A difficult court case unfolds in Australia, where a woman is suing the psychiatrist who approved her gender reassignment to male.
Jay Langadinos, 31, who no longer identifies as male, was 19 when he first saw psychiatrist Dr. Patrick Toohey. At the time, she identified as male and wanted to begin hormone therapy that would begin her transition.
Her endocrinologist referred her to Dr. Toohey so that it could be determined if she was a psychologically good candidate for treatment.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that according to a claim filed in the New South Wales Supreme Court, a referral letter from Professor Anne Conway said it appeared likely that Langadinos had “genuine gender dysphoria”; the letter states that Langadinos is very young and apparently needs “extensive psychiatric treatment before beginning hormone treatment.”
Toohey agreed with the gender dysphoria assessment and approved testosterone therapy for Langadinos in 2010.
Two years later Langadinos saw Toohey again as she wanted to have her breasts surgically removed and Toohey agreed.
Again in 2012, when Langadinos was 22, she saw him before her uterus was removed. The doctor reported that he saw “no psychiatric contraindications to performing a hysterectomy as part of gender transition” and she underwent the operation.
Langadinos is now 31. She is suing Toohey for professional negligence. Four years after her hysterectomy, during treatment with another psychiatrist, she says she realized she shouldn’t have had hormone therapy or both surgeries.
She claims Dr Toohey “failed to take precautions” to avoid the risk of harm “in the form of loss of her breasts, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries”.
According to the lawsuit, Langadinos claims that before approving her treatment, Toohey should have known that she needed further psychiatric evaluation by him and a psychiatrist with specialized expertise.
And she alleges negligence that he did not suggest she get a second psychiatric opinion before the hysterectomy.
“Knowing I can’t have children is absolutely devastating,” she told the Sydney Morning Herald.
Langadinos said she felt somewhat flawed as a teenager; after reading about gender dysphoria, she decided it applied to her. She assumed she was transgender “because of the discomfort I had in my body.”
She hoped the gender reassignment would bring her happiness, but each operation made her more depressed.
She claims she suffers from injuries and disabilities related to both hormone therapy and surgery, including depression, early menopause, anxiety and reduced ability to work.
After their first visit, Toohey said he was concerned that Langadinos “doesn’t know how psychological factors can affect the outcome of gender transition.”
He strongly recommended that she receive therapy for “social phobia” and have regular psychological follow-up during hormone therapy. He said family therapy would also be helpful.
After the second consultation, Toohey noted that Langadinos’ parents came with her and supported her in having a mastectomy.
However, he also noted that the recommended treatment did not occur and that Langadinos told him she did not want treatment.
The doctor expressed concern in a letter that when he first saw Langadinos in 2010, he noted “a past history of significant social phobia and depression that may have been beyond gender dysphoria.”
Toohey said he could not comment because the case was before the courts.