Is it good, kind and loving to encourage a person to live, not as who he really is, but as he feels he should be? In this "politically correct" world are we to be blind to the negatives?

Consider the story of a white-haired transgender man who appeared on "Joni Table Talk" (Daystar TV): Walt Heyer's grandmother babysat for him between the ages of 4 to 6. She dressed him in dresses and told him "Let this be our little secret." In later years he secretly dressed in women's clothes. He said it gave him the same feeling of affirmation that he got from his grandmother. At about the age of 5 his uncle began to sexually abuse him. This continued for about two years before he told his mother. Her reaction was, "I don't believe he would do that." The uncle moved away.

In high school Walt played football and other sports. He graduated from high school and from college. He was married and had a daughter and a son. He was successful in the aerospace industry. All this time he still had unresolved feelings from his past. He went to see a psychologist who was well known for treating transgender people. That man encouraged him to begin hormone treatments and to consider transgender surgery.

Walt told his wife about his inner conflicts. After struggling over it, she asked for a divorce. Walt had the hormone treatments and very expensive transgender surgery. He was fired from his job. He lived as Laura for five years.

Very gradually, Walt realized he had made a mistake. He determined that he should be living as the man he was born to be. No amount of hormone treatments or surgery can change a person's DNA. The surgery causes a person to become gender neutral, unable to have a normal marital relationship. About 40 percent of transgender people have attempted suicide. Walt now believes this surgery is a form of genital mutilation. He had needed psychological help, not a gender change.

It has been 35 years since Walt transitioned back to living as a man. He fell in love with a woman who accepted him as he is. They have been married for 20 years.

Virginia VanOstrand

Auburn

Jeremy Boyer can be reached at (315) 282-2231 or jeremy.boyer@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenBoyer

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