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Transgenderism: 9 Things You Need to Know

5. The term cisgender is used to refer to individuals who have a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies and their personal identity.

Cisgender is often used within the LGBTQIA community to refer to people who are not transgender.

6. In the 1960s, Johns Hopkins University became the first American medical center to offer “sex-reassignment surgery.”

But they later stopped performing the procedure after a study on transgendered people in the 1970s. The study compared the outcomes of transgendered people who had the surgery with the outcomes of those who did not. Most of the surgically treated patients described themselves as “satisfied” by the results, but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.

As Dr. McHugh, former psychiatrist in chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, explains, “At Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a “satisfied” but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs.”

7. When children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, 70-80 percent of them spontaneously lost those feelings.

Some 25 percent did have persisting feelings, notes Dr. McHugh, but what differentiates those individuals remains to be discerned. Despite such studies, several states—including California, New Jersey and Massachusetts—have passed laws barring psychiatrists, even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor.

8. A 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden followed 324 people who had sex-reassignment surgery (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males) from 1973 to 2003.

The overall rate of death was higher than expected, with suicide being the leading cause. Those who had the sex-change surgery were almost 20 times more likely to take their own lives than the nontransgender population. They were also more likely to seek in-house treatment for psychiatric conditions.

9. At the heart of the problem is confusion over the nature of the transgendered, says McHugh.

“‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” he adds. “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”