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Many gays opting for sex change: Doctors

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Many gays opting for sex change: Doctors

September 24th, 2009 – 2:31 pm ICT by IANS

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/health/many-gays-opting-for-sex-change-doctors_100251685.html

By Prashant K. Nanda
New Delhi, Sep 24 (IANS) Even as gay activism grows in India and some slowly find the courage to come out of the closet, many from the community – especially the well educated and well heeled in the cities – are opting for expensive sex change procedures, say doctors.

“You may ask why, but it is a fact that gays are going for a gender makeover these days. I have done several cases in Delhi and Kolkata,” Ashutosh Misra, a senior reconstructive surgeon here, told IANS.

“Between a gay couple, generally the feminine partner is changing her gender and becoming female. Though I have seen gays of many age groups, those in the 25-30 age group are the ones mostly going for it,” Misra said.

He said such clients were well educated and economically established. “They have good education and are capable of affording their own medical expenses.”

The doctor, who has been associated with several leading hospitals like Fortis and Rockland, said he has been getting at least two such cases every month.

“The whole process of gender change of such couples takes around one year’s time. First, a psychiatrist counsels both the partners and after that, if they decide to go ahead, we implant the breast first and the leave them to adjust with the new body part for a period of six months. Then the gender reconstruction takes place,” Misra added.

The cost of such a gender makeover is not less than Rs.250,000. He said out of 10 homosexuals who want to undergo a sex change – nine are those who want to become female.

“Eight or nine out of 10 such people want to become female,” he said, adding that male to female change is less difficult and less expensive as compared to the other way round.

Gautam, a gay activist in Delhi, said: “Society’s pressure is so much that some gay couples may be going for sex change to stay together. Though I don’t know of a particular case, this could be the reason.”

He, however, added: “There could also be some gender identity mismatch.”

Psychiatrists too say there is generally a gender identity disorder among some gays.

Sameer Malhotra, a senior psychiatrist in Delhi, said: “Many of these couples are committed but depressed about their image. Hence they go for this makeover. The gender identity disorder is a key factor.”

“Some of them believe they have a male body but a female soul. They face depression over a period of time by thinking about the image of their self. This is one of the reasons behind cross-dressing too,” he explained.

Malhotra said sometimes such couples go for a makeover to live a normal life. “I have got people of all age brackets. Members of this community who are as young as 16 and as old as 50 take medical help.”

Gay activism has been growing in India, forcing many to rethink social norms and the laws of the land.

In July, the Delhi High Court gave a landmark judgement by decriminalising homosexuality. This means police can no longer intrude upon or arrest adult gays having consensual sex. Though some civil society members have moved the Supreme Court against the verdict, the court had refused to suspend the high court verdict so far.

Gays across the country have been fighting to reduce the social stigma attached to them and organised several events to increase awareness about them. Colourful gay pride rallies for LGBTs (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) have been held with great success in cities like Delhi and Bangalore in the last couple of years.

(Prashant K. Nanda can be contacted at prashant.n@ians.in)

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Written by gaybombay

September 25, 2009 at 4:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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