Words: Jamie Tabberer; picture: WoW
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 6 sensitively tackled the subject of 'detransition' in its latest episode, with A'keria C. Davenport telling co-stars she "used to live life as a trans woman" but "re-transitioned to living my life as a guy."
The drag star shared her journey during a conversation about sex with Eureka and Trinity K. Bonet for this week's 'Pink Table Talk' task.
After the episode aired, A'keria told fans on Twitter she "faced the same obstacles most trans ppl face (esp those of color) and that’s why I will now and forever advocate and dedicate everything in me to protect them [sic]."
"The bottom half of me is very feminine shaped"
Asked during the episode by Eureka if she'd ever "had sex in drag," A'keria replied: "In my heyday, Kiki definitely had sex in drag..." - before opening up about her life as 'Kiki'
"I'm gonna keep it real with you, " she said. "I used to live my life as a transgender woman, believe it or not. So that's who Kiki is, honey."
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The star then explained: "Now, I have re-transitioned to living my life as a guy. But as you know, I had my body done, so the bottom half of me is very feminine shaped.
"It's that ass almighty, girl! Some people are infatuated by [my ass], but they're not sexually attracted to it."
"They didn't air all of it"
Elaborating on Twitter last night, A'keria told fans the programme didn't broadcast the conversation about 'Kiki' in its entirety.
"They didn’t air all of it," she said. "But... part of the reason I even began to entertain the idea of being trans is because I was trying to fill [the] void of being love and accepted [sic].
They didn’t air all of it but... part of the reason I even began to entertain the idea of being trans is because I was trying to fill void of being love and accepted. I would always get a false sense of love when I was on stage and the children lived for A’keria so I thought >>— Akeria “Whitley Gilbert” Davenport (@A_doubleC_D) July 16, 2021
Most trans ppl face (esp those of color) and that’s why I will now and forever advocate and dedicate everything in me to protect them!— Akeria “Whitley Gilbert” Davenport (@A_doubleC_D) July 16, 2021
"I would always get a false sense of love when I was on stage and the children lived for A’keria so I thought maybe if I keep A’keria on I would constantly hear the applause and I could keep feeling 'loved' or 'wanted'!"
The 33-year-old continued: "It took me to go through that experience to not only find myself but to know who I truly was and wanted to be, to know I was enough. I faced the same obstacles most trans ppl face (esp those of color) and that’s why I will now and forever advocate and dedicate everything in me to protect them!"
"Detransition is rare"
'Detransitioning' is an emotive and often controversial subject: Stonewall research has shown that of the 3,398 trans patients who had appointments at an NHS Gender Identity Service in the UK between 2016 and 2017, less than one per cent said in those appointments that they had experienced transition-related regret, or had detransitioned.
According to the Human Rights Campaign website, "destransition is rare and is often the result of environmental factors rather than regret. Detransitioning is often conflated with medical regret, but detransitioning can include nonmedical parts of someone’s transition such as changes in their gender expression or legal changes to their identity."
The LGBTQ organisation also cites research from The Fenway Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School): 'the first rigorous study of the factors that drive transgender and gender diverse people to detransition.'
An HRC rep writes that '82.5% of those who have detransitioned attribute their decision to at least one external factor such as pressure from family, non-affirming school environments, and increased vulnerability to violence, including sexual assault.
"Data from the National Center for Transgender Equality’s 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey shows that respondents who detransitioned cited a number of reasons for doing so, including facing too much harassment or discrimination after they began transitioning (31%), having trouble getting a job (29%), or pressure from a parent (36%), spouse (18%) or other family members (26%)."
Amidst a wave of anti-trans bills in the US this year blocking trans children from playing school sports and accessing healthcare, OITNB star Laverne Cox slammed a 60 Minutes report on detransitioning as "dehumanising."