The importance of regret to the good news of the gospel is exemplified within the trans community. Our acceptance and celebration of gender confusion within society has resulted in children becoming increasingly confused, leading many to embrace a lifestyle that is harmful to their health and well-being. Over the past decade, the United Kingdom has experienced a 4,415 percent increase in girls identifying as transgender. Likewise, gender clinics in the United States exploded from 0 to 60 between the years 2007 and 2016.
The controversial nature of the subject has limited the available data. Just last year, Brown University tried to repress the first major study looking into rapid onset gender dysphoria as a social contagion that seems to especially affect teenage girls. Likewise, serious investigations into the long-term effects of gender therapy are negligible. Nevertheless, the state of Oregon provides state-funded sex-change surgeries for children as young as 15 years of age; girls as young as 13 are getting double mastectomies, and children as young as three are receiving gender therapy.
Hormone therapy and sex-reassignment surgery have become default “solutions” for far too many confused children despite the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition’s conclusion that “as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.” Similarly, the Endocrine Society’s clinical guidelines reports, “In most children with GID [gender identity disorder], the GID does not persist into adolescence. … The large majority (75–80%) of prepubertal children with a diagnosis of GID in childhood do not turn out to be transsexual in adolescence.”
Not surprisingly, this is giving rise to a burgeoning group of trans people who regret their gender-reassignment surgeries and are seeking to return to their original sex. According to Charlie Evans, founder of the Detransition Advocacy Network, the hundreds of people contacting her for help “tend to be around their mid-20s,” and they are mostly female. Unfortunately, the testimony of Cari Stella is far too common: “I am a real, live 22-year-old woman, with a scarred chest and a broken voice, and five o’clock shadow because I couldn’t face the idea of growing up to be a woman, that’s my reality.”
However, this regret is not entirely bad. Indeed, it is the first step toward recovery. Walt Heyer, founder of Sex Change Regret, is another example of someone who regretted his sex-reassignment surgery. Walt eventually reached rock bottom, and it was there that he found Jesus. He was 42 years old, married, and a father of 2 when he chose to undergo sex-reassignment surgery and become Laura Jensen. Eight years later, he realized that his desire to change sexes was based upon deep-rooted childhood trauma rather than a genetic disorder.
With no safe reversal procedures at the time, Walt Heyer chose to once again live as a man, despite having some permanent feminine physical features. He shares:
Perhaps life’s wisdom is only found by looking back over one’s shoulder at the clear view of the carnage that results from the madness of self-destruction. Regret, once acknowledged, opened my eyes to see what I had thought was reality. “I should be a woman” was only an illusion. The moment the word “regret” tumbled from my lips, I was open to truth and wisdom. I started to consider the possibility of leaving my surgically-altered life as a transgender woman and resume living as the male gender given me at birth.
Today Walt finds strength to live according to his biological gender through his personal relationship with God, declaring, “My victory has come by allowing the Lord in my heart, [and] becoming God-focused instead of self-centered …”
In the Bible, the Apostle Paul was no stranger to regret. Having been personally enslaved by sins that haunted him throughout his life, the Apostle Paul was intimately familiar with the guilt and despair that can come from one’s past. Yet he was also intimately familiar with the forgiveness and hope that can come from Jesus Christ, and he devoted his life to sharing this truth with others. It is precisely because the Apostle Paul had himself sinned beyond measure that he spoke so boldly about the sins of others—not to condemn them, but to point the way to forgiveness. In 1 Timothy 3:12–17, the Apostle Paul writes:
I thank him who has given me strength, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful, appointing me to his service, though formerly I was a blasphemer, persecutor, and insolent opponent. But I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Bible is filled with examples of God not only forgiving people, but of God transforming lives. The Apostle Paul is quite possibly the best example of this. God took Paul—a blasphemer and one of the most ardent persecutors of the Christian Church—and transformed him into one of history’s greatest Christian missionaries who could instruct the church at Corinth, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1). Moreover, God used the Apostle Paul to pen 13 books of the Bible. Similarly, God took Jacob—a liar and a cheat who deceived his father into giving him his brother’s birthright—and transformed him into a man of faith who fathered the twelve tribes of Israel. Throughout Scripture, God refers to Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Another example is David who not only committed adultery, but engineered the death of the woman’s husband in order to hide his sin, and yet God promised David that his lineage would reign eternally in the Millennial Kingdom, and that Jesus the Messiah would come from his line.
God is in the business of transforming lives. The Church is filled with ex-sinners. There are ex-liars, ex-cheats, ex-addicts, ex-adulterers, ex-gays, ex-transsexuals, ex-you-fill-in-the-blank. Given that man is naturally bent toward doing evil, it is probably true that none of these would have overcome their temptation in their own strength. It is only through the transformative power of the Holy Spirit that anyone is capable of overcoming their greatest temptations. It is only when a person relinquishes his sinful identity and turns to Jesus Christ in humble repentance that the power of sin is truly broken in an individual’s life. No longer must he be identified by his sin. Instead, he is identified as a child of God. This is the good news of Jesus Christ! Galatians 4:4–7 says, “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Regardless of our sin, and regardless of how much damage we have caused to ourselves or to those around us, God offers every one of us forgiveness. Romans 10:9–10 teaches, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” However, Romans chapter 10 does not conclude with verse 10. It goes on to say, “For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.’ … For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
As Christians, we have been commissioned to take this message of hope and salvation to those who need it. Who is in greater need than the individual who struggles with self-hatred and desperation because of how they feel about their gender? How is the silence of God’s people helping them, and where is the church for those who come to regret their decision to thwart their gender by undergo sex-reassignment surgery?
To learn more about transgenderism from a Christian perspective, read Timothy Zebell’s book, Transitioning: A Biblical Understanding of Transgenderism
1. American College of Pediatricians. “Gender Ideology Harms Children.” March 21, 2016. May 25, 2016. http://www.acpeds.org/the-college-speaks/position-statements/gender-ideology-harms-children.
2. Owen, Glen. “Government Probe into Why so Many Girls Want to Be Boys: Investigation Ordered after Number of ‘Transitioning Referrals’ Increases by Four Thousand Per Cent.” Daily Mail, September 15, 2018, 5:49 p.m., EDT. Last updated September 17, 2018, 5:14 a.m., EDT. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6172097/Investigation-ordered-number-transitioning-referrals-increase-four-thousand-cent.html.
3. Grew, Tony. “Inquiry into Surge in Gender Treatment Ordered by Penny Mordaunt.” Sunday Times, September 16, 2018, 12:01 a.m. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/inquiry-into-surge-in-gender-treatment-ordered-by-penny-mordaunt-b2ftz9hfn.
4. Gardner, Renee. “10 Ways the Transgender Push Mirrors the Lobotomy Craze.” The Federalist, March 29, 2017. https://thefederalist.com/2017/03/29/10-ways-transgender-push-mirrors-lobotomy-craze/.
5. Fae, Jane. “NHS Failing to Provide Treatment to Trans Teens is Leading to Suicides, Experts Warn.” Gay Star News, October 18, 2016, 15:26 BST. https://www.gaystarnews.com/article/nhs-failing-provide-treatment-trans-teens-leading-suicides-experts-warn/#gs.8oj0x6.
6. Pullmann, Joy. “Explosive Ivy League Study Repressed for Finding Transgender Kids May Be a Social Contagion.” The Federalist, August 31, 2018. https://thefederalist.com/2018/08/31/explosive-ivy-league-study-repressed-for-finding-transgender-kids-may-be-a-social-contagion/.
7. Littman, Lisa. “Parent Reports of Adolescents and Young Adults Perceived to Show Signs of a Rapid Onset of Gender Dysphoria.” PLOS One, August 16, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202330.
8. Springer, Dan. “Oregon Allowing 15-Year-Olds to Get State-Subsidized Sex-Change Operations.” Fox News, July 9, 2015. Last updated May 2, 2016. https://www.foxnews.com/politics/oregon-allowing-15-year-olds-to-get-state-subsidized-sex-change-operations.
9. Robbins, Jane. “U.S. Doctors Are Performing Double Mastectomies on Healthy 13-Year-Old Girls.” The Federalist, September 12, 2018. https://thefederalist.com/2018/09/12/u-s-doctors-performing-double-mastectomies-healthy-13-year-old-girls/.
10. Pullmann, Joy. “‘Hundreds of Transgender People Want to Go back to Their Birth Sex, Says Formerly Trans Woman.” The Federalist, October 7, 2019. https://thefederalist.com/2019/10/07/hundreds-of-transgender-people-want-to-go-back-to-their-birth-sex-says-formerly-trans-woman/.
11. American College of Pediatricians, “Gender Ideology Harms Children.”
12. Endocrine Society, The. “Endocrine Treatment of Transsexual Persons: An Endocrine Society Clinical Practice Guideline.” file:///C:/Users/Timothy/Downloads/Endocrine-Treatment-of-Transsexual-Persons.pdf.
13. Lockwood, Sally. “‘Hundreds’ of Young Trans People Seeking Help to Return to Original Sex.” Sky News, October 5, 2019, 8:39 p.m. https://news.sky.com/story/hundreds-of-young-trans-people-seeking-help-to-return-to-original-sex-11827740?utm_source=t.co&utm_medium=referral.
14. “Response to Julia Serano: Detransition, and Disinformation.” Video, 17:02. Posted by Cari Stella, August 9, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=9L2jyEDwpEw.
15. Akbar, Jay. “The Man Who’s Had TWO Sex Changes: Incredible Story of Walt, Who Became Laura, Then REVERSED the Operation Because He Believes Surgeons in US and Europe Are Too Quick to Operate.” The Daily Mail, January 26, 2015, 3:10 a.m., EDT. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2921528/The-man-s-TWO-sex-changes-Incredible-story-Walt-Laura-REVERSED-operation-believes-surgeons-quick-operate.html.
17. Sex Change Regret. “Examples.” Accessed June 14, 2016. http://www.sexchangeregret.com/examples.
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.