Scenes From the Road of De-Trans Activism, Part 2: Ireland, England, and Scotland
What I’ve learned and why it’s worth it.
About the Author
Laura Becker | Funk⭐God is an American artist, writer, and speaker who shares her experiences with de-transition and healing through advocacy and activist work. Becker was featured in the documentary “No Way Back,” has been interviewed across media, and traveled internationally speaking on the harms of the “gender-affirming” model of care. Becker can be found on Substack, Twitter, and YouTube (@funkgodartist), and her “De-Trans Awareness” and “Free Thinker’s” collections of apparel and home goods are available in her Etsy store.
This is Part 2 of a two-part series recounting my travels focused on de-trans activism. If you haven't read Part 1, I recommend starting there for a fuller understanding of my journey. This final installment covers my visit to Dublin, Ireland, and my attendance at the "Genspect: A Bigger Picture" conference in Killarney, Ireland. I then continue with my travels to England and Scotland, sharing my experiences with the wonderful and insightful individuals I was privileged to meet and now am honored to call friends.
April 26, 2023 | 10:00 PM | Dublin and Killarney, Ireland
I step off the plane in Dublin, Ireland, marking my first international trip outside of the United States. The sensation is surreal, realizing I’ve left my comfort zone behind and embarked on a journey to attend Genspect’s A Bigger Picture conference in Killarney. Having never traveled outside the United States before, obtaining a last-minute passport became a race against time, but I managed to pull it all off and somehow get to Ireland. This international journey signifies the start of a new chapter in my life as a de-transitioner. I am ready to seize opportunities, learn from others, and contribute to the ongoing dialogue surrounding “gender affirmation.” The possibilities are endless, and I am eager to embrace every moment that the conference has in store.
As the plane touched down in Dublin, the realization hits me that I am truly in a foreign land. The thrill of adventure is tinged with the challenge of navigating unfamiliar territory.
I catch a bus from the airport to the train station, where I’ll embark on a four-hour train ride to the coastal town of Killarney. Settling into my seat, a palpable sense of anticipation fills me. The train car is comfortable, featuring a spacious table and expansive windows showcasing the picturesque Irish countryside. Rolling green hills and fluffy sheep dot the landscape, creating a scene straight out of a postcard.
While waiting at the train station, I decide to reach out to fellow conference attendees on Twitter. The prospect of meeting mutuals and friends I’ve only known online fills me with anticipation. As I make my way through the train, I unexpectedly run into Helena Kirshner, a well-known American de-transitioner and advocate. We strike up a conversation, exchanging nervous small talk, when two other de-transitioners find us: Stephen Richards, a male de-transitioner from the United States, and Jet, a shy young Dutch de-transitioner I have never met before.
We all sit together, deeply engrossed in conversations that span personal experiences to the broader societal implications of gender politics. The bond we share is unique, rooted in a mutual understanding of the struggles and triumphs that come with navigating the complex world of de-transitioning. Despite our varied backgrounds, we find solace in each other's stories, united by a common cause.
Jet's story is particularly poignant. She went through the acclaimed “Dutch Protocol”—often touted as the gold standard in gender affirmation practices. Yet, even within this reputedly impeccable system, she still suffered as a child. It's a stark reminder of the tangible impact on children’s lives. Our discussions delve deep into our personal gender journeys, unraveling the existential and political complexities we face. Along the way, our bonds strengthen, forged by vulnerability and shared experiences.