19 November 2007

How can I get castrated? What are the effects of castration?

I have always hated my male organs, starting as early as age 12. How can I get them removed? What are the effects of castration? Will I become an « eunuch »? I have discussed this issue online, but I would like further information. I have not had any other surgery before.

Équipe -Pose ta question!-

Dear Kimm,

Thank you for your question. I believe you are asking about castration, particularly surgical castration. There is actually a variety of resources available for you across Canada. If you live in Montreal, you could start with the Centre for Gender Advocacy. They keep a list of trans-friendly doctors and counselors and would be more than willing to give you any information you need.

First, I would like to clarify that there are two types of castration: surgical and chemical castration. Surgical castration is the actual removal of the testicles and is irreversible. Chemical castration consists of giving anti-androgens and /or estrogens and produces similar changes in body habitus. The great advantage of using anti-androgens is the reversibility of the procedure, allowing you to experiment with the other effects of castration before undergoing an irreversible surgery, if you ever choose to do so.

A subject of castration before the onset of puberty will retain a high voice, non-muscular build, and small genitals. They may also be taller than average. The person may not grow pubic hair and will have a small sex drive or none at all. This type of individual was previously referred to as an eunuch.

However, castrations after the onset of puberty –as it is the case with you- will typically reduce the sex drive considerably or eliminate it altogether, but will not change your voice. Your height will not be affected in most cases, while infertility and a small decrease in body strenght and muscle mass are typical changes. Some individuals report mood changes –such as depression- and a modest decrease in body hair, though this does not always occur. Finally, castration may prevent baldness if it is done before hair is lost.

To answer your question more specifically : in Canada, in order to have any sex reassignment surgery you need to be referred to a gender reassignment surgeon by a psychiatrist. Again, the Centre for Gender Advocacy keeps a list of trans-friendly counselors who will help you navigate through this process.

Finally, I wanted to mention that there are different kinds of surgeries for trans men gender affirmation apart from castration. You can get breast implants. As these surgeries –including castration- are often technically difficult, it is important to get referred to a specialized center where these operations are performed regularly. This can insure better outcome and a lesser rate of complications. In Montreal, one of these highly specialized clinics is the GRS.

Hopefully, this has helped you assess whether you truly want castration as well as how to proceed if you choose to undergo this procedure. Please contact us if you need any other information!

Nisa Malli, for AlterHéros