What is HBS?
HBS or Harry Benjamin Syndrome is a medical condition that involves an inter-sexual development during the early pregnancy stages. “Inter-sexual” is the term used because the neurological development is associated to one sex while the reproductive development is on the opposite sex. This simply means that “boys” have their brains developed as “males” while their bodies take in the form of “females”. The opposite is what happens with “girls” who have female neurological identities but have “male” physical bodies including genitalia. There is no known and exact cause for developing HBS. Many medical experts believe though that irregularity in hormones during pregnancy is a big factor in developing this type of condition.
This condition affects both girls and boys but with different incidence. HBS happens in boys 1 out of 100,000 births. In girls, this condition happens for every 30,000 births. HBS is a congenital condition but is not recognizable at birth. Diagnosis of this condition will come much later in life when the person presents of gender identity issues. Some people are diagnosed in their teens or twenties but diagnosis could come as late as the age of 40. The gender identity is developed neurologically and so it creates a conflict as children are raised based on their anatomical features and development. This particular inter-sexual conflict will result to problems that are not necessarily attributed or related to HBS itself.
Those diagnosed with this condition usually are treated with hormone replacement therapy. Through the introduction of hormones to the body, some bodily changes will occur to make it coincide with the neurological gender. The second level of treatment involves “sex affirmation surgery” which basically involves genitalia modification to align it with the person’s supposed gender. Although HBS is a physiological condition rather than a psychological disorder, psychotherapy may also play a very significant part in the treatment process, especially for younger patients.