Former trans woman praises state laws banning trans surgeries, puberty blockers for minors

By Mary Margaret Olohan

A former transgender woman praised laws banning transgender procedures for minors in a Wednesday interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“They’re too young to be doing these procedures,” Walt Heyer said of young people who go through gender transitions. “They end up mutilating their bodies and destroying their lives, and by the time they’re 21 or 22 years old, they wish they’d never done it.”

“So the only way we can protect them is to make sure that they’re not introduced to any of these procedures or hormone blockers until they’re at least 19 years old,” he added. “And then take a different look at it.”

After he was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, Heyer underwent cross-gender hormone therapy and obtained a surgical gender change in 1983 at age 42, he previously told the DCNF. He now runs the website Sex Change Regret and said he frequently interacts with people, both young and old, who are grappling with sex changes they cannot reverse.

His work touches on a burgeoning cultural issue that lawmakers in many states are grappling with as of late: transgender procedures for minors. Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson vetoed Arkansas’s SAFE Act Monday, but the Arkansas state legislature voted Tuesday to override Hutchinson’s veto — a move Heyer praised as “tremendous.”

Lawmakers like Hutchinson are not hearing all sides of the story when it comes to transgender issues, Heyer said, adding that he has attempted to share his experiences with Hutchinson previously without success.

Heyer lived for eight years as a woman, Laura Jensen, but said he still had gender dysphoria and eventually became suicidal. Heyer transitioned back to a man in 1999 and underwent psychotherapy to “resolve having been sexually abused and cross dressed and affirmed by my grandmother.”

“Affirmation of cross gender/sex identities is child abuse, and I have been dealing with the consequences in my life for 75 years,” he previously told the DCNF.

His work with those who regret their gender transitions has taught him that many people are misdiagnosed with gender dysphoria, Heyer said, telling the DCNF, “I find this out, and the consequences, when they write me and say ‘help me de-transition, help me get my life back.’”

Heyer described one young man named Nathaniel whose parents reportedly put him on hormone therapy at age 15, received full reassignment surgery at 18, and contacted Heyer at 19.

“Now that I’m all healed from the surgeries, I regret them,” Nathaniel told Heyer, the activist wrote in a Daily Signal op-ed. “The result of the bottom surgery looks like a Frankenstein hack job at best, and that got me thinking critically about myself. I had turned myself into a plastic-surgery facsimile of a woman, but I knew I still wasn’t one. I became (and to an extent, still feel) deeply depressed.”

Heyer told the DCNF that laws like the SAFE Act “would have protected a young Nathaniel.” He suggested that one major problem to be addressed is inaccurate diagnoses of “gender dysphoria.”

“I’ll be honest with you,” he said, “I’ve worked with children who claimed to be diagnosed with gender dysphoria who don’t have it. What we’re finding now, is that they will diagnose any child, literally any child with gender dysphoria, whether they have it or not… As a result, the diagnosis does far too much harm.”

“I think we need to step back,” Heyer said.

Heyer pushed back against Hutchinson’s assertion that the bill “was extreme” since it not only banned transgender surgeries for minors but also banned hormone therapy and puberty blockers for minors.

“This was the first law in the nation that invokes the state between medical decisions, parents who consent to that, and the decision of the patient,” Hutchinson told Fox News host Tucker Carlson Tuesday night. “And so, this goes way too far.”

“I think he’s wrong,” Heyer said, suggesting that Hutchinson has been getting the wrong information.

“I understand why he said it, but I also understand that he’s not getting a good balance of the consequences,” he said.

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