A 17-year-old girl Farzana had a sex change operation after having been severely ill for several months.
On Monday, Iqbal Nagar resident Farzana was brought to Sheikh Zayed Hospital in critical condition. “She had been ill for nearly a year and we have had several consultations,” said resident surgeon Dr Rehan. “I had told her parents that she had a rare genetic condition and that she was suffering from a severe hormonal imbalance,” he said.
On Monday, Farzana was brought into the hospital with severe abdominal pain and doctors confirmed that she required immediate surgery. “Farzana has hermaphrodite genes and we needed to operate on her soon because her body was beginning to shut down,” Dr Rehan said. The doctors confirmed that Farzana had been experiencing similar symptoms since puberty but that in her case the symptoms were developing rapidly. “One can usually identify hermaphrodite cases at birth but there are exceptions where the symptoms manifest at puberty,” he said, adding “In Farzana’s case the symptoms were developing very rapidly and it could have killed her.”
An x-ray and ultrasound report showed that Farzana’s body bore excess testosterone. “The doctor came to us and said that we had the choice to see our daughter die or to see her become our son,” said Farzana’s father Ishtiaq. “I am glad to have a son who can help me out at work now and I am not in the least bit ashamed,” he said, when reporters questioned him about the case.
Farzana had the operation on Sunday night and on Monday afternoon her parents changed her name to Faizan. Ishtiaq runs a fast food shop located in the Rahim Yar Khan district court precincts. Faizan has one sister and three brothers. “Earlier it was three brothers and two sisters but now things have changed. I am just happy to be alive,” Faizan told reporters.
On Sunday evening, Faizan underwent the final operation in the long sex-change procedure. “We performed three operations in total. It has taken three weeks and now Farzana is officially Faizan,” Dr Rehaan said.
Faizan said that he used to work in a beauty parlour and was learning to be a beautician to support his family. “I will work with my father now,” he said. “My life has completely changed but I hope I can still retain my friendships. I hope that I can stay in touch with all my friends and that people don’t judge me for this,” Faizan said.
“I am just happy to be alive,” he said adding that he and his parents had taken the decision to have the sex-change operation so that he could live a healthy life.
“I have been sick for a very long time and now that I am healthy I am thankful. I don’t care about whether I am a boy or a girl as long as I am alive,” Faizan said.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 25th, 2011.