Many other people like him exist, he says, but their voices are not given a platform.
“Had I not been misled by media stories of sex change ‘success’ and by medical practitioners who said transitioning was the answer to my problems, I wouldn’t have suffered as I have,” Walt Heyer writes in a column on USA Today’s website. “Genetics can’t be changed. Feelings, however, can and do change. Underlying issues often drive the desire to escape one’s life into another, and they need to be addressed before taking the radical step of transition.”
Heyer, who heads SexChangeRegret.com, says he met and married a woman in his early 20s. They had two children, but he eventually began identifying as a woman himself. Those feelings, he says, were sparked by a grandmother who dressed him like a girl when he was four years old. An uncle sexually abused him, too. A medical professional him that his “childhood events were not related” to his “current gender distress.”
He started taking female hormones at age 42. He had breast implants and genital reconfiguration surgery. He and his wife split.
“My childhood dream was realized, and my life as a woman began,” he writes.
He changed his birth certificate and became known as “Laura.” Inside, though, he wasn’t happy.
“A gender specialist told me to give it more time,” he writes. “Eight years seemed like an awfully long time to me. Nothing made sense. Why hadn’t the recommended hormones and surgery worked? Why was I still distressed about my gender identity? Why wasn’t I happy being Laura? Why did I have strong desires to be Walt again?”
At age 50, he had his breast implants removed. He spent the next few years in counseling. By age 55, his desires to be a woman were gone.
He then met a woman who “didn’t care about the changes to my body.” They were married and have been together for 21 years.
“You will hear the media say, ‘Regret is rare.’ But they are not reading my inbox, which is full of messages from transgender individuals who want the life and body back that was taken from them by cross-sex hormones, surgery and living under a new identity,” Heyer writes. “After de-transitioning, I know the truth: Hormones and surgery may alter appearances, but nothing changes the immutable fact of your sex.”
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com.
Photo courtesy: Lauren Mitchell/Unsplash