What is your opinion on gender change

Transsexuality

What is transsexuality?

The term transsexuality (also trans identity or transsexualism) describes a phenomenon that involves crossing gender boundaries. There are men who experience themselves as women and women who experience themselves as men. One speaks of transsexuality when these people behave according to their self-perception. In other words, they are intensely pursuing the desire to change their sex - in physical, social and legal terms.

In all cultures and epochs there have been people who have transcended the boundaries of their biological sex - either temporarily or permanently. Some of these people were admired by their fellow human beings because of their gender change. Other transsexuals were persecuted and punished for failing to accept and comply with social norms and rules.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the Berlin sex researcher Magnus Hirschfeld described transvestitism in his "theory of sexual intermediate stages". At that time, Hirschfeld did not yet make a precise distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity. Today, transvestism is understood as a form of sexual orientation, while transsexuality is seen as a disorder of gender identity. Sexual identity is now considered to be paramount and independent of sexual preferences.

There are no exact figures on transsexuality. Experts assume that there is one transsexual person for every 50,000 births in Germany.

What are the characteristics of transsexuality?

Transsexuality itself is not a disease, but simply a scientifically recognized phenomenon that can have many causes. Nobody decides to take this perceived "gender change" step on a whim. You are transgender or you are not.

Those affected do not suffer from the compulsion to have to wear the clothes of the physically opposite sex and to want to live entirely like that. Rather, they perceive the fact as a compulsion to be trapped in the wrong body and to have to live in a role that is perceived as alien, only corresponding to the body and socially required.

Even if trans-identity is not a disease, the extreme suffering caused by the inner turmoil of being stuck in the wrong body has a very clear disease value.

The gender reassignment

Since 1987 the health insurances have taken over the treatment costs. These include hormone therapy, beard laser cutting for man-to-woman trans people and gender reassignment surgery. One speaks of "gender reassignment" and not of gender reassignment, since the psychological gender is decisive and only a somatic adaptation to the psychological gender identity takes place.

Before doctors begin hormone treatment as the first step in gender reassignment, assessors must diagnose "transsexuality". The prerequisite for the diagnosis is that the transsexuals have already lived in the opposite sex role for some time. It is also important that a psychotherapist has accompanied the transsexual continuously for at least one year. Only after a further six months can the expert make the diagnosis that is prior to the surgical gender reassignment.

What is the legal situation like?

Since 1981 there has been the "Law on changing first names and determining gender in special cases" (BGB I: 1654), also known as the Transsexual Act. According to this law, those affected can compensate for part of their identity disorder by changing their first name (e.g. from Michael to Michaela or vice versa). At work, transsexuals can live in the new gender role, they can enter into a partnership or even get married. There are counseling centers for those affected who are available to help and support them.

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