Ash Eskridge, a 16-year-old from Missoula, Montana, became convinced that she was transgender after watching TikTok videos by influencers who claimed that transitioning had saved their lives. Spending extensive time on the app during the pandemic, Ash absorbed content related to transgender topics, which had amassed billions of views. However, Ash later realized that her decision to transition was influenced by social media and not an authentic reflection of her identity. She began taking testosterone but found the changes, such as her voice dropping and body hair growth, to be uncomfortable and unnatural. Eventually, she decided to detransition with the support of her parents.
Ash's detransitioning journey led to strained relationships and losing friends who were unaware that she had been assigned female at birth. Gender dysphoria cases among children have risen significantly in recent years, with a substantial increase in referrals for transitioning treatments. While detransitioning is relatively uncommon, studies have shown that the majority of trans adults feel that transitioning was the right long-term decision for them.
Following her detransition, Ash and her parents advocate for improved mental health care for teenagers and are calling for an age limit of 18 for gender-affirming care. Ash has also become a detransitioning advocate on TikTok, sharing her experience to raise awareness and support others who may be questioning their own journeys.
It is important to approach individual stories with empathy and recognize that everyone's experiences with gender identity are unique. If you or someone you know is struggling with gender identity or considering transitioning or detransitioning, it is advisable to seek guidance from qualified professionals, such as therapists or counselors specializing in gender issues.