Sex Change No Longer Taboo In Kerala, Say Doctors

KR Rajappan, who owns the Specialists Hospital, says he has performed three surgeries, including on a 50-year-old who changed her gender to male. (Representational image)

Kochi: Sex change surgery is no longer a taboo and people are coming forward with inquiries, say prominent plastic surgeons in Kerala, giving the credit to the state government for unveiling a transgender policy two years back.

KR Rajappan, who owns the Specialists Hospital, says he has performed three surgeries, including on a 50-year-old who changed her gender to male.

“We did our first transgender surgery in 2010 and so far we have done three. The fourth one is in the process,” Mr Rajappan said.

The other patients include a 30-year-old doctor and a 24-year-old salesperson both of whom became females, while a 25-year-old artist is currently undergoing surgery to change his gender.

A plastic surgeon with over five decades of experience, Mr Rajappan said, “A transgender surgery, as we call a sex-change surgery, differs fundamentally from other surgeries as both body and mind are affected in it, let alone external and internal body parts.”

“Hence, it takes three to four years for a transgender surgery to be completed as it is being done in stages. That’s why this waiting list.”

R Jayakumar, who heads the plastic surgery department at the hospital, explains a person affected with gender identity disorder cannot be rushed in for a sex-change surgery.

“He or she requires complete psychiatric evaluation before undergoing such an operation. In this stage, the person may be required to cross-dress to get into the feel of being the other sex. As it involves hormonal changes as well, medications and procedures suggested by an endocrinologist are also to be done,” said Mr Jayakumar.

Senthil Kumar, surgeon at the plastic surgery department in the hospital, says even the final stage of the surgery is time-consuming.

“For a female to become a male, the uterus has to be removed and male genitals have to be reconstructed. In both female-to-male and male-to-female cases, the only impossibility after the surgery is conceiving a child in the case of a woman or fathering a child in the case of a man. But orgasm being a nerve action, successful sex life in the new role can be guaranteed,” said Senthil Kumar.

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