Tag Archives: surgery

New Historical Upload: Jorgensen, Johns Hopkins, and SRS in 1967

Christine Jorgensen Uncensored
I’m starting the processing of hundreds of archival transgender media, which I’m providing in high-resolution scans and with no watermarks. So let’s begin with this: in the April, 1967 edition of Uncensored magazine, we find an article which purports how Christine Jorgensen is doing in life as a woman, and reports on Johns Hopkins Hospital starting sex reassignment surgery (SRS) and establishing their Gender Identity Clinic. The article features several photographs from Christine Jorgensen’s past, but mainly focuses on the recent history of SRS (well, recent in 1967 anyhow), with some interesting facts and figures.

There is a quote from Jorgensen at the end of the article, referencing the Johns Hopkins programs, where she says: “I am glad I lived to see it happen. The biggest problem I have encountered since my operation is disbelief. Some people refer to me as ‘it.’ This is a smart-alec approach to a serious medical problem. I have received thousands of letters from people who don’t know where to turn. Now at least some of these poor souls have a place to go.”

You may read and download the entire article, scanned in high-resolution, either by going to the Transas City Christine Jorgensen page, or directly from this link here.

November 2016 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

Hello everyone! We have two guests for our show this weekend – first, we will be speaking with Julie, the mother of a transgender young man, who is suing the Odessa Missouri school district over discrimination against her son. Next, we will be talking with Dr. Peter Raphael, a surgeon with the American Institute of Plastic Surgery who serves the transgender male and female community, about his practice and developments in transgender surgery.

As usual, we will share with you the transgender news and the community calendar update. We do hope you will be able to join us this Saturday, November 26 at 1:00 pm on 90.1 FM KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio! You can also stream the program live on kkfi.org.

New Research Report: Transsexual Breast Augmentation – Under or Over the Muscle?

Exclusive to Transas City: a summary of my research into the question of whether there is a distinct risk of a loss of arm muscle strength or mobility for transsexual women who undergo breast augmentation with the implants placed under the pectoral (chest) muscle. While this is often a subject of conjecture, anecdote, and rumor within the transgender community, very few have the facts at their disposal – including, from my personal experience, the surgeons themselves.

In the report which is linked below I present the results of my literature review of medical testing to determine the facts behind the potential risks of sub-muscular breast implants in transsexual women. Please forward this to anyone who is considering breast augmentation in the near future.

Link to the article: Transsexual Breast Augmentation – Under or Over the Muscle?

The New Girl in School: Transgender Surgery at 18

It was not an easy transition for Katherine Boone, but the question is no longer whether gender reassignment is an option, but instead how soon it should start.

The New York Times is featuring the story of Katherine Boone, a transgender woman who underwent sex reassignment surgery (SRS) at age 18. The article is not entirely positive, and casts SRS for “teenagers” as something new and scary. For the record, at age 18 Katherine is a full legal adult, able to run her own affairs, enlist and die in military service, and be treated as an adult by default by the legal system of this country. So the “teenager” moniker is somewhat deceptive here. In fact, age 18 is not even the youngest at which SRS is performed. In Europe, for example, SRS has been performed at age 16 (such as the case of an anonymous transgender girl in Spain in 2009) or authorized at age 16 (such as English transgender girl Jackie Green who underwent both facial feminization surgery and SRS on her 16th birthday in Thailand).

Katherine Boone

Despite throwing out somewhat discouraging (and not entirely accurate) statements like this:

Given that there are no proven biological markers for what is known as gender dysphoria, however, there is no consensus in the medical community 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.

The article clearly presents Katherine as a young lady who was clearly suffering deeply from her gender dysphoria, and who very much needed this surgery.

It was the cutting that convinced them that if she could not live as a girl, Kat would kill herself. She still has two angry scars on her left forearm. “It became clear to me that this wasn’t a passing phase or some choice or reaction,” Mr. Boone said. “This was truly the basis of what she was.”

The article further covers the problems of the expense of puberty blockers, which are not covered under pretty much any insurance on this planet, and which can run thousands of dollars per year (unlike estradiol and spironolactone, which are much cheaper). And it does spend some time speaking on how debilitating the surgery was for Ms. Boone, which many of us have either personally experienced, or witnessed via our friends.

There is a lot of information in this testimonial article; it’s worth a look.

Source: The New Girl in School: Transgender Surgery at 18 – NYTimes.com

VITAL UPDATE: Quality of Life in Treated Transsexuals


The research never stops here at Transas City, and I’ve recently completed another batch of lengthy literature reviews to update one of our landmark pages, Quality of Life in Treated Transsexuals.

The full details are available at the links herein, but to summarize the update:

  • More than 350 technical papers and journal articles have been reviewed.
  • From 2004-2015 inclusive, 33 studies were found which met the criteria for determining quality of life changes in transsexual women and men as a result of medical transition (blockers, hormones, and/or surgery).
  • Of the 33 studies found which were within our time frame, 26 studies (79%) indicated a conclusively positive impact on quality of life as a result of transition. Another 5 studies (15%) yielded mild or uncertain results, and only 2 studies (6%) found a negative quality of life as a result of medical transition.
  • In short, 98% of the studies reviewed found that at worst no harm was done via medical transition.

I believe that once again, this research which we have conducted shuts down firmly the anti-transgender criticisms that neither hormone therapy nor surgery are necessary medical procedures for transsexuals. Please share the link below, which contains charts, summaries, and full literature citations, to help us publicize this update, and feel free to drop it into debates with “the usual suspects.”

Quality of Life in Treated Transsexuals.

April 2015 Trans Talk on 90.1 KKFI

KKFIPlease join us today, April 25 on “Trans Talk,” 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio at 1:00 pm central. You can also tune into kkfi.org to listen in via live streaming audio from anywhere with an internet connection.

On this program Luke Harness, Sandra Meade, and myself will be discussing surgery within the transgender community, and all of its ramifications. Our special guests include three local transgender persons: MJ, a transgender woman who has completed surgery; James, a transgender man who is just starting his journey; and Amanda, a transgender woman who is at a critical point in her transition. Luke will kick off the program with some LGBT news for the week, and I will finish up the program with the Community Calendar update.

Please tune in if you can, as we hope this shall be a great show!

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

Alright folks, it’s fight the propaganda time. Again.

My attention was drawn by some trolls on a message board to this article on CNS News where an ex-psychiatrist-in-chief of Johns Hopkins claims, Paul McHugh, that transgender persons have a mental disorder, and that transgender rights is kowtowing to a politically correct farce of backing up our madness.


The first thing I want to tell you folks is this is older news which some on the internet are just now dredging up. The original news piece came from an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal of June 12 by McHugh titled “Transgender Surgery Isn’t the Solution”, which later gained some traction when Barbara Kay used another op-ed piece in the National Post to poke at us.

One of the primary reasons which McHugh, and his virtual sycophant Kay, point to as a reason for pushing to deny us transition surgery is a technical report that they cite, in which they claim that “the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people.”

That sounds scary, doesn’t it? It’s worded so that a quick or casual reading of it implies that transsexual surgery may actually increase, or give no benefit, for those who have it in terms of suicide rates. However, that’s not what the original study says at all! The study, which can be downloaded or read at this link, is a highly limited study which ONLY finds that the suicide rate for transsexuals who had surgery is higher than cisgender persons. Well, duh. Like all of us know, surgery won’t fix a messed up life – it will not end discrimination, it will not restore lost careers, and it will not suddenly reconcile family and friends who have turned their backs on us.

The ONLY thing this study really shows us is that transsexual surgery seems to result in an improvement in the quality of life, but the effects on suicides relative to other transgender persons who have NOT had surgery, is unknown. In fact, if you want a comprehensive look at how treatment helps improve our quality of life, please see my comprehensive article at this link.

In short, this news article is nothing more than sloppy reporting, stacked on top of earlier sloppy reporting.

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’ | CNS News.

Oregon Health Authority To Cover Hormones, Surgery for Transgender People

Please note, this only applies to those who are covered under Medicaid within the state. With this action Oregon joins California, Colorado, Vermont, and Washington DC in covering transgender health care. Again, we slowly are making progress towards complete equality.

Oregon Health Authority To Cover Hormones, Surgery for Transgender People.

Canadian Trans Girl Gets Amended Birth Certificate; Has Even Bigger Goals

Harriette-Cunningham-transgender-girlHarriette Cunningham, a resident of British Columbia, was able to amend her birth certificate’s gender marker thanks to a change in the law that previously required surgery by transgender individuals. The 11-year-old was first in line when the courts opened to have her documents updated.

“It’s not just a piece of paper. It matters to me to have me properly represented.”

Harriette is a girl on a mission. When she researched her rights in her province, she became frustrated at the surgical requirement and has decided that gender should not be marked on birth certificates at all. She and her family plan to go before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal in October along with other activists to fight for a change in the law.

“I want to get gender off the birth certificates so when a child is born they don’t put ‘M’ or ‘F’ on their birth certificate. That would have made it a lot easier for me.”

Let’s hope Harriette and her supporters are able to make a difference in British Columbia and throughout Canada.

Here in the US, the AMA has recently recommended that all states change their laws to allow people to change their gender markers without any surgical requirement. Most states require surgery to have a birth certificate’s gender marker amended. A few states allow for “irreversible medical treatment” which means that hormone therapy is considered enough intervention to warrant a gender marker change. Some states (Idaho, Ohio, and Tennessee) will not allow a marker to be changed even with surgery. You can check your state’s requirements on the Lambda Legal website.

The need for this change in policy affects adults and children differently. (I won’t get into the obvious and terrifying issues affecting adults here such as police harassment and physical violence, because as a mom of a youngster, my knowledge is limited in what transmen and transwomen go through daily.) As more kids are able to transition early, blending in and being able to go through childhood “in stealth” and even through puberty in their teens, their school records are often not updated because of their birth certificates. They can be accidentally outed during roll call by substitutes or on official test records. Getting into a college and receiving the correct living arrangements can become a tangled mess. Because children cannot legally have surgery, they have practically no chance of getting a birth certificate corrected.

I, for one, will be lobbying to get the policy changed where we live. Will you join me and start petitioning in your area, too?

In Which Una is Exasperated by One of the Most Disgusting Editorials She’s Recently Read


Where do I even begin with an editorial such as this? The majesty of the ignorance, prejudice, and fear was so overwhelming that I was just stunned. After reading the title “Taxpayers to pay for tranny grannies,” I picked my jaw up off the floor and I tried to find who wrote it. But the author refused to give their name, instead hiding behind the editorial banner of The Washington Times and giving it the newspaper’s imprimatur.

There is no way to sugar-coat this editorial – it’s disgusting. It’s like something Rush Limbaugh would write just after having been given a power-wedgie from Laverne Cox. It’s sort of a Twilight Zone editorial, the sort of thing one would expect to be scrawled on the underside of a toilet seat. I’ve seen more intelligent musings written by a highly trained gibbon. Once while at graduate school I saw a drunken frat pledge standing by the fountain at KU, dressed only in his socks and tighty-whities, screaming out an acapella version of “Stand by Your Man” – and that made more sense than this editorial.

From the very first paragraph we read of the “lavender lobby,” and by the 4th sentence we are being deliberately misgendered. It compares getting necessary medical treatment with Botox and a toupee. By the fourth paragraph it makes the “even to prisoners” argument which has been long rejected by the Supreme Court, while trotting out the spectre of Chelsea Manning (and deliberately refuses to use her new, real, legal name). It also makes a factual error, Christine Jorgensen “discarded[sic] his[sic] manhood[sic]” in 1952, not 1951. The following quote should tell you a bit of the tone.

The special treatment only applies to homosexuals — even if they’re criminals. The Pentagon has been discussing transferring custody of Bradley Manning, the convicted leaker of national security secrets, from Fort Leavenworth to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and a civilian prison where he can get government hormone therapy to live the rest of his 35 years or so behind bars as “Chelsea.”

This surgery is not a medically necessary procedure, but an indulgence. The homosexual organizations represent only a tiny percentage of the population, but gays typically have a larger than average disposable income, so they could easily set up a charitable foundation to pay for sex-change operations for those who can’t afford them. However, this would cut into political fundraising. The Center for Responsive Politics counts a dozen prominent homosexual activists who together raised $2.7 million for Mr. Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

I can’t even go on. There is a link below; I recommend you don’t bother clicking on it. The Washington Times has now, in my opinion, crossed over the boundary line to be a hate-based media organization when it comes to the subject of my people. Don’t give them one more cent of advertising revenue by clicking on the link below.

EDITORIAL: Taxpayers to pay for tranny grannies – Washington Times.

Yes It’s True – Medicare to Update Healthcare Standards for Transgender Patients. But There Are Some Caveats…

Businesswoman shouting her victory to the worldIs this the biggest news of the last 2 years? It’s certainly up there with the Macy v. Holder decision and the overturning of the Defense of Marriage Act. Today will likely be remembered forever as a milestone triumph for transgender persons in the United States.

What happened is this – the US Department of Health and Human Services ruled that Medicare cannot automatically exclude coverage for gender reassignment surgery if it is medically needed. You can read the full decision at this link here.

The scientist in me, however, forces me to strike a cautionary note for those celebrating the news. So please note the following:

  1. It does not mandate that transsexual surgery (as they term it) is covered in all cases. Claimants may still be denied coverage for other reasons that are allowable under the law. What those reasons may be, however, are not known at this time (and indeed, there may be none which apply).
  2. Note that only specific types of transsexual surgery are covered. From the decision: “For the male-to-female, transsexual surgery entails castration, penectomy and vulva-vaginal construction. Surgery for the female-to-male transsexual consists of bilateral mammectomy, hysterectomy and salpingooophorectomy, which may be followed by phalloplasty and the insertion of testicular prostheses.” Note that breast implants are not covered, nor facial feminization surgery, since they are still considered cosmetic surgeries.
  3. It does not necessarily change anything immediately for some Medicare insurers, and may not take effect with some until January 1, 2015.
  4. This ruling does not impact Medicaid, nor Veteran’s health coverages, as those are administered separately.
  5. Note that you may not have a choice in the surgeon to perform your bottom surgery. Medicare may choose to cover only the “lowest cost provider,” and there is also a chance that Medicare’s physician reimbursement levels are low enough that some GRS surgeons may choose not to accept Medicare.
  6. Also note that some surgeons are already booked to capacity right now – for example, I have learned that Dr. Bowers is currently scheduling surgeries for late 2015. Even if the floodgates are opened for surgery, there may be a considerable backlog at surgeon’s offices. This may also lead to a flood of new surgeons who may not have the experience and skills of the current group of established surgeons (but then, everyone has to start somewhere…).
  7. Finally, note that in most cases Medicare will not cover surgery performed outside the US. So if you had your heart set on surgery in Thailand or Quebec, you may still have to pay for most of the expenses out of pocket.

The good news is that while you may believe this only applies to Medicare patients, many private health insurers and their subscriber companies base their coverages on what is or isn’t allowed under Medicare. So it is certain that this will have a “trickle-down” effect starting in 2015, when most policies are renewed.

So let’s celebrate, everyone! We won a major victory!

GLAD / News / Medicare to Update Healthcare Standards for Transgender Patients.

Book Review: An Autobiography of Roberta Cowell

Cowell_Roberta_01Cowell, Roberta An Autobiography: Roberta Cowell’s Story New York: British Book Centre, 1954.

Roberta Cowell is notable for being one of the very first transsexual women in the public eye in the United Kingdom, and she is one of the very earliest to undergo male-to-female sex reassignment surgery in the world. As she predates the much more famous Christine Jorgensen on both counts, her story is an especially interesting one from the pre-Christine perspective.

Roberta was born Robert, the son of a surgeon in the British Territorial Army. Her mother was a housewife who was active in social work. Being a middle-class child, Roberta was very quickly sent off to preparatory schools, where she discovered an aptitude for both mathematics and boxing, also liking tennis and fencing (as I do).

An early bought with obesity likely started a series of body image problems, and Roberta from the earliest pages of the book focuses quite a bit on her belief that she was intersexed. She describes having female hips, a female fat distribution, small features, female hair patterning, etc. She focuses on this quite a bit in the very start of and the second half of the book, and maintained for all of her life that she was intersex (examination late in life proved that she actually was not, unless it was a subtle hormone irregularity).

An aptitude for mechanical things, especially automobiles, was evident very early on. She learned how to repair, build, and race automobiles, something she frequently did in the pre-WW2 years. This love of racing and machines led to a love of airplanes. She joined the R.A.F. as a student pilot in 1935, and later enlisted fully in 1940. She received her commission of Captain at 1941, and was sent to Iceland to head a repair shop. She eventually received a flying assignment and joins a fighter squadron. Although she did not see much action, she had several narrow escapes due to some abnormal flying accidents and incidents. A large amount of the book details both mundane and somewhat interesting items of the war preparations and training.

Cowell in World War II.

Roberta’s first real sexual experience came from the unsuccessful advance of a fellow male tennis player, which increased her horror of being thought a homosexual. She had a few girlfriends in short relationships. She married a woman engineer in 1941, but only had two weeks of marital bliss before she was sent to Iceland. She speaks very, very little of her wife – practically nothing is said on the courtship, and only a few sentences devoted to anything else regarding her.

The war adventures continue, and sometime after D-Day, she is shot down over German lines. Amazingly, she is taken to the same prison camp, in the same month, as my paternal grandfather! I got a little thrill over that, thinking that it was actually possible my grandfather had met Roberta Cowell. Her descriptions of Stalag Luft I match what my grandfather used to tell me. She is eventually liberated by the Russians and returns home to try starting up a small business, finding that the English post-war economic climate is anything but good. She also suffers from some mild post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 1948 she separated from her wife, despite having brought forth two daughters, and begain psychotherapy over a general depression and malaise. Here her story of psychoanalysis, Freudian style, lines up with that in so many other trans histories I’ve read. The entirety of Freudian psychoanalysis sounds, from the viewpoint of the patients, to be a colossal load of unproductive money-wasting rubbish, and it doesn’t help Roberta in this case either. But it does give rise to the start of her realization that, along with her feminine features, there is actually a woman inside of her.

A physician speculates on her intersexuality, and suddenly, when she can conceptualize her growing feelings of femininity in a medical context, she starts to feel better. At this point in the book, you can start to see the typical gender transition snowball rolling down the hill. She meets more and more physicians, all of whom are reportedly “in wonder” over her intersexuality. A female endocrinologist (surely a rarity in 1940’s England!) prescribes a hormone regimen for Roberta, and like many transwomen who write autobiographies, she claims remarkable and rapid transformation to all parts of her body. Skin, breast development, loss of muscle, everything happens on fast-forward somehow, even her beard vanishes completely, something which beggars belief. At this point she realizes she is only interested in men. Even her handwriting changes unconsciously. To hear her tell of it, you almost expect her penis to suddenly invert and for her to start having periods!

Roberta Cowell in the kitchen.

Two years of hormone treatments pass, with Roberta still not fully out as a female. In 1951, she claims that the doctors were convinced, without any surgical alteration, that she was female, and they even ordered that her birth certificate be altered. At this point a series of SRS operations is decided upon, to correct her “intersex” condition to give her a female-appearing body. She moves out with a platonic female friend, and starts appearing in public as a woman more and more. Her SRS goes without a hitch, although the book is vague on whether it was simply a labiaplasty, or if a vaginoplasty was performed. Facial feminization surgery (FFS) is next, and goes well for her (or so she reports). At this point, she claims that thanks to hormones, she gained 5 inches in her bust, 2 inches on her hips, lost 5 inches around her waist – all of this is possible – but amazingly, lost 1.5 inches in height!

She then enters a world of learning about cosmetics, hair styling, clothing, and cooking (which she especially enjoys). She reports having men trying to pick up on her, in an awkward 1950’s English style, and about a first date with a man. One scene which was funny was when her date’s starter was stuck, and she knew how to fix it, but didn’t want to let on that she knew more than a mere woman should – so she “sat by demurely while telephoned the A.A. and at length got help.” In fact, she says she had to adopt the quote from Martin Luther, “no gown worse becomes a woman than learning,” and continually had to play dumb to let men take care of her. In fact, Cowell evinces a somewhat patronizing disdain towards her fellow women which is not really endearing.

She meets her mother and father as Roberta, and the introductions are rocky, but they eventually get along well. At this point in the book Cowell segues into a discussion of transsexuality and other famous transsexuals, such as Lili Elbe and Christine Jorgensen. She then talks of transvestites and her experiences with them, and moves on to discussing genetics and intersexuality – much of it relevant still at a basic level. Some of her suppositions about hormone effects are a bit naïve, but were not uncommonly adopted by physicians of her time.
Roberta with her father.

She returns to the story and relates an account of her first trip abroad as a woman on vacation, and how it led to a wonderful date with a charming man in Paris. She describes it with a Wodehouse quote: “It’s like eating strawberries and cream in a new dress by moonlight on a summer night, while somebody plays violin far away in the distance.” Whereas my first trip abroad as a woman was to inspect a coal power plant in Yorkshire…

Roberta Cowell at the Louvre in Paris, viewing the Venus de Milo.

She writes a little of how her feminine emotions continued to evolve, including gaining the ability to cry refreshingly, and the book finishes with one nice quote: “The past is forgotten, the future doesn’t matter, and the glowingly happy present is even better than I had hoped. I am myself.”

Roberta Cowell was a pioneer, but she is not an icon for the trans community to admire. Later in life she made a point of claiming she was XX, despite having sired two children, fudged a bit of her history and war record, and most critically, made some ugly statements about transsexuals, calling them “freaks” because they weren’t “intersexed” like she claimed to be. This feeling does not come through in her autobiography, as it ends too soon, so the book stands alone as a decent read and an interesting insight into the pre-Jorgensen transgender world.

HHS Expected To Lift Blanket Medicare Ban On Sex-Reassignment Surgery Soon

I reported last December that the Department of Health and Human Services was re-evaluating the ban on transgender sexual reassignment surgery (SRS), and the possibility that it could be covered by Medicare.

This update reports the opinion that an end to the ban is going to be announced “soon,” but no timetable has been announced. The ban, which has been in place since 1981, is long overdue to be scrapped. A small number of insurance companies have already seen the light and started making transgender treatment a standard part of their group plans, although individual companies sometimes negotiate the coverage out to reduce their costs. Should Medicare begin to cover SRS, it will be very politically difficult for companies to continue to ban coverage.

HHS Expected To Lift Blanket Medicare Ban On Sex-Reassignment Surgery Soon.

The Truth About the Lab-grown Vaginas

When I saw the news that doctors had been able to grow new vaginas for women in a laboratory environment, and have them fully function after implantation, I was really quite interested and enthused. But not for the reasons you would think – I knew right away that this didn’t mean very much in the near-term for transgender women, but let that not diminish at all the enormous quality of life improvement which could mean for cisgender women suffering from birth defects, disease, or accidents.

However, I also expected, and saw it was true, that many sites and blogs on the net which feature “transgender news,” many of them run by transgender persons, made the natural jump to “OMG they can give us real vaginas!!!!” Unfortunately, this is not the case, as one can see when they do the legwork to read the actual findings from The Lancet.

The title of the study gives a hint as to where the problems may lie: Tissue-engineered autologous vaginal organs in patients: a pilot cohort study. It’s that word autologous, which means that they started the process using tissues from the patients themselves. To build the vagina they took tissue samples which were 1 square centimeter from the vulva, then these were “seeded” upon a scaffold. There was no use of stem cells or anything else which turned cells which were very different into a vagina. Furthermore, many of these patients already had a partial vaginal cavity, so their surgeries were in some ways less involved than SRS.

Patient_SatisfactionHowever, there is a lot of good news here, in that if it were possible to engineer a transwoman’s own stem cells into making vulvar cells, then this same technique might be usable in order to make a vagina. Or skipping the middle-man entirely to make vaginal cells (I am not a physician, so I don’t want to make assumptions). It doesn’t even matter if you have a “normal” XY karyotype, as CAIS women have an XY chromosome, and yet can form a vagina. Moreover, this isn’t a brand-new study – the women in this study were followed for 8 years post-surgery, and even after that length of time had very high scores in terms of their vaginal response to desire and arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, absence of pain, and overall satisfaction.

BBC News – Doctors implant lab-grown vagina.

South Korea: GRS Surgeon “Corrects God’s Mistakes”

This is a very interesting article, written a little thoughtfully, on the little-known world of transgender surgery in South Korea and the lead surgeon in that nation. Transgender people are still somewhat taboo in that country, although some reports from human rights advocates claim that transgender people are actually more accepted in South Korea than lesbian, gay, and bisexual people.

The surgeon in question is Dr. Kim Seok-Kwun, a veteran of about 320 GRS procedures. His reason for choosing this mission in life, in a country mostly hostile to transgender people, is given as:

The devout Protestant known as the “father of South Korean transgender people” once wrestled with similar feelings.

“I’ve decided to defy God’s will,” Kim, 61, said in an interview before the monk’s recent successful surgery to become a man. “At first, I agonized over whether I should do these operations because I wondered if I was defying God. I was overcome with a sense of shame. But my patients desperately wanted these surgeries. Without them, they’d kill themselves.”

When Kim first started doing the surgeries in the 1980s, his pastor objected. Friends and fellow doctors joked that he was going to hell if he didn’t stop. He now feels a great sense of achievement for helping people who feel trapped in the wrong body. He believes he’s correcting what he calls God’s mistakes.

“Some people are born without genitals or with cleft lips or with no ears or with their fingers stuck together. Why does God create people like this? Aren’t these God’s mistakes?” Kim said. “And isn’t a mismatched sexual identity a mistake, too?”

The lead photo is of Harisu, South Korea’s most famous transsexual entertainer, who is the featured surgeon’s most famous patient.

BUSAN, South Korea: SKorea sex change doc: I correct ‘God’s mistakes’ | Health | Columbus Ledger Enquirer.