I was transgender: I have no regrets

On February 11, 2019, USA Today published Walt Heyer’s essay, “Hormones, surgery, regret: I was a transgender woman for 8 years—time I can’t get back.” Read it here:
https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2019/02/11/transgender-debate-transitioning-sex-gender-column/1894076002/?fb_action_ids=10156189577938494&fb_action_types=og.comments&fbclid=IwAR06NJxBcezkH4EbV2UDy1mkP7uRN6Zr-dR4aXkqDuBb0H1aSq7kXLEY994

I found Heyer’s take on gender dysphoria—the condition with which one is diagnosed before transitioning—overly simplistic. The result is that it does not shed light and provide the help I am sure he intends. Instead, it does harm. Thus, my rebuttal, which I submitted on February 19.

Hoping to have USA Today publish my essay, I could not directly refer to Heyer. I did not hear from them within seventy-two hours, indicating they are not interested in my piece, which means I can now post it.

Here are the areas in which I take exception with Heyer:

  • He regrets the eight years he lived as a trans woman. I speak to that in my paragraph two.
  • He finds all gender identity issues to be psychological. See my paragraph three.
  • He asserts that genetics are immutable. See my paragraph four and onward.
  • He claims many trans persons regret their transitions. See my paragraph twelve.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was transgender: I have no regrets

From 2015 to 2018, I lived as a transgender woman. In 2017, I had sex reassignment/gender confirmation surgery. I have since resumed living as a male.

It is common for those who have detransitioned to speak of regretting they had been transgender and underwent surgery. While I certainly wish I could have avoided the crushing gender dysphoria which led to my transition and surgeries, everything I learned, the people I met, and the experiences I otherwise could not have had, leave me grateful for what happened and where I now am. I have no regrets.

Hoping my gender identity crisis was psychological, as I sought to think my way out of suffering during the first months of talk therapy I found a physical reason for my gender conflict and, ultimately, why it resolved. Intense study led me to learn that one’s suffering incongruity between his body/sex and mind/gender is complex and far from understood.

Opponents of transitioning claim genetics can’t be changed and one’s sex is immutable. But, wait. There are women who have XY male chromosomes, and men who have XX female ones. Outwardly, they appear to be the females and males they were identified at birth, but it’s not that simple. They have an intersex condition. There also are intersex conditions which reside in the genitals and hormones, such as androgen insensitivity syndrome.

As for one’s sex being immutable, the word means “unchanging.” but if the person is born with attributes which do not line up with either male or female, the person will experience the consequences. Sometimes, they suffer conflict. This conflict can erupt into dysphoria, which means they have ill feelings about their sex and gender not matching.

Not all people with an intersex condition have an incongruity of body and identity. However, when a person does the suffering is real. It is not simply “in their head.” It is physical. And it often is successfully treated by their transitioning and identifying as transgender.

The causes of gender conflict remain mysterious. Some locate a psychological reason. I believe mine came from my endocrine system having been disrupted when I was in the womb, that my mom was given diethylstilbestrol (DES)—an artificial estrogen—to keep her from miscarrying me. DES has been found to be harmful to fetuses and is no longer prescribed to pregnant women.

Before transitioning, my testosterone and estrogen levels were typical of a man my age. But they didn’t work for me. As I took cross-sex hormones and my levels changed, I experienced great fluctuation in how I experienced myself. At times, I felt totally male. When my hormone levels shifted, my dysphoria returned. After gender confirmation surgery, I stopped producing large amounts of testosterone. Within months, I found myself feeling completely male. That sense has remained stable.

My hormone levels now reflect those of a genetic women my age, yet I feel like a man. I have learned of other men who take cross-sex hormones in order to realign their levels, striving to feel good as males. One man is in his third year. Having shifted his hormones without surgery, he’s found contentment being a male.

While there is yet no definitive proof that a disrupted endocrine system might be the cause of gender dysphoria, there are many maladies caused by altered hormones and we know their causes can be pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and plasticizers. Thus, when a three year old child, who is not yet old enough to have logical understanding of sex and gender, is able to persist, insist, and consistently proclaim that he or she is not the boy or girl as identified at birth, we are wise to dig deeply for a physical reason. A disrupted endocrine system could be the culprit.

As with uncovering psychological causes of gender dysphoria, discussing possible physical reasons indicates there is a malady. Many trans persons insist there is nothing wrong with them. They are fine being transgender. Thus, it is important to be respectful of all people in this delicate matter.

One reads arguments against transitioning, that there are large numbers of trans folks who regret it. Large numbers do not necessarily mean a majority, or even a significant minority. One can find many whose transition has provided them the wholeness of being they sought. I’ve gotten to know some of them. They report enjoying healthy lives as transgender persons.

Sex and gender, chromosomes and hormones, and every human is a complex being of mind, body, and spirit. Let us especially address with respect and patience the confounding condition which is gender dysphoria.

Greg Eilers is a former Lutheran minister, who writes at gregeilers.com. He recently published his memoir, “A Roller Coaster Through a Hurricane—One Wile Ride: My Journey with Gender Identity.”

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Links to back up all factual information in my essay:

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/swyer-syndrome

https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=25059

https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/androgen-insensitivity-syndrome

https://www.cdc.gov/des/consumers/about/history.html

https://eilerspizza.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/using-hrt-to-remain-male/

https://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/agents/endocrine/index.cfm)

10 thoughts on “I was transgender: I have no regrets

  1. Things we must remember is that Walt was never transgender to begin with and never experienced the tense gender dysphoria the way we did. He knew he had to lie his way through the system to achieve what he wanted. When it failed him, he then chose to lay blame at others instead of taking full responsibility for his actions. The question i ask, how much money is Walt making today by spreading his propaganda?

    Being Transgender is a medical issue and not a mental issue or an act of the devil. Nobody chooses to be transgender or want it, but when it creeps up on you, you know you have to face it like any other medical conditions in life. There is no magic pill to take to cure it, but if there was most transgender people would take it in a heart beat to remain in their cis gender. The only medical course we have available today is a medical transition with a combination of hormones and surgery to relive our gender dysphoria. Over the course of years, i have watched Greg really struggle with these same issues. He fought these issues tooth and nail and took every step like a trooper. He spent many hours doing research and was very open about his transition to help others by educating them. Greg is a strong and better human being because of this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good, important stuff, Sara, and always very kind toward me. Thank you.

      As for Walt, sadly there are so many Christians who want to heard what he has to say – they prefer his take on all of this – and so he has their ear. For USA Today to publish his stuff troubles me terribly.

      You said it: if there was a magic pill to cure gender dysphoria, we would take it in a heartbeat.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for your response to Mr. Heyer’s article. I hear his name mentioned often in conservative Christian circles, as if he is an authoritative source for understanding the transgender phenomenon. It distresses me that this one person is given so much visibility and credence by conservative commentators. I’m acquainted with a number of transgender people. I don’t know of a single one of them who “wants” to be transgender. They simply know that they “are”. Some are interested in the cause of being transgender. Most are not. As Sara19719 commented, if there were a magic pill to “cure” being transgender, “most transgender people would take it in a heart beat to remain in their cis gender”. I am hopeful that Greg Eilers’ experience will be beneficial to other transgender people, so that marriages, families and individuals are not thrown into turmoil because a person determines the only course open to them is to transition to living as the opposite gender.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for this, Colleen. Sadly, Walt Heyer has a message that conservative Christians want to hear, and so he has their ear. If they only realized how simplistic (and sometimes wrong) he is about all of this.

      You and Sara19719 and I and many more will continue to fight the good fight of educating wherever and whenever we can!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you for this! I’ve read articles on both sides of the spectrum about being transgendered and I see way too many Christians asserting “there is no such thing as transgendered”. I’m grateful for the enlightenment as I find myself trying to open the eyes of these ones. God wants us to love and respect all people (Matthew 22:37-39) and it amazes me how many Christians overlook this simple and basic principle. I know I do not fully understand the transgendered world, but love and respect is deserved by all so I strive to be understanding and respectful. This well written post helps me on my journey. Thank you.

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    1. Hi, heatherjo86~

      Thank you for writing. I’m so glad you found this on my blog.

      And, even more, thank you for your great attitude about these matters. You noted a vital thing, that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Yet, sadly, very quickly and easily can many Christians drop this commandment when they are confronted with people and situations that turn them off.

      I thank the Lord for you and your for striving to be understanding and respectful!

      Peace,
      Greg

      Like

      1. Thank you. I still have a lot to learn but Colossians 3:14 says, “clothe yourselves with love, for it is a perfect bond of union.” I figure if I start there I’ll be on the right tract.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello again, Greg,

    I was shocked to learn of your detransitioning. I’m glad things are turning out well for you.

    As a person always interested in the truth and in not kidding myself, your experience naturally made me question my own. That’s not a place I like to be. My dysphoria was always sublimated; it manifested in self-hatred, which I always interpreted as low self-esteem and attributed to other causes, until one day a few months after coming out to myself I was astonished to find it had simply vanished.

    Coming out to myself occurred through gender euphoria, and discovering that I am female is one of the greatest experiences of my 60+ years. I finally know joy. So, the idea that my self-conception could be the result of endocrine issues that could be “fixed” is nothing short of alarming. In fact, “alarming” is too soft a word. The notion is crisis-inducing.

    In my own life, I think I know how this is going to play out. I can no longer imagine being male. It’s simply not an option. I refuse. I don’t question your experience, and I’m happy you have found peace. I know you and I have always regarded this phenomenon differently – that you have always regarded yourself as fundamentally a male with issues rather than a female with issues – and your current therapy enables your live successfully according to your vision. That’s good. From my perspective, I wonder if hormone therapy isn’t simply a palliative, putting the girl inside to sleep, as it were. If your joy in “feeling male” is as great as mine is “feeling female,” then this is not the case and your current therapy is exactly what you need.

    For myself, if what is true for you is true for me, I hope I never learn it. I’m not the kind of person who can deny truth, however, and learning that that was the case would be the greatest crisis of my life. I don’t know that I could bear it. I’ve never been suicidal, but that – that might be able to do it. Learning I was male would be agony on a scale completely new to me. It would be hell.

    I refuse to hide, however. I’ll keep up with the research, no matter where it leads. Nonetheless, I intend to continue living as I do until I die. I just can’t go back. I just can’t.

    Ann

    Like

    1. Yes, hello again, Ann~

      I didn’t think I could go back again. It was jarring. Now that I’ve settled in, it’s great. And it’s all been so crazy!

      I hope you enjoy peace and wellness the rest of your life. I wish you all the best!

      Peace,
      Greg

      Like

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