Apparently, I was an abused child

While this is an essay about my not having been sexually abused, searching images to enhance this piece led to my finding the ones you will see throughout, of which all of us need to be aware.

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On Monday, I addressed a speech by former transsexual, Walt Heyer, in which he claimed that giving one’s life to Jesus, along with having faith and desire and willingness were the ingredients for being healed of one’s longing to transition from his birth sex. Diagnosing his theology, I was thankful to recognize that, despite my apparently having three not-enough-faith-strikes against me, the Holy Bible confirms that I am, indeed, a Christian.

Today, I take up Heyer’s claim that all gender dysphoria is caused by one’s experiencing childhood trauma, especially that which is akin to what he says he suffered, being cross-dressed by his grandmother, sexually abused by an adopted brother, and severely beaten by his mother.

Is it true that some people suffer gender dysphoria because of similar abuse as children, even considering themselves transgender, and even transitioning? Yes. Is it true that this is the case for all people, or even many, who suffer gender dysphoria, as Heyer asserts? Not. Even. Close.

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Heyer eventually found that he had been incorrectly diagnosed. His gender dysphoria was not due to his being intersex—which includes conditions of the genitalia, chromosomes, or hormones—but was due to his abuse which caused him to suffer dissociative personality disorder (formerly known as having multiple personalities). A wrong diagnosis will lead to wrong treatment, and transitioning to female was wrong treatment for Heyer. He is not the only person to endure a wrong diagnosis; just because a person feels a pull toward the other sex does not mean he or she is intersex and would benefit from transitioning.

I have met, and have had thorough conversations with a couple of transgender people who were sexually abused in childhood.  As I have listened to them, I have wondered if the abuse were behind their gender dysphoria, and if transitioning might not be what they need.  Yet, I also know there are many other factors—including that they are intersex—behind their being transgender.

Onto diagnosing my situation. Before I ever knew there were more intersex conditions than those of the genitals, I had no idea why I wanted to be a girl. It was not until 2013, when Julie found the study of the artificial estrogen, which I find to be the likely culprit behind the disruption of my endocrine system when I was forming in the womb. The study found a large number of males, 47%, who identify as trans. Learning of this drug opened the door to the wealth of information I possess today.

When, that year, I began therapy, and I was determined to remain male, I brought up every topic and asked every question that occurred to me. While I never suspected that I held any repressed memories of having been abused as a child, I examined every angle of my upbringing. I pondered every aspect and angle of my life, dozens of times, and ran possibilities by my therapist. When we moved to Indianapolis and I changed therapists, I spoke to her as if never having seen a therapist, so determined was I to remain male.

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The facts are these: I could not have had a more idyllic childhood, or better parents, or a safer home, or an extended family—both Mom’s side and Dad’s—in which every relationship was beneficial. Home life, school life, neighborhood life—all were super, superb, supreme.

If I suffered any trauma from abuse, it was from being the middle child of five rambunctious kids in our house!

Last spring, when I went public with my gender dysphoria, a number of people asked if I considered that I had suffered childhood trauma, or if I had been sexually abused, or if I had an overbearing mother, or a vacant mother, or an overbearing father, or a vacant father. No, no, no, no, no, and no.

Was there ever a point in my young life where I was terribly troubled? Overly fearful? Felt exposed to danger? (I’m trying to think of everything.) No, no, and no.

As a kid, I was regular as they come. As an adult, I have been as regular as they come.

Well, you know. Mostly.

More than regular, I was—this is how I described myself in my going-public piece, “Who Am I?”: I am as straight as a yardstick. As a youngster, I never tried alcohol or tobacco or any illicit drug, and behaved myself with the girls I dated. As an adult, I have never once abused alcohol and still never tried tobacco or any illicit substance.

Quite the opposite of bad habits, I have practiced many good ones, such as being a jogger since I was twenty-two. I get my highs from down-to-earth activities.
I’m a geek. A dweeb. A conformist.

People with gender dysphoria are habitual alcohol abusers, some studies showing over 40%. Adults, who had been sexually abused as children, suffer many harmful habits in an effort to ease their pain.

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As a pastor, I worked with two people who had, as young children, been sexually abused by adult relatives. Hearing their stories, watching them speak, and digesting the inner turmoil they continued to experience was an eye-opener for me.

Both of these people used a lot of harmful ways for trying to cope. Between the two of them, they drank to excess, used illicit drugs, burned their flesh with cigarettes, cut themselves, and were sexually promiscuous.

Bad coping mechanisms are as common to those who suffered abuse as good habits are to those who have been blessed with love and safety and an ideal upbringing.

Walt Heyer bothers me a lot. Why? First, because his view of gender dysphoria and transgender is so narrow and his theology is terribly wrong. Second, because he has the ear of a lot of people and most of them are the people whose ears I long to fill with sound research into gender dysphoria and being transgender, and with proper Christian theology.

No, apparently I was not an abused child. I suffered no trauma after I left the womb. Rather, in the womb, I suffered trauma to my endocrine system, which caused my hormones to scream at me GIRL when I should have been content as a boy.

That is how I will understand myself unless and until I uncover some other studies or materials or hypotheses which provide well-researched, reasonable possibilities.

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11 thoughts on “Apparently, I was an abused child

  1. wait. you really. really were that well behaved! thinking back on high school, you would have been in my sociology class on monday morns, reciting the monte python show with my buddies john and mike! gosh that would have been extra fun! thank you for the gathered info and thoughts. i love how you do all the heavy work for me, doing all the research and presentation. see high school would have been a blast!

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  2. Since my mother is not alive to contradict me, yes, Kelly, I was that well-behaved. 🙂

    Truly, I never got into anything significant. My sins and weaknesses were doing dumb things – I broke a number of windows and household items from not using my head. But, when it came to mischief, of which I knew better not to do, I walked away. Shoot, when my two younger brothers tried to get me to snoop through the house to find Christmas presents Mom had stashed, I encouraged them not to do it, they did it anyway, and I did not let them tell me what they found.

    I would love to have heard you in sociology class (though I’m not a fan of Monte Python)! I think we would have been fast friends.

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  3. oh dang. not monte python (although it does crack me up) it was the dr. demento show. they would come in each monday and recite parts of it. i would sit and giggling wondering how on earth they could remember all of that. and maybe be sweating worrying that i had forgot to do my homework.

    enjoy this thursday!

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  4. You’ve written your post beautifully. It’s a ridiculous statement regarding trauma causing gender dysphoria. My little girl is just 4.5 years old, she transitioned this year and has NEVER experienced any trauma, unless you count birth!

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    1. Thank you so much for writing, friend. So many thoughts arise from your two sentences. I am so thankful for your daughter, that you have been so helpful and kind and loving, and that I sense things are going well. No, no trauma need be present – save for that pesky birth, as you mention 🙂 – but, if we do not listen to people, and provide compassion, then there will be loads of trauma for us.

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  5. You’re right. As a mother my heart keeps breaking. Not for my own child, because you’re right, things are going well for her, us. But for the adults who have had and have so much pain in their lives. Everybody had their own journey and it seems like gender is a diverse spectrum, no two journeys will be the same but what is the same and what everyone deserves, transgender or otherwise, is compassion. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You did an excellent job of pointing out Mr. Heyer’s incorrect thinking. First, if one looks ti Scripture, one easily learns that one who is dead in sin cannot make any kind of choice, except to continue being dead. It is the Holy Spirit which gives life, and, as the verb says, it’s a gift. Second, Mr. Heyer’s diagnosis is a one-size-fits-all diagnosis. If one has pain in the arm because of a broken arm, does that mean that everyone who has a pain in the arm has a broken arm? If he had only done some research on the numerous causes of gender dysphoria, ….

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  7. I would love to know if he has done any research into gender dysphoria (and theology!). He sure does not talk like one who has. I really liked your thought about causes for a broken arm. On the mark!

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