Sex reassignment surgery is also referred to as sex change surgery which is the last stage that is done in the physical transition in relations to transgendered or transsexual female-to-male or male-to-female. The procedure in this case involves the removal of the genitalia of an individual’s sex and replacing or constructing genital organs that are of the opposite gender (Hirschfeld, 2000). The alteration of the sex organs may be influenced by two main reasons which include the following:
1. An individual being born with intersex deformities which would necessitate the assignment of one of the sexes. This may be as a result of the primordial female genitalia changing into male genitalia which are usually as a result of male hormone stimulation.
2. The internal feeling of an individual that they are physically of a different sex in relations to how they are emotionally and mentally. In this case, individuals feel that they are of the opposite sex rather than the one they are trapped in their bodies. This type of disorder or dissonance is referred to as gender dysphoria which is uncomfortable as well as so profound to the extent of making individuals desire to be altered surgically in order for them to physically look like the sex they feel they are which the opposite of their current physical appearance.
The alteration of an individual’s sex involves three phases which include:
• The individual having a real life experience in the desired role. In this case, if an individual decides to transform from male to female, they would have to live the life of a female in all that they do i.e. in working and in all their deed. This is also referred to as social reassignment.
• Hormonal reassignment which is the second phase i.e. the phase after an individual has undergone a successful social reassignment. This phase involves estrogen therapy which is of essence in the suppression of physical characteristics in the case of men and encourages the physical characteristics in female. In addition, the electrolysis of bodily as well as facial hair is also of great importance.
• Surgery is the third face which involves the removal of one’s genitalia and representing them with those of the opposite gender. This involves a surgical process where surgeons remove ones sexual organs physically and replace with those of the other gender. This is an irreversible process.
Individuals undergo various challenges as they pass through these phases before having a surgery performed on them. The first stage involves one living the opposite life of their initial i.e. if male you live the life of a female and if female you live the life of a male. This is difficult as it involves the adaption of behaviours that one is not familiar with. In addition to this, individuals may tend to avoid those that undergo such transitions as they are seen to be an outcast to the society (Yarber, 2013). Other individual may mock them and as such it is difficult for them especially in cases where the sex reassignment is done to adults.
The second phase involves the hormonal alteration and as such, individuals tend to develop the opposite sex characteristics including change of voice among others. Individuals may be also mocked as well as being isolated by friends and others in the society which makes it difficult for the patients of sex reassignment surgery to pass through. The last stage involves the surgery itself and in this case, decision making is the hardest challenge that individuals pass through since the process involves an irreversible change of one’s sexual orientation and once done cannot be redone. In order for patients to successfully overcome these challenges, professionals who are skilled ought to get in contact with such patients and help them through the process. These include general practitioners, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, psychiatrists, as well as surgeons.
- Hirschfeld, M. (2000). The homosexuality of men and women. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.
- Yarber, W., & Sayad, B. (2013). Human sexuality. New York: McGraw-Hill.