And the accolades keep on coming for Caitlyn Jenner. She was honoured with the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award on July 15th for showing enormous courage and self acceptance in coming out as a transgender.
The media circus surrounding Caitlyn Jenner’s gender transition does not reveal the fragility, the risks or the emotional upheaval that are a part of a sex reassignment surgery.
This complex procedure is not just a realignment of sex organs; it involves a series of surgeries with a team of experts from the psychiatrist department, cosmetology, endocrinology and anesthesia. A full blown gender-change surgery includes:
Caitlyn hasn’t got the genital reassignment surgery done yet. So the 65-year-old, who said goodbye to Bruce with the help of hormones, facial feminisation surgery and breast implants, still has a penis. She recently revealed that her full transition will take a year, however, she has not specified whether that includes a full genital reassignment surgery.
Now cosmetic changes; breast implants and the whole feminisation aspect, is not a necessity for a person dealing with a gender identity disorder. The cosmetic operations are done to align the physical appearance with the gender identity.
The first twelve months are difficult. An individual has to undergo 12 months of continuous hormone therapy under the supervision of a physician. The hormone injections are very expensive, cost thousands of dollars a year, and like all drugs used for transgender treatment, they are not approved by the US FDA.
In this period of one year, cosmetic surgeries can be carried out but doctors strictly advise a one year gap between cosmetic changes and a genital reassignment procedure.
Sex change is a series of irreversible operations and according to The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (TWPATH) , 40% of transgenders regret their decision later in life.
During this period, any kind of anxiety or depression has to be treated clinically. Anyone undergoing a sex change operation will have to take hormonal injections for life. Since this is a fairly new science, long term effects of these therapies are not known.
So Caitlyn Jenner at 65 is well past her reproductive age but if transgendered in “the prime of their life,” kids are very much possible. A report published in the Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity journal stated that reproduction in transgender individuals undergoing therapy is possible, but only if cryopreservation of gametes (freezing your sex cells) is done before the transitioning begins. The frozen eggs/sperm can then be used later on if the person decides they want to have kids.
Caitlyn is rocking the spotlight. She’s the new fashion icon, just look how she’s doing short skirt right at 65! Making all the right moves, doing new reality shows, getting even more love than the 1976 Olympic feat. Could anything be possibly amiss in her life right now?
A chilling fact: More than 30% of transgenders attempt or plan suicide. (Source: TWPATH)
Transgenders undergo hormone injections and irreversible surgeries in a desperate effort to feel better, yet they attempt and commit suicide at an alarming rate, even after treatment.
The fact is, no matter how many procedures you get done, gender transition is not natural. Very rarely do men end up looking as stunning as Caitlyn. In most cases, the burden of years of follow-up treatment, lifelong hormonal treatment, or the faults with the cosmetic procedures result in depression.
This question invokes biology, ideology and emotion. Is gender dysphoria governed by a wiring of the brain or by genetic coding? How much does it stem from the pressure to fit into society’s boxes?
Medically doctors say the younger the better. Hormone blockers work seamlessly before the onset of puberty. The multitude of cosmetic surgeries will not be required at a young age.
Given that there are no proven biological markers for what is known as gender identity disorder, there is no medical consensus on the central question: whether teenagers, habitually trying on new identities and not known for foresight should be granted an irreversible physical fix for what is still considered a psychological condition?
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