Young Finns requesting sex changes

More young people in Finland, many of them under the legal age of 18, are applying for sex changes, according to a media report.

Both Helsinki University Central Hospital and Tampere University Hospital say they are getting more referrals year-on-year.

In a report by Helsingin Sanomat, transgender man Thomas, 18, described his reasons for wanting to undergo the reassignment treatment. “At school my friends asked me if I’m a transvestite, because I dressed in men’s clothing. I said that I’m not. As I see it, a transvestite dresses in the clothing of the opposite sex now and then. I wanted to be a man all the time,” he told the newspaper.

“We are getting many referrals from people 18 years old and younger. The change has come in the past couple of years,” psychiatrist Veronica Pimenoff at the research clinic for gender identity at Helsinki University Central Hospital told HS.

Aino Mattila, from the Tampere clinic, added that although hormone treatment and tests are available for younger people, someone undergoing a sex change needs to be at least 18 so their personal identity number can be changed to correlate to their new gender. “The phenomenon was perhaps not understood among the young, and options for treatment were not available,” Mattila explained when asked about the increasing interest among youngsters.

After first being sent to see the mental health services when he asked about transgender tests while he was under 18, Tom is now relieved to have started the transition process at the Tampere clinic. “On the first visit I felt that I was in the right place. It is quite different to talk to a person who knows what it’s all about,” he said.

“I wear men’s clothing and try to use men’s toilets, and to use my new name, even though it is not yet official,” he said to HS. “Even when I had long hair my appearance was a source of wonder on the women’s side,” he added.

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