True Life

I'm Changing My Sex (19 Sep. 2009)

TV Episode  -   -  Documentary
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Are you a boy or are you a girl? For most of us, the answer is an easy one, but for anyone whose sex organs differ from how they perceive their own gender, these are questions that can ... See full summary »

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Are you a boy or are you a girl? For most of us, the answer is an easy one, but for anyone whose sex organs differ from how they perceive their own gender, these are questions that can cause anguish. On this episode of True Life, you'll meet two young people taking extreme measures to bring their bodies and minds into alignment once and for all. Written by Anonymous

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19 September 2009 (USA)  »

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"I want to live as a man who just happens to have been born as a woman"
29 October 2011 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

I like learning about transsexual people because they courageously embrace freedom -- they are willing to flout others' expectations to be true to themselves.

They tackle change when so many of us procrastinate, even when we know what we must do.

This program introduces a (former) young man who had married before deciding against suicide in favor of transition. Elle enjoyed the full support of her loving mother, who dies shortly after breast-augmentation surgery. But she is accompanied by her stepfather through genital surgery conducted by Dr. Marci Bowers, the star in the field who is a male-to-female transsexual herself.

Elle ends up "loving" her new vagina but is warned that she can now get yeast and bladder infections just like every other woman.

The story ends with Elle leaving her hometown for Brooklyn, where she hopes to escape the stigma of being "our friend, the transsexual." She describes having met a guy and after finding she can take him seriously and telling him she's a transsexual.

"He was fine with that, which was weird -- I didn't expect it to be that way," she admits.

The other part of the episode is devoted to a young black woman transitioning to be male. Ted encounters somewhat less support. At a family dinner, his mother bluntly states that she wants a daughter, not a son. And his brother tearfully leaves the room after opposing surgery to create a "male-contour" chest. Ted has a supportive wife, and he seems relieved that his barber can accept him as he feels he must be.

"It's really crappy that people see the surgery as elective because I can go from being completely and utterly depressed and then have a simple surgery and be totally fine," Ted notes.

I don't know if the psychological aspects of transsexuality are that simple but he does seem to make an important point.

Interestingly, in the epilogue we learn that Ted has changed his sex with the Social Security Administration. Who knew they were so up to date?


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