Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Distort Things Much?

Over at his blog (where he has conveniently turned off comments), we find Walt Heyer madly scribing away, and getting it horribly wrong.

He refers to three cases of what he supposes are gender transition regret:

1) Like the physician who wrote me. He became a “trans woman.” Yes, a physician! Even after following all the standards of care, he found regret and detransitioned back to his male birth gender. This physician looks back and now says, “If I could only go back to the day before my surgery in March of 2005--I would run from that surgeon’s knife.” Sadly, the approval process for surgery does nothing to reduce such stories.
2) Like the ABC news guy who wanted everyone to accept him as a transgender woman. Don Ennis, an ABC News editor, suffered a gender identity crisis, switched his gender twice in a three-month period, and posted a workplace memo attributing his actions to amnesia. Don became Dawn. Amnesia or multiple personality disorder? Anyway this is like many of the regret letters I get from guys who were completely convinced they were women trapped in a men’s bodies only to discover later they had some psychological problems.
3) Like the NFL cheerleader, Texas native Philip Porter, who made the decision to transition back to his male birth gender after a whopping 32 years living as a transgender woman.
“I was born male, and always felt more female than male as a child growing up, to the point of before I could talk, [I thought] ‘I should be over there with the girls in dresses. After 34 years on female hormones, Philip started having discomfort with “hot flashes” so he discontinued using them. “I just said ‘Ok, I’ll stop taking these for awhile but it’s not going to change back after 34 years of taking them.’”
“And after that, it just started happening,” he continued. “After about 6 months to 9 months being off of them, ‘you know, you never gave yourself a chance to sort of live as a male. What would that be like?’ And it kind of was something in my mind that started as just a little thought that kind of like snowballed. And you know, I mean that’s just kind of how it happened.
It was just that simple, even after 32 years. So what is a “real” transgender? Is 32 years not long enough? 
His first case, I am somewhat suspicious of.  Heyer keeps on referencing this person, but they appear to have no public profile whatsoever.  The story cannot be verified independently, and given Mr. Heyer's propensity in the past for fabrication, and distortion, I am deeply suspicious of its veracity as presented on Heyer's blog.

The second case Mr. Heyer refers to actually shows us a case of the WPATH SOC working in the manner described.  The story of Don Ennis has been fairly widely publicized.  Exactly what motivated him to step back from transition is unclear to me.  In any case, he attempted transition and stepped away from it after a fairly brief time period.  This is not particularly unusual, nor does it represent any kind of failure of the treatment protocol itself.

As for Philip Porter, his story is unusual.  I am not at all sure that his choice to detransition after 30 years tells us anything other than people can, and do change.  Nothing in his story speaks of "regretting" his transition or time as a woman, so it seems more than a little specious to claim that as some kind of proof that the SOC as a treatment protocol is a failure.

Detransitions are now becoming BIG BUSINESS. The Sava Perovic Foundation website reports that worldwide more than 1,500 persons who got sex change surgery later decided they had made a mistake.
According to a doctor I know, Dr. Sava Perovic was the greatest urogenital surgeon of our time treating probably every anomaly of the reproductive organs and the urinary system that you can think of. Dr. Perovic was also responsible for teaching SRS to surgeons in Thailand. His foundation is now offering reversal surgery for regretters. 
Mr. Heyer needs to do a much more careful reading of the Sava Perovic Foundation's website.  Yes, it does mention GRS reversal procedures - but it is also abundantly clear that those surgeries are provided based on the same kind of psychological assessment that the WPATH SOC requires in the first place.  In short, the WPATH SOC exists for a reason, and their surgeons won't provide surgery for someone seeking GRS (or reversal of GRS) without appropriate psychological assessments.  I think it is important (if not vital) to note that the Sava Perovic Foundation also provides GRS services - and is rightly quite insistent that the WPATH SOC be followed.

There are only a limited number of ways that the WPATH SOC will fail to protect a patient - and most of them are the direct result of the patient attempting to "game" the system instead of being brutally honest with themselves.  I would be willing to bet that the vast majority of those "inappropriate" GRS procedures are the direct result of the patient managing to lie their way through the evaluation process.  As I have noted before, Mr. Heyer admits in his own autobiography that he lied routinely in his pursuit of GRS.  A reality that calls into question the accusations he makes of the treatment community.

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