‘Trading My Sorrows’ — A Story of Healing from Transgenderism

Three pictures of Walt Heyer at various points in his life.

NOTE: This article deals with sensitive and difficult issues and contains content for mature readers.

Married for 19 years, successful in business, and the father of two children, Walt Heyer's life looked like a success. Since childhood, however, he had struggled with the desire to dress in women's clothes and to be a woman. This obsession was becoming stronger.

After a divorce, and a short visit with a psychologist to refer him for surgery, Walt endured a number of procedures: electrolysis; breast and buttocks implants; a nose job; facial surgeries; skin peels; hormones; and, finally, "sexual reassignment surgery."

Walt tells his story in the book, Trading My Sorrows, where he says that even after spending time and money on "becoming a woman," he was abusing alcohol and drugs, wrestling with depression and thoughts of suicide, and confused about who he was. He writes,

"My bad choices had destroyed my identity, my family and my career. The surgeon's knife and resulting amputation had not changed me from a man into a woman. I now knew that. …

"It was becoming very clear that the surgery they call sex change or gender reassignment is not a sex or gender change at all, but a means to living out a masquerade through the destruction of perfectly good sexual organs."

But God was at work in Walt's life, and he began a long, painful road — not without relapses and failure — toward healing. Through support from friends at Alcoholics Anonymous, pastors, counselors, neighbors and church members, he found grace and acceptance. Most importantly, his relationship with God began to bring forgiveness, integration, truth and healing into his life. He was able to face the depths of childhood abuse, self-hatred, shame, and his own sinful choices.

Today, Walt is a man who reaches out to men and women struggling with transgender issues and to men and women who deeply regret their "sexual reassignment surgery," which is fairly common.

It's not an easy road, but there are those who leave transgenderism behind.

"A key element to healing is working through the delusion that changing genders is possible," he says. "It gets much easier to recover when you acknowledge that surgery cannot perform a gender change, nothing can. You are as God made you to be. Live it, love it and celebrate it."

For more information about Walt Heyer, visit his website, https://sites.google.com/site/tradingmysorrowsbook/. Walt’s book, Trading My Sorrows, has been updated and republished as A Transgender’s Faith; it is available at the Focus on the Family Store.

NOTE: Referral to websites not produced by Focus on the Family is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of the sites' content.

This article originally appeared as a sidebar feature in "Blurring the Lines," April 2012 issue of Citizen magazine.

Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.