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Male to female transexualism

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About: Male to female transexualism

The number of people having sex-change operations on the NHS each year has almost trebled since the procedure became a ‘right’.More than 1,000 people have had the surgery in a decade, costing the taxpayer up to £10million.Eighty per cent of the operations are to change a man into a woman.In addition to surgery, transsexuals can also get psychotherapy and hormone replacement therapy on the NHS.But critics argue that sex-change operations are a waste of valuable NHS resources when people are dying and suffering because of healthcare rationing.Opponents also cannot understand why people need a sex change for what they interpret as a psychological malaise.Sex changes on the NHS became a right in July 1999 after the Appeal Court recognised that those who believed they were born into the wrong body were suffering from a legitimate illness.In 1999, the year sex changes became free, 49 people had the operation on the NHS in England.

But last year that figure had increased to 137, according to the latest figures from The NHS Information Centre.Since 2005, between 135 and 145 people have had the surgery each year. Justifying the figures, a Health Department spokesman said: ‘When individuals are denied treatment, psychological distress and depression are common and suicides have been reported.’Before the change in the law, if transsexuals could not afford the basic £10,000 cost of surgery, it was down to the local health authority to decide if an operation would be funded. If applicants for grants were unsuccessful, they would have to go private.In addition to the NHS figures, Bernard Reed, from the Gender Identity Research and Education Society charity, estimates that last year at least 150 Britons had their sex-change operations privately, either abroad or in the UK. He said: ‘Gender confirmation surgery is absolutely essential. It is an innate condition. People who are born with this condition have no choice.‘It is not that they suddenly wake up one morning and say, “I would like to be a woman”.

That is what most people do not understand.’The surgery can comprise more than one procedure – conducted during the one operation.For a man wanting to become a woman, surgery involves the removal of male genitalia and the creation of female genitalia.Breast enlargement is not normally carried out on the NHS, although some breast tissue is formed ‘naturally’ as a result of hormone doses which are given during a sex change.For a woman to become a man, the breasts, uterus and ovaries are removed and male genitalia is created. Not available on the NHS is costly hair removal.A quarter of sex change operations are conducted at Charing Cross Hospital in Central London.

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