A 16-year-old boy is to become the nation’s youngest sex change patient after the NHS approved his surgery.
Bradley Cooper, who turned 16 last Friday, is expected to have the sex change operation within the next 18 months.
In an interview with a national newspaper Bradley said: “People might think I’m too young to make such a huge decision but I know my own mind and this is what I want.”
He added: “The doctors have said I need the surgery for my own peace of mind. I hate my body as it is now. Every time I look at my male bits I feel sick because it is not what should be there.”
However, critics of sex change operations say that gender dysphoria is a psychiatric problem, not a physical one, and radical physical surgery does more harm than good.
In 2002 doctors from the NHS Portman Clinic – an internationally acclaimed centre – stated, “what many patients find is that they are left with a mutilated body, but the internal conflicts remain”.
Many transsexuals regret their decision to live in the opposite sex. A Home Office report on transsexualism, released in April 2000, said: “Many people revert to their biological sex after living for some time in the opposite sex”.
The move has also been critiscised by some who have undergone sex change operations themselves.
Responding to Bradley’s case Miranda Ponsonby, who had a sex change from male to female, said: “They might think they know their own mind but teenagers are so impressionable, and they may have got this thought into their heads through the people they have been mixing with.”
Bradley, who has been dressing as a girl since he was 12 years old, has the support of his mother and sisters.
Currently the youngest Britain to have undergone sex change surgery is Oliver Wheadon, now known as Angel Paris-Jordan, who had his sex change operation shortly before turning 18.
Last year a German teenager became the world’s youngest sex change patient after having an operation at the age of 16.