By Emily Zinos, Grassroots Coordinator for Ask Me First MN
More and more often, I’m hearing stories of children and young adults wrestling with their sexual identity. Moms reach out to tell me that their teen daughter wants to be addressed with gender neutral pronouns, fathers want to know why three of his daughter’s friends have announced they’re transgender, and grandmothers tell me of grandsons that have been enrolled in school as girls. With the trans trend becoming widespread, it’s more and more likely that you will either encounter someone struggling to accept their sex or have to answer hard questions on the subject from your kids. Are you ready for those challenges?
As a man who lived as a transgender woman for nearly a decade, Walt Heyer can help answer those challenging questions with the sort of perspective only personal struggle can grant. Walt knows all too well that gender confusion is often a symptom of much deeper troubles. His own gender dysphoria was first prompted by his grandmother, who sewed a dress for him to wear in secret when he visited her house. Walt confessed in an article that, “My grandmother withheld affirmations of me as a boy, but she lavished delighted praise upon me when I was dressed as a girl. Her actions planted the idea in me that I was born in the wrong body. She nourished and encouraged the idea, and over time it took on a life of its own.”
When Walt was in his thirties, he was cross-dressing in public, drinking and abusing drugs, which prompted his wife to file for divorce. Looking for a cure, Walt decided to seek out help from a prominent gender psychologist. The psychologist diagnosed Walt with gender dysphoria and recommended sex change surgery, but ignored the impact childhood abuse and alcoholism had inflicted on Walt’s mental health. Surgery turned out to be a devastating “treatment” suggestion. Walt later recalled that “the reprieve provided by surgery and life as a woman was only temporary. Hidden deep underneath the make-up and female clothing was the little boy carrying the hurts from traumatic childhood events, and he was making himself known. Being a female turned out to be only a cover-up, not healing.”
It was Christ who finally brought healing to Walt. Still living as a woman, he had difficulty finding a church that would accept him and was once even asked to leave by a pastor who discovered that he was transgender. He eventually found a church that welcomed him, identity struggles and all. The pastor of that church told him, "Our job is to love you and it's God's job to transform you." And transformation did happen: Walt began his journey back to wholeness as a man created by God. Today, Walt devotes his time to speaking and writing, and is especially passionate about stopping what he calls “the madness of gender change for kids.”
Walt is bringing his message of hope and healing to the Twin Cities on November 4th, as the keynote speaker at the daylong "Gender Matters!" event, hosted by Outpost Ministries and Minnesota Family Council.
With sessions throughout the day that will bring clarity to the transgender issue through Biblical truth, legal realities, and Walt’s moving story, you’ll be well-prepared to shine a light in the darkness. Too many young people today are being led down the same path that Walt stumbled along, a path that rushes the vulnerable into confusion and irreversible medical procedures. Register now for "Gender Matters!" here and gather the tools you’ll need to witness to the truth of God’s creation and to show compassion toward those who struggle with gender identity issues.
As Walt says, “Let’s affirm and love our young people just the way they are.”