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June 29, 2017

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More men than women seek sex change: study

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taipei Veterans General Hospital (TVGH) yesterday published the first brain research that targeted transsexualism in the world as well as statistics that showed that more men want to undergo sex reassignment surgery than women do.

The TVGH, the first hospital in Taiwan to perform sex reassignment surgery, worked with National Yang-ming University's Institute of Brain Science to study transsexualism based on research into brain science. The research has been published on PLoS One, an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal.

According to the TVGH's research, people who have transsexual tendencies do have a different mechanism of brain nerves compared to those who don't have.

Lee Yi-chiao, the chief of the TVGH's Psychiatric Rehabilitation Department, said transsexual individuals represent a special group in human society and people should treat them with respect.

"Some people who have transsexual tendencies consider themselves homosexual people at first," said Lee. "But homosexual people do not have the desire to change their sex characteristics."

"Even though some people like to dress in uni-sex outfits, unless they have a strong desire to change their sex characteristics, they usually are not considered transsexuals," said Lee.

According to Lee, there is a serious evaluation process that will last at least three months before a psychiatrist determines that a person has transsexual tendencies.

"Transsexualism is an extreme situation of sexual differentiation disorder," said Lee. "And the obvious difference between the sex characteristics and the mental gender triggers anxiety for many people who have transsexual tendencies."

According to the TVGH's statistics, the majority of people who visit the hospital for sex reassignment surgery are men and the number of people who wish to undergo the surgery has increased by 20 percent in the past year.

Lee said that in the past 18 years, the 517 people who went to her for transsexualism issue are mainly men and the number of men who visited the hospital for the same issue in the past year is twice the number of women.

According to Lee, the number of transsexual men is higher than the number of women internationally or domestically, but the medical field has yet to discover the cause behind it.

Long Way Before Losing Standard of Sex Change

The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said that people are not allowed to change the sex on identity card unless they undergo sex reassignment surgery to change their sex organs.

The Presidential Office Human Rights Consultative Committee proposed earlier that as long as a person passes the evaluations of two psychiatrists, he or she can change the sex listed on the identity card without undergoing sex reassignment surgery.

The NOHW said that experts from all related fields were invited to discuss the possibility of adjusting the standard to change the gender listed on identity cards, and experts made a mutual agreement to vote against the proposal.

According to the NOHW, changing the gender listed on identity card is not only a medical issue but also a legal manner, and a sex change might also affect the legal determination of domestic relations, which could trigger more disputes.

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