In a recent o p-ed for Ozy.com, journalist Melissa Pandika argues that sex reassignment surgery -- better known as a sex change -- may not be the healthiest option for individuals struggling with gender dysphoria. Instead, she believes undergoing psychiatric treatment is a better alternative than permanently altering one’s body.
Comparing gender dysphoria to other disorders, Pandika makes the case that doctors would not encourage someone with anorexia to undergo plastic surgery. She says the pre-existing psychiatric disorders would not go away simply because of surgery, and it could even lead to further problems such as addiction to surgery and “back alley procedures.”
Pandika also goes on to question the validity of studies which indicates an improvement in patients after undergoing sex reassignment. She says studies such as these have a limited number of participants, and cites a report written by researchers from the Karolinska Institute that shows “sex-reassigned people had a five-fold higher risk of attempted suicide, and were three times as likely to have a psychiatric disorder.”
However not everyone agrees with Pandika’s piece. Transgender YouTuber Nicole Ramossays, “Being transgender is so much more than the physical. Being transgender is being able to live your truth. Not just your physical truth, but your mental truth, and allowing yourself to live that truth without shame. Not only looking in the mirror and saying this is who I am, but being able to look at yourself overall and say this is who I am. While there may be some truth to what was said in that piece, overall, the amount of trans people happy after their transition is staggering.”
Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of HLN’s “Dr Drew On Call” says, “More than anything this suggests to me we are not selecting patients properly for surgery, but it does not mean no one should have the surgery.”