Pop Star Kim Petras is Youngest Transsexual at Age 16

by Kilian Melloy
Thursday Feb 5, 2009

German pop star Kim Petras is thought to be the world's youngest transsexual.

The 16-year-old singer--born as Tim Petras--famously began hormone therapy when she was 12. Now her transition to a beautiful young woman is complete, reported British newspaper The Daily Mail in a Feb. 5 article.

The article quoted an expert on transsexual youth, Dr. Bernd Meyenburg, who is with the University of Frankfurt Hospital.

Said Dr. Meyenburg, who directs the hospital's Psychiatric Special Outpatient Clinic for Children and Adolescents with Identity Disorders, "Very few youth psychiatrists have any experience with transsexual developments."

As a result, "The families wander from one psychiatrist to the next.," said Meyenburg.

The doctor continued, "I was always against such operations on children so young but after seeing how happy one of my patients was and how well adjusted after returning from having the operation abroad while still a teenager, I realized that in some cases it is the right decision.

"Kim is such a case," added Meyenburg. "She always knew what she wanted."

The article reported that the young woman was looking forward to the summer season for a chance to show off her physique.

Said Petras, "I just can't wait to put on my favorite bathing suit and go swimming like I've never done before."

The pop star had no reservations about having undergone gender reassignment surgery, saying, "I had to wait until my 16th birthday but once that was past I was able legally to have the operation."

Indeed, Kim's transition took place at an unusually early age: ordinarily, gender reassignment is not allowed until patients are at least 18. But Petras persuaded her doctors that she was certain of her gender identity as a 12-year-old, and by age 14 was already well on her way to transitioning.

Gender reassignment for younger people has been promoted recently by physicians in the Netherlands as being more successful than cases in which the candidate must wait until late in adolescence, when the body's physical form is harder to reshape and bring into line with a transgendered person's idea of him or herself.

As a result, some physicians recommend the use of drugs to delay the start of puberty in young transgendered individuals, to buy them time to be certain that transitioning is truly what they want.

In Petras' case, the doctors were convinced that she truly understood what she was asking for at an early age.

The article quoted German endocrinologist Sr. Achim Wuesthof, who treated her at a Hamburg clinic.

Said Dr. Wuesthof, "To the best of my knowledge, Kim is the youngest sex change patient in the world."

That status was not accorded the young woman lightly.

"According to German law, two independent psychiatrists must confirm that the child is indeed transsexual and approve the sex change.

"Once that has been done, it is best to start as early as possible," continued Wuesthof.

"Transsexuals experience the onset of puberty, and the physical changes it brings, as a serious trauma.

"But there is a general lack of empathy with cases like Kim's, mostly because people know little about the condition," the endocrinologist added.

"Imagine a man that suddenly starts growing breasts or a woman that starts growing a beard against their will--that is how Kim and people like her experience puberty.

"They are not freaks, nor do they suffer mental illness," Wuesthof went on. "They are simply trapped in the wrong bodies.

"That is why it is best to help them as early as possible and reduce the trauma for them and their families."

The young women herself attested that, "I was asked if I feel like a woman now--but the truth is I have always felt like a woman--I just ended up in the wrong body."

The article said that Kim was two years old when she began to refer to herself as a girl, rather than as a boy.

Said Lutz, her father, "I suppose it took me longer than my wife to accept it, but Kim is a very persuasive girl, she knows what she wants and how to get it."

Added Lutz, "I am very proud of what she has achieved, how she has managed to get there and how she sticks to her dreams no matter how hard and painful they are to follow."

Petras was realistic that her sex change might overshadow her other accomplishments in life, saying, "I know that because of my past people will always bring up the subject, I can't get away from it.

"But I hope that one day I might be better known for something else like my music."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


  • sweetbranigirl2004, 2009-02-05 18:56:03

    Wonderful results I’m so happy for her that she had understanding parents and a smart and caring Therapist. Sincerely Brandi Parker SWVA Rep Equality Virginia U.S.A

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