I was an awkward tomboy when I was young. What I needed was someone to say it was okay to be a girl… but the trans community insisted I was a MAN: A heartbreaking story of detransition

  • Hazel Appleyard, 31, from Leamington said she was lucky not to have been hurt
  • She came out as a trans man when she was 17 but detransitioned before surgery 

A trans man who detransitioned back to being a woman has slammed gender ideology and cautioned against teaching children they can change sex.

Hazel Appleyard, 31, from Leamington, was referred to a gender clinic aged 17 after she said she wanted to become a man.

She even intended to make herself infertile by having an operation to remove her uterus.

The detransitioner is now a mother-of-one and said she was ‘lucky’ to escape the trans community before too much harm was done.

She told MailOnline: ‘I don’t think anyone believes trans women are women.

Hazel Appleyard, 31, from Leamington, was referred to a gender clinic aged 17 after she said she wanted to become a man. Pictured: Hazel when she was identifying as a trans man called Aaron

‘People who have been brought up around political correctness – we have been raised to be accepting people but this time it might have been taken too far.

‘I was always a bit of a tomboy as a kid. I’m autistic. My mother tried to dress me as a girl. I wasn’t keen on dressing like that. I started rejecting everything girly.’

According to Pew Research Center research, some 5.1 per cent of adults younger than 30 are trans or nonbinary. 

Somewhere between eight and 13 per cent of them revert to their gender at birth, according to various estimates. 

READ MORE:  What they did was despicable…I should never have changed gender at 16: Brave young woman reveals her story after damning report finally forced the closure of the controversial Tavistock clinic

And according to the most recent census, just 0.1 per cent of people in the UK are trans.

That amounts to just 96,000 people, with 48,000 saying they were trans men and another 48,000 calling themselves trans women.

Even though being trans is not a widespread issue, the trans community is extremely vocal and issues around gender and sex have become the source of fierce public debate.

Hazel explained how she was influenced by the internet. 

When she was younger, Hazel used the website Live Journal to meet other gender-questioning and trans people. 

She said being ‘exposed to more people who were identifying as trans got me thinking’.

She added: ‘On those kinds of echo chambers I would see people say, “I’m not sure if I’m trans” but then the trans people would say, “If you feel that way then you are that way”.

‘[The website] doubles down on the delusion.’

When she was 17, Hazel came out to her mother as trans, telling her she wanted to be a man. 

She cut her hair short and went by the name of Aaron to seem more like a boy.

Hazel used the website Live Journal (pictured) to meet other gender-questioning and trans people

There are various transgender ‘communities’ on the site. Hazel said: ‘On those kinds of echo chambers I would see people say, “I’m not sure if I’m trans” but then the trans people would say, “If you feel that way then you are that way”. [The website] doubles down on the delusion’

She even intended to have a sex change operation.

However, she said with time the feelings went away.

She said: ‘It kind of just faded. One day it was strong and I was thinking about ending my life. One day I woke up and didn’t feel so bad any more.

‘I just fell out of the trans community.

I slowly slipped back in [to being a girl]. I got some c**p from kids at school but I managed to assimilate back. 

‘Since then when you speak out against it, against the trans community, you get a lot of pushback. 

‘They don’t want to [know] that there’s a potential that people make mistakes.

READ MORE: Detransitioning woman who had a double mastectomy at AGE 14 slams therapists who told her that gender affirming surgery was ‘only solution’ to her mental illness – despite her also suffering from bipolar disorder, autism, and sexual assault trauma

‘They are really very set on denying people who detransition.’

Although she was referred to a gender clinic, she didn’t go to her first appointment and feels she was lucky to escape any treatment, even though she thought at the time, ‘maybe I’m not supposed to be a woman’. 

She said: ‘Autistic kids need to be protected from this ideology. I was so vulnerable.

‘We need to be really, really careful of these kids who are vulnerable and impressionable and already feel lost.

‘What I needed as a child was to know it was okay to be a girl who didn’t act like the other girls.

‘I was just a kid. Yes I’m a girl and I’m different but that’s okay.

‘I have come out the other side. If they let me do that where would I be?

‘I have got a child now. I was so close to losing all of these things.

‘I see those kids who want what I wanted. What if they change their minds too but it’s too late? I feel really lucky.

‘The thing that disturbs me is that I don’t think people are born trans.

‘If you raise kids who don’t know about trans that gives them the better chance of growing up and being themselves.

‘Kids who identify as a different gender – it doesn’t help to transition them.’

Hazel also revealed she was worried about safe spaces for women.

She said allowing men the ability to self-identify as women opened up the possibility of men aiming to make women feel ‘uncomfortable’ by invading women’s spaces. 

The detranitioner said: ‘Born women need their safe spaces.

‘There might be a core trans subset who are truly trans, but this new wave of trans where we have blokes in dresses with beards? If you are trans you want to live as the opposite sex.

‘I don’t think that any man who feels like a woman today should be able to identify [as one].

‘Women deserve to be safe in these spaces.’

Debate around clinics offering treatment for youngsters who believe they are trans, and the drugs offered to them, has become increasingly heated.

Hazel’s story is the latest example of children being advised to transition at an age when they are not able to fully quantity the decision. 

In 2020, Keira Bell took the Gender Identity clinic (GIDS)  to the High Court to stop children with gender dysphoria being prescribed puberty-halting drugs. 

Aged 16 and, by her own admission, ‘very mentally ill’, Keira had been given the drugs by doctors at the controversial clinic to pause her own development before realising – six years later and after undergoing a double mastectomy – that it was a monumental mistake. 

Keira Bell is campaigning to stop doctors prescribing drugs to children with gender dysphoria

Keira, pictured at the age of 5, was born female but later began questioning if she was a boy

NHS England has drawn up plans to allow children as young as seven to get transgender treatment, according to reports (file image)

The scandal-ridden Tavistock gender clinic was told to close after a review from Dr Hilary Cass branded it as ‘not safe’. 

Plans set out by NHS England for future gender clinics set a minimum age for a referral for the first time – seven years old – and will also aim to limit the use of puberty blockers. 

The closure followed a review led by senior paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass, who warned the gender clinic was ‘not a safe or viable long-term option’. 

She found other mental health issues were ‘overshadowed’ in favour of gender identity issues when children were referred to Tavistock’s Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS).

The clinic was accused of rushing children onto puberty-blocking drugs by former patients who feel they weren’t challenged enough. It treated at least 9,000 children for gender dysphoria since it opened in 1989. 

Yet although the clinic was supposed to close its doors this year, the closure was postponed until March 2024.

In 2022,  

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details 

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