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22 May 2018

Transgender Surgery III: untruths and unknowns


Part I: 1906 -1965
Part II: 1966 -1975
Part III: untruths and unknowns


Untruths


The old discredited statistics that were refuted in Olyslager and Conway, “On the Calculation of the Prevalence of Transsexualism” ( Online ) are still being repeated. Bizic et al, 2018 (i.e. this year) says yet again: “There are different studies regarding the prevalence of transsexualism in general population accounting for 1 : 7400 to 1 : 2000 in assigned males and 1 : 30040 to 1 : 104000 in assigned females”. This really won’t do!!

Colebunders et al (p251) say ‘Fogh-Andersen initiated the modern era of sex reassignment surgery (SRS) by using penile skin as a full-thickness graft to line the neovagina of Christine Jorgensen”. This is completely at variance with all other accounts that say that Fogh-Andersen performed only an orchiectomy and penectomy on Jorgensen, and that she had vaginoplasty later in the US.

Again and again writers claim that Felix Abraham operated on Lili Elbe and that Lili was a patient of Magnus Hirschfeld. Some examples: the Guardian; GenderSpeaker; Dallas Denny; TransgenderZone. The key document is a paper by Felix Abraham, “Genitalumwandlungen an zwei männlichen Transvestiten“. Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualpolitik, 18: 223-226. There is a translation, “Genital Reassignment on Two Male Transvestites” that you can read here. Abraham discusses two patients:
  1. “Rudolph (Dora) R., domestic employee, is today a 40-year-old ‘male’. He was born in the Erzgebirge region.”
------ Dörchen Richter sometimes called Dora, was born with the name of Rudolph Richter in the Erzgebirge region in 1891. Therefore she was 40 in 1931.
  1. “Arno (Toni) E., painter, a 52 year old patient, had first noticed his inclination at the beginning of the 1920s. Despite his homosexual inclination, he got married and from this marriage a boy was born. In the extremely unhappy marriage he had only occasionally the possibility to wear feminine clothing. As frequently happens, during the first years the urge was weaker - to increase later. His inclination essentially preempted him from performing his profession when he did not have the possibility to wear clothing conforming to him. After the death of his wife, he lived completely as a female. Noticeable during the observation was the contrary behavior in male and female clothing: While he was totally calm and reasonable in the latter, in male clothing he was distraught, nervous and utterly worthless. Additionally, he only owned a single male suit, while having a fairly large female wardrobe.“
---- Toni Ebel born Hugo Otto Arno Ebel in Berlin in 1881 and so was 50 in 1931. She was a painter, she lived through WWII and was compensated by the German Democratic Republic as a victim of Nazism. As a painter, she was recognized at the Akademie der Künste in East Berlin.


Why do people refuse to recognize that Arno (Toni) E. is Toni Ebel? Why do they think that this is a discussion of Lili Elbe? Homosexual? a boy child? wife died? No mention of Denmark or France?


Unknowns


Lesavoy says that Abbe’s report on his work was lost for 40 years until McIndoe found it in 1938. However Bizic et al say that Abraham in 1932 operated “in line with the technique first published by Abbe”. How this was, if the report was not to be re-found for another six years, needs to be explained.

Goffe, in 1903, in effect invented penile-inversion vaginoplasty. Apparently like Gillies 40 years later, he did only one such operation. However he did write up the details and published it in a professional journal, American Journal of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children, where it was as forgotten as Abbe’s report was lost.

Is there a connection between Fogh-Andersen, who reported the use of a full-thickness skin graft harvested from the penile skin to line the neovagina in a 1956 publication, and Burou who started doing penile-inversion vaginoplasties, also in 1956? Denny and Conway give full credit to Burou and say nothing at all about Fogh-Andersen. Bizic et al give full credit to Fogh-Andersen and say nothing at all about Burou. Colebunders et al mention both Fogh-Andersen and Burou on the same page (p251) but say nothing about whether or not Burou copied and improved on Fogh-Andersen.

Bizic et al say that the Gillies-Millard penile-skin-flap technique “remains the gold standard in male to female sex reassignment surgery”. Barbosa, Edgerton and Biber consciously copied Burou’s technique, but I have not found any vaginoplasty surgeon who is said to be following Gillies-Millard. Gillies-Millard did use a penile skin flap, and it could be that Fogh-Andersen consciously improved on their work. However the Gillies-Millard book, The Principles and Art of Plastic Surgery, was not published until 1957, a year after Fogh-Andersen’s publication. Maybe Fogh-Andersen did follow Gillies-Millard, but I have not found any such explanation. Nor have I found any claim that Burou followed Fogh-Andersen. Maybe he did, but nobody says so.

At the First International Symposium on Gender Identity held at the Piccadilly Hotel, London, 25-27 July 1969, arguments arose between the team from Chelsea Women's Hospital who regarded transsexuals as a form of intersex, and the team from Charing Cross Hospital who regarded them as having a psychological disorder. So was there a clinic at Chelsea? Did they guide transsexuals through the process. ???

Peter Stirling, an intersex Australian transitioning to male, went to London and was accepted as a patient at Guys Hospital’s Endocrine Clinic. He was guided through the program by social worker Margaret Branch, who also guided other transsexuals. There is no account of this clinic and its program, other than Stirling’s autobiography.


This is a series about transgender surgery. So why does the world’s most famous anti-surgery activist keep re-appearing: as Stoller’s first trans resource at the UCLA Clinic; as an advisor to Harry Benjamin and quoted several times in Benjamin’s book; as the only trans person – other than Reed Erickson - at the 1969 convention in London?

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