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Confused??. Gender Reassignment Surgery. Sex reassignment surgery is a term used for the surgical procedures by which a person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are allowed to represent that of the opposite sex.

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Gender reassignment surgery

Gender Reassignment Surgery

  • Sex reassignment surgery is a term used for the surgical procedures by which a person’s physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are allowed to represent that of the opposite sex.

  • Sex reassignment surgery is a term for the surgical procedures by which a person's physical appearance and function of their existing sexual characteristics are altered to resemble that of the opposite sex. It is part of a treatment for gender identity disorder in transsexual and transgender people. It may also be performed on intersex people, often in infancy.



  • There are two main reasons to alter the genital organs from one sex to another.

  • Newborns with intersex deformities must early on be assigned to one sex or the other. These deformities represent intermediate stages between the primordial female genitals and the change into male genitals caused by male hormone stimulation.

  • Both men and women occasionally believe they are physically a different sex than they are mentally and emotionally. This dissonance is so profound that they are willing to be surgically altered.



  • The earliest surgery was performed on Lili Elbe around 1930- 1931.

  • The surgery started with removal of genital organs under the supervision of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld.

  • He had for more subsequent surgeries.

  • He decided to have an uterus transplant which was unsuccessful and it resulted in his death.

  • An earlier known recipient is Magnus Hirschfeld’s housekeeper whose identity is unknown.


  • Sex in humans is usually determined by four factors:

  • Chromosomes

  • Gonads ( testicles or ovaries)

  • Hormones

  • Primary sexual characteristics or secondary sexual characteristics

Not all of these factors can be changed.

Chromosomes cannot be changed.

Gonads can be removed but it cannot be replaced.

Hormone status is easily changed.

Primary sexual characteristics can be changed to a certain extent.


Female- male

  • Hormone replacement therapy

  • Mastectomy: removal of breasts.

  • Hysterectomy and bilateral salpingooophorectomy(BSO): hysterectomy is the removal of uterus and BSO is the removal of both ovaries and the fallopian tubes.

  • Genital reassignment.


Male- female

  • Hormone replacement therapy

  • Facial hair removal

  • vaginaplasty

Medical considerations

It is dangerous to perform the sex reassignment surgery on people suffering from hepatitis C or AIDS and it would be hard to find a surgeon willing to do the surgery.

However, some surgeons argue that it is unethical to deny the surgery to a patient because they are HIV positive or hepatitis C positive.

Other health related problems such as obesity, abnormal blood clotting and diabetes do not present a complication to experience surgeons but may result in post-operative or anesthetic problems.



  • Sex reassignment surgery enables the individual to acquire the external appearance of the new sex as well as the functions.

  • However, transwomen and transmen are not able to reproduce their own children.

  • Risk of surgery is similar to other types of surgeries including infection or nerve damage.



  • Thailand performs the most sex reassignment surgeries followed by Iran.

  • Estimated 1600- 2000 people a year undergo sex change surgery.

  • It is a process which cannot be reversed.

  • The cost for male to female reassignment is $7,000 to $24,000.

  • The cost for female to male reassignment can exceed $50,000


Transgender teens

Coming out is a big issue for transgender teens because of fear that their parents will disown them or kick them out of the house.

“Remember that this is your child first and foremost even before thus child is a particular gender. They truly are the same person they were before you knew this and them. REJECTION IS NOT THE ANSWER.” – Emily, mother of a transgender teen. “ I knew from the beginning that something was not right. I sort of knew this was going to happen by phrases such as “ think of me as your daughter” in his letters.”

Transgender teens often grow up with a feeling of guilt and shame over who they are. This often leads to them doing drugs, hurt themselves or have unprotected sex which can lead to HIV and AIDS


For questioning teens, if they are scared to come out to their parents, contacting a support group or counseling is a must.

It is important to find the right counselor. He or she should be someone you can be honest to and talk openly about your issues.

“ Be brutally honest with yourself. But be patient and allow yourself the time to find what is truly you, where along the gender continuum you feel most comfortable even if you are transsexual.”- Venessa, founder of National Transgender Advocacy Coalition, Washington D.C



If you ever in the near future decide to embrace your inner desire to transfer to the opposite sex, would you do it? If so, why?

Why do you think there are more sex changes that occur among men instead of women?

Do you think that it’s fair that people use the word transvestite in such a degrading way?

Since, sex reassignment surgery is irreversible, what happens if you regret the decision after the surgery is over?

If you have kids and you decide to change your sex, what would be the affect on your kids mentally?

Is it really necessary to change your sex when other alternatives are available such as injecting hormones?

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