Stephanie Winn, LMFT

Stephanie Winn is a senior fellow at Do No Harm.

Stephanie is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the state of Oregon and associate producer of the award-winning documentary, “No Way Back: The Reality of Gender Affirming Care,” featuring young people who regret receiving so-called “gender-affirming care.” 

After working in a wide range of clinical settings with both children and adults, Stephanie noticed a surge in trans-identifying youth in the last decade.

In 2017, Stephanie attended a training on “gender-affirming care” and listened with an open mind. “I think many therapists have this, sort of, attitude that if I’m being told something by an expert in the field that seems counterintuitive or strange to me, it must be because they know something I don’t know,” she explains.

But as she worked with patients with gender identity issues, she noticed several comorbidities not being addressed. Many had histories of sexual trauma, autistic traits, or compulsive disorders

“Some were homosexual and hadn’t seemed to grapple with that, or hadn’t had sexual experiences or relationships yet,” she remembers. Others seemed to be using it as a form of teenage rebellion, or a tool of family conflict. The issues did not go away after switching sexes.

“It was clear the procedures they had pursued, maybe hadn’t resolved all of their problems as much as they thought that they would.”

Stephanie began to feel conflicted. As a therapist, she wanted to affirm the experiences and emotions of her patients. However, she was not convinced that permanent medical interventions were in the best long-term interests of her young, gender-questioning patients. It wasn’t until 2020, after moving into private practice, that Stephanie learned of detransitioners.

“They were not mentioned, as far as I can recall, in the training. And just the idea that anybody ever regretted this had never come up.”

Stephanie began learning as much as she could about detransitioner experiences, and shared what she learned on her blog and podcast, “You Must Be Some Kind of Therapist.” When she participated in the documentary, the personal attacks from trans activists began.

She faced threats against her license and was accused of conversion therapy. She was rightfully cleared of all charges with no disciplinary action, and addressed these experiences in her podcast episode with Helen Joyce, Debunking The Myth of Conversion Therapy. The ordeal has not stopped her from providing patients and parents with the best possible care, though she has stopped working with minors who identify as transgender.

Stephanie continues to give a platform for detransitioners to share their stories, and believes that helping detransitioners heal is essential to restoring integrity to the profession of psychotherapy. “Detransitioners have the most reason out of anybody to mistrust therapists because many of them have been permanently physically harmed,” she says. Many feel a sense of rage toward the doctors, therapists, and others who played roles in their decisions.

“I want to encourage people to trust their compassion and concern, and understand that we have a responsibility to advocate for the populations we serve if we feel they are not being understood or treated properly by our professional communities. Speak confidently and raise awareness.”

Well said. Thank you Stephanie for your courage, your conviction, your willingness to provide a platform for those struggling through detransition, and your commitment to doing no harm.

Other Stories