First Identical Twins, 19, To Both Undergo Sex Change Surgery Together In Brazil

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  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    The first identical twins in the world to both undergo gender reassignment surgery have revealed they 'never identified as boys' and their first shower as women was 'magical'.


    Mayla Phoebe de Rezende and Sofia Albuquerck, 19, made the transition they long dreamed of together, in what their doctor calls a first.

    They underwent the five-hour surgery one day apart at the Transgender Center Brazil, a clinic in the southeastern Brazilian city of Blumenau on 13 and 14 February.

    'This is the only reported case in the world' of twins who were presumed to be male at birth undergoing female gender confirmation surgery together, said Dr Jose Carlos Martins, who performed the surgery.

    Growing up as identical twins, Mayla and Sofia always did everything together, and their decision to undergo gender confirmation surgery is no exception.

    A week after the surgery, the euphoric young women smiled, joked and shed tears as they talked about their shared journey in a video-conference interview with AFP.

    'I always loved my body, but I didn't like my genitalia,' said Mayla, a brunette who is studying medicine in Argentina.

    'I would blow dandelion seeds into the air and wish for God to turn me into a girl,' she said.

    When she saw herself after her surgery, she wept, she said.

    Mayla, who has been pictured in her bikini since the surgery, told local media of her happiness with her new body.

    'Before being sedated in hospital, I still couldn't believe my dream was being fulfilled.

    'When I woke up, I couldn't believe it. It's something that's still sinking in. I no longer feel that discomfort when lying or sitting down. It's a wonderful thing.'

    She added: 'My first shower after being discharged was magical.'

    Her sister, Sofia, is more reserved.

    But their camaraderie is clear. They finish each other's sentences while sharing stories of how they supported each other through the bullying, sexual harassment and violence they were subjected to in childhood and adolescence.

    'We live in the most transphobic country in the world,' said Sofia, a blonde who is studying civil engineering in Sao Paulo.

    'At school it was very difficult,' said Mayla. 'Some classmates even threw notebooks at my head.'

    There were 175 trans people murdered in Brazil last year, the most of any country, according to the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra).

    Latin America's largest country is known for a strong culture of machismo and overt homophobia, not least on the part of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

    The twins were born in Tapira, a town of 4,000 people in the state of Minas Gerais.

    They still bear the emotional scars of their difficult childhoods: to this day, they live in fear of abuse. But they always had the support of their family, they said.

    'Our parents weren't afraid of what we were, they were afraid that people would mistreat us,' said Mayla.

    Their grandfather is the one who paid for their surgeries. He auctioned off a property he owned to pay the 100,000-reais ($20,000) bill.

    'My goal now is to graduate in medicine and buy another house for my grandparents as a way of repaying their gesture,' Mayla told local media.

    Their mother, Mara Lucia da Silva, said it was 'a relief' when her twins came out as trans.

    'I don't even remember thinking of them as boys. To me, they were always girls,' she said.

    She recalled taking them to doctors and psychologists as children.

    'In my heart, I always knew they were girls, and that they were suffering,' said the 43-year-old school secretary, who has two other daughters.

    'I'm upset with myself for never giving them a doll or a dress, for not making them happier when they were girls,' she said.

    But the twins said their mother was a rock of support.

    'Whenever someone did something to us in the street, the first thing we wanted to do was go home and tell our mom, for her to give us a hug,' said Mayla.

    'She was like a lioness. She always protected us fiercely.'

    Mayla revealed that they were constantly monitored by doctors for four years prior to their operation. They also received hormone treatment. 'I advise every trans woman to go through this whole process,' she said.

    Mayla Rezende and Sofia Albuquerck - one has their father's surname, the other that of the grandfather who financed their surgeries - were originally planning to go to Thailand for the operation.

    But then Mayla found the Transgender Center, which opened in 2015.

    Gender confirmation surgery has been covered by Brazil's public health system since 2011. But only five public hospitals perform the procedure, and the waiting list is long.

    Going through a private clinic enabled the twins to have the surgery sooner.

    Mayla hopes that her and her sister's story will help sex change ops become more accessible in Brazil.

    She told local media: 'There are many trans women who give up because the waiting list is too long in the public health system and there's only one private clinic that carries out the procedure in Blumenau.'

    'I'm proud to be a trans woman. I've lived in fear of society for too long. Now I'm asking for respect,' said Mayla, who keeps a picture of Saint Sebastian, the Christian martyr, with her constantly.

    Sofia, who is also religious, said that she believes 'God created souls, not bodies.'

    'I want to help people see that we're human beings, too,' she said.

    Mayla has also revealed that the pair hopes to have their own families one day.

    'We want to be mothers, to adopt our children. And we also want to help trans people fight for their dreams and to not give up on them.'


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