Are Transgenders Happy After Surgery? A Look Into Sex Change Regret
My first experience in talking with someone who desired a sex change was back in the early 1990's. "Mark", who was my coworker, began the transition to become a woman and remained on this path for a few years. However, in the end, he decided not to go through with the surgery, and went back to living as a man. Since, then, I've often wondered if transgenders are happy after surgery, or if they experience sex change regret, once it's too late.
When Mark asked me if I would like to learn more about his desire to become and woman, I eagerly accepted the invitation. I was very interested to know what was going on with Mark, and why he would want to become a woman.
I went to Mark's house and talked with him for about three hours.
In a nutshell, here's what I learned.
Mark believed that women were more valued in society, citing the moving of women, before men, into lifeboats during the Titanic sinking.
I learned that Mark's childhood was far less than ideal.
He had been molested by an older relative.
He was one of three boys born to parents who, he believed, wished for a girl. When his female cousins came to the house for special occasions, he felt that the adults fussed over the girls, in their dresses, with their hair done.
The first complement Mark himself ever recalled was when he and two friends walked into a convenience store, and the man behind the counter made a remark, "Don't you boys look pretty today". Of course, it was not lost on Mark that the first complement he remembered hearing, was one that was typically used to describe a girl, not a boy.
A Failure As A Man
Mark also spoke of difficulties of working two jobs as an adult male and not being financially successful. In fact, he couldn't even keep up financially. His wife was a stay-at-home-mom, who apparently had a shopping problem and regularly racked up the department store credit cards. He also found it difficult to pay the bills. He told me that his wife regularly made long distance calls to her sister, and that the bills were regularly in the $300 - 400 dollar range. This was during a time when Bell Canada still had a monopoly on the phone industry and today's inclusive options were not available.
Quickly glancing around the house, I could not help but notice it was dreary, dark and not well kept.
Deluded Thinking Pattern
At the end of our conversation, it was very apparent to me that Mark was looking at becoming a woman as a way out of his current misery.
Professional Counseling for Gender Reassignment?
I was not concerned however, as he explained that professional counseling would be a large part of his future and that he had to be approved in order to get gender reassignment surgery while at the same time, doing his best to live for the next two years as "Alison" - his new identity.
I left Mark's house that night, relieved that he would soon be in the hands of professionals who would straighten out his thinking and talk him out of his desires. After all, in just a few hours, if it was obvious to me, a lay person, that Mark was deluded, the professional counselors would surely see it as well, and Mark would instead get professional help to deal with his childhood and other issues.
Shortly after that conversation, due to restructuring, Mark lost his job where we worked together. I lost contact with him. However, I did hear news about him about two years later.
I was positively astonished to learn that Mark, had indeed, been given the green light to go ahead with his sex reassignment surgery.
He Changed His Mind After Being Approved for Surgery
Thankfully, however, despite being approved, Mark had decided on his own, that becoming a woman was just not for him.
It was more than 15 years later that I saw Mark again and had a conversation with him. The news I had heard from others had been true. Mark, had, in fact, been approved for sex reassignment surgery. Then, shortly after, he changed his mind.
In our latest conversation, he looked happy. He was living fully as a man. His wife was also gainfully employed and their children had moved out. It looked like they were enjoying a financially-rewarding life.
He spoke of their recently-found love of travel by cruise ships, stating happily that they would normally try to do at least two cruises a year. Although he was in every way, living again as a man, he still wore large shirts to cover up his hormonally induced large breasts,from pills he had taken many years before.
I still wonder what the professional mental health experts were thinking when they approved Mark for gender reassignement surgery - especially knowing that once approved, he backed out on his own volition.
I began wondering about how happy Mark would have been if he had become transgendered. I do believe he would have been the prime candidate to experience sex change regret.
Frequency of Sex Change Regret
It seems that sex change regret actually might be fairly frequent, although it's rarely heard about in the mainstream media.
As with anything on the Internet, it's tough to get to the truth of the matter. According to some sources, the number of transexuals who experience regret is as low as 2 percent, with others, like this website owned by a person who had sex change regret, saying it's as high as 20 percent.