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'The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters' (film review)

'The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters'
"The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters" | Courtesy of Jennifer Lahl

A question I’ve been asked lately by young people who've regretted both taking cross-sex hormones and undergoing body-mutilating trans surgeries is: Might the tide finally be turning against this insanity? 

The answer to that question, I believe, is yes. Though it's a cautious yes, given how postmodern gender dogma has captured our institutions. But the reason it’s a cautious yes and not an outright no is due to the tireless work of independent filmmakers who've done what the corporate media have mostly refused to do: Tell the harrowing stories of those who are known as detransitioners — individuals who've been victimized and wound up irreversibly harmed by the transgender movement.  

Like the muckrakers of old, chief among those exposing the disturbing truths of what is occurring in this arena are Jennifer Lahl and Kallie Fell of the Center for Bioethics & Culture.  Their new documentary, “The Detranistion Diaries: Saving Our Sisters,” released on Sept. 19, provides a deeply moving and compassionate window into the inner lives of three detransitioner women: Helena, Cat and Grace. (In the interest of full disclosure, I was consulted on background due to my extensive reporting on these and related issues and am acknowledged in the film’s credits.) 

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These three young women all survived the dizzying confusion and unethical medical practices and procedures happening under the banner of so-called “gender-affirming” care and lived to tell about it. The compelling 45-minute glimpse into their journeys navigating their mental anguish, the appalling lack of safeguards within this treatment protocol, and the irreparable damage to their bodies is sure to start a conversation about how and why so many young women believe that harming their bodies will magically solve their psychological problems. 

Their stories are heartbreaking, but the film doesn't wallow in the despair of what they've endured. In fact, one of the women emphasizes that despite her terrible ordeal, she wants everyone to know that there is life after detransition. 

Cat Cattinson as seen in 'The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters.'
Cat Cattinson as seen in "The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters." | Courtesy of Jennifer Lahl

All three women became convinced that taking male hormones and changing their physical appearance to look as much like a man as possible would ease the distress they were experiencing. They wrongly believed that their female sex was the root of their problems.

Each of these women was affirmed in their newfound "gender identity" and was sent down this road by professional therapists and doctors. All three women injected testosterone into their bodies and suffered various consequences from it, including deeper voices, compromised mental health and potential infertility. 

Helena shares her detransitioning journey in 'The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters.'
Helena shares her detransitioning journey in "The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters." | Courtesy of Jennifer Lahl

Cat recalls being approved for testosterone by way of a 30-minute Planned Parenthood telehealth call and began taking male hormones later that same day. Worse yet, her past psychiatric illnesses on her medical records were ignored by those who treated her.

Helena details how her life became a “total disaster” after being given high doses of the synthetic hormone and how, as is common among teenage girls ensnared in gender confusion, online communities pressured her to keep going with the transition despite her emerging doubts and concerns about how the side effects from testosterone were wrecking her life.

Grace Lidinsky-Smith shares her story in 'The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters.'
Grace Lidinsky-Smith shares her story in "The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters." | Courtesy of Jennifer Lahl

Of the three women profiled, Grace, whose story was also featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes” in May 2021, was the only one who had a double mastectomy to appear more like a man. Believing that removing her breasts would alleviate the discomfort she felt, she shares how she remembers staring down at her postoperative flat chest and thinking, “Oh no, what have I done?”

She recalls how, after seeing the “weeping gashes” slashed across her mid-section, the surgery did not make her feel like a male. Instead, she intones with a sober lilt in her voice, all she felt like was “a woman who has had her breasts cut off" and that she had bought into an insidious belief system and sold a false cure.

The documentary creatively weaves together each woman’s riveting story in a series of vignettes. The film is punctuated by aesthetically appealing original artwork and music, including the catchy song “I Am Stardust” that Cat composed and performs. Her lyrics dovetail with the film's broader theme and are heard in their fullness as the credits start rolling.  

Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull
Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull | Screengrab/YouTube

Filmmakers Lahl and Fell also effectively intersperse the three detransitioners' testimonies with footage from a panel discussion on how "gender equality" cheats women and girls that Lahl hosted in New York City in March.

Panelists who provide commentary are The Post Millennial's Libby Emmons, political consultant and author Natasha Chart and Kellie-Jay Keen (aka “Posie Parker”), the British women’s rights activist behind the iconic “Woman: Adult Human Female” campaign and the founder of Standing for Women.

“We do our girls a great disservice when we lie to them and tell them that they don’t have to be women. We tell them they can be anything they want to be, but we have forgotten to tell them to love being who they are,” Emmons stresses in her remarks.

In a recent interview with The Christian Post, Lahl said that after she released her previous documentary “Trans Mission: What’s the Rush to Reassign Gender?” viewers were especially moved by the firsthand accounts of the two detransitioners in that film.

“When ‘60 Minutes’ featured the voices of detransitioners in a larger piece on transgender health, the vitriol that was thrown at Leslie Stahl for daring to include these voices was fast and furious. We knew then that this film had to be made,” she said. 

"The Detransition Diaries" focuses exclusively on the stories of women due to the skyrocketing rates of young women and girls now being sent down this pathway, the bioethicist filmmaker added. 

According to available data, the number of females who underwent some kind of body-mutilating surgery for gender dysphoria quadrupled from 2016-2017. Those numbers have increased ever since amid an internet-fueled peer contagion that has spread this experimental medicalization (and the gender identity ideology along with it) via social media as the route to true happiness. 

“We wanted a deeper dive into these women's stories in order to compel healthcare professionals to address underlying issues and not put these people on the ‘gender affirmation’ fast track,” Lahl explained.

The day when such professionals are compelled to act in that way and be forced to return to the ancient motto “First, do no harm” cannot come soon enough. Then, and only then, will fewer — and I hope eventually zero — of these distressing diary entries have to be written in the first place. 

"The Detranstion Diaries" is a must-watch work of brilliance that conveys the horror of what has been happening in society and to these young women while also highlighting the hope that they acquired upon embracing the truth. Indeed, there was and is nothing wrong with their “perfectly imperfect” bodies, as Cat so beautifully sings. 

Watch:  The Detransition Diaries: Saving Our Sisters

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