I soon came to the realization that what I have is an open wound, not a vagina. I was blinded by the amount of harmful support that I got.

In June 2019, I received this email from a 27-year-old man. He gave permission to share his story here so that it can help others. His name and location are withheld for privacy.

Warning – some of the bad outcomes of surgery are described in graphic detail.

Dear Walt,

Thanks for setting up a website that caters to the needs of sex change regretters.

I’m (name withheld) and I’m originally from Europe. I’m 27 years old and I’m what they call a sex change regretter.

Let me tell you my story.

I was effeminate from young age and was picked on for my femininity throughout elementary school, middle school and high school. When I was 14 years old we emigrated to the US, because my father was offered a job over there with good advantages.

In the US I came in contact with a transgender woman who had transitioned in her 30s. She encouraged me to explore my femininity more. She took me to a support group for LGBT people to talk about my feelings of gender confusion. In this group I was told that I was transsexual and that the dysphoria would only get worse as I would get older. Transitioning young and as soon as possible was the way to go according to the members there.

The earlier mentioned trans woman who at that time was in her mid 40s, took me, a teenager exploring his identity, shopping for women’s clothes and took me to an electrologist to have my facial hair electrolyzed. She provided me with hormones from an online pharmacy. I couldn’t tell my parents, that was the deal. She paid for my electrolysis sessions and she helped me with my hormone regimen. I started taking Spironolactone and Progynova.

The first year my parents didn’t find out. The second year however they found my stash of hormones and I was put for an ultimatum: going to see a therapist to help me deal with my identity crisis or moving out. My parents wanted to bring me to a therapist that had a neutral stance on LGBT issues because they believed that bringing me to a too affirmative therapist would bias the diagnosis.

The trans woman friend of middle age convinced me that my parents were transphobic and that they wanted to harm me. She encouraged me to move out and become a run-away. She offered to stay at her place.

She soon took me to a very gender affirmative therapist that would rubber stamp me so that I could start hormones officially under the care of an endocrinologist. I was 16 by that time, it was 2008. After only 1 session of therapy I was approved for hormones. I was told that I was definitely transsexual and that the only cure would be hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. I was prescribed a much higher hormone dose than I initially took on my own. This therapist sent me to an endocrinologist that started me on 300 mg of Spironolactone and 8 mg of Estrofem. These high doses were necessary according to him to give me the best results and to completely nuke my puberty.

On the Spironolactone I developed health problems with my bladder and at one point it stopped working as an anti androgen. That was when my trans friend encouraged me to see a therapist again to approve me for an orchiectomy. That way I wouldn’t have to take anti androgens anymore. I saw a therapist who specialized in gender dysphoria and after 1 session I was provided with a referral letter for an orchiectomy. In 2010 at the age of 18 I underwent a radical orchiectomy in a private clinic and the costs were paid out of pocket by my trans friend.

This is when all problems become worse.

My trans friend who was depressed herself committed suicide and left me behind with a bunch of problems. I had to move out and I became homeless. I lost my access to hormones and had to enter the prostitution scene to make enough money for rent of a small 1 bedroom apartment and to be able to buy food.

In 2014, after 3 years without hormones, I started to have back problems and after a fall I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. My bones had become extremely brittle due to the lack of sex hormones. My perfectly healthy body that I once had, was now permanently medicalized.

I was prescribed Bonefos, a bone-strengthener that is also prescribed to people with bone cancer. I was put on estrogen again.

Unfortunately my new care provider was too affirmative and was married to a trans woman himself so he was biased in his views. He encouraged me to see a therapist to approve me for full gender reassignment surgery. A vaginoplasty was the last step that I would need, he told me.

I was recommended a therapist that would approve me for bottom surgery. I found a job at Starbucks and the insurance plan covered SRS as a medically necessary procedure.

After I got my therapist approval letters for SRS, I scheduled bottom surgery with Dr Bowers who is a trans woman herself. The wait list would take 3 years. I would undergo gender reassignment surgery in November 2017.

Because another patient cancelled her surgery, my surgery was rescheduled to September 2017. Two months earlier than foreseen.

I underwent SRS in September 2017 and I soon had to start an intense regimen of dilation. Dilating is still painful to this day, almost 2 years post op.

I have almost no sex drive. I lost a lot of feeling in my genitalia after the procedure.

I soon came to the realization that what I have is an open wound, not a vagina. I was blinded by the amount of harmful support that I got.

I tried to have sex with a man 8 months after my bottom surgery and I felt disgusted with myself for having him penetrate a pool of bacteria. Blood came out of the cavity during penetration and I could see he was uncomfortable with the looks of the vulva and with the feeling of the vagina on his penis.

He knew I was trans, I told him, but he had never dated a trans woman before.

I was diagnosed with bacterial vaginosis around 1 year post op. The vaginal cavity was full of unhealthy bacteria, despite me douching with isobetadine regularly.

At this point it became very clear to me that what I have between my legs is nothing more than a surgically created wound.

I honestly don’t understand how this surgery is even legal. It butchers a healthy body and comes with life threatening side effects.

I have just finished a course of penicillin antibiotics. The infection is gone now and the cavity is clean. Still, I wish I never underwent this surgery. It is just a gaping wound that was supposed to validate my identity.

I hope I can heal one day. Transitioning doesn’t solve anything. SRS just makes matters even worse.

One thing I learned is that everyone feels uncomfortable around trans people and everyone is just walking on eggshells to avoid saying something offensive.

Dating someone is also quite impossible as a trans person, unless they fetishize you. No one truly wants to be with a transgender person forever. There is just too much problems that come with it.

Had I known all this before committing to irreversible procedures, I would never have done it.

I think we are going to see a wave of regretters in the next coming 10 years.

Kind regards,

(name withheld)