What causes transsexualism?
- The exact cause is unknown but it has been found that if a person is exposed to sex hormones opposite to his assigned gender prior to his or her birth then he / she is more likely to have this problem.
- Environmental factors like cultural expectations, parental attitudes, peer group interactions, etc also influence the gender role of the individual.
- People with this problem are convinced that they are of the gender opposite to that indicated by their external genitalia.
- Person expresses extreme distress about the assigned sex.
- The problem can start at any age. This may be in childhood, adolescence or adult hood.
- Parents may notice that girl child with this problem shows no interest in playing with dolls or house games but instead they play rough and tough game and always choose male companions.
- The girl child may urinate in standing position and always assert that she will grow into a man and will have a penis rather than breasts.
- Boys with this problem remain preoccupied with feminine activities and prefer to dress like a girl, to be with girls and play the feminine games.
- Adults with this problems wish to have sex organs of the opposite gender and feel unfortunate to be trapped in the body of opposite sex.
- They frequently request for surgical or medical correction of their sex organs.
Is it treatable?
Actually the problem is in the “mind”, because the person is not able to accept the assigned sex, despite the fact that there is no problem with the functioning of the external genitalia or the body of the individual. Most of the time any form of psychotherapy (counseling) doesn’t help the person to accept the assigned gender. The medical and surgical options are more promising.
What is the remedy?
The ideal remedy is some form of psychiatric help designed to help the person to accept his or her assigned gender. But in case the psychotherapy fails one is left with the option of ‘reassignment of sex’ through surgical and medical means. Since ‘ sex change’ surgery is a one way to treat the problem where one can’t go back. The whole treatment should be carefully planned and should be executed in stages and after a proper pre-surgery counseling. Some experts advice to have a pre-surgery trial of cross gender life for three months to 1 year.
Whom to consult?
In case of any doubt about such problem one should always visit a qualified psychiatrist as his assessment is mandatory to establish the diagnosis. After the proper counseling the concerned psychiatrist can refer the case to a qualified surgeon or physician for further treatment.