Gender identification and sex reassignment surgery in the trans population: a survey study in France

Arch Sex Behav. 2014 Nov;43(8):1491-501. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0382-3. Epub 2014 Sep 18.


Drawing from controversies between medical, legal, and associative actors about the obligation of sex reassignment surgeries (SRS) for people who intend to change their civil status, this article discusses the role that medical procedures, and particularly SRS, play in contemporary gender identifications and transition pathways in France. In 2010, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research conducted a national survey in order to study the sociodemographic characteristics, access to medical, and psychological care, and state of health among trans individuals. After a long period of ethnographic work during which a partnership was established with trans actors to map the social, medical, and political landscape of trans communities, a questionnaire was developed and distributed between July and October 2010 in collaboration with most of the trans organizations and public and private health professionals operating in France. Overall, 381 self-identified trans individuals returned the anonymous self-administered questionnaire. The results highlighted the heterogeneity of the trans population, whose definition cannot be reduced to a group of individuals undergoing standardized hormonal treatments and SRS. Two central indicators, sex assigned at birth and gender self-identification, enabled us to describe and analyze different medical and legal pathways with a particular focus on SRS, which is often compulsory for a change of civil status in France. Although SRS remains an important factor in an individual's subjective evaluation of the success of the transition pathway, its practice varies depending on one's sex assigned at birth and gender identification.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • France
  • Gender Identity*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sex Reassignment Surgery / psychology*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Transgender Persons / psychology*
  • Transsexualism / psychology
  • Transsexualism / surgery*