A German 16-year-old named Kim (born Tim) has become the youngest person to undergo a sex change operation.
Paid for by the German health service, psychologists stated he/she was "without doubt a girl in a boy's body". Since the age of 12, Kim has been undergoing hormone therapy.
Dr Bernd Meyenburg, head of the Psychiatric Special Outpatient Clinic for Children and Adolescents with Identity Disorders at the University of Frankfurt Hospital explained
Very few youth psychiatrists have any experience with transsexual developments...I was always against such operations on children so young but after seeing how happy one of my patients was and how well adjusted after returning from having the operation abroad while still a teenager – I realised that in some cases it is the right decision...Kim is such a case – she always knew what she wanted.
I am not sure how I feel about this news. On one hand, I want to respect Kim and her decision. I am an open-minded person, at least I like to think I am. On the other hand, 16-years-old is awful young to be making life changing decisions. I can't even remember what I wanted at 16, other than to drive a car and hang out with my friends while listening to music. I am not for elective, cosmetic surgery, but some may argue this is not cosmetic for Kim. I believe we should accept our natural bodies.
As a parent, I don't know how I would react if my child wanted such a surgery. Kim's father explains his feelings:
I suppose it took me longer than my wife to accept it, but Kim is a very persuasive girl, she knows what she wants and how to get it. I am very proud of what she has achieved, how she has managed to get there and how she sticks to her dreams no matter how hard and painful they are to follow.
One thing I do know, I can't help but feel like I should move to Germany. My son is considered "uninsurable" because he has a congenital heart defect, and our government offers no support because we are not a low income family, yet Germany pays for a teenager's sex change! I wish Kim and her family well, and I try to have compassion for her gender issues.