By: Nicole Lashomb*/Editor-in-Chief—
Walt Heyer, a formerly self-identified trans woman, is no stranger to the media circuit and uses it to achieve his apparent goal—to discredit and disaffirm the LGBTQ community, particularly the transgender community. Since de-transitioning after living as a woman for eight years, he has become the echo chamber for the extreme right-wing argument against the trans community. Apparently, the 76-year-old believes his own discoveries are indicative of every trans person’s experience—a dangerous assumption from the start, especially in this misdiagnosed case.
A feature on Heyer published in World Magazine, revealed that he was never actually transgender and instead was later diagnosed by “multiple therapists as having dissociative disorder—also known as multiple personality disorder, [which is] characterized by disconnection from one’s identity as a defense mechanism against psychological trauma.” Not gender dysphoria.
Therefore, Heyer’s vitriolic tirade against the transgender community often published in the Federalist—widely considered one of the most anti-LGBT publications today—is no different than that of any other neo-conservative extremist’s opinion column. His “view” of the transgender world, of living authentically post-transition and living wholly cannot be taken seriously or as coming from a “former trans person” because he never was transgender. His entire brand is built upon a farce. Heyer has no place in the transgender movement at all.
Why am I focusing on this? Words matter because some take them as informed or investigative journalism and others merely believe what they read. And we should be held accountable for the consequences that our words can have on other readers. I learned that very early on, prior to even publishing my first story. The written word can be misconstrued too and, in extreme cases, it can lead to hatred, to suicide, to homicide, and even more. The written word cannot be taken back. I hope Heyer is aware of this because he could be creating chaos for a young trans person whose parents or family read them. Fox News could be quoting him as an “expert” even though what he wrote was mere opinion. Bottom line, words hurt. Words haunt people. Words humiliate. Words turn into weapons because they embolden the least educated and informed, or the more educated and bigoted. If the presidential campaign and subsequent election aren’t a model for what I am conveying, I don’t know how else to explain it.
Enter Pride Season … Within the pages of this edition, you’ll find the New England Pride Guide with this year’s theme selected by our team, Pride Revolution. Now is the time to resist and continue to stand for freedom, equality and against injustice of any kind. Nearly all members of any marginalized group have been under attack, especially since that dreaded day in November 2016. Over the past two years, the “resistance” has continued to grow and we are proud to be a part of it.
This year, The Rainbow Times is proud to be the main media partner of Montreal Pride and North Shore Pride. Their upcoming events are featured in our Annual Pride Guide and within the pages of this Pride Issue. The upcoming celebrations, marches and Pride events throughout the country mostly point to a sense of resistance and a pride revolution, as we forge ahead together. Happy Pride!
*Nicole Lashomb is Editor-in-Chief of The Rainbow Times. She earned her MBA from Marylhurst University and her BM from the Crane School of Music/SUNY Potsdam. Nicole can be reached at [email protected].