Airdate March 29, 2012
Transgender Families: When My Husband Became a Woman
- Dr. Oz visits with men who have completed the process to become women
- Dr. Christine McGinn, transgender surgeon discusses the surgical procedure to change gender
- Dr. Oz and guests give their bottom line on transgender reassignment
**Another breaking news interruption day...the Colorado fire still burns. My heart goes out to those who have lost their homes...I missed the first 20 minutes of this episode.**
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Dr. Oz: Transgender Families
Jennifer is a master mechanic, a single mom, and for most of her life her name was Louie. At age 4, Louie knew something was different about him. He wanted to play dolls and dress up. In his generation and the culture in which he grew up, men were men and Louie felt trapped.
With the birth of his son, Cody, Louie tried as hard as he could to be a manly father and he succeeded. But, inside Louie felt like he was living a lie. It was a struggle for him to live as a man and he was never happy with his gender. Louie tried to take his own life. Twenty-one years after his son's birth, Louie made the choice to embrace the person he felt he was on the inside and become a woman.
Louie has now become Jennifer.
Jennifer loves how she looks, loves her life. She feels she can finally live as the person she always felt she was. This new happiness came at the cost of a relationship with son Cody. It was a lonely journey to become Jennifer. Cody feels his dad lied to him and was selfish for not considering Cody's feelings before making this change.
Cody cut his dad out of his life after the operation. The two had not talked for two years until meeting on The Dr Oz Show stage today. Cody apologized for cutting his dad out of his life says he welcomes the new person his dad has become. To younger children of a parent going through a sex-change operation, Cody says to be accepting and not to let negative comments get to you.
Dr. Oz: Transgender Surgery
Dr. Christine McGinn, founder of the Papillon Gender Wellness Center, plastic surgeon and leading sex-reassigment surgeon received her medical training in the Navy in 1991. At that time she was Chris, a man. In 2000, Chris underwent sex-reassignment and has become Christine.
Going through the process from man to woman, Dr. McGinn says it was incredibly hard to find information and support. She created the Papillion Gender Wellness Center to provide support for people going through the process start to finish. Going through the process and living as a woman for more than 12 years, Dr. McGinn has a unique experience and perspective to offer her patients. She's been there and can answer her patient's questions.
Dr. Oz had to ask, how do you turn a penis into a vagina?
It's not the first time Dr. McGinn has been asked this question; people are curious. In in the womb, she explains, men and women start off very similar. reassignment surgery deconstructs the penis, resizing and reshaping it to put the male parts into the female positions. Parts are not just chopped, most of the tissue is recycled and very little is discarded.
Do the new female parts have the same sensations as a woman would?
Women have over 8,000 nerve spots in their clitoris. Men have over 4,000 nerve spots in their penis. In the reassignment operation, most of those nerve spots are retained. An orgasm is more than an anatomical event, emotions and hormones are also involved. Once hormone therapy is completed, transgender women are able to experience orgasms too.
Is there any regret for patients who go through the operation?
Dr. McGinn says that 99% of people who go through transgender transformation report a drastic improvement in quality of life. Over 40% reported attempting to take their own life before making their own decision.
Dr. McGinn looks remarkable feminine. What happened to make her look so much like a woman?
Many patients opt to have their Adam's apple removed, the nose and forehead resized as well as breast
Dr. Oz: Inside the Operating Room During a Transgender Surgery
Erica is 57 years old and has only been a woman for 2 years. Before the surgery, Erica was Rick, a father of 4. In 2009, Erica met with Dr. McGinn to begin consultations to undergo transgender surgery already having completed electrolysis and hormone therapy.
As part of the documentary film TRANSthemovie goes into the operating room during Rick's surgery to become Erica.
The surgery begins with reconstructing the penis, breaking it down into it's parts and pieces and then reworking them into female parts. The scrotum becomes the inside of the vagina. The tip of the penis become the clitoris which will be trimmed and sculpted and retain sensitivity. Between the bladder and the rectum goes the new vagina, this is the most risky part of surgery. The skin of the penis becomes the vaginal lips. Many patients see this day as their new birthday.
Erica joined Dr. Oz on stage saying that watching the procedure touches her deeply. She says she felt normal after. Expecting major hurdles after the surgery, Erica was surprised to find herself in-sync with herself and at peace. She felt like everything was as it should have been.
In the hospital for 6 days after the surgery, Erica says there was not as much pain as she expected. The first 3 days she had to lay flat and essentially not move. The surgery did leave her with tremendous weakness.
Does she miss having a penis?
She doesn't miss it at all. She thought there might be remorse after the surgery but so far there has not been any.
Is there anything she wished she would have known before the surgery that she knows now?
Erika says the fear of what the process would do to her family and friends kept her in closet for 53 years. If she had known that the love and care would still be there, she may have made a decision earlier.
Dr. Oz: The Transgender Mind-Body Connection
Today's guests were asked to give their bottom line on transgender reassignment.
Dr. McGinn says going through a transgender reassignment is not a choice, it's not done on a whim; it's a medical condition. With the right therapy, people can do well with the change.
Michelle Angello, PhD, clinical sexologist [who was featured in the beginning of the show – the part that I missed] says that having a support network is vital to this whole process.
Cody encourages people to accept everyone for who they are.
Jennifer says to people who are interested in exploring the process to seek help and look for others who have gone through it to have someone to talk to.
Brynne who also went through transgender surgery [featured during the 20 minutes I missed] says people can have a normal, happy family. It is possible to stay as a family and be happy.
Brenna, daughter of Brynne, say she wants her friends to be open minded and have an open heart.
Dr. Oz ended the show by saying The Dr. Oz Show is about making peace with who you are and there is wisdom in that search.
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