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.