition. This can take many forms, and be for various reasons, including loss of gender-affirming health care, lack of familial or community support, fluid gender identity, or emotional or physical strain. There is no one narrative. When discussing detransition, understanding and employing the terms an individual uses to describe their experience is important for ensuring coverage accurately reflects their journey.
Using language that suggests “regret,” exaggerates the prevalence of detransition stories, or invalidates trans identities and gender-affirming care can reinforce harmful stereotypes. Though research on the prevalence of detransitioning is sparse, the studies that have been conducted show that detransitioning is quite rare — less than 1 percent of trans people who have transitioned express transition-related regret or have detransitioned, according to some estimates.
- Trans Journalists Association Style Guide (Trans Journalists Association)
- What Do I Need to Know About the Transitioning Process? (Planned Parenthood)
- Gender Confirmation (Formerly Reassignment) Surgery: Procedures (Healthline)
Transitioning refers to the process during which trans and nonbinary people align their lives with their gender. News coverage that focuses excessively on trans and nonbinary people’s transitions, particularly their surgeries, can be othering and contribute to stereotypes. Referring to medical transitioning as “sex reassignment” and “sex change” surgeries, rather than gender-confirming or gender-affirming surgeries, can imply someone is “changing” their gender instead of affirming the gender they’ve always known themselves to be.