... In the midst of his struggle, Heyer got married and had two children. He worked as an engineer for a while and achieved significant financial success.
"But the difficulty that I faced was that I couldn't shut the thoughts or the feelings off," he said. He turned to alcohol to cope with his issues, and eventually his life came crashing down around him.
He and his wife split after 17 years of marriage, and he lost his job when he began making the physical transformation into becoming a woman. He got breast implants, began taking hormones, had electrolysis to reduce the hair on his face, and he had his genitals removed.
... After studying psychology while still living as a woman, however, he says he eventually realized that a person can't actually change genders and that he was delusional.
... "The church, what it did for me was it allowed me to really get to the point where I asked the Lord for forgiveness. I began to pray for forgiveness. And I realized that the critical point is understanding that you can accept Jesus Christ, but there's a point where that doesn't become real...until you're walking with Christ," he said.
"Because the real truth that Christ is alive is the fact that you see a transformed life. And so what happened in my life is that when I finally... got down on my knees and was working through these things many years after I had accepted Christ – probably 10 to 15 years after I accepted Christ – I finally felt that I was broken enough as a man that I got on my knees and prayed."
... Today, Heyer says he no longer struggles with his gender identity and uses his testimony to speak out in support of those who have similar struggles and against those who advocate sex reassignment surgery as the solution to the gender identity problems.
A Swedish study published online in February 2011 examined individuals who had sex reassignments between 1973 and 2003, and found that switching sexes can have a significant negative impact on the individual and is not a good solution to someone's gender identity crisis. "This study found substantially higher rates of overall mortality, death from cardiovascular disease and suicide, suicide attempts, and psychiatric hospitalizations in sex-reassigned transsexual individuals compared to a healthy control population," the study's authors write in their conclusion. "This highlights that post-surgical transsexuals are a risk group that need long-term psychiatric and somatic follow-up."
... He emphasizes the point that SRS is cosmetic surgery only, that it is "scientifically, medically and surgically impossible" for a man to actually be changed into a woman, but also says other people need to show compassion toward those who are struggling with gender identity issues.
Today Heyer is married again, and he says that he has found happiness in being the gender that God created him to be.