A September 20, 2013 article from the Religion News Service tells the story of an Azusa Pacific University professor who resigned, or was asked to resign, after coming out as a transgender.

To me as a former transgender this story has another side; two sides of the same coin, you might say. The other side has nothing to do with coming out as a transgender and everything to do with an unstable psyche.

My heart aches for this female-born college professor who says he has struggled with two divorces, self-medicating, self-injury, self-starving and a suicidal relapse.

We should be concerned when someone has reported a litany of self-destructive behaviors. Left untreated, these disorders can develop into the ultimate “deathless suicide”: eradication of the birth gender. I would ask you to consider that coming out as a transgender is a one more way, a very public way, to act out one’s self-abuse by directing the harm toward one’s birth gender.

I have no doubt in my mind that this professor is a very bright, extremely intelligent and wonderful person. Being a wonderful, loving person is never sufficient in preventing or avoiding the onset of psychological disorders.

This professor has given birth to two children and is now in the process of a divorce from his second husband. Even divorce has its own elements of self-destruction. The professor has demonstrated a pattern of self-abuse and self-destructive behaviors.

My concern for the professor’s well-being was raised to a new level when I read his comment:

This year has been a transition from being a mentally ill woman to being a sane, transgendered man.

That comment should raise our concern for the professor’s psychological well-being. Changing genders is not an effective treatment for self-destructive behaviors.

The article says, “Ackley said that he accepted his transgender identity this year after the American Psychiatric Association removed ‘gender identity disorder’ from the list of mental illnesses in its manual.”

It should alarm any right-minded person when a professor reports he becomes a transgender because the term “gender identity disorder” was removed from the list of mental disorders in a manual. That is psychological madness.

Consider that if a non-transgender person reports self-medicating, self-injury, self-starving and a suicidal relapse, they would receive medication and treatment, not a gender change.

Why am I so sure about this? I was a transgender and engaged in some of the same self-abuse. Thankfully, I have been restored to my birth gender and I am free from the madness.

Walt Heyer

Source: “Transgender theology professor asked to leave California Christian college after coming out”, Religion News Service, September 20, 2013 by Sarah Bailey