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Health

Trans woman operated on by unlicensed man defends ‘surgeon’: ‘I am not his victim’

Elena Cherubini May 23, 2017

A man has been arrested for removing a transgender woman’s genitalia with an army surgical kit.

James Lowell Pennington performed the surgery on the woman, removing her testicles.

The operation resulted in a complication after she experienced heavy bleeding from the procedure, which was performed last week.

But the woman involved has written a letter in which she explained that she is not his victim, but rather the victim of a “social and healthcare system that forced her to take the risk”.

In the letter, she explains how she asked the unlicensed Colorado man to perform the operation, adding that she will not press charges against him.

The trans woman, who signed the letter “Jane Doe,” wrote: “The man who did the operation on me was arrested, and shortly after that his name was released to the press who have now released several stories painting the man as a monster and me as a victim.

“I am here to verify that I am indeed a victim. However, I am not a victim of 57-year-old James Lowell Pennington who is the suspect in this case.

“I am a victim of a society and healthcare system that focuses on trying to demonise transgender people and prevent us from getting the medical transition we need instead of trying to do what is best for us.

“Do not paint me as a victim of naivety or obsession and do not paint Mr Pennington as a monster.”

She said that arranging the “back-alley” surgery was her only option, and that she did so out of desperation.

Doe described the emotional pain she went through during puberty when she knew her gender identity did not match her body appearance.

She also stated that she had to go on a long journey to accept her gender identity. At first, she tried living as a gay man, but when that didn’t work, she turned to religion, as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

When she eventually realised she was transgender, she started hormone therapy.

“Since then my life has improved enormously,” she wrote.

“I no longer abuse drugs and rarely ever drink … I no longer want to die as I did from childhood into my young adulthood because I could not be true to myself.”

However, she said having testicles was something that caused her great pain.

She blamed choosing an unlicensed operation on the American “standards of care” for trans people, which she said are not designed to help transgender people.

“These ‘standards of care’ and society’s treatment of transgender people are the only true crimes regarding my case,” she wrote.

“I tried for many years to go through legitimate routes to get these surgeries which would make my physical genitalia match my gender. Yet every time something went wrong.

“Mr Pennington presented me an opportunity to achieve this goal. He offered me a kindness which the environment I live in denied me.

“Until this system is fixed and transgender people are encouraged and able to get the care we need, there will always be cases like me.”

More: Army kit, surgery, testicles, Trans, US

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