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12 October 2009

Arlette-Irène Leber (1912 - ?) the first gender surgery in Switzerland.

Arlette-Irène Leber (born Arnold-Lèon Leber) of La Chaux-de-Fonds was the first known surgical transsexual in Switzerland, and had a series of operations including vaginoplasty in in late 1941 and early 1942.

In 1944 a Cantonal Court approved her petition for a change of civic status to female, and explicitly rejected a caveat from one of Leber’s doctors that she be prohibited from marrying as a woman. The legal precedent of Margrith Businger was cited.

In 1956, her psychiatrist, Dr. Otto Riggenbach, evaluated her and concluded: ‘The operation, on the one part, combined with the permission of the authorities to change her civic status, on the other, has turned an unstable and unhappy individual into a useful and contented member of society’.

It is not known whar happened to Mme Leber after that.
  • Eugene de Savitsch. Homosexuality, Transvestism and Change of Sex. Springfield Ill: Charles C. Thomas 1958: Chp 10, 11.

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