Gender is hardwired into the brain, cannot be changed but sex of a person can

Some persons are so severely affected that they wish to get rid of the wrong body type or organs or are sometimes depressed and may attempt suicide, he says

Richie Gupta, senior consultant and director, Department of Plastic, Cosmetic and Reconstructive Surgery, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, who headed the team that performed the gender affirmation surgery on Taksh and Kritika speaks to The Hindu about gender dysphoria

How long does the entire gender affirmation take? Can you break it down step-wise?

Physical sex is assigned at birth based on appearance of external genitalia, while gender refers to innate and personal sense of being male or female. Normally, sex and gender are in alignment. These are out of alignment in certain individuals, thus resulting in a feeling that they are trapped in the wrong body.

These individuals suffer constantly as they are in conflict with their body, family and social groups such as school and office. The discomfort arising from this conflict is known as GD [gender dysphoria]. Some GD persons are so severely affected that they wish to get rid of the wrong body type or organs, and are sometimes depressed or think of or may attempt suicide unless their GD is somehow relieved.

This subset of individuals is known as transsexuals. These individuals are candidates for hormonal and gender affirmation surgery, which results in alleviation of GD. While gender is hardwired into the brain and cannot be changed, the sex of an individual can be changed. Hence, such surgery is known as gender affirmation surgery.

We follow a protocol for treatment of transsexuals, which is largely based on the 7th Standards of Care [SOCs], published by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health [WPATH] in 2011, and modified by our experience. It encompasses a multidisciplinary approach for management of such patients with involvement of specialities like plastic surgery, psychiatry, psychology, endocrinology, gynaecology, etc. We have a multidisciplinary team — the Gender Identity Clinic [GIC], at Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.

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