Five years ago, I started writing about gender identity and the harm of gender change not because I was a psychiatrist, college professor, or some extraordinarily brilliant guy, but because of living it. I underwent the full physical surgery from male to female at age 42, lived as “Laura Jensen” for eight years, then came to realize my unresolved childhood trauma drove the overwhelming desire to escape into another gender.
Through hard work and effective psychological counseling, I resolved the wounds of the past and my desire to be a woman dissipated. I re-identified as Walt Heyer legally and socially, removed the breast implants, and with the support of an amazing group of friends, built my life anew, this time on psychological wholeness. I’ve been happily married to a biological woman for more than 22 years now.
Having been given a second chance at life, I feel compelled to share this hope with others by writing and speaking out against the lie that “regret is rare” and to expose the lies of the sex change movement from an insider’s perspective. What’s changed in the last five years is the explosion in the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with gender dysphoria and the tight stranglehold excluding other treatment options.
Real Help for Trans People Has Evaporated
Five years ago, my first article, “What Parents of Trans Kids Need to Know,” gave background and advice that still stands. Children might identify as the opposite gender due to co-existing disorders or a history of abuse. I advised parents to work with a professional to identify the cause of the stress and cautioned them to avoid any professional who advocates for gender change. I assured parents that they are in the best position to identify the root cause of their child’s distress.
Now parents tell me that finding a therapist who doesn’t advocate for gender change is almost impossible. Sixteen states and innumerable cities have outlawed counseling for children that dares to explore the cause of the gender distress. A distinguished university child psychiatry chair, Dr. Josephson, lost his position at the University of Louisville because he publicly stated the need for medical professionals to ask “Why?” when a young person rejects his or her sex.
Counselors or researchers who pursue such answers or consider other factors, such as sexual or emotional abuse, are at risk of being ostracized. In states that have banned the therapy, they will lose their license to practice.
Parents, do not take your children to “gender clinics.” Gender clinics exclude any option except transgenderism. They hand out powerful cross-sex hormones like Halloween candy to anyone who knocks at the door. Surgeons stand ready to carve up the bodies of young people, performing double mastectomies on healthy girls as young as 13 and refashioning the genitalia of teenage boys, channeling Doctor Frankenstein. The negative outcomes do not matter to them.
Public schools and universities loom large as contributors to the boom in gender transition among youth. I routinely hear from parents whose children as college freshmen “come out” as transgender after a semester or two away at school, when previously they exhibited no signs of gender incongruity or distress.
I have a new warning for parents of trans kids, based on the past five years of experience. Be extremely aware and wary of school authority figures—teachers, counselors, social workers—and the internet. These often collaborate to misguide teens toward gender change.
Reports of Regret from Former Trans Kids
It was inevitable and predictable: As more children are misdiagnosed with gender dysphoria and loaded onto the transition train, the more reports of regret emerge. I have recently received a steady stream of emails from young adults who followed the pathway to transition and now want help in undoing it. Here are some of their stories
Sydney, a bright and engaging woman on the verge of her 21st birthday, regretted only two years after going from female to male using hormones at age 19. She’s one of the lucky ones—still young enough to have a “do-over” without having wasted many years like so many of us.
She wrote about her experience in an article, “I Spent a Year as a Trans Man. Doctors Failed Me at Every Turn.” Her masculine physical appearance will gradually fade as the effects of taking testosterone wear off. But living through the upheaval of detransition takes patience and perseverance.
Nathaniel, who as a teen questioned his gender identity, at age 18 had the full “bottom surgery” that altered his male genitalia into a pseudo-vagina. He regretted it just a year later and asked me to help him.
In elementary school, Nathaniel says he was bullied by boys because he was sensitive and preferred playing girl games. When he was a bit older, he discovered internet pornography, heard about transgenderism, and “convinced myself that’s what I was.” Nathaniel started seeing the doctor a week after his 15th birthday, and from how he describes the next years of his teens, I’d say going to the clinic didn’t improve his life.
“From then on,” he says, “I slowly detached from everything until I was just staying home, playing video games, and going on the internet all day. I stopped reading, drawing, riding my bicycle. I surrounded myself in an echo chamber that supported and validated my poor decisions, because the others were also, unfortunately, stuck in that pit, too.”
His parents were not in favor of his detransition back to male, but after reading my article, “1 Year After Sex Change, This Teen Regrets His ‘Frankenstein Hack Job,’” they are helping him.
The Economist 1843 Magazine told the story of Max’s detransition in September 2017, which I included in an article for The Federalist. Max came out as transgender to her parents around age 15, saw a therapist, and against the therapist’s advice insisted that she had to have hormones and surgery. She started testosterone shortly before she turned 17 and had a mastectomy the following year.
It was a happy time for Max. But only six months after she began successfully passing as a male, she realized, deep down, that she wasn’t sure anymore. When Max was 19, a little more than three years after she came out as transgender, she realized she’d made a mistake and began detransitioning.
Explosion in Trans Identification and Media Attention
Do not surrender to the trans madness. I witness too many people with too much unhappiness after a gender transition. Having a front-row seat to people’s pain through their personal, vulnerable emails fuels my drive to expose what goes on behind the scenes in the gender change industry today.
I have written books to help people learn about the regret of transitioning. My latest, “Trans Life Survivors,” has sections on children, research and resources, and importantly, it shares stories of 30 people who were swept up by gender change. They share what they think caused the desire for a new persona and why they decided to go back to identifying as their God-given sex. Often the cause can be traced to childhood abuse.
Writer Stella Morabito asks: “Can you imagine what it must be like to tell a therapist of your experience being abused as a child, which you offer as a possible explanation for your dysphoria, only to have the psychiatrist totally ignore that aspect of your past and instead push you to sex-change procedures as the only way to overcome your angst?”
That’s what happened to me more than 30 years ago and continues to happen to children and adults today. My attempt to shine a light on the ongoing wreckage on vulnerable people, especially children, due to the rampant practice of mutilating people’s bodies to match the error in their self-perception has resulted in more than 50 articles published over the last five years in publications like The Federalist, USA Today, The Washington Times, and others.
The purpose of my website, sexchangeregret.com, is to provide hope and resources to anyone who wants them and offer a listening ear to those in distress—the thousands of people who transitioned, found it wasn’t for them, and want their “true self” back.
My true self is found in my biological sex. Gender and sex is fixed and does not change because of hormones, red pumps, or plastic surgery. I won’t surrender to the trans-madness and I suggest you don’t give up or give in to the insanity either.