Health

Neglect: Surgery for sex readjustment by the SUS does not exist in Minas Gerais

Implemented 16 years ago in Brazil, the process of transsexualization carried out by the Unified Health System (SUS) is still a right far from being achieved for people who wish to perform it in Minas Gerais, where the waiting list for the procedure can take up to 10 years. In the country, only five hospitals are qualified to perform the procedure, and none of them are in the state.

Call of sex reassignment surgery, the operation was made available by the SUS in 2008 and, even 15 years later, it is still restricted. In Brazil, since 2014, only 280 procedures of this type have been carried out by the public network.

The surgery consists of altering the characteristics of Organs sexual organs of transgender people. In practice, the penis is remodeled to make way for a vagina and vice versa. For those who dream of this change, the wait causes so much anguish that those who can afford it prefer to pay for the surgery.

That’s what student Michelle Lima*, 33, did, who came to look for SUS in 2012 to start the reassignment process, but was frustrated by the delay. “I was not welcomed at the time and I confess that I was disappointed with the waiting time they reported, which was almost 10 years. I was aware of the bureaucratic procedures, monitoring and everything else, but I didn’t think it was fair to deal with it for so long”, reveals the student who, after paying R$ 40 thousand, got the change she wanted so much, despite the financial cost.

Sex reassignment service offered in Minas

In Minas Gerais, the service offered in this regard is limited. At Hospital Eduardo de Menezes, in Belo Horizonte, the Multiprofessional Outpatient Clinic Specialized in the Transsexualization Process (AMETrans) serves approximately 500 patients, including people from cities in the interior of the state. On site, the entire multidisciplinary process is carried out for the reception of transgender people and hormonal transsexualization process, pre and post-surgical, but the operation itself is referred to hospitals outside Minas Gerais.

*fictitious name

surgery numbers

280 – sex reassignment surgeries have been performed by the SUS since 2014.

5 – hospitals perform the procedure throughout Brazil. They are located in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Pernambuco and Goiás.

2,150 – outpatient procedures for the trans population were performed in Minas Gerais between 2019 and February 2022, according to the Ministry of Health.

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