Because I have personally experienced "sex change regret" I set out to discover if I was just an isolated case of a missed diagnosis.
My focus was to look for regret studies that in some way I was able to relate to, that I felt rang true to my personal experience. What I found is that "sex change regret" is far more common than I thought, and mine was not an isolated case. I also found that medical research concerning the outcomes is very sparse, considering how life-changing the surgery is, and how very permanent the results are.
If you feel trapped in the wrong body, all you need is sex change surgery and your problems will go away and your dreams will come true, right?
No. The fact is: surgery will not fix the underlying delusional psychological problems that caused the request for surgery.
A long-term study of 324 sex-reassigned persons in 2003 in Sweden concluded:
Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity [diseased state] than the general population. Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism. (Read the entire study here)
There are thousands of others like me, who underwent the surgery only to discover that it did not help. The only results from the surgery were some cosmetic changes.
It might be easy to dismiss my opinions as just one man’s story, but I've done extensive research into what the experts say. You can read the results in Paper Genders.
SEX CHANGES ARE NOT EFFECTIVE, SAY RESEARCHERS
by David Batty, July 30, 2004, Society Guardian
The article resonates with me. I’ve included the beginning, but read the whole thing – it’s worth your time--
There is no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation, according to a medical review conducted exclusively for Guardian Weekend tomorrow.
The review of more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals by the University of Birmingham 's aggressive research intelligence facility (Arif) found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective.
The Guardian asked Arif to conduct the review after speaking to several people who regret changing gender or believe that the medical care they received failed to prepare them for their new lives. They explain why they are unhappy with their sex change and how they cope with the consequences in the Weekend magazine tomorrow (July 31).
Chris Hyde, the director of Arif, said: "There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone's sex is a good or a bad thing. While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there's still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatised - often to the point of committing suicide."
Arif, which advises the NHS in the West Midlands about the evidence base of healthcare treatments, found that most of the medical research on gender reassignment was poorly designed, which skewed the results to suggest that sex change operations are beneficial.
International research suggests that 3-18% of them (transsexuals) come to regret switching gender.
Research from the US and Holland suggests that up to a fifth of patients regret changing sex.
(see the entire article)
IN THE TRANSGENDER ZONE
Author David Batty talks about writing his article: (see the source)
The main article in Guardian Weekend was the result of 14 months of investigation, including more than 100 interviews with TS/TG men and women, activists, medics and other experts, as well as ploughing through dozens of research papers going back well over 50 years. I spent 2-8 hrs interviewing the main case studies - worryingly, several people told me I had asked them more about their lives than the psychiatrists who had assessed them.
Then he addressed my situation and the negative reactions I get by sharing my story:
Some in the transsexual community has done their best to discredit those who complain they have been misdiagnosed or improperly treated. The vast majority of those I spoke to who regretted surgery were not liars or chasing compensation. Many had suffered considerable trauma and confusion, some had been sexually abused in childhood, others suffered from severe mental illnesses. The degree to which most could have been held accountable for their poor medical care was slight IMO.
Batty reports he discovered in his interviews that
As several psychiatrists and transpeople said to me patients who are isolated, dysfunctional, in bad relationships, etc will probably remain so after surgery without proper preparation, care and support.
I think nothing has changed over the last 30 years—Meyers/McHugh concluded the very same thing back then. In Surgical Sex (Copyright © 1991- 2004 First Things), Paul McHugh says:
The psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Jon Meyer was already developing a means of following up with adults who received sex-change operations at Hopkins in order to see how much the surgery had helped them. He found that most of the patients he tracked down some years after their surgery were contented with what they had done and that only a few regretted it. But in every other respect, they were little changed in their psychological condition. They had much the same problems with relationships, work, and emotions as before. The hope that they would emerge now from their emotional difficulties to flourish psychologically had not been fulfilled.
We saw the results as demonstrating that just as these men enjoyed cross-dressing as women before the operation so they enjoyed cross-living after it. But they were no better in their psychological integration or any easier to live with.
I come away with the realization that good research and studies need to be done on the effectiveness of sex change surgery.
Homosexual and transgender activists continue to push sex change surgery as the "necessary treatment" but it may, in fact, cause irreversable damage to the patient.
Anyone considering the surgery should proceed with "extreme caution" and be evaluated by psychologists who do not have a reputation of promoting the surgery.
When I read that a respected medical institution in the UK evaluated more than 100 international medical studies of post-operative transsexuals and found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective, I conclude that objective, scientific evidence is sorely lacking. Nothing about the procedure is proven or determined conclusively yet – not the diagnosis criteria itself, not the criteria for determining “successful” outcomes, nor the amount or strength of regret or happiness with the passage of time.
I fully understand others may come away with completely different conclusions--that is, perhaps, a good thing, because it proves my point, that is, the lack of objective pre-surgery "objective testing."
The diagnosis process becomes nothing more than the equivalent of psychological diagnosis by Russian roulette.
Feel free to respond, with respect please.