By Walt Heyer
With a new presidential administration comes an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of gender-distressed people. Instead of being in lock-step with the LGBT activist agenda, which pushes for nonsensical laws and prioritizes gender reassignment to the exclusion of other treatment possibilities, the Trump administration could be a voice for those for whom gender reassignment is not the promised fix-all.
Progressive media activists promote changing genders as a safe, glamorous avenue to a wonderful new life. But I see the letters from those who are dissatisfied or even suicidal after a gender change, and someone needs to speak up for them. The suicide attempt rate of 41 percent in the transgender population is unacceptable.
As a former trans person, I hope that soon-to-be President Trump will encourage the medical community to consider the deeper issues causing the desire for hormone therapy and reassignment surgery. I have some suggestions for getting started.
Suggestions to Improve Care for the Gender-Distressed
End the Obamacare transgender mandate. Cancel the Health and Human Services transgender mandate, which forces doctors to participate in sex changes even if they deem it is not in the best interests of the patient.
Issue better medical guidelines. Establish a blue-ribbon team of doctors—internal medicine, psychiatrists, and endocrinologists—who have a history of questioning the current LGBT emphasis on gender change as the only treatment. Task the team with setting federal treatment guidelines focused on the emotional, psychiatric, and psychological needs of gender-distressed individuals and on treating underlying psychological disorders, suicide risk, depression, and anxiety. Investigate ways to reduce the number of unnecessary reassignment surgeries.
Stop pushing sex changes. Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to stop pushing gender-reassignment surgeries.
Use the power of the purse. Stop federal funding to any organization, such as medical facilities, public schools, and Planned Parenthood offices, if they do not comply with the guidelines. Redirect federal financial resources towards organizations that take a holistic approach.
Don’t Push People Into Things Many Will Regret
Let me explain why the Trump administration should reduce the current emphasis on immediate transition for those who are gender-distressed. More than 30 years ago I transitioned from male to female and lived as a female for eight years. In the first few days and months after the “change” I was 100 percent sure the gender transformation was a dream come true.
Like me, most people who make a gender change are happy at first. But as the years pass, for various reasons the idealized dream fails to become reality and the glamorous magazine version of life is gone. Depression takes hold and suicide looks good.
“Regret is rare,” say the activists. If they talk about dissatisfaction, suicides, and regret in the transgender population at all, they routinely blame the “transphobic” Right. Carol Costello of CNN interviewed me in 2015 at the height of the Caitlyn Jenner media frenzy. She listened respectfully to my story but then inserted a trans activist talking point: A Swedish study says only 2 percent of people regret their transition.
I have subsequently seen and heard this statistic bandied about, as if it were an indisputable truth. By digging into the source and looking at what other researchers say, a far higher number emerges.
The Swedish study Costello quoted measured regret by counting the number of transgendered people who later applied for reversal to the original sex (called a “regret application”). But as other researchers have pointed out, the 2.2 percent number doesn’t include the additional patients who died by suicide or made suicide attempts. Obviously, people who are happy with their life don’t try to end it. With those included, the number rises to 7.9 percent. That figure also doesn’t address those who regret their change but didn’t in the study interval apply to reverse it.
Other studies indicate a higher percentage of dissatisfaction. A 2004 United Kingdom review of more than 100 studies said: “Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex.” That’s 20 percent, not 2 or 3. A recent systematic review of 28 studies examined outcomes of sex reassignment in 1,833 participants and found that from 16 to 29 percent of patients do not experience significant improvement in their gender dysphoria.
Regret Is Not Rare, It’s Common
As I have studied gender reassignment dissatisfaction over the last 10 years I’ve become convinced that the current treatment protocol of hormones and gender reassignment surgery ignores underlying problems. The issues go much deeper than a change of gender persona can reach or resolve.
Walt Heyer is an accomplished author and public speaker with a passion for mentoring individuals whose lives have been torn apart by unnecessary gender-change surgery.