Ex-transgender woman says sex change 'couldn't solve the underlying issues' of his gender dysphoria

Walt Heyer in Palm Desert, California, in 2009.(Photo: Family handout)

A man who lived as a woman named 'Laura' for eight years says that transitioning to the opposite sex could not resolve the underlying issues of his gender dysphoria.

Writing in USA Today, Walt Heyer said that his gender dysphoria was triggered by childhood trauma caused by his grandmother dressing him as a girl and abuse at the hands of an uncle. 

'That abuse caused me to not want to be male any longer. Cross-dressing gave me an escape,' he said.

'I lay awake at night, secretly begging God to change me into a girl. In my childlike thinking, if I could only be a girl, then I would be accepted and affirmed by the adults in my life. I would be safe.' 

The cross-dressing and desire to be a woman continued into his adult years as a married man and at the age of 40, he was diagnosed with gender dysphoria. 

Two years later, he went ahead with surgical procedures to become a woman, including genital reconfiguration and breast implants.  He also changed his birth certificate to be 'Laura Jensen'. 

Despite the initial excitement, he says the change came with a lot of personal pain and loss. 

'At first, I was giddy with excitement. It seemed like a fresh start. I could sever ties with my former life as Walt and my painful past. But reality soon hit,' he said.

'My children and former wife were devastated. When I told my employer, my career was over.'

He also found that his emotional pain and confusion had not abated.

'The reprieve I experienced through surgery was only temporary. Hidden underneath the makeup and female clothing was the little boy hurt by childhood trauma,' he said.

'I was once again experiencing gender dysphoria, but this time I felt like a male inside a body refashioned to look like a woman. I was living my dream, but still I was deeply suicidal.' 

He says it was only when he confronted the trauma of his childhood and received expert psychological help from counsellors that he was able to find healing for his gender dysphoria.

'It wasn't easy, but it was the only way to address the underlying conditions driving my gender dysphoria,' he said. 

He began his medical detransition back to being male at the age of 50, starting with the removal of his breast implants.  He also changed his birth certificate back to his original male gender and resumed his identity as Walt Heyer. 

Now happily remarried for 21 years, he is warning others against rushing into a medical gender transition as a way to resolve their gender dysphoria.

Jamie Shupe went from transgender to non-binary before returning back to his original male gender identity(Photo: Jamie Shupe)

Looking back, he feels that he was 'misled' by a combination of 'success stories' in the media and bad advice from medical practitioners who presented gender transition as the answer to his problems. 

He says that over the years, he has been contacted by many transgender people experiencing regret and desiring to detransition. 

'After de-transitioning, I know the truth: Hormones and surgery may alter appearances, but nothing changes the immutable fact of your sex,' he said. 

His warning comes as the first legal non-binary person in the US, Jamie Shupe, announced that he had returned to his original male birth sex and now believed gender identity to be a 'fraud'.

He said he had come to feel that medical transition was not a cure for gender dysphoria. 

'In my thirty plus year marriage, I am the husband. To my daughter, I am her Father. I no longer identity as a transgender or non-binary person and renounce all ties to transgenderism,' he said.

He added: 'I will not be a party to advancing harmful gender ideologies that are ruining lives, causing deaths and contributing to the sterilization and mutilation of gender-confused children.'