Culture of LifeThu Nov 3, 2011 - 6:55 pm EST
Journey to manhood: a former ‘transsexual’ tells his story
CARLSBAD, California, November 3, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Walt Heyer was a little boy growing up in California in the mid 1940s, interested in cowboys, cars and steel guitars when one day, his grandmother fancied that he wanted to be a girl. She naively made for him a purple chiffon evening dress that he would wear when he visited her.
According to Walt, donning that purple chiffon dress triggered something that put him on a 35 year long path that led through a dark valley of “torment, disillusionment, regret, and sorrow.” His gender identity confusion led him into alcoholism, drug addiction, and attempted suicide.
Ultimately, Walt would resort to vaginoplasty “gender reassignment surgery” to make himself appear like a woman, something that he came deeply to regret and that he now counsels gender confused individuals to steer clear of. “He (God) had made me a man, the way I was, and no knife was ever going to change that,” Walt told LifeSiteNews.com in a recent interview.
Ashamed of Being Male
In his 2006 book, “Trading my Sorrows,” Walt recounts that the purple dress was only the first of many influences in his life that made him ashamed of being male. There was the sexual molestation he suffered at the hands of his uncle that he says made him feel ashamed of his genitals. There was the severe discipline from his father—practically indistinguishable from physical abuse, he says—that made him feel incapable of being the boy his father wanted him to be.
Walt remembers never feeling good enough for his parents, never being able to please them, and never receiving the affirmation that he greatly desired.
“What I desperately wanted was affirmation from my parents for what I excelled in, and to find my own niche where I could express myself, develop my talents and do something I enjoyed,” explained Walt in his book.
The little boy who had no self-esteem began to despise himself and his body. Walt began to find consolation dressing as a girl, and keeping it secret from his parents. Dressing as a girl became his hiding place where he felt safe from the painful conflicts and discipline dispensed by his father and mother.
The Woman Tyrant Inside
As Walt moved through adolescence, he says the girl inside his head grew more powerful and demanded more of his time. Despite the fact that Walt enjoyed eye-catching cars and dated attractive girls from his high school, no matter how hard he tried, he could not drive away the obsession to become a female. After high school, Walt moved out of his parents’ house so that he could enjoy cross-dressing in the privacy of his own home. By now he had amassed a number of female outfits but he was still deeply ashamed of his secret habit.
Walt ultimately married, became rich, and from all outside appearances, was living the American dream. He kept his continuing escapades into the world of the female a secret.
Walt says he was living three distinct lives of “successful, hard-drinking businessman, picture-perfect loving father and husband, and twisted transvestite.” On the inside however, Walt experienced fragmentation and disillusionment. Everything in his life began to unravel.
He turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism, but this only increased his desire to become a woman. He says he allowed the girl inside his head to express ‘herself’ more and more as he desperately grasped for moments of relief from life’s raging sea of pain and trouble.
Ultimately, Walt pinned his hopes on sex surgery as the solution that would make his pain go away permanently.
First came the large breasts, implanted by plastic surgery. Then came the procedure that Walt regrets the most, the surgical transformation of his male reproductive organ into the appearance of a female reproductive organ.
Walt had hoped that the procedure would alleviate his “debilitating psychological distress” and that it would stop, once and for all, the conflict that had tormented him since childhood. But to his dismay, rearranging his private parts and changing his appearance did not effect the corresponding change on the inside.
After the surgery Walt’s mind became a battleground of conflicting thoughts and desires that he could only describe as “aggravating, distressing, depressing, discordant, distorted, [and] unpredictable.”
Every day after the surgery, it became clearer to Walt that he had made a “huge mistake.” His addiction to cocaine and alcohol, in an attempt to numb the emotional pain, only increased his misery, depression, and loneliness.
Walt now knew that the surgeon’s knife and resulting amputation had not changed him from a man into a woman. He realized that the surgery was a “complete fraud.” He felt that he had no choice but to live life as a surgical woman, an “impostor.”
At this point, he hit rock bottom. The surgery had destroyed Walt’s identity, his family, his social circle, and his career. He felt that there was nothing left for him but to die. Walt, who went by the name Laura Jensen, tried to hurl himself from a rooftop, but was stopped by a passerby.
Homeless and penniless, the broken “transsexual” would have ended up living on the street had not a good Samaritan given him a place to sleep in a garage. This new friend encouraged Walt to attend Alcoholics Anonymous where he realized that he needed to tap into a “higher power” if he was to come out on top of the mess he had gotten himself into.
Walt began to realize more and more that he truly was a man, but one that was wrapped in a “woman’s masquerade.”
“I was well aware that I was now on the scrapheap of humanity, a thrown-away life, distorted by my own choices. Alcohol, drugs, and surgery had rendered me useless to anyone. I had failed miserably as the man God had created me to be.”
Out of the Valley of Darkness
Through the help of some newly discovered Christian friends, Walt began a journey towards healing and the discovery of his true identity as a man. Walt realized that the key to winning the battle that raged inside of him was sobriety. His mantra became: “Stay sober—no matter what—stay sober.” He put away the bottle and turned to Jesus as a new-found source of strength.
Once, during a time of prayer with his Christian psychologist, Walt says he spiritually experienced the Lord, all dressed in white, who approached him with his arms outstretched, scooped him up and said, “You are now safe with me forever.” It was at this moment that Walt knew that he would find the healing and peace that he so greatly desired in Jesus.
Walt told LifeSiteNews in an interview that those who are struggling with their identity as a man or woman and think sex surgery is the solution “need to go to a psychologist or psychiatrist and get into therapy and dig down deep to find out what is causing this desire, because there is some underlying psychological or some psychiatric issue that is unresolved that needs to be explored—whether it was sexual abuse, whether it was physical abuse, [or] whether it was modelling.”
“It may take a year to explore the deep issues that are going on and then, when you do that, you can bring the person to a point where they can begin to understand their gender and begin to accept their gender and want to live out the gender that God gave them.”
As a now old man, Walt believes that if he could go back in time and say a few meaningful words to himself as a younger man, he would tell that younger man to avoid the sex surgery, and to discover the root cause behind the desire for surgery.
Walt believes that his story witnesses to the power of hope, that one must never give up on somebody, no matter how many times he or she fails or how many twists and turns there are on the road to recovery. Above all else, says Walt, one must never “underestimate the healing power of prayer and love in the hands of the Lord.”
Contact Walt Heyer
Purchase Heyer’s book Trading My Sorrows: Man to woman and back again-a personal story.