The Reason Everyone Was So Quick to Believe Caitlyn Jenner's 'De-Transition' Story

May 14th 2016

Danielle DeCourcey

Caitlyn Jenner is an Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner. In 2015, Jenner was named Glamour Magazine's Woman of the Year. But what if the amazing story of the Olympic athlete who transitioned to a confident award-winning transgender woman, was suddenly reversed?

It would make for some wild news stories, and that's what happened this week.

The big problem is that it wasn't true.

Based on some comments made by Ian Halperin, the author of the book "Kardashian Dynasty: The Controversial Rise of America’s Royal Family," several news outlets broadly reported that Jenner was de-transitioning back to a man. Halperin said that he heard Jenner regretted transitioning to Caitlyn and was considering going back to Bruce.

After respected news organizations such as The Washington Post and CBS News reported on Jenner's de-transition, Jenner's representation dropped a truth bomb. None of it was real. In fact Jenner's rep pretty much said everyone was stupid.

“Not worth commenting on such an idiotic report,” she told the New York Daily News. “Of course it's not true. “

So how did an unconfirmed rumor based on a comment by a guy writing a gossip book make it all the way around the world? The answer is probably an old story of ignorance and also some discrimination.

People want to believe the myth that many transgender transitions are a mistake and that the people making them will come to their senses.

A story about a prominent transgender celebrity de-transitioning supports that ideology. There isn't a ton of hard data on de-transitioning, but there is enough to paint the picture that de-transitioning is very uncommon. Also, not all transitions involve surgery.

Only 33 percent of transitions are surgical, other transgender people transition with hormones, according to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Of the people who do have surgery, surgical regret is very uncommon and it is usually listed between 1 and 2 percent. About 95 percent of people who do transition have positive experiences afterwards, according to a 2009 Swedish study.

There are a percentage of people who de-transition, but it may be that their reasons have more to do with society's treatment of them than true regret.

Dr. Harold Reed, a surgeon who has performed more than 1500 transgender surgeries, talked to VICE News about de-transitioning.

"You can have someone who said they want to be a woman and have his genitalia removed but that doesn't make them a woman in society's eyes."

A transgender woman named Charlie also told VICE that the world makes it hard to be her but she's staying on her path.

"The rest of the world hates me more and I get a lot more abuse and face a lot more hurdles in every sense—relationships, jobs, everyday life," she said. "But despite this, I've never loved myself more and been happier in myself which is all that really matters."

RELATED: Caitlyn Jenner Didn't Mince Words About Trans Struggles at the ESPYs