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.
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