Above left, Walter Hayer present day. Right, Walter as “Laura Jensen.”
December 2019 – The gentle breeze brushed over the parking lot and took the burning piece of paper, the one containing an unspeakable list of hurts and regrets. The flames and ashes were soon swept away, quietly disappearing in the wind.
Walt Heyer turned to the pastor, who held a burned-out match.
“Okay,” the pastor said. “Now it’s time to go pray.”
This was the turning point of Walt Heyer’s story, the day he finally allowed the redemptive power of Jesus to transform him into a new man. However, Heyer’s story leading up to that day in the parking lot of a San Francisco church was filled not with the joys of salvation, but with the sorrows of regret, betrayal, and confusion.
When Heyer was four years old living in Los Angeles, California, his grandmother was both a seamstress and his babysitter. Every other week or so, Heyer’s father would drop him off at her house where she would watch over him while she worked. Heyer would sometimes watch her sew, and one day, his grandmother decided to make him a dress out of purple chiffon.
“She put me in that dress,” Heyer said, “and began to affirm and fawn over me and tell me how cute I was as a little girl. That started within me a confusion about who I was.”
The ritual of the purple dress soon became a habit at grandma’s house, and was kept a secret from all other members of the family. For two and a half years, the two kept the purple dress to themselves, until one day that changed.
“I ended up taking the purple dress home,” recalled Heyer, “so that I could feel [it] even when I was at home and grandma wasn’t there. So, you can see how addictive that process of being affirmed is.”
His mother soon found the dress and forbade him to visit his grandmother’s house. “[But] the damage was already done,” said Heyer. His grandmother had only affirmed him while he was wearing the dress, and never when he was dressed like a boy. When Heyer’s uncle heard the story of the purple dress, he began sexually molesting the child.
It wasn’t long before Heyer’s father, who had also heard the stories, began disciplining Heyer sharply, believing that he could forcibly shape the boy into a man if he punished him severely enough.
“He was using a hardwood plank across my bare bottom as part of the disciplinary action,” recounted Heyer.
All these events took place before Heyer was nine years old, and left him confused about his identity and wanting to escape to a different person, a person who was not being abused.
However, Heyer attempted to go on living like a regular boy and eventually married a girl when he was 21. Although Heyer’s career included working on the Apollo space missions, and eventually for Honda Motor Company as a top executive, he was still struggling in his personal life.
“During that time, I was struggling so deeply with my gender identity because of what happened when I was a kid,” said Heyer. “It never went away, no matter how successful I was, no matter the marriage, no matter what was going on, I was struggling.”
Eventually, Heyer decided to visit a gender therapist who told him he had gender dysphoria. Heyer later underwent gender reassignment surgery and assumed the name Laura Jensen. Heyer and his wife were divorced in 1983, and soon after the change, Honda Motor Company fired him. Within three months, Heyer was a homeless alcoholic living in a park in Long
Heyer later moved to San Francisco and began attending church and AA meetings as frequently as possible. He met with the pastor, who welcomed him with open arms and did not turn him away, even though he was still “Laura.” Heyer wrote down all the atrocities of his life on a piece of paper, all the abuse and molestation pushing him to transgenderism, and the two walked out to the parking lot together.
Heyer encountered Jesus that day, and soon decided to transition back to Walt. “I realized that the Lord came to hold me and to redeem my life.... He said ‘You are safe with me forever.’ That was my redemption, and that’s where I was rescued by Jesus Christ from my transgender life.”
Heyer spoke with AFA’s American Family Studios about the transgender movement and its negative impact on society.
“Transgenders will attempt suicide at a 41% rate,” said Heyer, which is far above the U.S. national rate of 4.6% according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“I would submit that if we’re offering a treatment for somebody that has them attempting suicide at a 40% to 50% rate, there’s something wrong with the treatment we’re using,” he added.
Over the last decade, Heyer has written six books, published 50 articles, and reached people in 180 countries. Today, his ministry, Sex Change Regret, continues to impact countless people with his story of restoration, spreading the word that true life and identity can be found only in Christ.
“He wants the pain to go away,” Heyer said, “and He does not want you diving into a man-made surgical gender or filling yourself with hormones that are just going to destroy you. The Lord loves you the way you are, and He doesn’t want you to change and become transgender. He will redeem you, restore you, and bring you back to life again, just as He’s done for me.”
Help from Heyer and others
After leaving the transgender life and returning to who God created him to be, Walt Heyer wondered if there were others out there like him. So he founded Sex Change Regret and was amazed with the amount of mail he received from people who shared stories just like his.
Now, Heyer ministers to those dealing with transgenderism, thoughts of suicide, counseling resources, legal issues, the latest research, and more, all pointing to the hope that can be found in Jesus Christ.
His website, sexchangeregret.com, opens with a bold banner: “Take Back Your Life. Others Have. You Can Too.”
His closing challenge is this: “Your story isn’t finished yet. The best is yet to come. Maybe it’s time to get started.”
Sex Change Regret
sexchangeregret.com | firstname.lastname@example.org
First Stone Ministries
Resources for pastors, transgenders, and others from ex-gay Stephen Black.See a review of Black's book Freedom Realized here.
firststone.org | 405-236-4673
How Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment, a book by Heritage Foundation scholar Dr. Ryan Anderson.
heritage.org | email@example.com | 202-546-4400
AFA resource coming soon
Walt Heyer shares more insights into his experience and his victory over sexual dysphoria in the documentary In His Image: Delighting in God’s Plan for Gender and Sexuality. The project is in production at American Family Studios, and a spring release is anticipated.
Through scholars, pastors, and victims’ gripping stories, AFS brings biblical clarity to the sexual confusion that is corrupting the institutions of American life.