Mayla and Sofia grew up as identical twins and always did everything together, and their decision to undergo sex confirmation surgery is no exception.
The 19-year-old twins, who grew up in a small town in southeastern Brazil, both say they “never identified themselves as boys”.
Now they have made the transition that they have long dreamed of together, which is what their doctor calls the first.
“This is the only reported case in the world,” said Dr. Jose Carlos Martins from the Transgender Center Brazil, a clinic in the southeastern city of Blumenau.
Martins performed the five-hour operation on the twins one day apart.
A week later, the euphoric young women smiled, joked and shed tears as they talked about their trip together in a video conference interview with AFP.
“I’ve always loved my body, but I didn’t like my genitals,” said Mayla Rezende, a brunette studying medicine in Argentina.
“I would blow dandelion seeds in the air and wish God would turn me into a girl,” she said.
When she saw herself after her operation, she cried, she said.
Her sister Sofia Albuquerck is more reserved.
But their camaraderie is clear. They finish each other’s sentences and share how they supported each other through bullying, sexual harassment, and violence they were exposed to in childhood and adolescence.
– “The most transphobic country” –
“We live in the most transphobic country in the world,” said Albuquerck, a blonde who studies civil engineering in Sao Paulo.
According to the National Association of Transvestites and Transsexuals (Antra), 175 transsexuals were murdered in Brazil last year, most of them in one country.
Latin America’s largest country is known for a strong culture of machism and open homophobia, not least on the part of right-wing extremist President Jair Bolsonaro.
The twins were born in Tapira, a town of 4,000 in the state of Minas Gerais.
They still bear the emotional scars of their difficult childhood: 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 who we were, they were afraid that people would abuse us,” said Rezende.
Her grandfather is the one who paid for her operations. He auctioned off a property he owned to pay the 100,000 reais ($ 20,000) bill.
Her mother, Mara Lucia da Silva, said it was “a relief” when her twins came out as transsexuals.
“I don’t even remember seeing them as boys. To me, they were always girls,” she said.
She remembered taking her to see doctors and psychologists as children.
“In my heart, I always knew that they were girls and that they were suffering,” said the 43-year-old school secretary, who has two other daughters.
“I’m mad at myself for never giving them a doll or a dress, for not making them happier as a girl,” she said.
But the twins said their mother was a stone of support.
“Whenever someone did something to us on the street, the first thing we wanted to do was go home and tell our mother to hug us,” said Rezende.
“She was like a lioness. She was always very protective of us.”
– Proud women –
Rezende and Albuquerck – one has their father’s last name and the other that of the grandfather who funded their operations – originally planned to go to Thailand for the operation.
But then Rezende found the Transgender Center, which opened in 2015.
The sex confirmation surgery has been covered by the Brazilian health system since 2011. Only five public hospitals are doing the procedure and the waiting list is long.
A private clinic enabled the twins to be operated on earlier.
“I am proud to be a trans woman. I have lived in fear of society for too long. Now I ask for your respect,” said Rezende, who always has a picture of St. Sebastian, the Christian martyr, with him.
Albuquerck, who is also religious, said that she believes, “God made souls, not bodies.”
“I want to show people that we are human too,” she said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)