Man tells how he underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman, then de-transitioned back
They look for all the world like images of an idyllic childhood. From the beaming little boy in the cowboy costume to the good-looking youth slouched by his Jeep, it's a picture-perfect montage of an all-American boy to an all American man.
But Walt Heyer finds it hard to look at these photographs. Because they are of his childhood and a past and a person he once sought to so thoroughly erase.
In April 1983, after two years of hormone therapy, Walt Heyer underwent gender reassignment surgery and became a woman, Laura Jensen.
In 1991 after eight years of living as a woman Heyer de-transitioned and became a man once more – one permanently altered both by surgery and regret. And according to Heyer he is not alone.
Now in an explosive interview with DailyMail.com, Heyer, 79, has told how he turned from a man convinced that transitioning was the answer; to one evangelical in his view that the notion of Gender Dysphoria as illness and gender re-assignment surgery as cure is, 'one of the most widely perpetrated and most dangerous lies' of our time.
Walt Heyer, 79, underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a woman when he was 42 years old and married with two kids
In April 1983, Heyer underwent gender reassignment surgery. But after eight years living as Laura Jensen, in 1991 he de-transitioned to being a man
Heyer tells DailyMail.com that his grandmother began cross-dressing him when he was four and he was sexually abused by his uncle when he was young (pictured age 10)
According to Heyer, troubled people are being pushed towards transitioning when what they need is therapy to address underlying issues such as childhood abuse, transvestic disorder and a host of other problems.
While those who are just confused are being affirmed by premature diagnosis and unnecessary 'treatment.'
Nowhere, he claims, is this more true or contentious than when it comes to children.
Just last month the case of James Younger, a seven-year-old living from Dallas at the center a custody dispute, made headlines for this reason.
Under his mother's care James lives as a trans girl called Luna. Under his father's he lives as a little boy.
Each parent disputes the other's claim regarding what the child wants and accuses the other of abuse. Last month a judge ruled that they have equal joint conservatorship of James and his twin brother.
For Heyer the case is personal. He revealed, 'His father got in touch with me last year when I was in Texas speaking at a conference and I had the opportunity to meet the boy and spend time with him.'
After doing so Heyer is adamant, 'He had no idea about being gender dysphoric, but his mother has such a strong influence on him, and she keeps feeding him this idea that he was female. I believe he was fearful about going against his mom.
'When he was evaluated at the gender clinic and asked to pick the name he preferred, James or Luna, he picked James every time. He only ever picked Luna when his mom was there.'
He added, 'It's just so unfortunate that this young boy is going through this trauma and, quite frankly, I think abuse that's going to do more damage to him than anything else.'
And Heyer should know, he explained, 'I was about James's age when my grandmother started cross-dressing me.'
Jeff Younger has been battling his ex-wife Dr Anne Georgulas in a Dallas family court as part of their bitter custody fight over whether their child James (pictured) who has gender dysphoria
Jeff Younger, Jame's father, met with Heyer and he had a chance to spend time with James. Jeff has accused his ex-wife of forcing their child to socially transition into a girl by making James wear dresses
Chat with the father of viral transitioning boy
Born and raised in Los Angeles, Heyer recalled, 'I was about four years old when my grandmother made me a purple chiffon dress and would dress me up in it when she looked after me and tell me how cute I looked and affirm me in it.
'I have no idea what her obsession was with dressing me up like that whenever she was baby-sitting me. But she said it was our little secret and not to tell your parents.
'You have to remember this was the 1940s we didn't even have terms like gender dysphoria but what happens is gender confusion and I felt that.'
He said, 'After two and a half years my parents found out and my grandmother was no longer allowed to look after me. My dad started applying heavy discipline in terms of spanking and so forth. I think it was his way of trying to ''man me up.'' I understand that he was confused, he didn't know what to do.'
Heyer says he finds it hard to look at photographs of himself as a young boy because he's reminded of the abuse he endured
Not long after, Heyer's childhood was further disrupted when he was sexually molested by an uncle entrusted with his care.
He told his parents but they didn't believe him, 'They just said, ''Fred would never do such a thing.'' It's a lie.'
Heyer said, 'So now, as a little boy, I know that I can't trust my grandmother. I can't trust my uncle and I can't talk to anybody about any of it.
'And I have these seeds of doubt and confusion from the dress, from being affirmed as a girl and from being abused as a boy.
'Much later on, I came to realize, that when I transitioned I was living out the life that began with that purple dress and that sexual abuse.
'I didn't want to be the boy who was abused.'
According to Heyer, unresolved issues with childhood sexual abuse are a powerful and recurring theme in those who experience sex change regret.
He explained, 'Every single person of the thousands I have spoken with over the years can pinpoint the trauma or the abuse that lies at the root of it all.
'It's not about wanting to be a different gender. It's about wanting to be a different person – not wanting to be the boy or the girl who was hurt.'
In retrospect Heyer said he did just that, 'In my early teens I secretly took the name Chrystal West. I only discussed this with my girlfriend, Joy.
'She was devastated by the news. That was 1957 and I was 15 or 16.'
Around that time, the story of Christine Jorgensen broke – a marine who had changed genders.
Heyer said, 'It was the first time I had ever heard anyone talk about changing genders.'
He saw the news and the idea was added into the mix of secrets and trauma he already harbored.
Photographs of Heyer in his late teens and early twenties show him proudly standing next to his 1934 Ford or working in an auto shop. He was, he smiles, 'very manly.'
He said, 'You need to remember transitioning didn't even begin until probably the 80s.