Walt Heyer, a former transgender man, has been making the rounds sharing that gender reassignment surgeries are more harmful than people realize.
He issued a warning to Caitlyn Jenner — formerly Bruce Jenner — via the Daily Mail this week in a new interview. Jenner transitioned in 2015 at the age of 66.
What are the details?
Heyer, 79, underwent gender reassignment surgery in 1983 when he was just 43 years old. He was married with children at the time.
He lived as a trans woman for eight years, but ended up de-transitioning, returning to his natural-born self.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Heyer said that people considering gender reassignment surgery need counseling and therapy instead of a sex change and pointed to Jenner as a prime example of hindsight being 20/20.
"I'll be interested to see how Caitlyn Jenner feels in eight years' time," he insisted.
"What happened in my childhood had never been dealt with as it should have been with psychotherapy," he admitted. "I thought that my problem was my gender."
Heyer's grandmother reportedly dressed her grandson up in feminine attire, apparently confusing a young and impressionable Heyer. Heyer also previously revealed that his uncle sexually abused him during his formative years. You can read more about Heyer's disturbing upbringing here.
Elsewhere in the interview, Heyer pointed to the case of 7-year-old James Younger, who is living in Texas, and in the middle of a nasty custody dispute involving a mother who reportedly wants to allow him to transition into a female and refers to the child as "Luna."
Younger attended his first day of school last month as his biologically born self: a male. The child's father is accusing his estranged wife of child abuse, and permits the child to live as a little boy when in his custody.
"[James'] father got in touch with me last year when I was in Texas speaking at a conference and I had the opportunity to meet the boy and spend time with him," Heyer said. "He had no idea about being gender dysphoric, but his mother has such a strong influence on him, and she keeps feeding him this idea that he was female. I believe he was fearful about going against his mom.
"When he was evaluated at the gender clinic and asked to pick the name he preferred, James or Luna, he picked James every time," Heyer added. "He only ever picked Luna when his mom was there."
Heyer noted that such a back-and-forth is going to "do more damage to [the child] than anything else."
He explained that the majority of people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery, or considered such drastic measures, were able to "pinpoint the trauma or abuse that lies at the root of it all."
"It's not about wanting to be a different gender," he reasoned. "It's about wanting to be a different person — not wanting to be the boy or the girl who was hurt."
What's his advice?
Heyer said that before choosing such an invasive and life-altering procedure such as gender reassignment surgery, candidates should vet themselves or be vetted with "really good psychotherapy" from a person who isn't "approving them or supporting them, but looking for potential co-morbid disorders" and treat those issues instead.
"If they treat that and the person still wants to transition, that's a whole different ball of wax," he reasoned. "But right now I'm speaking for people who don't have a voice and think they don't have support. Suicide rates in post-operative transgender community are 19 percent. If we can save one person just by applying good, effective presurgical psychotherapy then it's worth it."