Transgender man explains decision to have a phalloplasty

Gender reassignment surgery practice tells The Independent they are currently performing around 10 phalloplasties a month

Olivia Blair
Friday 20 January 2017 15:53
Comments

A transgender man has spoken openly about how having a phalloplasty made him feel like a completed person.

Phalloplasty is the construction or reconstruction of a penis using surgery, and some transgender people who are transitioning from female to male go under the knife for the surgery.

A 21-year-old man from Colorado, who wishes to remain anonymous, talked to The Independent about his decision to undergo surgery after living as a man for three years from the age of 18.

“For a very long time, I believed that I would be able to live without the bottom surgery. I only realised that it would be necessary as I approached the end game for the other aspects of my transition,” he said.

The surgeons took a skin graft from his arm to construct the penis, along with tissue from his genitals. The surgery took eight hours and an additional skin graft was taken from his leg to replace that lost from his arm, to aid the healing.

"Recovery was extremely intense in the first two weeks,” he said. “I spent six days bedridden in the hospital. I’m a very active, impatient young man so that was pretty unbearable […] After the first 10 days, I started to regain strength in a meaningful way. I was able to go to the beach... I was very much still in recovery but emotionally, I was recuperating well.”

His medical insurance covered the surgery and he returned home after a four week stay in a hotel by the hospital. He says since having the operation he no longer has gender dysphoria - the condition where a person experiences distress or discomfort from the mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity.

“I pretty much don’t have dysphoria anymore which has made a huge difference,” he told a Reddit AMA. “I feel like I can really see myself as an entire person rather than a mismatched set of physical characteristics.”

He was also open about his sex life, explaining that he actually experiences more sensation than he “had dared to hope for before surgery”.

Of course, not everyone who identifies as transgender has surgery and are happy to live as the gender they identify with without it. As well as encompassing those who identify as the opposite gender to the sex they were assigned at birth, transgender is also an inclusive term for anyone who whose gender identity falls outside the typical gender norms including people who are non-binary, gender fluid or genderqueer.

A spokesperson for the St Peter’s Andrology Centre in London, which performs phalloplasties, told The Independent they currently carry out around 10 each month but their numbers are increasing. There is approximately a three month wait for those currently on the list.

Last year, The Guardian reported only 10 to 30 per cent of trans men in the UK will opt to have surgery as opposed to 60 per cent of transgender women. In the UK, a phalloplasty usually requires more than one operation.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in