(LifeSiteNews) – Formerly “transgender” individuals are speaking out in strong support of an Arkansas law currently on trial that would ban cross-gender interventions for minors.
The detransitioners are defending the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act as necessary to protect children from “lifelong harm,” with one critic comparing “transgender” medical interventions with lobotomies.
A two-week federal trial began October 17 to determine the legality of the passionately contested SAFE Act, which would ban sex-reassignment procedures, puberty blockers, and cross-sex hormones for minors in Arkansas.
While medical professionals are testifying against the SAFE Act in federal court, arguing that some children need so-called “gender affirming” interventions, three detransitioners are lending their voices to the court of public opinion, sharing their own regrets over their former attempts to change their sex.
“I believe every state needs to pass a law that protects our youth in this way,” Chloe Cole, who had a mastectomy at age 15 to present as a male, told The Daily Signal.
“The idea that the science is solved on these procedures is a ridiculous claim. Confused children need to be protected from experimentation,” she argued.
“The medical establishment needs to move past these treatments like they moved past lobotomies,” she continued.
Cole, who recently launched the group Detrans United to support detransitioners, added that she believes “transgender” interventions are attempts to treat “mental health condition[s]” with “cosmetic surgeries that remove function from the body.”
Walt Heyer, another prominent detransitioner who identified as a woman for eight years, likewise believes that the SAFE Act is needed to protect children from “treatments” and procedures that cause “lifelong harm” and are misguided approaches to treating psychological issues.
“Unfortunately, blocking puberty in healthy adolescents, providing destructive hormones, or surgically removing healthy body parts is not scientifically proven care and the regrettable outcomes are well-documented,” Heyer, who runs the website SexChangeRegret.com, told The Daily Signal. He says he has helped “literally thousands” of people detransition.
Heyer believes that what gender-confused children need is psychological care:
Kids need the assistance of trauma therapists to uncover and resolve adverse childhood experiences. Instead of encouraging kids on a path to unnecessary and destructive surgery, let’s affirm and love our young people just the way they are — as the boy or girl they were born to be. Let’s allow them to experience the natural sexual development of puberty and to explore all issues, including gender confusion, with a licensed professional.
In support of this belief, the formerly “transgender” Billy Burleigh testifies that his gender confusion “trac[ed] back to childhood trauma,” according to the Signal.
“Even in the first grade, I didn’t seem to fit in very well with the boys and I had this thought that came into my mind that God made a mistake, and I was a girl,” said Burleigh, who also shared that he was sexually abused by his diving coach.
After seven years of gender “transitioning,” including multiple surgeries, “I had more problems than when I started,” Burleigh shared.
“In hindsight, I knew I was seeking acceptance, significance, and security,” he continued. “I thought that I could find those by being a girl instead of just learning to be a boy and to be myself.”
“I want my message to go out that I took the wrong way, that government and teachers are saying that you have to get ‘gender-affirming care,’ but from my experience and from those I’ve spoken with, we all have childhood issues and many of us have been sexually abused,” Burleigh said.
“Children do not have awareness,” he added. “Their brains are not developed to the point to make an informed decision on such life-changing medical modifications. They’re not even responsible enough to go out and get a tattoo. How can you say they’re responsible to make this decision?”
Corroborating the theories of Heyer and Burleigh are the testimonies of other detransitioners who share that their attempt to change their sex was a kind of “band-aid” approach to dissociate from emotional distress.
Jalisa Vine, in a recent testimony on how gender surgeries ruined her life, explained, “The majority of my life so far has been a trauma response. My whole identity has been rooted in trauma … My transition was a trauma response.”
Similarly, Grace Lidinsky-Smith, who received “top surgery” at age 23 and “detransitioned” about 16 months later, explained in an interview, according to The New York Times, “I slowly came to terms with the fact that it had been a mistake born out of a mental health crisis.”
Studies indicate that most children experiencing gender dysphoria outgrow it on their own by late adolescence and that even full “reassignment” surgery often fails to resolve gender-confused individuals’ mental distress by neglecting its actual root causes and reinforcing their confusion.
Experts also warn that surgically or chemically reinforcing gender confusion imposes irreversible harm on children such as infertility, impairment of adult sexual function, and reduced life expectancy, as well as the psychological toll of being “locked into” physical alterations regardless of whether they change their minds when they mature, as attested to by many individuals who “detransitioned” back to their true sex.