Rise in sex change cases, societal acceptance still distant

In the past few decades now, there is a significant rise in the number of people aspiring to change their sex flocking to Mumbai. But, there seems to be a lack of acceptance even among those families whose members have or are willing to undergo such surgeries

Why do men expose themselves to women?

It’s no news that in the past few years, Mumbai has become one of Indias key centres for sex reassessment surgery (SRS). For decades now, people aspiring to undergo cosmetic procedures have been flocking to Mumbai.

However, there seems to be a lack of acceptance even among those families whose members have or are willing to undergo such surgeries.

Dr Mukund Jagannathan, the head of plastic surgery department, LTMG Hospital, Sion, agrees by saying, “One must know for sure that he/she wants to undergo the surgery because of gender dysphoria. But what we still see is, parents can’t accept this. Family support is still a far-fetched dream for them. That kind of acceptance is lacking.”

Furthermore, he added, “In the past few years, the number of people coming out in the open has increased significantly.”

Mumbai-based doctor, Dr Parag Telang specialises in this surgery, alone has performed as many as 35 sex change operations in the past two-and-half years.

Dr Telang shot into limelight in 2016 for performing a successful SRS on a woman from Bangalore. He said several people have become more open about seeking sex reassessment surgery, a procedure they believe helps gives them their true identity.

“The number of people coming out openly and seeking SRS is increasing. However, we must remember that is still a long way to go for them to be accepted in the society,” he said.

“I get a lot of patients who need a certificate before undergoing this surgery.  Of which around 50% are individuals who have run away from their families for the same,” said Dr Sagar Karia, a consulting psychiatrist at Sion Hospital.

What is GID or gender dysphoria?

Gender identity disorder (GID) is a psychological disorder characterised by a persistent unhappiness with one’s own sex and a desire to be of the opposite sex.  Also, people seek sex reassignment surgery for the same.