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Australian Court Grants Teen Breast Removal

A teenager in Australia, born a biological female, has recently been given permission by a family court to get a double-mastectomy in order to more resemble the gender he identifies with — male. Alex, a 17-year-old, has been on hormone treatment since he was 13 to prevent menstruation, and he had to petition the court because he is a minor.

Family Court chief justice Diana Bryant showed great sensitivity to Alex's situation. If he's going to live as male, she argued, his breasts would obviously be a problem. "Overwhelmingly, the evidence was that it was in his interests. And I made that order." Want to hear Catholic groups' responses as well as mine? Then

Catholic groups view the decision as irresponsible, and to this day, "gender identity dysphoria," which describes the feeling transgendered people have that their biological sex is incompatible with the gender they identify with, is often spoken of as a "disorder," or even in this news story, as a "psychological condition."

Theorists of gender like Judith Butler argue that all gender identities are dysphoric — that none of us inhabits them as comfortably as we think we do. (Some women don't feel "feminine," some men don't think they're "manly," and every other discomfort in between.) Transgenderism, in a way, just makes all of our gender dysphoria more obvious. What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you ever known anyone who transitioned, or who didn't feel they were born the "correct" sex?


Love-and-Sex Love-and-Sex 8 years
Thanks for sharing your story, mistwolf! I have a friend who transitioned, too, and there are so many misconceptions about gender dysphoria and just gender itself. The more we all realize we have the same issues with respect to gender (to different degrees and in different ways), the more accepting society will be about people in the trans community. I hope.
mistwolf mistwolf 8 years
@Great Sommelier: I knew from my earliest memories that I was wrong, and if I had the chance to go back and correct the physical problems earlier, I would leap on it. The longer you wait, the harder the process is and the 'worse' the results can be, as you have so much longer of unwelcome post-pubescent hormones to work against. This is not, ever, a decision that one comes to lightly. This boy went through the entire legal process of fighting for this right; how many people, let alone how many so-called children, have the dedication and need to do that for something they are unsure of? Yes, there are people who transition and have regrets. But overall, if any therapy for a more 'acceptable' condition like heart disease or whatnot had the level of positive results SRS has for transsexuals, they would be hailed as miracles, not derided as unnatural.
mistwolf mistwolf 8 years
I not only know people who have transitioned, but I am one of them. I was born with male genetalia, but knew all my life that it was 'wrong'. I finally reached a point in my life about 5 years ago where it was the right time to transition, and did. I had SRS almost 2 years ago, with one of the best surgeons in the world, Dr. Suporn in Chonburi, Thailand. I have an exceptionally supportive family, and I have two children that are biologically mine, and I cherish the life I had prior to transitioning... And it was the best decision we ever made, and very likely saved my life. I life as a relatively open transwoman. I don't hide my past, because I don't have to, and because by being open gives me /so/ many oppertunities to educate people about who and what transsexuals are. I've met precious few people who, when talked to reasonably and rationaly, don't come to at least accept me. I'm also more than happy to answer any questions people might have, in general. :) I came to TresSugar from GeekSugar, and have been so glad I did. It seems a great sight which fosters a lot of communication and civility amongst it's readers. Kudos!
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
Ridiculous. At thirteen you haven't even developed yet. This is psychological
emma-noel emma-noel 8 years
i hav a distant uncl who im not related 2 by blood but whoz in da family and he got a sex change and became a womaon and then he regret it and speakz out against it now but i am all 4 it go 4 wat u want bcuz ur goin 2 die one day and then u will think oh i wish i did dat wit my lfie *sighz*
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
Regardless, it is difficult anywhere in the world to be approved for gender reassignment surgery. (And yes, the removal of the breasts for this reason is considered gender reassignment surgery.) Comment #7 describes the process well. Additionally, many doctors won't perform the surgery unless you have been living as a member of the gender you want to become for x number of years. I have an acquaintance for whom binding is not a possibility due to his asthma, so he will probably never be able to get sex reassignment surgery, even though he was born female but identifies as male.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 8 years
From what I've been reading, Alex is in the care of the welfare department, not his parents. So, it's not as simple as his parents allowing or not allowing the surgery. It also seems as if he went through the trouble of going to court now, rather than just waiting a year, because, since he is still a minor, the state will pay for the surgery. Does anyone know if this is the same Alex who went to court in order to be allowed to take hormones when he was 13?
greenapples1987 greenapples1987 8 years
okay. well i don't know why his parents would not let him do this..and just cut the court ordeal out!
kiwitwist kiwitwist 8 years
Whatever makes you happy and if that is being the opposite sex, have at it. :D I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be uncomfy in your own skin.
Beauty Beauty 8 years
I have a friend whose dad transitioned from male to female. It was very difficult for her because she was 13 when it started, so they were both becoming women at the same time. In the long run, though, they developed a better relationship than they had before. Now both of them speak to people about trans families at events and schools. It's an unusual and very touching story, and hey, if their family is stronger because of it, how can anyone be upset about that?
Chouette4u Chouette4u 8 years
I've had transgendered acquaintances, but no close friends or anything. I guess 17 is old enough for this kind of decision. I think most people are aware or their gender or sexual orientation by that point, so removing breasts at 17 is OK. I do think 17 would be too young for gender reassignment surgery, however.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
My cousin transitioned, and she's much happier as a female than she ever was a male. Luckily, everyone in the family was really supportive of her decision. I've never really thought about it as a disorder or anything like that, and I think that the judge made the correct decision, especially considering that that the teen had lived for so long as a male. Waiting longer would just prolong the negative feelings that go along with the dysphoria.
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