A man who had a sex change operation paid for by the NHS has said he feels “betrayed” by medics who left him with lifelong pain because he did not want to be gay.
Detransitioner Ritchie Herron, 35, says that he was “very vulnerable” when he told doctors and psychiatrists that he was confused over his gender.
But rather than examine the homophobia that he had experienced or why he felt that way, his therapists told him that it was because he was trans, he says.
Mr Herron is currently preparing a legal case against the NHS Trust which paid for the operation to remove his genitals which has left him in constant pain.
“Regret is not a word that should be used for things like this. This isn’t regret, this is more than regret, this is grief, this is anger, this is betrayal,” Mr Herron told the LGB Alliance conference in central London on Friday.
‘It is catastrophic and has killed my confidence’
He said that he “nearly bled to death” on the operating table and has since had trouble using the toilet and has no sensation.
He was 26 when he had surgery to remove his penis and testicles as part of the transition from male to female.
He went through a series of NHS and private clinics before having vaginoplasty in 2018 which was paid for by the NHS
“It is catastrophic and it has killed my confidence,” he told the conference in central London.
“I am never going to be the same ever again, there is no reversal to this, do not let anyone tell you that this can be reversed… It is criminal what they are doing to people.”
Mr Herron said that he was speaking out because it “is my responsibility to raise the alarm”.
He said that people often say to detransitioners that it is their own fault, that they should have done their research properly, but he added: “I wasn’t writing the assessments and I wasn’t holding the scalpel.”
“I am less regretful, I am more angry,” he said. “About three months after the surgery I went to the therapist and I said ‘I think that I have made a terrible mistake here’. And he said ‘no you haven’t’.”
‘I did not want to be a gay man’
Mr Herron said that he had been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) before he even began thinking of transitioning and the doctors said that his regret was because of the effect of the anaesthetic on his condition.
He said that the same medics had told him that his feeling that he was trans could not have been connected to his OCD, but now they were happy to blame his regret on it.
“You can say I am trapped in the wrong body and they will agree,” he said. “But when you say I made a mistake they will say no, you didn’t.
“One of the reasons I transitioned was because I did not want to be a gay man. I said to my therapist I cannot see myself as a man with another man, but I can see myself as a woman with a man, and she said ‘yes, that is because you are trans’.
“Not because I hated myself because I am gay, not because I suffered horrific homophobia in school and growing up in the north east of England.”
He said that treatment of people who question their gender needs to take a “holistic view of all the comorbidities that bring people to transition”.
He said that it was “cruel to tell a child” going through puberty that they are born in the wrong body and the whole system of treatment in the UK needs to be re-examined.
In a statement in June, the Trust said it could not comment on an individual, but it added: “Care plans are collaborative and tailored to each patient’s needs and goals, and treatment decisions are made following a thorough assessment in line with national recommendations.”