“I feel liberated,” says 25-year-old Sunil Tiwari (name changed) as he begins a new life at SL Raheja Hospital, Mumbai, after a sex change operation. Born a female, Sunil decided to undergo the surgery a year-and-a-half ago.
Sunil, a Jharkhand resident, underwent the third surgery for sex change on October 21.
“I knew I was different from / than others. First, I confided in my friends and they showed me the right path. I decided to complete my education and go for the operation,” said Sunil.
A chartered accountant by profession, Sunil is the eldest of the three siblings and his younger sister played the role of a mediator between him and his family. Surprisingly, at a time when Indian society is yet to embrace the gender transformation, Sunil’s family was quick to agree to the sex change operation.
“I know our society is not yet open to sex change operations and I was sceptical as well as ready for a no from my mother. But, I am fortunate that my family and friends never questioned my decision and supported it without blinking their eyes even once,” said Sunil.
He added that while the number of sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) across the social spectrum is growing, convincing one’s family is still a task.
India’s most famous example for a sex change operation has been Pankaj Sharma, who became Bobby Darling. A SRS involves a series of surgeries with a team of experts from the psychiatrist department, cosmetology, endocrinology and anaesthesia. Recently Gaurav Arora of MTV Spiltsvilla fame was in news after he transformed himself and became Gauri Arora.
Dr Parag Telang, the cosmetic surgeon who operated on Sunil, said compared to male to female SRS surgeries, female to male surgeries are more complex.
“We counsel our patients that the change will only be cosmetic. Though they can continue to have sexual intercourse, their reproductive abilities will be affected,” said Dr Telang.
The doctor added that Sunil underwent breast, uterus and ovaries removal and a genital reassignment surgery. While Sunil will be discharged on October 26, he will soon be undergoing voice modulation surgery as well. As Sunil is set to return to Bangalore and resume work, he is apprehensive about continuing the job.
“They have been very supportive. They granted my leaves, too, but now I am unsure if I will be able to continue working post the surgery. I will have to search for a new job,” said Sunil.
Talking about marriage, Sunil says his mother will take the final decision.
“I have received immense support from her and I would want her to choose a bride for me,” said Sunil.
About sex change operation
Sex change surgery is also known as sex reassignment surgery (SRS). It is a surgical procedure that changes genital organs from one gender to another. A male-to-female SRS requires removal of the penis, reshaping genital tissue to appear more female, and constructing a vagina. In female-to-male SRS, breast removal, removing the uterus and ovaries and a genital reassignment surgery as well as voice modulation is required. The cost of the surgery for male to female is between Rs2 to Rs5 lakh, while the female to male costs between Rs4 to Rs8 lakh