Sexual Behaviour in Canada: Patterns and Problems

By Benjamin Schlesinger | Go to book overview

The management of transsexualism *

J. HOENIG

Transsexualism has attracted a great deal of interest, far beyond any practical clinical need as the number of patients involved is relatively small. Extrapolating from Swedish (35) and British (15) figures, about 222 males and 71 female cases in the whole of Canada would be expected, the prevalence figures being one case per 34,000 population for males, and one per 108,000 for females. The interest in transsexualism derives mainly from the light which the study of these rare cases will throw on the general nature and development of gender identity. Why a boy comes to consider himself a boy, or a girl a girl, is hardly ever questioned until the uncommon deviant from the norm comes to our attention. A better understanding of gender identity, its roots, the factors influencing its permanence and so on, will in turn find a practical clinical application in cases of hermaphroditism where the question of gender reassignment quite often arises.


GENDER REASSIGNMENT SURGERY

Since Hamburger's (11) case of Christine Jorgensen the procedure commonly called 'sex change operation' has come to be more and more accepted (22) after initial opposition (3,8). There is perhaps even a danger that the pendulum may now be swinging too much in the opposite direction and that this treatment is given without due assessment of the indications, and sometimes to the wrong type of patient. There are a few cases on record where haste and wrong judgment

____________________
*
Reprinted from Canadian Psychiatric Association Journal Vol. 19, No. 1 ( February 1974), 1-6.

-162-

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