They search the whole world as images of an idyllic childhood. From the radiant little boy in the cowboy costume to the handsome youth who is howling with his Jeep, it is a perfect montage of a fully American boy to a fully American man.
But Walt Heyer finds it difficult to look at these photos. Because they are from his childhood and a past and a person he once wanted to erase so thoroughly.
In April 1983, after two years of hormone therapy, Walt Heyer underwent a sex change and became a woman, Laura Jensen.
In 1991, after having lived as a woman for eight years, Heyer left the transition and became a man again – one that was permanently changed by surgery and regret. And according to Heyer, he is not alone.
In an explosive interview with DailyMail.com, Heyer, 79, told how he turned away from a man who was convinced that switching was the answer; for an evangelist in his view that the idea of gender dysphoria as a disease and sexual recovery as a remedy & # 39; one of the most widespread and most dangerous lies & # 39; of our time.
Walt Heyer, 79, underwent a sex change operation to become a woman when he was 42 years old and married with two children
Heyer underwent a sex change in April 1983. But after eight years as Laura Jensen, he switched to a man in 1991
Heyer tells DailyMail.com that his grandmother started dressing him when he was four and he was sexually abused by his uncle when he was young (photo 10)
According to Heyer, people with problems are pushed in the direction of transition when they need therapy to tackle underlying problems, such as child abuse, transvestism disorder and many other problems.
While those who are just confused, are confirmed by early diagnosis and unnecessary & # 39; treatment & # 39 ;.
Nowhere, he claims, is this more true or controversial than when it comes to children.
Last month, the case of James Younger, a seven-year-old from Dallas in the middle, filed a custody dispute for the reason.
Under the care of his mother, James lives like a trans girl named Luna. He lives like a little boy under his father.
Each parent disputes the other's claim with regard to what the child wants and accuses the other of abuse. Last month, a judge ruled that they have an equal joint conservatory of James and his twin brother.
For Heyer, the case is personal. He revealed: & # 39; His father contacted me last year when I was in Texas during a conference and I had the opportunity to meet the boy and spend time with him. & # 39;
After this, Heyer is adamant: & # 39; He had no idea of being a gender dysphoric, but his mother has such a strong influence on him and she continues to feed him the idea that he was a woman. I believe he was afraid of going against his mother.
& # 39; When he was evaluated at the gender clinic and asked to choose the name he chose, James or Luna, he chose James every time. He only chose Luna when his mother was there. & # 39;
He added: & # 39; It's just such a shame that this young boy is going through this trauma, and to be honest, I think abuse will cause him more harm than anything else. & # 39;
And Heyer should know, he explained, & # 39; I was about James & # 39; age when my grandmother started dressing me up. & # 39;
Jeff Younger is fighting with his ex-wife Dr. Anne Georgulas in a family court in Dallas as part of their bitter custody battle over whether their child James (photo) has gender dysphoria
Jeff Younger, Jame's father, met Heyer and had the opportunity to spend time with James. Jeff has accused his ex-wife of forcing their child to socialize into a girl by having James wear dresses
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Heyer remembered: & I was about four years old when my grandmother made me a purple chiffon dress and would dress me in if she cared for me and told me how cute I looked and confirmed me in it.
& # 39; I have no idea what her obsession was to get dressed like that when she was in the baby. But she said it was our little secret and shouldn't tell your parents.
& # 39; You have to remember that these were the forties, we didn't even have terms like gender dysphoria, but what happens is gender confusion and I felt that. & # 39;
He said: & # 39; After two and a half years my parents found out and my grandmother was no longer allowed to take care of me. My father started to apply severe discipline in the field of hitting, and so on. I think it was his way to man & # 39; man & # 39 ;. I understand he was confused, he didn't know what to do.
Heyer says he finds it hard to look at photos of himself as a young boy because he is reminded of the abuse he has endured
Not long afterwards, Heyer's youth was further disrupted when he was sexually abused by an uncle charged with his care.
He told his parents, but they didn't believe him, & # 39; they just said, & # 39; & # 39; Fred would never do such a thing. & # 39; & # 39; It's a lie. & # 39;
Heyer said: & # 39; So now, as a little boy, I know I can't trust my grandmother. I can't trust my uncle and I can't talk to anyone about it.
& # 39; And I have these seeds of doubt and confusion of the dress, of the confirmation as a girl, and of the abuse as a boy.
& # 39; Much later I began to realize that when I passed over, I was living the life that began with that purple dress and that sexual abuse.
& # 39; I did not want to be the boy who was abused. & # 39;
According to Heyer, unresolved issues with child sexual abuse are a powerful and recurring theme among people who regret sex change.
He explained: & # 39; Any person out of the thousands I have spoken to over the years can indicate the trauma or abuse that underlies all of this.
& # 39; It's not about being a different gender. It's about wanting to be another person – not being the boy or girl who's been hurt. & # 39;
Heyer said afterwards that he did exactly that: & # 39; In my early teens I secretly took the name Chrystal West. I only discussed this with my friend Joy.
& # 39; She was devastated by the news. That was 1957 and I was 15 or 16. & # 39;
Around that time, the story of Christine Jorgensen – a navy who had changed gender – broke.
Heyer said: & # 39; It was the first time I ever heard anyone talk about changing gender. & # 39;
He saw the news and the idea was added to the mix of secrets and trauma he already had.
Photographs by Heyer in his late teens and early twenties show him proudly working next to his 1934 Ford or in a car shop. He was, he smiles, & # 39; very masculine & # 39 ;.
He said: & # 39; You must remember that the transition did not begin until the 1980s.
& # 39; And so I got married at the age of 21. I had two children. I had a good job. I worked as an associate engineer on the Apollo space missions.
& # 39; I worked for the US Honda motorcycle company as National Operations Manager for the Ports of Entry. & # 39;
Promotions and material success followed, but all his childhood trauma and confusion were still heavy.
Heyer (right) married at the age of 21 and had two children before he became a woman at the age of 42
Heyer is depicted in his late teens or early twenties proudly next to his 1934 Ford and looks & # 39; very masculine & # 39; as he would say
Heyer (right) is depicted against his friend's jeep on a trip to a gold mine in Idaho in his late teens or early twenties. He says that these photos from his younger years are difficult to view
Walt (kneeling) is depicted at the age of 17 at his first job at a car shop. At that time he confessed to his girlfriend that he had secretly adopted the name Chrystal West
Heyer admits he used drugs and drank to get rid of the pain. Looking back, Heyer said: & # 39; I think that was my way to be suicidal. & # 39;
He said: & # 39; What happened in my youth has never been treated like it should have been with psychotherapy. I thought my problem was my gender, so I finally went to a gender therapist.
& # 39; I was then living in San Francisco and I knew some people who told me about a doctor who approved people for surgery. That was the summer of 1981 and it all started there. & # 39;
Heyer went to the therapist who told him that he needed hormone therapy.
Today, Heyer shakes his head that there has never been any question about underlying problems, about mental health problems or historical trauma or abuse.
He says he has almost entered a clinic and received hormones.
Heyer's marriage fell apart and he divorced two years after he started taking hormone therapy. It is not a subject he likes to dwell on. His regret about the destruction of a life and a family is evident to this day.
What happened in my youth had never been treated, as it should have been with psychotherapy. I thought my problem was my gender, so I finally went to a gender therapist
His father was no longer alive when he passed. His mother did not accept it and his brother, his only brother or sister, has not spoken to him since.
He said: & # 39; I would return to the therapist with doubts at that time, but every time I was told: & # 39; & # 39; No, you are a perfect candidate for a gender change. & # 39; & # 39; & # 39;
By his own recognition when the time came, and he underwent the operation, he was fully convinced that he was doing the right thing.
He said: & # 39; There is no negative feedback on the way. No warning voice. & # 39;
The impact was immediate. He said: & # 39; I lost my job. It was not long after that I was homeless and broke and started from scratch at the age of 42.
& # 39; I really started my journey back to common sense. & # 39;
Like Laura Jensen, Heyer felt free to live a completely different life. For a while he was, he said, & # 39; delighted & # 39 ;.
Today, Heyer has been clean and sober for over 33 years, and it began when he went to AA meetings to recover from alcoholism and drug addiction.
He got a job at FDAC and a nice apartment in the Bay Area. But the elation began to subside and he began to ask questions about himself and his transition.
He said: & # 39; I started reading books and seeing that people who identified themselves as transgender often suffered from co-morbidities; things like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder or dis-associative disorder.
& # 39; That was an eye opening for me. I started to wonder why the therapist who approved me for an operation did not investigate things like sexual or physical abuse? Or did crossdressing really belong to this? & # 39; he said.
Heyer started to think critically and the scales fell out of his eyes. He said: & # 39; I started to see that it was just a cosmetic change. And so something must be underlying and push this to make sure you don't like who you are. So much so that you try to become someone that you really can never become. & # 39;
Like Laura Jensen, Heyer says that he felt free to live a completely different life. For a while he was, he said, & # 39; delighted & # 39; but then regret began to arise
& # 39; I am sure there are many people who have good intentions, but to be honest there are others who make money from the transgender scam & # 39 ;, Heyer says as he applies for psychotherapy before sex change.
For Heyer, that realization – that he was trying to become someone he really could never be – was both liberating and destructive, because understanding came with regret.
He said: & # 39; It's a suit. It is a masquerade. It's Halloween. & # 39;
He explained: & # 39; I finally understood that the operation never turned me into a woman. And once you come to the realization that you are not really a woman, going back is no problem, because you are still a man.
& # 39; So all you have to do is take the breast implants out, get a new wardrobe and understand that someone has performed a terrible operation on you that you cannot fix and begin to restore your life.
& # 39; If you have the mentality like me, and you realize that changing sexes is impossible, then going back becomes just who you are. & # 39;
As Heyer sees it now, he had not really lived as a woman for eight years. He had lived as a version of himself who was unable to cope with the traumas of his past. He turned denial and dissociation into an identity, but it could only be temporary.
But many Heyer may have experienced his de-transition as a sort of coming home, there are some very physical changes that cannot be reversed.
Heyer had & # 39; all operations related to transition & # 39; undergo.
He said: & # 39; Due to changes in my body, I have not become a woman. I never stopped being a man. It was easy to remove the breast implants. I chose to work on my psyche and live with the rest. & # 39;
In 1952 the news broke about Christine Jorgensen's transition. She was a Marine who had changed sex. Heyer said: & # 39; It was the first time I ever heard anyone talk about changing gender & # 39;
& # 39; I wonder how Caitlyn Jenner will feel in eight years' time & # 39 ;, says Heyer van Caitlyn, formerly Bruce Jenner, who passed away in 2015
Two decades ago he was, he said, & # 39; very happy & # 39; to meet each other and fall in love with a & # 39; great woman who doesn't care about the changes in my body & # 39 ;.
He and Kaycee have been married for 22 years and she works with him to edit the articles and books that he has written about a failed sex change.
He said that some men from the transition may opt for a falloplasty – essentially the operation being performed on a trans woman – if it is important for you to be able to urinate upright.
He added: & # 39; It does not work as before. & # 39;
He said: & I was lucky. I already had my children and managed to maintain a relationship with them.
& # 39; But for some people, their transition costs them the chance to have children themselves. & # 39;
It is an essential part of why he is so opposed to children and even adolescents who receive hormone therapy and & # 39; take the road & # 39; to the transition.
He said: & # 39; I am sure there are many people who have good intentions, but to be honest there are others who make money from the transgender scam. & # 39;
Returning to the Dallas trial, Heyer said: & # 39; The mother is a pediatrician and would like to transfer the boy because she wants to be part of that LGBT rainbow community and transition children. She therefore has a personal interest in seeing this boy successfully switch over to the objection of the child who really did not want that. & # 39;
According to Heyer: & # 39; All children are curious. But we've used curiosity and turned it into dysphoria, and that's where I call it dangerous.
& # 39; We should not immediately confirm children who are just curious. We must investigate how and why they have become curious. & # 39;
Heyer says that everyone who identifies as transgender & # 39; really good psychotherapy & # 39; must have someone who does not approve them for the operation. & # 39; And if they handle that and the person still wants to switch, it's a completely different ball of wax, & # 39; he says
Heyer has written several books on this subject and has a support website called sexchangeregret.com, where thousands of people are in contact with him who regret their sex change
Today Heyer has a support website, sexchangeregret.com. He said: & # 39; I am approached by people every day, thousands of people during the ten years that I have run the site, who have undergone a failed sex change. & # 39;
& # 39; It is heartbreaking. The truth is that for many, many people the story does not stop at the transition.
& # 39; I'm not just saying it. After years of working in the field, Harry Benjamin, one of the researchers at the first Gender Clinic at John Hopkins Hospital, concluded that surgery was a & # 39; temporary delay & # 39; and that was eight, nine, ten, perhaps more, years later regret and trauma.
The more transition operations there are, the more people will regret it
& # 39; Dr. Ihlenfeld, an endocrinologist who administers sex hormones in Harry Benjamin's clinics, concluded that & # 39; too much accident was among those who had undergone surgery.
& # 39; I wonder how Caitlyn Jenner will feel in eight years' time. & # 39;
Before our interview, Heyer asked that his address be kept secret for fear of violent reprisals. He is beaten as a transphobic and a trans-denier for his vocal criticism of what he calls the Trans Lobby. He wipes it.
He said: & # 39; There have been threats. But my life mission today is to let people who regret know that there are people who can help them and that they are not alone.
& # 39; Before I fully went into this, I thought I was the only one, but people need to know that they are not alone & # 39;
He said: & # 39; I'm not saying it never works. I would never say never. But this aspect should be part of the conversation, because the more transition operations there are, the more people there who regret it.
& # 39; I think everyone who comes in and identifies as a transgender should have really good psychotherapy from someone who doesn't approve or support them, but is looking for and copes with possible comorbid disorders. And if they handle that and the person still wants to switch, it's a completely different ball of wax.
& # 39; But now I speak for people who don't have a voice and think they don't have & # 39; have support. The number of suicides in the post-operative transgender community is 19 percent. If we can save one person by applying only good, effective pre-surgical psychotherapy, then it's worth it.
Pausing, Heyer added: “I'm sorry if I'm passionate about this, but I've lived it. It is not about shame or condemnation, it is about helping others know that they are not alone, and that goal helps me to understand my own regret.
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