OK I'm a walking cliche so let's finally see if Detransition Baby will wreck me as hard as Nevada did

I consider myself a detransitioner/retransitioner so I already know this is gonna be rough
I qualify my status as a detransitioner because I can see how some would find it debatable

I abandoned my first transition attempt after a few months of HRT and talk therapy without ever having come out and then I kept trying to talk myself into being cis for a dozen more years
Detransition Baby just going for the throat from Chapter One
FYI as brutal as this passage is in a vacuum it hits even harder in context https://twitter.com/autogynamelia/status/1389984680145944584
One of the reasons I chose "Amelia" was that I liked every nickname variant I could find

somehow I missed "Ames" but 60% of the people I interact with have defaulted to it

it's cool I dig it

But the detransitioned transfem being named "Ames" makes this uncomfortably personal
Putting on a suit of armor before I go out into the world is precisely what boymoding feels like for me

it's heavy and uncomfortable and my shoulders sag under the weight of it but it also feels like it's going to protect me from a world I can't stand to feel vulnerable in
OMFG Ames was even fucking his boss too

his recently divorced boss not his still-married-but-on-the-verge-of-getting-divorced boss so it doesn't line up with my life *exactly*

but still uncomfortably close
I'm getting every single pop culture reference so far and I'm not sure how to feel about that

Like not only have I not had to look up anything but I am *intimately* familiar with every one of them
The little ways Ames keeps accidentally tipping his hand and getting "wait how do you know about that" reactions from the women around him have me so tense they are so uncomfortably familiar

which in hindsight is hilarious since no one saw it coming when I did finally come out
I didn't expect to relate to the cis woman but wow this is *exactly* how I feel about some of the cis men I've interacted with since coming out

I'm not trans enough I'm not the right kind of trans I'm not one of the hot ones but you're fetishizing me anyway
I know it's probably just that my takes have gotten a lot better since I admitted I'm trans

but when people who barely knew you were alive before you came out start engaging so much more as soon you become potentially fuckable it messes with your head
It gets more naughty from there
"The temptation to beg for inclusion pulled at him every time he spotted a trans woman on the street, on the train. A stab of need for recognition by her."

Every character in this book is so fucking messy and I love them for that
"You're so different from other guys!"

The mating call of the closeted trans dyke

No matter how loud-&-proud of an image a bi cis girl might project if she's not totes comfy with her own queerness then nothing shakes her like a partner (ex or current) coming out as transfem
The cis woman's discontent to the point of revulsion toward a typical cisheteronormative life and relationship dynamic and her inability to articulate her reasons (or her unwillingness to face them) is also making her more relatable than I'd expected her to be
The trans woman and the detransitioned trans woman are absolutely brutal to each other in their first on-screen conversation

The scene does a really good job of capturing the ugly side of Trans Twitter

hurt people hurting each other
Chapter One ends with the book's funniest line yet

I laughed out loud for real

Don't worry I'm not going to spoil it
One chapter down I feel like I completely understand why so many trans people are saying that cis people shouldn't be allowed to read this book but also I'm not sure how much most of them would even get out of it if they tried
Detransition Baby Chapter Two:
This is how it often felt in my longest abusive relationship

not like she was lashing out with overwhelming fury

like she was putting me in my place

teaching me a lesson

asserting dominance

would've been hot if it were at all consensual
Honestly still kinda tickles me that feeling like I had to either be alone or settle for whoever wanted to fuck me was a mentality that always dominated my love life long before I came out as trans and it became true

(my adoring wonderful spouse remaining the lone exception)


This book is going to live rent-free in my head for a very very long time and cis people are DEFINITELY not allowed to read it
If I'm interpeting the text correctly then Reese is fat like me and she even has short stubby legs like I do

I feel like I'm being pandered to

and I'm into it
Heehee 😁 I have on more than one occasion jokingly conjured up a hypothetical scenario like this that has made my spouse's jaw literally drop open as they stared in wide-eyed amused horror at me while whispering "You MONSTER!"
Detransition Baby Chapter Three:
Detransition Baby throws some curve balls

I did not expect, for instance, to get a scene where the one unambiguously decent and sympathetic character in the room is a cishet guy
This is such an overwhelmingly beautiful and powerful metaphor
Oh no

I got to the part where my namesake character explains why he detransitioned

and it's for pretty much exactly the same reason I did

except he had the guts to actually try living openly and get beaten up before he gave up

but I was too much of a coward to get that far
"At least you didn't knock anybody up"
"At least you didn't knock anybody up"
"At least you didn't knock anybody up"
“I have the bad habit of saying trans women when I mean white trans women, which is how you can tell I was a white trans woman"

Fuckin' elephants
Honestly the part with the elephants sums up pretty well why lately I'm trying (not always succeeding, but really trying) to take the high road when I find myself butting heads with another transfem

which is a thing that happens far more often than I'd like
“Reese is the only trans girl in this city whose incessant drama really has almost nothing to do with the fact that she’s trans"

goals amirite
“God, those poppers made me so dumb,” Amy ventured.

“Of course,” countered Reese. “Poppers are supposed to make you dumb. A dumb little slut with zero inhibitions - just how I like you.”

The usual emojis are insufficient

we need the big guns
The whole section going into Amy's backstory particularly her sex life swaps back and forth at breakneck speed between hot and heartbreaking but I'm strangely comfortable with it

like yes this makes sense
Ah so Amy did the ol' enjoy-fucking-a-cis-girl-by-secretly-fantasizing-about-being-the-one-getting-fucked maneuver

reading about that one feels like slipping into a well broken-in pair of shoes
Obviously this ship has long since sailed and since Chapter One the answer has been a resounding "Yeah no shit" https://twitter.com/autogynamelia/status/1389980669900574721
Sorry we've been in Chapter Four since right after the elephants
ME BEFORE COMING OUT: "I don't think I'm a transfem or at least not a typical one because they seem to talk about dissociating a lot and I don't think I've ever done that"

Even when there was sexual tension teenage me rarely had trouble making girls feel safe and comfortable around me...to a point

I was different from the "other boys"...but not *that* different

I always felt it eventually and it always made me so fucking sad
*sigh* In Chapter Four the, *ahem* "pop culture" references get quite a bit more...obscure, but my level of familiarity with the source material continues to rank at *cough* "intimate"
Chapter Four's "The first rule of Fight Club is you don't talk about Fight Club" section isn't even close to the most emotionally resonant part of the book for me so far but it is the most viscerally uncomfortable part I've read yet
Oh wow first [REDACTED] and now the COGIATI

for someone whose first transition attempt started in like 2006 this book is such a nostalgia trip

I wonder if Susan's Place is gonna come up
It's nice to see this book treat the COGIATI with exactly as much respect as JDR's bullshit deserves

The joke really lands, I legit LOL'd
At last 41% of the way through the book my OTHER namesake makes its contractually obligated appearance

After all who better to accuse transfems of thinking with our dicks than a couple of cishet guys thinking with their dicks

That's right it's time for AUTOGYNEPHILIA
Fun Fact one of the top Google hits for autogynephilia is a Quillette interview with Ray Blanchard because of course it is
Let's give it up for autogynephilia theory

single-handedly delaying the transitions of transfeminine people for decades at at time and amplifying their self-loathing and internalized bigotry by entire orders of magnitude for over three decades

quite an achievement

Because the only good tran is a fuckable tran amirite
Bitter humor aside I am truly glad to see a pretty sizable chunk of the book dedicated to describing the emotional journey of a transfeminine person through the swamp of toxic bullshit that is autogynephilia theory as painful as it is to read about even secondhand
This is honestly pretty much how I feel about roughly 20-25% of the transfem people on Twitter

It's a shame how the first time I met a transfem in meatspace it was such a disaster that I basically blocked it out for decades
Chapter 4 has a powerful scene where the usual bullshit about transfems invading womens spaces gets flipped

instead for once it's cis women invading a transfem space

and yet everyone involved still feels like the cis women are the victims

which is exactly what would happen >_<
This book captures so well the feeling so many transfems have of needing to apologize for existing at all

especially to cis women
One of the downsides to being such a "smart" and "sensitive" kid is that I intuited how "wrong" this sort of thing would be without needing to be told

so I don't have any stories like this

my cover was perfect and that perfection has been my biggest source of imposter syndrome
It sounds fucked up to say I'm jealous of people who were caught or had the guts to come out or be GNC back when they were kids because I know abuse and trauma inevitably resulted



I got those things anyway

may as well have gotten some affirmation of my identity too
I can't speak for everyone but when I came out and absolutely EVERYONE was surprised, every last person who knew me, when fucking NOBODY saw it coming AT ALL, that more than anything made me doubt myself

and yeah I know most people are just wrapped up in their own shit but still
I've seen people say "I wonder what cis people think of this book" and I had the same curiosity before I started reading it but now I'm not sure I give a single solitary fuck what any cis person or even what any transmasc or AFAB non-binary person thinks of Detransition Baby
Sorry I know I've been on Chapter Four for a long time but in my defense it's a long chapter and A LOT of stuff happens

Oh hey

now a cis woman who claimed to enjoy playing around with gender expression and may even have been the one to initiate it has turned around and wielded it as a weapon against her trans partner

the book's once again reading my own life story back to me
Chapter Five:
I was months into this second transition attempt before it ever occurred to me to question the assumption cis society has cultivated within me since before I was born that being trans is a failure state to be avoided at all costs instead of just a variant as benign as eye color
I love that Reese has no chill because neither do I
The speech drawing a parallel between trans women and divorced cis women is probably the first part of the book to more or less fall flat with me

maybe I'll come around someday but right now I just don't see it
🤣 "Also Meghan McCain is here for some reason"
Chapter Five is when the three main characters finally sit down to talk things out directly and the conversation is really good

Back in Chapter Three the cis woman did something almost unforgivable but this scene is doing a solid job of re-humanizing her
Trying to remember how cis society primed me to sympathize with cis women even when they directly harm transfems and Chapter 4 reminded me of that pretty forcefully but Chapter 5 is making it easy to forget again

Honestly not sure how intentional that was on the author's part
Excuse me but in WHAT FUCKING WORLD does the entire LGBTQIA+ community agree that transfems are marginalized within that community

in what world are we not constantly accused of male socialization male privilege erasing transmascs taking up too much space being too loud
The cis woman is biracial and bringing up some really good points about the blind spots that white transfems have because they're still white but the trans woman's contrite reaction conflates that with some insidious internalized transmisogyny

it's frustrating
OK cool a bit later in the conversation the trans woman calls out and refutes the transmisogyny directly

now I can relax again and give this book a chance to find another soft spot to punch me in
Chapter Six:

Chapter Six gives us the run-down on queer temporality vs cisheterochrononormativity

a concept I find perhaps more comforting than is healthy
As of Chapter 6 my streak of thoroughly understanding ever single pop culture reference in this book remains unbroken
I'm around the same age as the main characters and even though I lack a lot of their life experiences (having dragged my feet so long on coming out) for once I'm reading a trans narrative that actually makes me feel included because it's not about people half my age
Trans people can tell each other "It's never too late to transition" until we're blue in the face but the sentiment rings hollow when those of us who did waste a lot of time getting the ball rolling never see ourselves reflected in trans stories
Wait...is "hot dad Instagram" really a thing?
My quiet feelings of intense, sometimes consuming jealousy toward other transfems is the thing I hate most about myself since I came out

it's the ugliest thing I see in the mirror and that's a very high bar to clear

I'm glad Chapter Six is spending some time on it
Every single time I see any trans person on here celebrating any kind of milestone or turn of good fortune I try to congratulate them

even if I don't know them

even if I don't like them

part of it's solidarity but part of it's just trying to be a better person than I am
Chapter Six ends with an emotional gut punch both for the characters and for the reader

It's not a surprise the whole back half of the chapter builds toward it pretty blatantly

but when it lands it still hits like it's got a roll of quarters hidden in its glove
Chapter Seven literally opens with a funeral so shit is not about to get less bleak anytime soon

that's a segue to talking about trans mortality in general and suicide in particular and I know that on its own will put this book off-limits for a lot of people
One of the more fucked up "advantages" to having waited so long to transition and only having hung out on the fringes of the community is that I haven't lost anyone yet

I'm sure it's only a matter of time and I hate how sure I feel about that
Holy shit that was dark

No I'm not telling you what the joke was read the damned book
"Another girl, early in transition, wearing a black velvet dress, is standing near them. Reese recognizes her as one of those Twitter girls eager to offer theory-laden takes on gender."


wow I even used to own a black velvet dress

I should get another one of those
By halfway through Chapter Six I kinda hated Ames the detransitioner and that feeling has only grown in Chapter Seven

He's quickly becoming my least favorite character in the book

He's also the one who reminds me the most of myself

TBH probably not a coincidence
I don't know if the author set him up this way intentionally or not but so far up through Chapter Seven Ames has consistently and in a hundred little ways been the person I have spent the last year and change actively trying not to be anymore
I feel like it might be offensive to some people but the cis nonsense that gets played for laughs in Chapter Seven has me cackling
"numbing armor" is exactly what my masculinity has always felt like and "present and fragile" is precisely how I feel in girlmode
I'm knee-deep in Chapter 8 but I'm tired and I think I've hit my limit for tonight

I'll pick this back up again tomorrow
Chapter Eight:
Chapter 8 is more gut-wrenchingly painful than the chapter about a literal funeral

It's about two self-destructive people bringing out the worst in each other

and it's a demonstration of the simple fact that transfeminine people are not allowed to be angry
I could relate to the character who stayed with someone who routinely abused and demeaned them because that someone also made them feel desired sometimes and it felt like they were the only person who would do that
I could also relate to the character who felt too guarded and inhibited to make their partner feel desired and drove them toward other people who treated them like garbage and felt angry about always being the one to have to pick up the pieces afterward
Ames gets hurt and humiliated and taken advantage of and she's left feeling like she has to choose between her anger over this and her femininity and the anger wins out

I get it
Anyone who falls short of the ideal of cis white womanhood or is seen as a threat to it is in danger of having their femininity stripped from them at any time in a hundred ways

Trans women, women of color especially Black women, fat women, disabled women, the list goes on
Trans women aren't allowed to be angry

No matter how much pain and degredation is inflicted upon them their natural response is held up as proof that they are not what they say they are
One of the root problems that wedges between Amy and Reese until it explodes in their faces is Amy's feeling that her own needs are some kind of burden she has no right to inflict on the people close to her

I'd be surprised if there's a transfem alive who can't relate
The way Amy falls apart reminds me a lot of my own feelings around feminine presentation

being terrified being perceived by others while so unavoidably emotionally exposed and vulnerable

the feeling of not being worthy of wearing my own clothes that're hanging in my own closet
Chapter Nine:
After the steadily ramping drama & trauma of Chapters 6-8 and the dramapocalypse at the end of 8, Chapter 9 gives us some much-needed room and time to breathe. It focuses on Reese and Katrina bonding while Ames's absence is both literal and metaphorical.
Ames has been called out through the entire book by both the 3rd-person narration and his own dialogue for using masculinity as an emotional shield. Earlier that manifested through anger and violence. In Chapter 9 he leans instead into a dry hyperanalytic approach to everything.
Ames has explicitly and repeatedly admitted that his reasons for detransitioning had nothing to do with not being trans and his actions and reactions back that up so we spend the whole book watching him run away from the one thing that ever made him happy and it hurts so much
I've been feeling increasingly alienated from cis women and especially from cis lesbians

Even if hardcore transmisogynists are a minority their voices carry so loud with so few trying to drown them out

it still feels like they have more of a place with you than I do
I feel guilty because I know so many great individual cis women especially cis queer women who have tried very hard to make me feel welcome and it means so much to me and I don't really know what more those women could do that they're not already doing
While Katrina and Reese spend Chapter 9 walking through a store adding items to their baby registry they joke that Ames has already made his biggest contribution by conceiving the child and they'll take it from here but the way they're getting along it doesn't feel like a joke
Reese and Katrina mostly get along great in Chapter 9 but some of the cracks show through

This is one of the few parts of the book I don't have personal experience with but I have enough of an imagination to guess at how gutting this passage will be for a lot of other readers
Reese is right about the disparity but while I can examine what gets my dick hard versus what makes it shrivel up I can't choose it

My body reacts to the word "mommy" the way a lot of women react to the word "moist"

also with rare exception I fucking hate pastels
Katrina's mother features prominently in Chapter 9 as she did earlier in the book because she's the one who convinced Katrina to go for it with the parenting throuple

she's the one wise enough to know that few parents ever complained about getting too much help
It's nice that Katrina's mom gets actual dialogue since she serves almost her entire purpose just by being in the book and in Katrina's life in the first place

creating that huge contrast between Katrina's experience as a cis woman versus Reese's and Ames's trans lives
The baby registry is Katrina's mom's idea so she's basically the primary force behind Katrina and Reese bonding in Chapter 9 after being the primary force behind Katrina agreeing to the unconventional family dynamic in the first place

she almost has more agency than Katrina
The book takes place in NYC and it already blew its SATC wad early so of course Friends is the big pop culture reference in Chapter 9 and it's lampshaded almost to the point of breaking the fourth wall
I have a special hatred of Friends because it's the end result of what was initially an effort to adapt the 1992 movie Singles WHICH I LOVE to a TV series WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN AMAZING

I can't imagine how soulless you have to be to watch Singles and make Friends out of it
Friends had one good character and one good joke

and I couldn't help but think of both as I read this book
Chapter Ten:
The unholy union of Amway and Goop that our cis protagonist drags our trans protagonist into seems to be one of the more infamous parts of the book and to be fair I find the whole idea intensely uncomfortable and as I read I'm wondering what this scene is even for
"Katrina confides to Reese that she and some of the others are trying to be supportive of Kathy, who has been getting into some weird intersection of capitalism and witchy shit"

What a coincidence

I've been getting into some weird intersection of anti-capitalism and witchy shit
I know that being the one transfem in a room full of cis women is objectively probably one of the best-case scenarios for my personal future but the idea feels only marginally less uncomfortable than being the only transfem in a room full of cis men
This is one of the most oft-quoted passages in the book but people always leave out the first half and I feel like (as with other oft-quoted passages from this book) the context it brings really adds a lot to its impact
Most cis people are more heavily invested in arbitrary gender roles and gender performance than any trans person I've ever heard of but trying to explain that to them is like trying to explain to fish what water is
HAHAHA the tran goes in afraid to be judged by all these cis bitches BUT THEN she realizes that SHE is the judgiest bitch of them all! TWIST!
I admire Reese's compassion for the ennui of these upper-class cishet women but I'm cringing because despite being a veteran tran she doesn't seem to get that when the essential oils don't fix their problems these are exactly the type whose next stop will be hardcore transphobia
This Gooperware party feels like precisely the kind of bleak demonstration of cisheteronormative social dynamics that earlier in the book Katrina recoiled from so forcefully that she literally got divorced

especially once the douchebro acupuncturist arrives

why is she even here
I've always hated sports

nothing ever bored me faster than people talking about sports

but I still use sports analogies constantly

Dunno what that's about
...OHHH so THAT's why this chapter is in the book
Overall I think that coming out right before the pandemic lockdown hurt me more than it helped me but silver lining it forced me to confine this sort of thing to Twitter

hopefully I'll have it out of my system by the time things really open up (if that ever happens)
Also while I don't think that queer and trans people are necessarily inherently more interesting than cishet people I do legit think that my being trans and queer does make me more interesting than the cishet version of me was
This book is genuinely very funny
I won't spoil it but Chapter Ten has some other unexpected payoff (or at least escalation) of some stuff I thought had served its narrative purpose and didn't expect to see again and it's always a pleasant surprise when a writer pulls that off
Torrey Peters is a much more skilled and insightful writer than a lot of people are giving her credit for
oof this bit hurt

when you tell yourself that you've given up on all this stuff but you still keep feeling drawn to it

a living death of a thousand cuts

sounds melodramatic but that's what it feels like
By the end of Chapter 10 Katrina has "talked about ending the pregnancy" during the most heated point of an argument with one of the other characters at least three different times and it's really gross
I wholeheartedly believe in bodily autonomy

abort it or don't whatever

But Katrina's holding her unborn child hostage to retaliate against people for not living up to her expectations

It's top-tier cis girl bullshit
Playing the victim from a position of relative strength is the most classic flex a cis woman can do on a trans woman

it works best by far for white cis women but sometimes the others can pull it off too
Chapter 10 is when Katrina finally dethroned Ames as the main character in this book I like the least

The fact that it took this long for the lone cis woman of the cast to take that crown is downright impressive
This annoys me

this rant is immediately followed up by Reese making some legitimately good points

it reeks of trying to have your sincerity cake and eat your irony too

People love to say "it's not that deep" but often it is actually that deep
Chapter Eleven:
Chapter 11 is the final chapter so pun fully intended we're coming down the home stretch
The last chapter feels like a weird time to introduce a new character
I can relate to the desire to keep my life compartmentalized

I pretty much gave up on it after my wedding

Friends and family didn't even bother to consult me and my neuroses before exchanging social media contact info with each other

don't they know I'm the main character
I am so not looking forward to seeing my male friends again and trying to figure out how to navigate that whole dynamic

I think it'll be OK because I'm not skinny or hot
This...doesn't sound so bad actually?
I can relate to Jon's confusion here

I've been wondering this myself throughout the whole book
My dream is that some day men will stop giving me that nod of masculine acknowledgement

Being seen as a woman isn't half as important to me as not being seen as a man anymore
This isn't the first time it's been mentioned that Ames used to be an athlete but it's the first time I've realized it matters

of course you can't write a definitive 21st-century transfem novel without talking about sports
Beyond the specificity of sports I can relate to the sudden sinking feeling that coming out as transfem means potentially having to kiss your male-coded hobbies goodbye

if not officially then in practice
Guys will openly wonder why there are so few women or queer or trans people in certain spaces instead of asking themselves what it might be like to be alone in a room with those guys while being one or more of those things
In Chapter 11 once again I'm blindsided by something paying off that the writer set up with 200ft tall flaming block letters reading "THIS WILL BE IMPORTANT LATER" so as you read this thread take my ability to read critically with a whole shaker full of salt
Hot girl shit
I have been fortunate enough to live in one place where I had a bathroom with a shower stall instead of a tub with a proper glass door instead of a flimsy shower curtain constantly drifting inward and sticking to me and I loved it and I miss it terribly
It's hilarious to me how someone DM'd me to compliment me on how insightful this thread was just in time for it to disintegrate into a series of the most banal and insipid personal asides
You can follow @autogynamelia.
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