Saturday, October 31, 2020

How Thrilling - Walt Heyer's Paperback is For Sale at AFA

You can save the 15 bucks. Chances are pretty good that you've heard it all before.
Walt Heyer
Walt Heyer's book meets the definition of pulp fiction. In spite of Heyer's self-righteousness, he has been known to fib from time to time.

In case you are unfamiliar with the name, Walt Heyer is a noisy ex-trans person who found Jesus. These days Heyer is trying to convince people that no one should ever transition. That is how Heyer makes a living. That is also a defense of his conservative Christian faith.

Heyer had surgery about 40 years ago. Heyer has no training in medicine or counseling. His statements demonstrate that he knows nothing about gender dysphoria.

It is certainly possible that Walt Heyer was misdiagnosed. However, the diagnostic protocol has changed dramatically over the last four decades. The process is much more objective.

Heyer wants us to believe that there are many people who regret having transitioned. That is at odds with minuscule desistance rates.

Those few people who do desist usually do so because of family pressure. Desisters still have gender dysphoria and are likely to be in distress because they have denied themselves the only effective intervention available to them.

Heyer claims (see below) that we have some sinister reason to prevent people from detransitioning. That is a lie. We would like to educate people by making them aware of the established medical science. Many transgender people needlessly suffer from Minority Stress.
Sybil?
Heyer claims that what he really had was dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder. Perhaps he has an “alter” who believes he (or she) is a psychologist. M. Night Shyamalan (Split) fans might have other ideas.
Suppose that Walt Heyer is correct. Suppose, for the moment, that he really had or has DID (although I doubt that he has been professionally diagnosed). How would that relate, in any way, to an individual with gender incongruence? Is “Dr.” Heyer claiming that many transgender people have DID?
Walt Heyer
The point is that someone who had surgery in middle age about 40 years ago is not representative of many people today. Heyer's alternative is “Jesus Saves™.” Heyer is wholly unqualified to offer what amounts to medical advice. Heyer is more toxic than an adviser. He promotes his religious agenda.

I have not read Heyer's book. I have no intention of reading Heyer's book. However, Heyer has left a considerable trail of noxious bullshit.

At the outset, Heyer has turned the adjective transgender into a noun. Religious conservatives do that to avoid the phrase “transgender person.” Referring to a transgender person as “a transgender” is to define them by their sexuality.

Historically, we gay people have played along. We have allowed people to refer to us as gays or homosexuals. We never insisted that the proper form is gay person.

It comes as no surprise that Walt Heyer's book is being sold by a Christian pressure group. According to American Family Association, an anti-LGBTQ hate group selling Heyer's tome:
A Transgender’s Faith tells the remarkable true story of Walt Heyer, a man plagued since childhood with thoughts and feelings that he should have been a girl. The torment intensifies as he grows up, marries and starts a family, and builds an amazing career. Desperate, he secretly seeks out a radical treatment that promises relief, but also could risk the destruction of all he holds dear.
Children with acute gender dysphoria generally do not think that they “should have been” the opposite sex. They are quite certain that they are the opposite sex.
A Transgender’s Faith courageously challenges political correctness and the gender change activists who say “Transgenders are born that way” by daring to share the powerful testimony of one man’s faith and restoration to his birth gender.
There is no such thing as a “gender change activist.” If people could change their gender there would be no transgender persons. Activism for transgender people takes the form of advocacy for accommodations, nondiscrimination laws and tolerance.

Activists are also trying to educate the general public on why people are transgender and the current state of medical science (which also means unplugging people from crackpots and religious wingnuts like Walt Heyer).

Heyer has previously written:
The only reason I am able to speak to you today is because after 46 years dealing with this issue, I was able to de-transition in 1990 after I had psychotherapy, the very same psychotherapy [transgender activists] are trying to prevent people from having. Why? Because they don't want them to de-transition.
According to the science, talk therapy is futile and leads to a lifetime of adverse mental health consequences. Furthermore, Heyer is being dishonest. No one has a vested interest in preventing people from desisting. In contrast, the religious right has an enormous interest in promoting de-transitioning.

Ultra-conservative Christians are biblical literalists. They firmly believe that the Bible is the literal and inerrant word of their deity. The existence of transgender people creates several contradictions with scripture. The most important of these is probably Genesis 1:27:
So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Deuteronomy 22:5 is sometimes cited as well:
A woman shall not wear a man's garment, nor shall a man put on a woman's cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.
Even the literalists are selectively observant. Consider Leviticus 19:19:
You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.
The polyester blend seems to be a Bible Belt staple. But I digress.

At the end of the day, Walt Heyer is a religious crank who likes all of the attention that he receives from the religious right. Heyer is not an authority on gender dysphoria. Heyer desisted over 30 years ago which means that he has no way of understanding the lives of transgender people today.

Through earlier (and incremental) transitioning trans youth are less likely to be neurotic adults. They are unlikely to become future Walt Heyers.

The religious right would have people falsely believe that LGBTQ people are a danger to children. Walt Heyer poses a real peril. If he can convince a parent to disregard the best available medical science (which is what he attempts to do) then he will ruin lives and possibly kill kids.

I speak with parents from time to time. My answer to many questions is: “Find qualified practitioners who have experience treating juvenile gender dysphoria and who you trust. If you have any doubts, get second opinions.” Unlike Walt Heyer I would never presume to be qualified to offer medical advice.

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