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05 May 2018

David William Foerster (1933 - ) and the Oklahoma Gender Identity Foundation

David William Foerster was raised in Oklahoma. He married in 1957, and they had three sons. Foerster qualified as a plastic surgeon.

As early as 1962 Dr Foerster pioneered a method of phalloplasty for trans men.

In 1973 Drs David William Foerster and Charles Reynolds founded the Gender Identity Foundation at the Baptist Medical Center. They had done over 50 vaginoplasties, mainly Burou-style penile-inversions, by 1977, and there were another 50 trans women waiting. It was a major US transgender surgical center with patients coming from out-of-state.

The Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma finally realized what was happening. One pastor on the hospital Board of Directors called the operations “a Christian Practice”. The hospital's medical staff and lay advisory board voted overwhelmingly to continue allowing the surgeries.

However in October 1977, the Board of Directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma voted 54-2 to ban such operations at the Baptist Medical Center. The Gender Identity Foundation was transferred to the Oklahoma Memorial Hospital, but the program was ended here too in 1981.

In a letter to the editor of the Annals of Plastic Surgery in March 1979, Foerster wrote:
“Dissatisfaction with life, suicide, alcoholism, and sexual maladjustment are much greater before surgery than afterwards. Naturally, surgical conversion of genitals does not solve all the problems that the patient had before surgery, but neither does rhytidectomy, mammoplasty, or craniofacial surgery. As for gender Dysphoria's being ‘experimental,’ one can say that in a sense all surgery is experimental: we are constantly changing and modifying even the most cherished of procedures. If we are to call genital conversion experimental we must also classify augmentation mammoplasty using silicone prosthesis, craniofacial reconstruction for severe facial anomalies, and rotation advancement cleft lip repair as experimental. They too have been developed since the early 1960s, they too involve change of body structures, and they too have yet to be followed for a patient’s lifetime.”
  • “Hospital Doctors Defend Sex Changes”. The Evening Independent, Oct 13, 1977. Online.
  • Jerry Scarborough. “Baptists Vote to Ban Sex Change Operations”. Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Oct 15, 1977. Online.
  • Sex changes banned at Baptist hospital". Arizona Gay News. 21 October 1977. PDF.
  • David William Foerster. "Transsexual surgery." Annals of plastic surgery 2.3, 1979: 269. Online.
  • David W Foerster & Charles L. Reynolds. "Construction of natural appearing female genitalia in the male transsexual." Plastic and reconstructive surgery 64.3, 1979: 306-312.
  • David W Foerster & Milton T. Edgerton. "Female to male transsexual conversion: a 15-year follow-up." Plastic and reconstructive surgery 72.2, 1983: 240.
  • David W Foerster. "Penile enhancement: another wrong way to go." Plastic and reconstructive surgery 101.1, 1998: 244-245.



OnceAgain said...

Hi Zagria:

This is a great resource for the transgender community. Thank you for your hard work.

I have a request I would like to ask; I have searching for information, photos, and diagrams that discribe Dr. Shan Ratnam's surgical technique for his early vaginalplasty. If you could include them in this blog, I would be very thankful. Also, is there an email address that I may contact you at?

Zagria said...

Please discuss Shan Ratman in the article on Shan Ratman. Not here.

How am I supposed to reply to you when there is no email address on your Google profile?