Is it possible to become the other sex?

The short answer is yes, it is possible to change gender and/or sex. In order to understand the complicated nature of this, let us explain the difference of gender and sex. Sex (male or female) describes a person’s physical and biological characteristics (penis or vagina), whereas gender describes the way that a person presents themselves according to different feminine or masculine norms. Gender and sex do not always align with each other. There are some people who have male physical features but choose to identify as women. These people often identify as transgender (trans coming from the Greek word for across). People who identify as transgender often feel as if they have been born into the wrong body, and/or that their genitalia do not match the way that they see themselves. This is perfectly okay.

There are many things that a transgender person can do to feel more comfortable in their skin. Often, trans women (biological males who identify as women) will begin to wear typically feminine clothing and act more traditionally feminine in order to feel more comfortable. For some trans women, this is enough to make them feel satisfied with their identity. Other trans women feel that they need to physically change in order for their sex to match their gender identity. These actions are applicable to trans men as well (biological females who identify as men).  For both trans men and trans women who feel they need to physically change, there is sex reassignment surgery. 

Sex-reassignment surgery is not a one-step process, nor is it taken lightly in the medical field. Possible candidates for surgical alterations must first be extensively interviewed for any psychological abnormalities or actual confusions about their gender identity. Once they are properly screened, individuals are asked to adopt the lifestyle of their desired gender for several months to a year. If at the end of this period the individual has adjusted to the new lifestyle, hormone therapy begins. After a year of hormone treatments, many bodily changes (such as changes in body hair, hip size, or amount of fatty tissue) occur.  At this point, the person may be eligible for sex-reassignment surgery. It is important to note that the changes produced by hormones are very difficult to reverse. Thus, it is important that a person about to undergo surgery is committed and mentally prepared to make the full transition.

 Going through the process of transitioning from male to female or female to male is a long and emotional process, and we recommend finding a support system to help through it. There are clinics which provide therapy to help one make their decision as well as give referrals to doctors and surgeons who can assist with the physical transition. Please refer to our website for more information on being transgender and transitioning.