Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 29 May 2016

Dad stands by sex change son

By Gail Walker

THE father of the young Donegal man who had a sex change operation today

Published 12/10/1996

broke his silence about his son's decision.

broke his silence about his son's decision.

Owen McCullagh said the entire family circle had endured 'a dreadful time' since Peter had decided to live life as a woman.

He said: 'Nobody could imagine, nobody knows what we have come through in the last two years.'But Mr McCullagh added: 'He'll not be talking to anyone about it, either now or in the future.'Peter, who is in his early twenties and has five brothers and sisters, had the surgery carried out in England.

The operation, which was reported to have cost £3,762, was paid for by the Republic's North Western Health Board on the grounds the man's 'life and safety were in jeopardy.'Peter, who has now assumed the name Patricia or Petra, has since returned to the family's neat end- terrace home in Malin, Inishowen.

Neighbours said he had been a well-liked and popular young man and added that his parents had received much support in the village.

One woman living in the same cul-de-sac as the McCullaghs, said: 'It's really just a matter for him and his parents.

'I suppose I'm just thankful that it's not one of my children but what else can his mum and dad do, but support him.

'It doesn't bother me at all. I just hope that it makes him happier.'Another local woman added: 'He's been out and about since the operation and with longer hair and jewellery, he really does look like a woman.

'I saw Peter _ or rather Patricia _ not that long ago and she was wearing jeans and a black cut-off top and looked very well indeed.

'The McCullaghs are a very nice family and people here just think they should be left alone to get on with their lives now.'The process involved in anyone changing their sex is lengthy, with the candidate first having to convince the authorities that they are living in the body of the wrong sex.

In a man's case, the individual spends up to a year on hormone treatment, living as a woman.

Only after prolonged psychiatric assessment and consultation is the final operation necessary to change sex carried out.

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