I sat quietly for a bit, absorbing what she had just said. "Okay, wait...." said I. "Gender reassignment? That is what, a sex change operation??" "Well yes." said she, and looked at me as if I had suddenly turned stupid.
When did "sex change operation" become "gender reassignment?" Am I showing my age here?
I did a google search for gender reassignment, and it came up with all sorts of fancy names: sex reassignment therapy, transsexual sex reassignment surgery, vaginoplasty (that one made me snicker like an adolescent).
I then did a google search for sex change operation and hit the mother lode... a handbook for transsexuals. It describes exactly how the surgery is done. I will post some of it here for your reading enjoyment:
Contrary to popular belief, the penis is not amputated during SRS. Rather, the internal penile tissue is mostly removed, but the outer skin is left attached, inverted and inserted into the body inside out as the new vagina. The testicles are removed, but the scrotal tissue is also left attached and used to fashion the vaginal lips or labia through standard plastic surgery procedures.
Here is how it happens. Once the patient has been prepped, sedated, wheeled into the operating room and anesthetized, the doctor slits the skin of the penis lengthwise from the head or glans down to the base on the underside. The skin is then peeled away from around the penis, but since the slit only opened the penis, the base of the skin is still attached.
The penile skin is then turned inside out, much like one might turn a sock inside out. When this is done, the slit is stitched back together, creating an inverted penis, which will ultimately form the new vagina.
Before this occurs, a rather miraculous, yet simple procedure is performed. Earlier, when the internal penile tissue was removed, a small stub of tissue was left behind, still attached. This is erectile tissue, which becomes stiff when stimulated, and also carries sexual sensation.
A tiny slit, perhaps a half-inch in length, is made in the new, inverted penis near the base where it is still attached. The stub of erectile tissue is pushed through the slit, forming the equivalent of a clitoris, and providing the opportunity for complete orgasm and sexual satisfaction after surgery. In addition, a second tiny slit is made below the one for the clitoris. The urinary tube is rerouted to this second slit to create a typical female urinary opening.
Once this procedure has been accomplished, the skin and muscles of the lower abdomen are lifted up with surgical instruments, providing a gap near the pelvic bone. The inverted penis is pushed into the gap, still attached at the base, so that it hinges down and into the proper location for a vagina.
To allow for proper vaginal contractions later, some of the abdominal muscles are repositions around to new vagina so that they can squeeze in on it, both by conscious control and also automatically during orgasm.
The new vagina is filled with surgical gauze to maintain shape, and then anchored in place with a thin surgical wire which enters the abdomen from the outside, runs under the pelvic bone, through the new vagina, back up around the pelvic bone and out the abdomen again. Once the vagina has healed in place, which takes approximately seven days, the wire is removed by the surgeon, who simply slips it out.
I realize I am being so completely politically incorrect here (sorry, its what I do), but this one made me laugh hysterically:
Can hormones grow beards?
Yes, for female to male transsexuals, beard growth is an immediate effect. Unfortunately, a long term effect is male pattern baldness!
Oh. My God. Still laughing.
Okay, I'm better now.
If you are interested in reading the entire handbook, you can see it here.
I'm a horrible person. I should be ashamed.
But I'm not.