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Weekly Salvo

January 11, 2016

Is Transgender the New Gay?

Coming out" as gay these days is no big deal.  Any shame around the issue is attached to those who dare to call homosexuality disordered, or the behavior immoral on religious grounds, or to point out the health risks.  Those who object to gay marriage are labeled homophobic.

And now comes transgenderism.  Bruce Jenner's transition to a transgender woman, Caitlyn, is covered by the media in glowing terms of praise and courage.  And just as books like "Heather Has Two Mommies" and "King and King" introduced children to the subject of homosexuality, transgenderism has its own.  "I Am Jazz" and "George" have been touted on talk shows and sent to schools.  Movies like "Brokeback Mountain" and "Milk" offered sympathetic stories about gay men.  "The Danish Girl," just nominated for three Golden Globe awards, tells the story of a man becoming a transgender women.

But what if we could hear about transgenderism from someone who had experienced it over a lifetime, and who now had a kind of bird's eye view of it?  Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker, and former transgender woman, who now devotes his life to doing just that.  Inspired by the character Einer/Lilli in "The Danish Girl," Heyer writes about his experience at 

"Like Einar, I married a woman and lived as a man.  Like Einar, I cross-dressed in secret and eventually began going out in public dressed as a woman.  I, too, felt energized by the experience.  After some time, my desire to be a woman grew stronger, and I felt I had no choice but to transition to 'Laura' (the name of my female personal) in order 'to be who I am.'  Like Lilli, I wanted to kill my male identity so that Laura could live.  That is why I underwent a full surgical transformation." 

But there is no happy ending here.  Heyer continues:

Over time, I discovered that life as a woman could not give me peace . . . Whatever caused me to want to change my gender identity had not been solved by sex-reassignment surgery or by living as a woman.

Heyer writes that transgender people need psychiatric care, that many suffer from comorbid psychological or psychiatric disorders.  And he firmly believes that in almost all cases, those disorders could be resolved without surgical intervention.

You can read Heyer's piece here.

For more about Walt Heyer, we recommend Terrell Clemmon's piece in the current issues of Salvo, "Failed Operations: Medical Malpractice in an Age of Gender Denial Disorder."

More from Salvo:

Hooked on a Feeling
Is Gender Just a State of Mind?
by Regis Nicoll

Gender Benders
Is My Sexual Identity an Accident Just Waiting to Happen?
by Robin Phillips

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