“A devil’s bargain”

Writing for Jezebel, Katelyn Burns tells an extraordinary story of medical malpractice, litigious surgeons and people whose lives are changed irrevocably by medical mistakes: When Surgeons Fail Their Trans Patients. Warning, it’s pretty graphic in places.

It’s important to note that the vast majority of trans people’s surgeries have positive outcomes: gender reassignment surgery has an exceptionally low regret rate. But there is still regret, usually because of unsatisfactory surgical outcomes, and some surgeons do appear to have significantly higher rates of negative outcomes than others.

This is something that needs to be talked about, but trans people rightly fear discussing such personal things in public.


…speaking out after a traumatic experience, in a moment when so few are able to access care, can either be weaponized by anti-trans activists or interpreted by advocates as a step back.

…When she posted about her experience with Dr. Rumer on message boards in an attempt to warn other potential patients, Carlie’s words were reprinted on anti-trans forums.

I haven’t experienced anything like the women in the article have, but nevertheless I’ve chosen not to post some personal things about my own healthcare for that very reason. Discussion forums and Facebook groups for trans people have an ongoing problem with fake accounts mining them for anything they can use against trans people.

…the environment can make it difficult for many trans people to find recourse, or warn others about bad surgical experiences. It’s a system that makes frank public discussion about surgical outcomes nearly impossible to have.

Some anti-trans activists create opposition to access to trans-affirming care by claiming treatments are experimental or too risky to be ethical, another obstacle when patients consider speaking openly about their experiences with individual surgeons. Though regret rates remain low and, and as Dr. Schechter says, “the risks and the complications are commensurate with the risks and complications of other similar procedures,” anti-trans disinformation has become a serious problem in many corners of the media.

Although the article is about the US system, much of it applies to the UK too.