Barely a week goes by without some news about the transgender issue. Recently, some declared that babies should be called "theybies"—since we don't know whether they're male or female until they decide for themselves.
There are people who suffer with gender dysphoria—where they feel like a boy trapped in a girl's body or vice versa. Our hearts go out to them. However, the Scriptures say that God has made human beings in His image. Male and female, He has made us. There are only two sexes. Only two genders.
Dr. Felipe Vizcarrondo of the American College of Pediatricians once told me in an interview, "The overwhelming majority of children that have this confusion at a very young age—before age 10—grow out of it and grow out of it spontaneously...by mid to late adolescence." How many? "90-95 percent of kids."
So in other words, for the vast majority of those suffering from gender dysphoria, it is a temporary—not a permanent problem. Yet for those who get the gender reassignment surgery, this is a permanent "solution." But the "solution" then usually leads to many other problems.
Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation and author of the book, When Harry Became Sally, says that initially people who get this surgery feel good about their new gender. But after about 10 years, they feel bad about it.
I know a man, Walt Heyer, who struggled for years with gender dysphoria. Eventually, he went the whole way and had the "gender reassignment" surgery. Elements of this surgery, of course, are irreversible.
In an interview Walt told me that as a child his grandmother treated him as a little girl—even secretly dressing him in girl's clothes. He found he got more positive attention as a "girl" than as a boy. "I was getting affirmed as a female, and I knew that when I was a female my Grandma liked me. She fussed over me; she made me a dress. I never got that kind of affirmation as a boy...you begin to attach feelings to that."
Growing up, Walt felt he should have been born a girl. Over time, he quietly struggled with these conflicting feelings—hiding them from people on the outside: "I got married and fostered two great kids and married successfully for 17 years."
Despite success in the corporate world, his gender confusion caused him stress, which he relieved through alcohol and cross-dressing.
He finally saw a specialist who encouraged him to seek hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. "So I went in April of 1983 and had the surgery and changed to Laura Jensen officially. And I was working as Walt at the time, so I had the dual identity. I was happy originally. I thought the weight of the world had been lifted off of me, and it was all going to be good."
Walt lived as a woman for eight years. He was happy at first, but not later: "The devastation that occurred as a result of that is just beyond description: loss of family, loss of relationship with many of the people in my family, divorce, total financial loss. I was bankrupt, I was homeless for a while and then I began to realize that I needed to start dealing with the alcoholism."
So Walt Heyer, going through life as Laura Jensen, had found things were much worse for him than before the sex change operation. He even tried to commit suicide, and alcoholism was consuming him. He began to see counselors—one of whom told him, he just needed to "curse Walt but bless Laura." However, real change came through the help of a loving church and some loving Christian people.
He notes, "I was redeemed in a prayer when the Lord came to me and reached out to me and said—I actually saw myself as a little baby during that prayer and He reached out and put His arms under me as a little baby, pulled me in, and He said: 'You'll be safe with Me forever.' And at that point the Lord redeemed and restored my life."
Walt notes that those who undergo the gender reassignment surgery are many times more likely to commit suicide than the general population: "41-50% of the transgender population will attempt suicide....The surgery never can address the psychological and emotional issues that transgenders suffer from with their identity—it can't do it because they're depressed. You can't cure depression with cutting off body parts or adding body parts or changing a body configuration."
Today, Walt Heyer is committed to helping those struggling with this issue. He maintains the website, sexchangeregret.com. He aims "to bring the word out and try to help other people prevent them from suicide or an unnecessary gender reassignment surgery—that's my mission today."