Woman who regrets becoming a transgender male 17 years ago says medical professionals should NOT have helped her to transition – and claims lots of other transgender people are hiding their regrets
- Debbie Karemer, 61, from Hertfordshire, was born female but became male
- Had sex change at 44 and lived for 17 years as transgender man Lee Harries
- Now says it was ‘greatest mistake’ and has begun transitioning back to a woman
- Has revealed mental torment over her gender and said she feels ‘trapped’
A 61-year-old who transitioned from female to male almost two decades ago said she feels ‘mutilated’ and has started treatment to reverse the process. After struggling with her sexual identity for years, at the age of 44, Debbie Karemer sought out gender reassignment and changed her name to Lee Harries.
She claimed she began testosterone treatment just a day after she visited a private doctor about her decision, before having her breasts removed just three months later. But after years of various operations, she ‘broke down’ when she woke up after undergoing her final gender reassignment surgery, and has recently gone back to identifying as a woman. After years of counselling she has come to the realisation that she was suffering with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, having been sexually abused for years.
As a teenager, Debbie began to hate her body after being abused by her late father, but said she now understands her self-hatred came from a fear of being raped. Debbie transitioned to become a man 15 years ago, taking on the name Lee (Picture: SWNS) Debbie has since started take oestrogen again to start the detransition process (Picture: SWNS) She said she feels like a woman trapped in ‘an approximation of a male body’, and is currently awaiting an NHS operation to reverse the re-assignment. ‘Looking back now I realise that it was simply a feeling that if I didn’t have a vagina, I couldn’t be raped,’ said Debbie, from Hemel Hempstead, in Hertforshire. ‘But I’m not a man, I am an approximation of a man. I feel completely mutilated.
I completely missed out on being a woman… I wish I could wake up as Debbie’. She insists her childhood trauma was misdiagnosed at the time and she should never have been allowed to transition before receiving appropriate therapy for the abuse. Debbie told the BBC: ‘I thought I was going to be on a journey to becoming a different person… I’d morph into someone else and leave that traumatised woman completely behind’.
After 15 years of taking testosterone, Debbie stopped in February this year and started taking oestrogen six weeks ago, under the watch of specialists at an NHS gender identity clinic, along with The Detransition Advocacy Network. Debbie was sexually abused by her father for years (Picture: SWNS) She said she hated her body and thought the she was transgender (Picture: SWNS) She said she’s speaking out on the ‘taboo’ subject of surgery regret – gender reassignment reversal – to encourage others to seek talking therapy before undergoing the operation. Debbie said she supports anyone who chooses to transition but is concerned that some after not receiving appropriate therapy beforehand.
She added: ‘I look in the mirror through the eyes of that terrified 15-year-old girl and see this funny little man staring back at me…