Mentally Ill Teen Betrayed by Health Professionals Who Recommended Testosterone and ‘Top Surgery’

Kelsey Bolar Kelsey Bolar
November 30, 2022Updated: December 5, 2022

Commentary

Prisha Mosley began socially transitioning to be perceived as a boy at 15 years old. At 17, she started testosterone injections to masculinize her body. At 18, she underwent elective plastic surgery to remove both her breasts.

Now at 24, Mosley is back to living as a woman. She has broad shoulders, narrow, masculine hips, hair growth on her body and face, and a permanently lower voice. She has scars on her wrists from her multiple suicide attempts, no sensation in her chest, and suffers from vaginal atrophy and dryness. The conditions not only make intercourse painful, but also leads to distressing urinary symptoms. Mosley recently started her period again, but she doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to conceive her own children.

When a doctor prescribed her testosterone at 17, Mosley wasn’t concerned about potential effects on her fertility or even her ability to have sex. Two years prior, she had been sexually assaulted. “I didn’t want anyone to ever be able to go inside ever again. So I thought atrophy sounded like a good thing as far as I could even understand it,” Mosley said.

As Mosley attempts to piece her life back together, she’s now questioning how all this happened—how a team of health care professionals allowed a teenage girl with a history of trauma and well-documented mental illnesses to mutilate her body at such a young age.

A Lost Teen

Mosley’s mental health issues became apparent at 13. These included anorexia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, borderline personality disorder, anxiety, and depression. According to medical records reviewed by Independent Women’s Forum, Mosley would starve herself for days at a time.

“I was skeletal,” Mosley said. “I could stick my whole hand in my stomach between my rib cage. And my hip bones were sticking out really bad, my hair was falling out and my skin was gray. I made everyone sad.”

Due to the severity of her eating disorder, health care professionals recommended Mosley for in-patient care. On multiple occasions, she was hospitalized for suicide attempts.

“I just hated myself and my body,” Mosley said. “Every part of me, I just loathed it. I didn’t think I deserved to eat. I was so depressed and so sad.”

At 15, Mosley discovered transgenderism online. “A lot of the things I heard really rang true with me. Like, ‘You are trans if … You hate your body, you don’t feel comfortable with it, you want to be a different person,’” she said.

“With everything I was going through, I thought that if I aligned my body with my brain or something like that, I would feel better.”

Mosley’s parents were both against her “transitioning” as a minor. But because her mother suffered from alcoholism and her own history of mental illness, Mosley “threw away” much of what her mother said. Her father wasn’t sure what to do. Mosley describes him as having a “prove-it attitude.” He told Mosley to make her own appointments and see what the professionals recommended.

Looking back, both parents say they were emotionally manipulated by therapists and doctors into supporting their daughter’s medical transition—a position they now regret.

‘Gender-Affirming Care’

Prior to identifying as transgender, Mosley attended regular therapy sessions and doctors’ appointments to address her eating disorder and mental illnesses. When she decided to identify as transgender, Mosley said she followed her father’s instructions and made an appointment with the first “gender specialist” she could find online.

Mosley and her parents said they attended that session together, where the therapist, a WPATH GEI-certified gender specialist, quickly approved her to see a doctor for testosterone and a surgeon for “top surgery.”

“The minute I said the word gender, they were all over me,” Mosley said. “I was being medicalized so fast.”

“It was a 10- to 12-minute meeting,” Mosley’s mother, Christine Bourgeois-Mosley, said. “And then I said, ‘Are you telling me that you believe my daughter is transgender?’ And she said yes.”

Independent Women’s Forum reached out to the gender specialist for comment. She didn’t respond.

“We were emotionally manipulated,” Bourgeois-Mosley said. “We weren’t asked questions. We weren’t referred to therapy. We weren’t told anything other than, ‘Here’s a solution because she self-identifies as a boy, so go ahead and do it.’”

Mosley took her recommendation for cross-sex hormones to a doctor who happened to work in the same clinic that was treating Mosley for her eating disorder.

“You would think that they would maybe put two and two [together], that if the kid has body image [issues], that maybe testosterone’s not the way to go,” Bourgeois-Mosley said. “They didn’t.”

Mosley described being distressed when she began gaining back weight, which caused her to start her period again. “I thought that meant I was fat. And I told my [doctor] that I was uncomfortable with my periods, and that was the point in which I was put on testosterone,” she said.

When the doctor prescribed testosterone, Mosley’s mother remembers crying and asking whether she was sure it was the right thing to do.

“Yes. Christine. Yes,” she said the doctor responded.

Despite her gut telling her this was the wrong way to treat her mentally ill and suicidal daughter, Mosley’s mother swallowed her pain and worry. “She was the white coat,” Bourgeois-Mosley said.

Independent Women’s Forum reached out to the doctor for comment. A spokesperson for the medical facility said they “will not discuss the care given to any specific patient,” but maintained that “patients undergo psychological assessments prior to and during treatment.”

Less than a 1 1/2 years after starting testosterone, at 18, Mosley pursued an elective double mastectomy from a local plastic surgeon whose biography cited his experience specializing in “cosmetic and reconstructive surgery of the breast, abdomen, and face.” As of the date of publication of this piece, the plastic surgeon didn’t cite any background or expertise in “transgender medicine” or “gender-affirming care” in his public profile.

After the surgery, Mosley said she bragged to her friends that she lost eight pounds in a day. “That was the best part for me. I was just happy to have some fat lopped off of my body.”

The surgery cost Mosley $7,100. She paid half of it upfront with money she saved by working at Panera Bread and put the other half on a health care credit card, which went to debt when Mosley had to quit her job because she couldn’t lift her arms.

The plastic surgeon told Independent Women’s Forum that Mosley “had been in therapy for over two years prior to surgery” and had “full family support.”

“I will not operate on a patient who has not been fully evaluated by a therapist or therapists,” he added.

Mosley’s parents acknowledged their daughter had been in therapy for more than two years, but disputed the suggestion that she was in therapy for any prolonged period to specifically address her gender dysphoria. “My child was not in therapy for two years to discuss, ‘Are you a boy,’” Bourgeois-Mosley said. “My child was in therapy to address major other issues she had … she was in therapy for anxiety and depression and cutting.”

Independent Women’s Forum reviewed Mosley’s medical records from the plastic surgeon’s office, which Mosley gave them access to. Included in her files was a letter of recommendation for “mastectomy surgery to aid in his medical transition” dated Nov. 21, 2016, from a licensed counselor in North Carolina. The letter stated that Mosley had been seeing her for just over a year in weekly sessions “to address issues related to gender dysphoria,” and attended services in the practice prior to that.

The letter stated that Mosley “presents with no apparent residual psychiatric symptoms and is quite stable,” and added that Mosley has “a strong support system that includes his parents and his sister.” In conclusion, the counselor wrote that she has “no hesitation recommending him [Mosley] for the procedure he has requested.”

Christine and Mark Mosley said they don’t remember seeing that letter but were shocked by its contents.

“Our daughter was seeing [this therapist] for multiple very serious mental health issues that required multiple interventions that included institutionalizing her,” they said.

“She was extremely depressed, causing her not to come out of her dark room for days. She was suicidal, had severe OCD, very anxious and was struggling with many mental health issues. She required a variety of services. These services consisted of private and state counseling, trips to medical doctors and trips to the emergency rooms.

“The woman who wrote that letter was very aware of all of this because we saw multiple therapists within her organization who dealt with our whole family and shared notes. The person who wrote that letter was fully aware of all the details going on in my daughter’s life and our lives at the time. We do not understand how a compassionate professional could write this letter in good conscience knowing all of these facts and the background of her client.”

The only specialty evaluation she received for gender confusion, Mosley’s parents said, was the meeting with the gender specialist, who wasn’t mentioned in the surgeon’s medical records.

Independent Women’s Forum reached out to the counselor who wrote the recommendation letter. She didn’t respond.

Emotionally Manipulated

As loving and concerned parents, Christine and Mark Mosley drove their daughter to the surgery and helped her recover. But looking back, they said doctors and therapists gave them no choice.

“We were told what to do or our child will die,” Bourgeois-Mosley said. “You can’t be more psychologically abused than that. We didn’t want our kid to die.”

Mark Mosley compared their support for their daughter’s medical transition to a “hostage situation where you look at the gunman and then nod your head.”

“That’s what it was like,” he said. “We had no power or authority. They took it from us.”

Mosley said she also tried to convince her health care team to let her get liposuction. There, she said they drew the line.

“Apparently when you have a mental disorder, fixing your body, changing your body isn’t the answer. Liposuction is not a treatment for anorexia, but surgery is a treatment for gender dysphoria,” Mosley said.

‘Love Bombed’

When she began transitioning, Mosley described being “love bombed” by the transgender community. “I was extremely isolated. I was all alone,” she said. “So when they started really celebrating the fact that I was born in the wrong body, I felt celebrated, I felt cared for, I felt loved. It was kindness over the top all of the time.”

But after she started questioning whether medically transitioning was right for her, Mosley said all the love bombing came to a sudden halt. “They just completely turned on me,” Mosley said. “They hate me now.”

Now 24, Mosley is back to living as a woman—as much as her body will allow. She’s been in dialectical behavior therapy to manage her borderline personality disorder and suicidal ideations. Mosley credits that therapy with saving her life and allowing her to start her journey to healing.

“When I treated that, all of the symptoms started getting better,” she said. “Nothing that I did to transition treated those things that were causing me mental suffering.”

After detransitioning in Florida and leaving an unhealthy relationship she was in with another individual who identified as transgender, Mosley moved to Big Rapids, Michigan, to pursue a job at a local dispensary. It was supposed to be a relaxed environment, but she said she was fired for crying every day. Mosley has since started school but can only take courses online because she doesn’t feel comfortable being seen.

“I truly hate myself,” Mosley said. “I’m not trying to sound piteous or anything, but it’s hard to think of anyone else thinking differently than I do. I’m very wounded and vulnerable so I take everything personally. I just kind of isolate a lot.”

Mosley now lives alone in a small apartment, aside from her two bunnies and her cat who was with her through the “bad time.” She has no family nearby, but her mother and father support her from afar. Her grandparents helped her buy feminine clothes when she detransitioned and feared no longer being able to pass as a woman.

Recently, Mosley started a GoFundMe page to raise money to try to fix the physical damage that medically transitioning did to her body. She’s getting laser hair removal, which Mosley described as expensive and “extremely painful.” Already, she has a pre-op appointment scheduled for December for breast reconstructive surgery.

“We’re just going to see what’s even possible,” she said. “All of the tissue is gone. It’s completely flat and tight.”

Her nipples, Mosley said, were almost lost. “I didn’t understand that they were going to be fully cutting them off, resizing them, and reattaching them. I almost lost them. I did lose a little bit of them.”

Mosley’s also seeing a gynecologist and an endocrinologist to address her vaginal atrophy and dryness. When she tried to obtain a prescription of estrogen to counteract the effects of testosterone, her insurance declined to pay for it since detransitioning isn’t considered “gender-affirming care.”

When she detransitioned, Mosley didn’t go back to her birth name, or what transgender activists call her “dead name.” She requested to keep that name private, since she associates it with childhood trauma and pain. Mosley wants her new name, Prisha, to be a clean start. A new journey and a “new me,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
Prisha Mosley had both of her breasts removed when she believed she was transgender, she is now is hoping to receive reconstructive surgery. (Courtesy of Independent Women’s Forum)

She doesn’t blame her parents for what she’s experienced. She views them as victims, like herself.

“I feel bad for what I put my mom through,” Mosley said. “I mutilated my body just to not be suicidal, and it didn’t work, and now I have horrible scars and traumatic memories on top of the traumatic memories.”

Mosley has a long road ahead of herself that’s only just beginning. She dreams of becoming a dialectical behavior therapist and helping others struggling with similar mental health issues to those she faced.

“Being a teenage girl, especially with a mental illness, is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “You want to run away from it. You want there to be a cure. But there’s simply no cure. You have to grow up, and get through it, and hopefully have a support system.”

By sharing her story, including her most intimate scars, Mosley hopes to save others from her mistakes, and pressure the medical community to re-evaluate its standards for “gender-affirming care.”

“Looking back, I was so clearly not well,” she said.

“I was so unstable. I literally didn’t want to be alive. I remember my doctors had to ask me questions like, ‘Who’s the president right now?’ just because I was so far from reality. And I just don’t understand how, at that young age, plus literally not being with reality, I could make those decisions that would change my life forever.

“I can’t believe it. What was in it for the doctors? Did they genuinely think they were helping and there’s no research, or was it just about money?”

As she continues to heal and attempts to reverse the damage that hormones and surgery caused, Mosley said she’s considering all her options, including legal action against her providers.

“They really made me into a lifelong medical patient,” she said.

Because of her transition, Mosley said she’s now left to “accept the scraps of the life I could have had” and mourn what’s gone.

“The trans community tells you to kill your old self. It’s your dead name,” she said. “I literally feel like I killed a child, and it was me.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Kelsey Bolar is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Forum. She is also an editor of BRIGHT, a morning newsletter for women, by women, a senior fellow at The Steamboat Institute, and a contributor to The Daily Signal and The Federalist. Her work has been featured in USA Today, National Review, The Washington Examiner and more.