Walt Heyer
Professional ex-trans crackpot Walt Heyer

Via YouTube

Crystal Woodall (formerly employed by Pat Robertson’s CBN) has written: Transgender Regret: The Truth About Gender Reassignment Surgery. Do tell, o wise one.

As the transgender movement becomes all the rage in popular culture, those who once lived that lifestyle—and are now plagued with regret—are coming forward to share their stories.

Author Walt Heyer chronicles their various journeys in his new book, Trans Life Survivors.

Movement? If Christians would only shut the hell up about the transgender people they disapprove of. Conservative Christianity doesn’t seem to stimulate intellectual curiosity — just the opposite. Were that not the case Ms. Woodall might realize that there are about the same percentage of the population who are trans as was the case ten years ago.

What has happened is that people are transitioning earlier in life. A dozen years ago, psychiatrists prevented kids from transitioning. Parents and doctors know more about gender dysphoria. It is safe to assume that, if prevented from transitioning, they would do so later in life. The bottom line is that there are more trans kids but not more trans people.

Offensive is the notion that a medical condition is “all the rage in popular culture.” People like me feel compelled to respond to idiots like her. We do so because life for transgender people is difficult enough without the ignoramuses telling them how they have made bad choices. Equally offensive is the moronic idea that being transgender is a “lifestyle.” Moreover, a medical condition should not be a religious issue. Christian fundamentalists are making that choice.

Suffice it to say that people with acute gender dysphoria find relief from anxiety and depression by transitioning to their gender. The American Academy of Pediatrics supports the gender-affirming care model. There is no intervention known to medical science that effectively addresses gender dysphoria which means that sufferers do not have options.

Quoting my own Amazon.com review: Mr. Heyer is a professional transgender regretter. Driven by personal experience and religion he is on tour to promote the notion that no one should transition. That is contrary to the overwhelming consensus of medical science. More importantly, Heyer is representative of nothing.

Heyer had surgery about 36 years ago at the age of (circa) 42. He reversed his surgery eight years later. Many things have changed over the last nearly four decades including the kind of counseling that people receive, before and after surgery. Moreover, guidelines for eligible candidates for surgery have changed.

Most gender affirming-surgery is performed on people in their 20s who have been living as their gender for a number of years (one year is required before surgery). In the year prior to surgery they are required to undergo intensive counseling. Furthermore, gender dysphoria can now be objectively diagnosed.

Heyer not only objects to surgery but to transitioning (most transgender people do not undergo surgery). This is based on his religious beliefs. A belief system is based on faith. Contrast that to medical science which is based on evidence.

A reply to that review explains a great deal:

Science does nothing for the soul; the suicide rate among so-called “transgenders” is way above the general population. The overwhelming “science” is that a person’s sex is determined by their DNA, and it cannot be changed with hormones and surgery…

They have memorized the talking points to the extent of using “transgender” as a noun rather than an adjective. I suspect that religious people actually believe the drivel which is composed of attempts to offset dogma with supposedly objective data.

The suicide rate for transgender people is higher than the general population. That is primarily attributable to Minority Stress. And, yes, sex is a matter of chromosomes — something no one disagrees with. According to fundamentalist “thinking” this obscures gender as a separate construct which is more controlling than natal sex. It is a stupid omission because, were that not the case, there would be no transgender people.

Getting back to Ms. Woodall, she explains:

Trans Life Survivors showcases emails from 30 or so people, selected from among hundreds who have written me, concerning what many call ‘the biggest mistake’ of their lives,” Heyer writes in the book’s introduction.

So XXXXXXX what? 30 anonymous people who may, or may not, really exist. Why did they transition? At what age? With what counseling? Did they live as a transgender person? For how long? Did they have gender-affirming surgery? What is the source of their regret?

Furthermore, Heyer only gets coverage at religious outlets. His primary website these days (he has several) is Walt Heyer Ministries:

Churches especially can benefit from learning how to respond to transgender people in their midst. Walt is available to share from his unique “been there” viewpoint.

It is reasonable to assume that most of the people who contact Heyer are people of faith. But even if he had a representative sample (he does not) and even if we were to assume that these are real people, it is irrelevant. Desistance rates among all transgender people are minuscule; microscopic. If someone meets the following criteria, regret among people who have had gender-affirming surgery should be virtually non-existent. The individual:

  • Has lived as a transgender person for some period of time.
  • Prior to surgery has had at least one year of intensive counseling while living as a transgender person.
  • After surgery has at least one more year of intensive counseling.
  • Receives counseling provided by a therapist or psychiatrist who has considerable experience working with trans folks.

Ms. Woodall uncritically repeats the articles of faith:

Heyer is hardly an outsider regarding this controversial issue. To the contrary, Heyer himself endured a life-long struggle with gender confusion, leading him to have a sex-change operation and live as a woman for nearly a decade.

Gender dysphoria is not controversial. Transgender people are not controversial. Attempting to conform one’s world to scripture and Christian dogma is controversial. It starts with preposterous assumptions about the knowledge people had in biblical times. They did not have so much as aspirin. Why would they know any more about sexuality?

I have not met Heyer. Nor have I spoken with him. However, the average person who opts for gender-affirming surgery is considerably younger and probably not a conflicted conservative Christian. Even if Heyer had effective counseling at the time, there have been substantial advances in medical science. The response to Heyer should be: “So XXXXXXX what?” How is his experience even remotely relevant?

He later discovered, however, that he was suffering from a mental condition known as “dissociative identity disorder,” or DID. In a further epiphany, he realized his disorder was the result of an early childhood trauma—and that the surgery had fixed nothing.

We do not know if Heyer was professionally diagnosed. DID is the name for the condition that used to be called “Multiple Personality Disorder.” This actually cuts against his argument because he is then the victim of misdiagnosis. Furthermore, amnesia is a required element of DID. How would that play into Heyer’s narrative? My guess is that Heyer reached this conclusion on his own without professional counseling.

The DSM-5 provides the following criteria to diagnose dissociative identity disorder:

  1. Two or more distinct identities or personality states are present, each with its own relatively enduring pattern of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and self.
  2. Amnesia must occur, defined as gaps in the recall of everyday events, important personal information, and/or traumatic events.
  3. The person must be distressed by the disorder or have trouble functioning in one or more major life areas because of the disorder.
  4. The disturbance is not part of normal cultural or religious practices.
  5. The symptoms can not be due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (such as blackouts or chaotic behavior during alcohol intoxication) or a general medical condition (such as complex partial seizures).

By the way, the average number of identities one has upon starting therapy is two to four. Within therapy, the average number of identities is about 15. Who are we dealing with? Is Heyer the controlling personality or is he an “alter?” It is a condition that does not go away.

“It was becoming very clear that the surgery they call ‘sex change’ or ‘gender reassignment’ is not a sex or gender change at all, but a means to living out a masquerade through the destruction of perfectly good sexual organs,” said Heyer, who detransitioned back to a male 25 years ago.

What is “very clear” is that Walt Heyer’s experience is atypical. It is abundantly clear that Ms. Woodall is content not to thoroughly explore this issue which should have nothing whatsoever to do with religious beliefs.

Walt Heyer’s book is fiction because Heyers claims that it is somehow applicable. His aim is to prevent anyone from transitioning because of his religious objection. If this collection of gibberish arms other people with ridiculous religious objections to a medical condition then they have transformed faith into superstition.

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.