A 17 year old boy almost bled to death last Sunday, when he tried to castrate himself at home because he wanted to be a woman. As his family did not support his decision of changing sex, the boy, whose identity was not revealed as he is a minor, decided to take care of the issue by himself and cut his testicles off, provoking a great hemorrhage

The case did not surprise the doctors in the General Hospital of La Paz, nor the chief urologist Beckep Barragan who said: “We have had other patients with the same characteristics of this youngster, all have cut their testicles off, and one of them tried to take off his penis too”.

The adolescent had looked up information about the extirpation or masculine genitalia in books and the internet to be able to perform the operation by himself, as his family denied him the support to become a woman. The boy applied a local anesthetic and hoped to proceed with the help of a mirror, but the first cut he made bled so much that he could not go on.

After the danger was over, the youngster explained he wanted to cut his testicles to have “feminine features like a finer skin, a thinner voice and avoiding the growth of pubic hair” The doctor explained that “even though it is very painful to do this, they (the young boys), carry them out in their desperation to become women”.

This is the fifth case since 2004 that gets help in this hospital. Dr. Beckep Barragan confirmed that the boy got to the hospital last Sunday bleeding and needed surgery, from which he recovered and was dismissed yesterday.

According to psychologist Margareth Hurtado, the young man probably fantasized about this many times and found the way to make it become real. Other specialists remarked that youngsters in Bolivia have a dangerous approach to sex, as they don´t use condoms in their first intercourse, 70% of the time. They questioned the sexual education received by kids nowadays, as it does not give the youngsters the appropriate tools to make the right decisions at the right time in their lives, when it comes to sex.

There is a need in Bolivia, and all over the world, of education in all fronts of sex. This means that focusing in healthier sex rather than making youngsters afraid of living their sexuality in an open, healthy and safe way is only to be accomplished through more education, but not only about what sex is, but about how to make it work for them, not against them.

Family and especially parents, are the ones more closely involved in making boys and girls accept their sexuality and lead a happier life, without taking risks that are unnecessary and worthless. Hopefully the diffusion of the news about this case will help other youngsters stop and double check their opportunities before taking such a hard step.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to LGBT Rights.


What a sad story. Sex education in Bolivia and many other places all over the world, even the USA, has a long way to go. I can only hope that a story like this will help people see that what is being passed off as sex education is nowhere near sufficient. Raising healthy children into adults with a healthy sense of their own sexuality is challenging but it is surely possible. Healthy, knowledgeable and safe practices are important and so is tolerance. Hopefully the current movements for LGBT rights continue to expand and gain momentum.

Regards, Maria

What you say is very true. Thanks for dropping a comment. Let us be together in helping our societies grow into better human being supportive collectives.

Best regards,


Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Hi Jackie,

Thank you participating in the Action Blogging Campagin - LGBT Rights and sharing with us the realities for some in Bolivia. It's difficult to read about a young boy taking such extremes as to perform a dangerous operation on his own.

I strongly agree, that sex education is necessary from a young age, so that youth have the information they need to make educated decisions and to protect themselves from disease, teenage pregnancy and to be more self-aware about the changes that are happening to their bodies.

I think that the case for these boys though is less an issue of education and more an issue of acceptance and support from his family and society. So that the can feel supported in his sexual identity rather than seeking dangerous alternatives to feel whole.

Cheers, Jade

Thanks for dropping by.

I think acceptance and support cannot be imposed to people. His family and friends will accept him for what he is when he works to get that acceptance, and shows he is not "some kind of pervert" (as the collective usually thinks here in Bolivia about gays), but a person who accepts himself and loves himself the way he is, and most of all, is able to lead a good life, regardless of his sexual orientation.

What I mean with sex education might be a little bit different to what we are used to seeing at schools here in Bolivia. Usually teachers will explain the whole physical part of it, but will leave the rest to the parents, and the parents will leave everything to schools. Results: LGBT without safe sex, teen pregnancy and next generation of parents with serious sexual unsafe habits.

To make sexuality work for you and not against you, it needs an education that goes beyond just reading about the physical part of it. It englobes the ability to pass on the smartness to make good decisions as to when, where, who and how to have sex with someone.

Completely different and tough issue.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Wow. Thank you for shedding light on this issue Jackie. This is a very powerful depiction of the sexual oppression that is so ingrained in so many of our cultures.

I agree with you when you call to action for sexual and reproductive education- something that is all-inclusive and not negative about one sex or the other and definitely not using scare-tactics when talking about the act of sex. Instead we need to have discussions about what sex is, what it is good for- and what it is not good for.

So much of the negative actions that happen to young people seems to be engrossed in the cloud of sexuality- this is universal not exclusive to Bolivia or Jamaica. Unfortunately for some reason policy makers do not see that this is a true problem. Instead sex is something that is either not talked about or entrenched in negativity- yet glorified by the mass media (cis gender, heterosexual sex of course) as something that we should all strive toward, being sexually attractive and desired.

The dichotomy is mind-blowing.

Again, thank you for sharing this with us.


And thank you for your comment. I think the more of us see this need of opening our minds and hearts to speaking up for safe sex, it will take less time until policy makers include this in their agendas.



Jacqueline Patiño FundActiva Tarija - Bolivia South America www.jap21.wordpress.com

Hey Jackie, This is too shocking for me, I couldn't read it thoroughly, although I really do appreciate you writing on this subject. Great first line by the way! It is important to highlight cases like these. I once had a teacher who described gender as being on a continuum. That we might be born a woman physically but on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is masculine we may be more masculine on the inside. Likewise a man may be born on a 1 to 2 scale where 1 is more feminine on the inside. Society constructs gender. In some communities (and I wish I had a reference to hand) transgender men and women are seen as special beings with unique and oftentimes even magical talents. I like that idea. We are born a certain way for a reason. It is sad to me - so sad - that there are people who feel they have to change the bodies they have been given to make up for society's lack of understanding. Much Love Tina x


So sad and shocking. Thanks for drawing attention to this subject. The world needs more open talk about sexuality, and less hiding behind taboo and secrecy. If people were more accepting of differences and more willing to discuss those differences openly and honestly, people like the boy you describe would not have to suffer needlessly. In fact, if everyone were more open about discussing sexuality, we might have fewer sexually transmitted diseases and fewer unwanted pregnancies, both of which lead to several of the world's leading scourges: AIDS, overpopulation, and poverty. But simply addressing the isolation and depression of teenagers who feel different would be a good start. I appreciate your compassion.

Un abrazo, Cara