From He to She or Vice Versa, Many Youth are Looking for Sex Change in Kudla?

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From He to She or Vice Versa, Many Youth are Looking for Sex Change in Kudla?

Mangaluru: Two months ago when I met him his name was Laxmikanth, but two days ago the same Laxmikanth introduced himself to me as “Laxmi?”. Believe it or not, in Kudla many youngsters and even adults are desperately looking for Sex Change, according to Dr. Dinesh Kadam, Prof & Head -Dept of Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery at A J Institute of Medical Sciences & A J Hospital, Mangaluru, and who is also the Executive Member-Association of Plastic Surgeons of India; Director of The Smile Train Project; and International Member of American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Recently when I had met a male medical student of a reputed medical institution in the city, whose earlier name was Mary (name changed) but now addressed as Harry (name changed) said, ” I always wanted to be a male, when I started to dislike the feminine features. But the only problem that I face among my colleagues is that I am totally abused or face lot of discrimination, but I am staying bold, and I feel proud of my male status now. I did the right thing that I wanted, and feel happy”. Just like this young person, if you look around the City there are quite a few persons who have changed their lifestyles/personality from one sex to another. And the main reason for this is “Gender Dysphoria”. Those who undergo Sex- Reassignment Surgery (SRS) suffer from gender identity disorder which is a conflict between individual’s physical gender and the gender with which he or she identifies with. Such persons are usually unhappy with the gender they are attributed at birth.

Dr Dinesh Kadam

Team Mangalorean interacting with Dr Dinesh Kadam, who is the only person in Mangaluru who has done three Sex -Reassignment Surgery (SRS) in the last few years, says that he gets so many enquiries especially from people between the age of 20-25, and sometimes even below that age, for SRS, in simple words ‘Sex Change”?. Dr Kadam said that recently a 27-year-old IT professional by the name of Karthik (name changed) approached him for SRS, where he wanted to change his gender physique to feminine, and I explained to him all the procedures about the surgery, and he agreed for it. ” Years ago people used to go to foreign countries, especially Bangkok or Malaysia for SRS, but now the SRS surgery is done right here in Mangaluru. And many youngsters who have gender dysphoria or gender identity disorder, have contacted me due to awareness. And among the folks who contact me are in their young age. Having done three SRS until now, my fourth full male to female SRS will be on a student hailing from Tamil Nadu” said Dr Kadam.

Dr Kadam further said, ” While many men and women opt for full sex-change, but quite a few opt for partial treatment comprising of face augmentation, or breast implants and so on. Many of my clients have only done changes to their facial appearance into female or male. But those who want a complete sex change, it requires at least six-seven months for complete transformation from one sex to a different sex. Transforming a male into a female is quite easy, when compared to turning a female into a male, due to certain procedures and complications. Apart from that it needs several legal procedures, which has become little complicated after Aadhaar, where fingerprint and Biometric Iris authentication remains intact despite any sex change”.

Dr Dinesh Kadam (far left) during interaction with Team Mangalorean

How does one begin the process of changing one’s sex? The first step usually is meeting with a mental health professional for a diagnosis and psychotherapy. A diagnosis of gender identity disorder or gender dysphoria and a letter of recommendation from the therapist allows a person to begin hormone therapy with a doctor. That is usually followed by a period of living publicly as a member of the opposite sex and, finally, surgery to alter the genitalia and other body parts. Once a person seeks an SRS, psychologists are called for counselling to ascertain their intention. His/Her family behaviour is evaluated, and later psychologists with private and government hospitals would counsel them. Once physical examination is done, a detailed examination is done by an endocrinologist” said Dr Kadam.

What do hormones do? Androgens are given to women to help them develop secondary male sex characteristics such as a beard and body hair. Estrogen and anti-androgens are given to men to help change their musculature, skin and fat distribution, all of which will make them appear more feminine. Body hair also diminishes. The hormones’ most important contribution is to reduce the dysphoria people have been struggling with all their lives. After a month or two, their bodies and brains begin aligning. It’s very obvious to the individuals, where their brain finally is getting this hormone. They feel differently. They behave differently. If a male is changing his gender, procedures like laser therapy to removing of facial hairs, like beard and moustache, face augmentation and creation of hairline are done. The male also undergoes breast creation surgery through implants” added Dr Kadam.

He further said, “What happens during surgery? Male to female genital surgery is easier, less expensive and generally more successful than female to male surgery. That’s one reason why fewer women choose to have surgery on their genitals, another is cost.). In male to female surgery, the testicles and most of the penis are removed and the urethra is cut shorter. Some of the skin is used to fashion a largely functional vagina. A “neoclitoris” that allows sensation can be created from parts of the penis. Men retain their prostates. In female to male surgery, the breasts, uterus and ovaries are removed (in two separate procedures). A “neophallus” can be constructed using tissue from the forearm or other parts of the body that allows sexual sensation, an expensive procedure. Extending the urethra to allow standing urination has proved to be perhaps the most difficult part of the process”

“What other kinds of surgery are performed? Women wishing to live as men often have mastectomies. Men transitioning to women can have plastic surgery to “feminize” their appearance, including work on their eyes, noses, brows, chins and hairlines. They also can have their Adam’s apple shaved down so it is less prominent. A woman who chooses the full range of surgical procedures available would spend nearly Rs 1 lakh or more to transition to a male. Switching from male to female might cost around Rs 2 lakhs since breast implant itself costs around Rs 40-45 thousand. Some people have the work done in Thailand, which is well known for the surgery and where the cost is much lower.” said Dr Dinesh

“Persons either male or female, undergoing SRS cannot bear children but can have a healthy sexual life. In female to male SRS, similar procedures are used-however, removal of uterus and ovaries and creation of private parts are bit complicated. But one of my clients, who was earlier a female, is presently married and living happily with his wife, after SRS surgery. Do many people regret having the surgery? Anecdotal accounts of regret abound, but overall it appears to be rare. But that doesn’t mean that surgery is a miracle cure for the difficulties of gender dysphoria. People who make the transition often lose spouses, families, friends and jobs. They may find themselves completely alone if they relocate to start new lives” added Dr Kadam. He concluded saying that, Before going into any surgery procedures, we/hospital need to inform the law enforcement department about the issue. Apart from this certain legal procedures have to be followed like filing affidavits, change of name in all government-issued ID cards, and also school and college records.

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