Not all transgender people choose to undergo sex reassignment surgeries, which are performed on the genitalia and require extensive preparation and evaluation. When diagnosed with severe gender dysphoria, described as the feeling the body does not align with the person's true gender, they will be referred to gender reassignment surgeries. However, sometimes they regret it and "detransition."
"We need to have effective and skilled psychotherapists look into why the individual wants to abandon their birth gender to become someone else," urges Walt Heyer, a former transgender who came to deeply regret his transition to a woman, which included surgery on the genitalia. After living as Laura for almost a decade, with a drinking problem and realising his inner issues were still there, he took the path of "detransition" into manhood again (although the full reversion of his genitalia was not possible). Now, at 74-years-old, he's warning about what he considers to be the wrong approach to gender dysphoria.
Heyer has come to be known as an anti-LGBT activist and his statements on Caitlyn Jenner and the transgender issue have been denounced as biased and not representative of the majority of the community. The consensus in studies is that less than 4% of those who transition come to regret it. Heyer's comments are part of the discussion, opposite the ones who defend acceptance and surgical transition when that's the person's desire.
"Jenner will encourage others. My concern is that others see the glitz and glamour and will transition for all the wrong reasons, that is, to get attention," he tells Blasting News. He has authored several books on the subject and shares similar stories on his website, sexchangeregret.com. This issue has been documented in more than one instance; there's a 2010 Swedish documentary called "Regretters" and high profile cases, like the 2004 "detransition" of Australian resident Alan Finch, who sued the Monash Medical Center for "misdiagnosing" him at 19.
"It's genital mutilation. My 'vagina' was just the bag of my scrotum," he told The Guardian that same year. Research by University of Birmingham also surfaced, pointing that no evidence was found that sex change operations would improve the lives of transgender people or proved to be clinically effective. The transgender community has, however, pointed that the study has been misrepresented.
On Mr. Heyer's website, a few recent stories have been shared, such as that of Chelsea, who last year decided to reverse back to manhood after seven years, or of Ria Cooper, touted the youngest British sex change patient at 17. Less than a year later, Ria decided to halt the treatments. Why? Living as a woman made life "miserable."