Sex Change


Sex Change Operations: The Science, Sociology and Psychology

Sally Law
Date: 18 June 2009 Time: 01:25 PM ET
Chaz Bono, as Sonny and Cher's former daughter is now known, began a surgical process to become a man earlier this year, and in doing so, joined the increasing numbers of people who now undergo gender-reassignment surgery annually.
It's difficult to gauge the size of the transgender population in the United States. The U.S. Census doesn't record this data, and neither does any other organization — at least, officially. The National Center for Transgender Equality in Washington, D.C., estimates the number as between .0025 percent and 1 percent of the general population.

There are limited statistics regarding the prevalence of these types of surgery. Male-to-female (MTF) surgery is more common than female-to-male (FTM), such as Bono is undergoing. Because there are significantly fewer FTM transgender people, such research subjects are more difficult to find.
Regardless of direction, how does a sex change … change sex? Gender-reassignment surgery addresses larger issues of gender, sexuality and sexual orientation.
"Chaz Bono's decision to live his life authentically represents an important step forward, both for him personally and for all who are committed to advancing discussions about fairness and equality for transgender people," Neil G. Giuliano, the president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), said in a statement to the media. "Coming out as transgender is an extremely personal decision and one that is never made lightly."
Sex, gender and sexuality
The issue of gender can be misunderstood because of the terminology that surrounds it, says C. Lynn Carr, a professor at Seton Hall University in New Jersey who studies the relationship between sex, gender and sexuality.
"Sex is the biological (e.g., male/female); gender is the social...