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Transsexualism

One of the most confusing and upsetting psychological conditions is that of transsexualism. It should be fundamental to all of us that at least we are sure what sex we are and that we should be comfortable about being male or female. There are some of us however where this is not the case. These individuals have the innate sense that they have been 'born into the wrong body'. This is a profoundly distressing situation where suicide may seem to be the only solution. It is made worse in that the doctors have no clear understanding as to the cause of the problem, and society as a whole is poorly tolerant of the man who is compelled to live as a woman. While I say 'man', there are women who feel that they are truly male and who also seek 'change of sex'.

I work as a member of the South Australia Gender Dysphoria Unit. The Unit comprises psychiatrists, psychologists and other dedicated specialists who have developed expertise in assisting people with this problem. My role is to implement hormonal changes in selected patients and ensure that the hormones are given effectively and safely.

There are many misconceptions in the transsexual community about hormonal treatment. These range from not recognising the potential dangers of hormones to outright errors about the most suitable form of hormone to be used. Part of my function is to attempt to correct this misinformation by education.

The surgical treatment is popularly known as 'sex change surgery' or 'gender reassignment surgery'. I prefer the term 'gender confirmation surgery'. My preference arises out of the reality that the patient has no choice in his/her gender identity and the surgery therefore is simply confirming and realising that gender status. While at this time, we have no facility for gender confirmation surgery due to a combination of regulatory disadvantage and a lack of experienced surgeons, we do undertake a variety of procedures to improve appearance and function.

The very least I can offer individuals with this problem is a sympathetic ear. You can rest assured that you will not be rejected and embarrassed. My staff and I are accustomed to dealing with the problem and the difficulties experienced while 'in transition'.

I am at an advantage since I myself transitioned in 2007 and never been happier as a woman.