For 35 years serious questions have been raised about the overall long-term success of changing genders.
Regarding the outcome of reassignment surgery Dr. Charles Ihlenfeld said, "80% should not do it" and for the remaining 20%, he says it will not be a lifelong solution but rather a temporary "reprieve." In other words, do not expect long term success.
Dr Ihlenfeld has some strong support from The Guardian (UK) from July 2004 that included a review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transgenders by the University of Birmingham aggressive research intelligence facility. They found "no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective." Seeing that they reviewed not just one study but 100 international studies makes this report alarming.
In my view, this shows that failure comes all too often for transgenders and it is so unnecessary. The Guardian reports:
- After gender reassignment, there's still a large number of people who had the surgery but remain traumatized - often to the point of committing suicide.
- Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth (20%) of patients regret changing sex. http://www.theguardian.com/society/2004/jul/30/health.mentalhealth
Thirty-five years ago, in 1979, uncertainty about gender change success was surfacing. At Johns Hopkins Hospital concerns about the reported success rates of changing genders and whether Dr. Money had been falsifying the reports of sex change success prompted a review. Dr. Paul Mc Hugh commissioned Dr. Meyer to study post-operative transsexuals from the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic program. Dr. Meyer's results were far different than Money’s reports of success a decade earlier and also validated the concerns regarding Dr. Money and his reports. Dr. Meyer said, “To say that this type of surgery cures psychiatric disturbance is incorrect.” As a result of studying the results of Hopkins patients, Hopkins closed its gender clinic and university-based gender clinics around the country began to close. http://www.baltimorestyle.com/index.php/style/features_article/fe_sexchange_jf07
Also in 1979, Dr. Ihlenfeld, a former associate of Dr. Harry Benjamin, told an audience extreme care should be given in using cross gender hormones because 80% of patents who want to change their sex shouldn't do it. "There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery," he said. "Too many of them end as suicides." http://lvtgw.jadephoenix.org/Info_htm/Herbal_G/ginko_b2.htm
Madeline Wyndzen, a transgendered psychology professor, writes, "50% of transgenders could be struggling with suicide attempts, regret, anger and unhappiness living in a transgender sub-culture rather than being part of the larger world.” http://www.genderpsychology.org/transsexual/question.html
I say it is important to take every precaution prior to surgery to avoid regret.
Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey says a staggering 41% of transgenders surveyed report they have attempted suicide and that those who have medically transitioned and surgically transitioned have higher rates of attempted suicide than the general population. Ttransgenders have higher rate of HIV infections. They are more prone to heavy drinking and the use of drugs. They have high rates of homelessness, unemployment and extreme poverty, even more so in the more difficult economic times of the last 5 years. http://www.thetaskforce.org/downloads/reports/reports/ntds_report_on_health.pdf
Good golly, Ms. Gender Molly, what more evidence do you need? The effectiveness of sex change parallels the risk of Russian roulette. Yep, you could be lucky but you also could end up dead.
Knowing the facts and seeing the evidence, why would anyone risks their life on a procedure with such shaky results?
Walt Heyer, the Maverick Transgender