Transness.org

Exploring Gender Identity

Is SRS Really Necessary?

on January 3, 2011

This is first in a series of blogs on Sex Change Surgery, so the obvious question “Is SRS/GRS Really Necessary?”  Right from the start I will concede this is a loaded question; however, it is a question I have asked myself many times.  The answer is as individual as the person considering it.  The answer should NOT be undertaken alone and should be a consensus by medical professionals trained in gender issues and the transsexual individual.  The bottom line is no one can tell you what your gender is!  Gender is self determined, however the treatment for Gender Incongruity or Gender Dysphoria as it used to be called is a complex issue that requires guidance.  I am not saying it could not be done alone, only that is much easier and more rewarding when support is provided by caring professionals, friends, and family.

With this being said, it would be foolish to jump to a conclusion when something as drastic as SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery) or as some prefer, GRS (Genital Reassignment Surgery) is considered.  The question of other conditions being present such as mental illness, birth defects, medical conditions etc. needs to be ruled out before surgery is implemented.  Just as a doctor considering a liver transplant will make sure the patient does not have any other severe conditions which may hamper recovery from the surgery; it is only prudent to take an informed approach.  Thus we have the WPATH Standards of Care which recommend a thorough medical work up, Psychotherapy evaluation, CHT (Contra Hormone Therapy), and living at least a year in the chosen gender to avoid the possibility of erroneous Gender Incongruity diagnosis. 

The treatment for Gender Incongruity (GI) or GID (Gender Identity Disorder, as it used to be called) is the surgical adjustment of the genitals to conform to the gender identity of the individual.  Counseling and/or psychotherapy is part of both the diagnosis and the treatment.  Dealing with an issue this large should not be undertaken alone.  At the very least a person with gender questions should see a professional that specializes in the treatment of gender disorders.  There are resources online that will help to identify those professionals, please see this link (take your time and read carefully). 

Getting back to the issue of “is it necessary” I offer another link to a blog that considers this issue nicely.  Having been on this journey for a long time, I will share my personal experience on this question after having talked to many pre and post op transsexuals.  I only know of a few cases of post op transsexuals who were not happy with the surgery.  Three of those were media hyped cases of individuals who were mislead by society.  Personally I have known only one person (a pre-op transgender) that transitioned with hormones for 10 yrs and then decided to de-transition and live in their former role. 

On the other side of the coin I have met dozens of post op transsexuals who tell me it was the best decision they ever made.  They lead happy productive lives just as they did before they transitioned.  The variation in the success of SRS/GRS is as varied as the individuals undergoing the procedure, however it is my firm belief that if this option was not the best choice then there would not be so many surgeons doing the procedure today and it would not be considered medically necessary as it is by the AMA, IRS and some Insurance Companies today (see above links).  It is true that not many Insurance companies will cover SRS/GRS, but their numbers are growing as is the mainstream medical communities support for this treatment of Gender Incongruency. 

Choosing to undergo SRS/GRS is not something anyone should take lightly, however it is a viable option nowadays that offers excellent results of both form and function!  It is time the rest of the medical community step up and see that Gender Incongruity is a serious issue that has viable treatment options with excellent results.

🙂 Sequoia Elisabeth

Unity in Gender Diversity     Discover Sex and Sexuality click here

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