The science behind transgender is a complex issue which hasn't been understood yet by many people and for a long time it has been associated with poor mental health; particularly gender identity disorder and gender dysphoria.
Before civilisation, some African communities used to kill children who identified with genders that differed from their assigned sex. It is difficult to know the exact population of transgender people because no census has been done for this population particularly.
This is mainly because many transgender are not public about their sex. The transgender community therefore falls under the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) population although transgender is independent of sexual orientation.
Shedding light on the science behind the existence of transgender people, Dr Kirtida Acharya, a consultant endocrinologist at MP Shah Hospital describes the condition as a chronic hormonal imbalance.
She elaborates that transgender refers to people whose gender differs from their assigned sex at birth. She asserts that the ambiguity in genitalia is a medical condition which involves social, psychology and emotion.
The endocrinologist cautions that it is easy for people who are not transgender to think that a transgender person is making it up or has a mental disorder hence the high stigma attached to the population.
"It's important to consult a specialist such an endocrinologist in cases of transgender or other hormonal imbalance issues because not all medical practitioners can identify with the condition," she advises.
While sex and gender are part of nature and creation, the doctor says that there are other people who are surgically transited from one gender to another voluntarily. They are required to be adults of sound mind who can read, understand and sign the consent form before the surgical operation. They undergo intense pre and post counselling to enable make an informed decision and cope with the transition.
While gender transition may be a ridiculous outlook in the society, Dr Archarya explains that there are emotional, psychological or social reasons that prompt an individual to seek the transition. Some of the reasons for gender transition are prompted unknowingly by parents or the society itself.
For example a mother may have expected a particular sex when they were pregnant but got a different one. They consequently start treating the child like their expected sex and this affects the psychology of the child. The child grows behaving and even dressing like the expected sex of the parent and they may eventually want to transit. Others have the transition done for sexual orientation purposes.
Dr Archarya advises that the mismatch of gender and sex starts showing mostly at puberty and a child can start treatment as soon as the mismatch is identified.
The treatment of transgender people include testosterone which reduces the impact of the opposed and enhances the proposed gender. The treatment is regular because the condition is chronic and can only be managed.