'We are talking about masturbation now': Duke hosts panel on transgender surgeries for teens

This event featured five panelists, including a transgender Duke student and the purported first 'woman' to 'perform Gender Affirming Genital surgeries worldwide.'

'We are talking about masturbation now,' the transgender doctor said during the event.

On Mar. 21, Duke University hosted a zoom panel on providing medical care to transitioning teens. This event featured five panelists, including a transgender Duke student and the purported first “woman” to “perform Gender Affirming Genital surgeries worldwide.”

Marci Bowers, a biological man credited with being “the first woman to perform Gender Affirming Genital surgeries worldwide,” justified the performance of gender-affirming surgery, stating that “we’re all cut from the same cloth, all fetus begin as females.” 

Bowers said that female-to-male transitions were easier to follow, also mentioning that there was often a “Lack of skin in creating a female vulva.”

He also mentioned that “every single [male to female] child [who took blockers before a certain point in puberty] has never experienced orgasm because they were never exposed to testosterone.” This has led to changes in gender affirmation therapy as “we are talking about masturbation now.” This led him to state “a penis is a large clitoris, it is all the same material it really is.”

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Bowers ended with an attack on government officials, saying “doctors need to make these decisions, not governors or people who want to lock others in their gender cages.”

The event started with stories from a transgender Duke student Kiran Sundar, who spoke about transitioning beginning at 14 years old, coming out at that age, and “discovering the trans community online.” 

Sundar also emphasized the salience of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, which mandates that people use restrooms according to their biological sex.

The student received wide applause for that statement “My birth certificate said I was female but also I was 5 pounds, neither of these things are true anymore.”

When asked about the state of teen transitioning science, all of the speakers emphasized the increasing quality of scientific research. 

Speaker Leigh Spivey-Rita, a clinical associate at Duke University’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, responded to concerns from the panel’s audience about the mental health of transgender teens.

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 “Gender diverse teens face more stress because society will not support them” leading to the idea that “(their poor) mental health is an accumulation of these stressors over time,” Spivey-Rita said. 

Finally, panelist Deanna Adkins, director of the Duke Child and Adolescent Gender Clinic, ended the general scientific discussion with the quote, “Transgender kids desire research as robust as every other person.”

The panelists were then asked what their hopes for teen transgender science would be within the next decade. 

While several speakers spoke about the adoption of patient-centered care approaches, Bowers spoke about masturbation and orgasms. 

This event was part of Duke University’s Sexual and Gender Minority Health Program symposium on “Trans & Gender Diverse Policies, Care Practices, and Wellbeing.”

The symposium started with remarks from Assistant Secretary for Health Admiral Rachel Levine. Some of the panels included discussions on sports participation and the “Intersection of Race and Gender Diversity.”

Duke University, Marci Bowers, Denna Adkins, Kiran Sundar, and Leigh Spivey Rita were all asked to comment. This article will be updated.