“Sex Change Regret”

Walt Heyer makes money from telling his story as a transitioner who reverted. Who is this fool?

Contrary to what you may think, male-to-female sex change surgery is a sex change in name (documentation) only. Sex change regret may come years later when you understand the surgery did not make you a female or change your DNA gender/sex. Is there anyone contemplating GRS who does not know this? You will not get pregnant! Not yet, anyway: womb transplants are in an early, experimental stage. It will not grow back!

Heyer claims our suicide rate is 31%; but this is not because people are not trans, and living in the true gender is not better for them, but at least in part because we still suffer discrimination and hatred. Consider two reverters he quotes: Chelsea says, It is exhausting putting on make-up and wearing heels all the time. Even then I don’t feel I look like a proper woman. I suffered from depression and anxiety as a result of the hormones too. I have realised it would be easier to stop fighting the way I look naturally and accept that I was born a man physically.

Well, I don’t wear heels every day, or make-up. Do you? I have enough acceptance to like the way I look and express myself. If I constantly felt the disapproval of others, it would be different. Like the unnamed teenager: my decision has alienated my family and how I will have to become a boy again to resolve it. My family were more distant too, though not completely alienated. I talked to my nephew last week, for the first time in two years. I am so glad! Again, this regret is not because transition is wrong, but because other people can be bullies.

Then I read his story. Before he was nine, when he went to his grandmother’s house she dressed him in a purple chiffon dress. She had wanted a granddaughter, he says. My grandmother withheld affirmations of me as a boy, but she lavished delighted praise upon me when I was dressed as a girl. Feelings of euphoria swept over me with her praise, followed later by depression and insecurity about being a boy. Her actions planted the idea in me that I was born in the wrong body. She nourished and encouraged the idea, and over time it took on a life of its own. Then his parents found out. My father was terrified his boy was not developing into a man, so he ramped up his discipline. His uncle Fred abused him. One day Uncle Fred took me in his car on a dirt road up the hill from my house and tried to take off all my clothes. His mum did not believe him. He developed a dissociative disorder, which was not diagnosed when he sought transition. His wife divorced him.

Clearly, transition was not right for him. Yet his experience is no basis for preventing the transition of trans women who have received proper care, and not been abused, such as the vast majority of us. The abuse comes from ignorant people who cannot accept the rightness of transition. He continues to write ignorant articles like this one: The setting for the first transgender surgeries (mostly male-to-female) was in university-based clinics, starting in the 1950s. Stupid man! Has he never heard of Lili Elbe? He quotes David Reimer as a case against transition, when Reimer is proof of the existence of gender identity!

He cites studies showing people still suffer depression after transition, but fails to show any better treatment. If we really could be therapised into being happy in the birth assigned sex, all the transphobes and trans-erasers would be trumpeting the research. But there is none.

I thought when I transitioned that in five years’ time I might be reverted, trying to live as a man. I realised that transition was what I had to do then. The only way I could get to any equanimity trying to live as a man was by trying transition first. Though for us, both roles are difficult: the assigned sex because of dysphoria, and the true sex because of transphobia. Society is the problem, not the trans woman.

Raffaelo Santi, Madonna della Rosa

8 thoughts on ““Sex Change Regret”

  1. It’s so annoying when people take their particular experience of something and try to use it to generalise for the rest of humanity. Someone like that has to look at the specifics of their story, how it differs from other people. He has a useful experience to share but I’m not sure why he would assume he can them speak for all other people who transition. Although if he’s making money from it …

    Did you see the Danish Girl yet? I was expecting I’d missed a post. I saw it last night, lucky escape from Joy I expect. It’s a beautiful film, the cinematography is stunning.

    Has Jim turned up here? He commented on ‘bad research’ to you too.

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    • I was delighted to see Jim. He was my biggest fan until 2013, when he disappeared abruptly, and Mark took over. But Mark disappeared at the end of 2014, and I have no biggest fan atm. I miss them. “Oh Clare your writing is so brilliant!” One can never have enough of that…

      I am seeing TDG on Wednesday night, with the woman I love, who is a TERF. It is a funny old world.

      Possibly Walt should not have transitioned. Possibly, his psychiatrists should have found his difficulty. But they take a history, and if he had disclosed his grandmother’s issues you would think that would make any competent psychiatrist consider. I conclude he probably lied. I was advised to lie: I was told the psychiatrists would not give me the treatment, if I told the truth. But I did, and they did. [Edited to add: he lied; or saw the interaction very differently from how he sees it now, and explained it to himself and others differently.]

      And yes, people regret, and revert. But could they have been saved from transition, really? We get so desperate for it. Only very bad experiences of transition make us give up; and my own bad experiences have not made me revert. Even if transition was forbidden, everywhere condemned, we would find places where we could be ourselves.

      Nothing will convince H that my decision is authentic. She is certain I have been duped into accepting mutilation, which no human being should ever accept, because Patriarchy. She finds no natural link between having ovaries and being “feminine”, which is a social construct. It’s not that my love is blind, but that it is indomitable in the face of a huge downside.

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  2. I don’t remember Mark. I do remember Jim taunting you as the nasty preacher before he came out.
    That’s an interesting relationship situation to find yourself in. I wonder if her opinion will change at all after the film.

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    • My comment awaits moderation. I liked his line, “kindness compassion and mercy”. Walt is a fool, or a knave. I look forward to TDG tonight: I expect catharsis, literally “cleansing”: some discomfort, some delight. I will blog on it. Right now I am more exercised about Roughseas’ line, about women thinking rationally. So say feminists since Mary Wollstonecraft. Quite right too. However I think emotionally, and I want to celebrate that. It is beautiful. That is my post tonight.

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