Friday, May 26, 2006

When Breast Removal Is Not Enough

We've often wondered if F2M's (female-to-male transsexuals) feel frustrated, only half-way there. After all, M2F's are able to grow "breasts" AND have "neo-vaginas" constructed. (Check out the website, which provides a link to more info.) Always seemed a bit sexist to us.

Check out this subtly transphobic news item from WebMD (referring to "disfigurement", "birth defects"? -- and why don't they mention this technique's application to transsexual humans?). Scientists are now mastering the technique of growing artificial penises: Scientists Grow Artificial Penis in Lab (May 23, 2006).

It's now possible to replace a defective, damaged, or diseased penis with a penis grown in a laboratory -- in rabbits.

But the finding promises an amazing new treatment for infants, boys, and men who suffer penis disfigurement. The replacement organ would be grown on a penis-shaped matrix seeded with cells from the patient's own body.

"Our goal is eventually to treat infants and adults with birth defects, penis trauma, or penis cancer," Atala tells WebMD. "But this is a future goal. We are now deciding which animal model to explore next." ...

Atala says the new penises have blood vessels and nerves that allow them to become fully functional. Indeed, the replacement penises worked like a charm. The rabbits were able to get erections, mate with females, and get females pregnant with normal, healthy pups.

This latter issue -- whether trans people are able to get satisfaction -- was on the minds of the teenagers attending this year's GLSEN Boston conference. One student asked if a trans person would still have sexual pleasure if they changed their genitals. We're not sure how it was answered, since such penises have not yet been attached to humans.