This site is the most comprehensive on the web devoted to trans history and biography. Well over 1400 persons worthy of note, both famous and obscure, are discussed in detail, and many more are mentioned in passing.

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10 October 2018

RT has to go to Arizona to find 3 regretting trans persons

RT (Russia Today) sometimes produces intriguing documentaries well worth thinking about.   This is not one of their best.  They interview three persons, raised as boys, who transitioned to female, and live in Arizona.  Two, Billy Burleigh and the perennial Walt Heyer, have reverted, and the third, Rene Jaz (who continues to present as female) has written a book Don't get on the plane: Why a sex change will ruin your life.  Jaz and Heyer were patients of Dr Biber.

The documentary also includes a brief interview with a sex-change surgeon.   As they actually went to Arizona, the expectation would be that they would interview Drs Toby Meltzer and Ellie Zara Lay, both well regarded surgeons in Scottsdale, Arizona.   However the documentary goes to Belgrade instead to interview Dr Miroslav Djordjevic (or is it recycled footage from another program?).   Again a well-regarded surgeon, but why go to Serbia when making a film about Arizona?

There are several points that can be made.   Nowhere is it stated that the vast majority of trans (97% or so) persons who have surgery are pleased and remain pleased with what they have achieved.  On the other hand Heyer is allowed to spout his dubious statistics claiming that 40% of trans suicides are post-transition.

The infrequency of reversion is demonstrated by the repeated use of the same few persons, in this case Walt Heyer.  Neither the narration nor the final credits say so, but I suspect that the RT film-crew went to Heyer who introduced them to the other two.   Heyer actually says that he was in contact with Billy previously, and in this article  by Heyer discusses Jaz and her book.   Heyer has been in so many programs of this type.


Let us return to Jaz's book,  Don't get on the plane: Why a sex change will ruin your life.   The summary on Amazon contains an enormous clunker:  "medicine is operating in the same ignorance and arrogance as it did when Magnus Hirschfeld killed Einer Wegener (The Danish Girl) with his experimental surgery in 1930".    As we know, but apparently Jaz does not, Lili Elevenes (whose pen name was Lili Elbe) was a patient of the Dresden Doctor Kurt Warnekros, not of the Berlin Doctor Magnus Hirschfeld.   Also Hirschfeld was not a surgeon.  The three trans women who were patients of Hirschfeld, Carla van Crist, Toni Ebel and Dörchen Richter, all survived their operations and two of them lived into the 1960s.  Bad fact checking like this makes one think that the book is not worth reading.

It is important to read one's enemies.   If you are building up to gender surgery, it may be useful to watch this documentary to know what one is not.   There is much diversity among trans women, and you will probably be aware of how different you are from these three.





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