'My biggest regret' - 61-year-old from Hemel Hempstead who had sex change from female to male 16 years ago has begun transitioning back to a woman

A woman who claimed a sex change from female to male was her ''greatest mistake" has begun transitioning back to a woman.

Friday, 29th November 2019, 3:18 pm
Updated Friday, 29th November 2019, 3:19 pm

Debbie Karemer struggled with her sexual identity for years and asked for gender reassignment aged 44 - becoming Lee Harries.

Shockingly, she claims she began private testosterone treatment a DAY later and had her breasts removed after three months - starting an 11-year journey to become a man.

But after years of counselling, she finally discovered she wasn't transgender - but was instead suffering with horrific complex PTSD, after years of sexual abuse.

Debbie, living as Lee Harries after her transition

However, it was too late for her, and now she feels like a woman trapped. She's now back to identifying as Debbie and is on the NHS waiting list for an operation to reverse the re-assignment.

The Hemel Hempstead woman said: "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.

"I'm a woman, I'm still Debbie. But now I've got no hair. I've got a beard and I've had all my body mutilated. I wish I could turn back the clock. I’m trapped. I just regret the decision."

Six weeks ago she started taking oestrogen and is now being seen by specialists at an NHS gender identity clinic but claimed they are not too sure how to help.

Debbie as a baby

She said she should never have been allowed to transition and is seeking support from The Detransition Advocacy Network on the next steps.

And Debbie hopes that by speaking out, she will encourage others to seek talking therapy before surgery.

She first heard of transgender and gender reassignment surgery back in 2002 while watching an episode of chat show programme Kilroy.

She researched transitioning online and booked an appointment with a private psychiatrist and was given a two-week course of testosterone to start the very NEXT DAY.

Debbie as a child

And just three months later Debbie - who went by the name Lee - underwent a private double bi-lateral mastectomy, costing £3,500. She said she had some counselling sessions before one of the ops - but it was a 'box ticking exercise'.

With hindsight, the first step towards the realisation she'd made a mistake was when she approached the police in 2012 to report the sexual abuse she had suffered as a teenager at the hands of her father.

However, he died from emphysema the following year, before she could be charged and when the words 'childhood trauma' were mentioned, she realised her error.

"It fell into place," she said. "It became apparent that transitioning was a big mistake."

Debbie primarily blames her father but also the private psychiatrist who started off her journey.

"I think that the psychiatrist should have picked up on the fact that I was abused."