Surgery way out of 'wrong body'

Surgery way out of 'wrong body'

People can feel trapped in body of opposite sex

Surya (name changed), was born a female. But his activities, be it in terms of dressing or playing games, were akin to a boy. “I felt like a male trapped inside a female’s body,” said Surya.

It was only after attaining the age of 23 that he approached a Gender Team in a hospital, comprising plastic surgeons, a psychiatrist and an endocrinologist.

The team concluded that Surya should be given body of a male, and he finally got rid of the traumatic dilemma he suffered through the life so far.

“Gender and sex are two different things. Sex is bodily make-up while gender is what a person feels. When these two are not in line, then a person is trans-sexual and feels trapped,” said Dr Rajiv Mehta, psychiatrist, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital.

He although added such discrepancies can occur due to a variety of reasons including schizophrenia and hence, a proper diagnosis is a must.

“Trans-sexual girls engage in boyish activities like playing cricket and being a tomboy. They hate being called beti or bitiya. The case with trans-sexual boys is the opposite. As brains and thoughts cannot be changed, we go for a change of physical appearance,” said Dr Mehta.

He further said ego-synchronic trans-sexuals, who are comfortable with their identity, do not need any change.

“It is ego-dischronic, who are not comfortable with their orientation, who have to go through the surgery. For them, the discrepancy leads to anxiety and depression,” he said.

Long procedure

Surya went for a full transformation which included three surgeries by a plastic surgeon. He got his breasts removed. After three months, his female sexual organs were removed. And finally, after a gap of yet other three months, the procedure for developing male organs -- urethra, penis and scrotum was undertaken.

“Trans-sexual patterns either have genetic basis or neural basis. This explains the scientific reason for difference in body make-up and one’s feelings,” said Dr Richie Gupta, senior consultant and plastic surgeon, BLK Super Speciality Hospital who treated Surya.
After a psychiatric analysis, we realised that Surya is suffering from Gender Identity Disorder – Classic Transsexual. Thus, the surgery was conducted, said Dr Gupta.

Social media

Dr Mehta cited internet and media as the reasons for peoples’ coming out in the open with such disorders.

“From 2001-07 I had treated total two patients. The awareness levels and oneness about the disease have increased and now I treat one or two such patients per month,” he said.

However, the cost of the treatment limits the benefits to a very few people. Each session with a psychiatrist costs anywhere between Rs 500-2,000.

“In normal cases where there are no complications for the patient and the family, we take 10 to15 sittings,” said Dr Mehta.

The surgery in private hospitals costs Rs 3.5-4 lakh.