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Understanding the transsexual journey

By Walt Heyer - posted Friday, 2 December 2011

Transsexuals commit suicide nearly 10 times more than the general population. They struggle psychologically and emotionally with strong feelings and feel driven to change their appearance through extensive plastic surgery. They undergo months, even years, of hormone treatments and as the ultimate endpoint, they surgically rearrange their genitalia. Today some women you see about town are actually men and some who look like men are actually women. They are commonly referred to as gender variant, transsexual or transgender but they are all surgically simulated to look like genders they want to be. This is not the same as intersex, born with both male and female genitalia. This physical condition is not related in any way to transsexualism.

The media calls the transsexual surgical procedure “sex change surgery,” but the term is misleading because it is impossible to change anyone’s birth gender with cosmetic surgery and hormones. On paper, though, the change can be made with ease and in fact, that’s the only place where sex change occurs, on birth certificates and driver’s licenses.

Unfortunately, many regret the gender change years after the surgery, but you would never learn that from the media. For years they have bombarded us with stories, infomercials really, that glamorise gender switching, while neglecting to report the high suicide attempt rate, suicide completion rates and high overall mortality that has occurred as a direct result of gender surgery.


Their cover is now blown. There is tremendous pressure within America and other Western nations to give those in the LGBT community not only acceptance but elevated status and entitlement. The elevation of the same sex marriage issue to such prominence, in both media and politics, is perhaps the clearest current example of this. This elevated status does not help those struggling with their gender or sexuality at all, but rather it increases the problem and actually helps perpetuate gender and sexuality confusion in modern society.

A survey of more than 7,000 transgender people released in October, 2010, found that “41 per cent suicide rate among transgender people is more than 25 times the rate of the general population, which is 1.6 percent. And among trans people ages 18-44, the suicide attempt rate was 45 per cent.

A website whose mission is to “lower the horrendous suicide rate and provide online support for all Transgendered persons and their families” makes the following mortality estimate based on crisis calls over a five-year period: “Based on conversations with 9 million users and over 2 million emails I’d estimate the total Transgender mortality rate at between 60 per cent to 70 per cent and I’m being conservative.”

The same site speaks to the difficulty in estimating transgender mortality: “Transgender mortality rates are difficult to estimate because families often don’t report that there (sic) dead son or daughter was transgender. In addition deaths due to illegal hormone use and its complications aren’t reported because they don’t seek a doctor’s help. Common problems are strokes, heart attacks, silicone injections and deep vein thrombosis. There are also thousands of cases of unreported violence leading to death.”

A different transgender support site talks about transgender suicide: “The National suicide rate is 3 per 100,000 People. The Transgender Transsexual suicide rate is 31 per cent of our group. Over 50 per cent of Transsexuals will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday. Even more self harm themselves daily either by cutting or self mutilation.”Between 90-95 per cent of people who attempt suicide are suffering from some sort of mood disorder or substance use disorder.

The gender change activists would argue the suicides are a direct result of bullying, a popular scapegoat these days. The advocates also say the lack of transgender acceptance and the difficulty of being gender variant in a society of heterosexuals lead to suicides, but as the last transgender support site disclosed, transgenders harm themselves either by cutting or self-mutilation, which points to deep unresolved psychological issues.


When I first became aware of the suicide rate, I wanted to know why, especially since gender change is portrayed as being the best treatment for this population. What was found was troubling, shocking and very alarming. Estimates of transgender suicides attempts vary widely, from 20 to 50 per cent, depending on the study group and geographic location of the study. Australian government sources do not track transgender statistics. But no matter where in the range it falls, the high death rate should alarm us all and be the positive proof that switching of genders is neither safe nor effective as a treatment for gender disorders or depression.

It’s easy to point out that DNA tells the true story of male or female. In a court of law, you can convict a man of rape and murder just on the strength of a DNA test alone. But a DNA test is never permitted to determine male or female sex gender for transsexuals in court. Why is this? Because a DNA test would prove with absolute certainty the transgender hormone therapy and surgery had failed to change a male to a female, or a female to a male. Transgender activists know using DNA would expose the fraud and damage the social acceptability of changing genders. Therefore, they have successfully prevented DNA from being used as the criteria to identify gender in the courts.

In writing Paper Genders, I was not sure what I would discover. Most of all, I wanted to let the actual objective research studies tell the story. I wanted to learn if the regret I experienced during the first 55 years of my life was an isolated case or the norm. What I found was even more shocking than I had ever thought: the percentages of regret and suicide are quite high even though the advocates make it sound like these rarely happen.

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Article edited by Jo Coghlan.
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About the Author

Walt Heyer is the author of Paper Genders, and expert on gender confusion. He is visiting Australia to launch his book Paper Genders.

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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