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This feeling followed him through adulthood. Who Stephens was supposed to be is a man. However, he was ased female at birth also known as AFAB. This incongruence is a condition known as gender dysphoria. In , Stephens underwent a mastectomy. In August , he had a hysterectomy and a vaginectomy. The surgeries were performed by Dr. Keith is also the co-founder of the Rutgers Center For Transgender Health , which brings together healthcare providers in gynecology, urology, otolaryngology, psychiatry, and plastic surgery chest masculinization, breast augmentation, phalloplasty and metoidioplasty, and vaginoplasty to provide care for both transmasculine and transfeminine patients.

In , the American Society of Plastic Surgeons reported 3, gender affirmation surgeries also called gender confirmation surgeries in the United States. Indeed, to Stephens, his surgeries were more than just historically ificant in his home state. His adolescence was difficult. He also had suicidal thoughts. At 17, he was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder and put on medication.

It was difficult to explain to mental healthcare providers what he felt about his body. At 18, he began to research what he was experiencing in terms of his gender, and learned that what he had is called gender dysphoria. At 24, Stephens stopped taking the bipolar medication and came out to his family as transgender. Not everyone with gender dysphoria chooses to undergo gender affirmation surgeries, but Stephens knew it was what he wanted.

Next, he had to find a place that would do it. Clinics that perform gender affirmation surgeries exist all throughout the country and in Europe. He did not want to risk having complications afterward without knowledgeable healthcare professionals nearby. It was a chance in the middle of the night to Dr. Keith became interested in gender affirmation surgeries as a medical student. One of his first cases was a vaginoplasty — plastic surgery to create a vagina on a patient affirming from male to female. So Keith continued his training in Belgium under Dr.

Stanislas Monstrey , one of the top gender affirmation surgeons in the world. During his fellowship, Keith focused on microsurgery and breast reconstruction. Lawmakers have also changed how transgender care is covered. In a state law was passed requiring Medicaid and people under state care to have their transition-related care covered. He was required to undergo 12 months of testosterone, as well as live continuously for 12 months in the gender role congruent with his gender identity.

He was also required to provide letters from two independent psychiatric evaluations by professionals confirming he understood the complexities involved with the surgeries. For example, rather than inform Stephens that he was specifically missing one of the evaluatory letters from a psychiatrist, his insurance company would simply say his paperwork was incomplete. He has 16 letters from his insurance company that denied his paperwork without explaining what was missing from it. For this reason, Stephens said, it took him six months, and five canceled operation dates, to have one procedure done.

The team also performed a scrotoplasty which involved using testicular implants in existing tissue. Phalloplasty is just one option for creating a penis, though. Another option is a metoidioplasty also called a meta , which involves enlarging the clitoris through testosterone.

It has a shorter recovery time and can become erect on its own. However, the penis is small after a metoidioplasty, explained Keith. This type of judgment is exactly why Keith urges more healthcare providers to be trained to provide supportive care for transgender patients. Keith recalled a patient he had last year who was affirming from female to male. Today Stephens is engaged to his long-time partner and attending aviation school to become a pilot.

Nothing is wrong with you. You can live a great life if you put yourself first. Your one-stop shop for transgender resources. Get information on surgeries, perspectives on identity, like cisgender and nonbinary, tips on tucking…. Unique factors can play a ificant role in the development of substance use disorders for LGBTQ people — and those same factors can create….

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