The Serbian urologist Miroslav Djordjevic, one of the world’s leading sex-reassignment surgeons, has a nightmare and a dream when he thinks about the estimated 1.5 million transgender people in Western Europe.
His nightmare is throwing into the garbage the penises and testicles of 700,000 men and the uteruses and ovaries of 700,000 women. His dream is an organ bank which will allow doctors to access compatible mutual donors and swap one patient’s crown jewels for another’s private parts.
“Now we are in a final step,” Dr Djordjevic said in the latest episode of Doctor Podcasts, on YouTube. “The final approach will be to transplant the penis. This is my main goal, goal of my career. And I hope that this future started yesterday.”
Most of his patients are ideal candidates for organ transplants, as they are typically young, healthy and in their early 20s. In recent years, Dr Djordjevic has successfully transplanted a uterus, ovaries, and testicles into his patients. “From all of these three transplantations, we had a delivery. That is very good result,” he said.
Dr Djordjevic practices both at the Belgrade Center for Genital Reconstructive Surgery in Serbia and at the renowned Mount Sinai hospital in New York. Mount Sinai regards him as a star transgender surgeon. “We are striving to find a way to use all genital organs that are planned for removal in transition surgery to improve the lives of others who request this surgery and enable them to lead a normal life,” he says on the Mount Sinai website.
According to Mount Sinai, Dr Djordjevic is “optimistic that transplantation of genitalia will eventually become standard of care in the same way that hand and face transplants are becoming routine”.
This is bonkers.
In the most recent Newsweek survey of hospitals, Mount Sinai ranks 23rd in the world. Why is a reputable American hospital supporting this grotesque project? There is something deeply wrong about treating human beings as storage bins for private parts.
Swapping genitalia is not just another kind of organ donation. The sexual organs are an inalienable aspect of one’s personal identity. They transmit life itself – and not just any life, but the life of this man or this woman. It’s a kind of psychological suicide.
The 19th century English philosopher John Stuart Mill was a libertarian radical who believed in minimising restrictions on personal freedom. With one exception. In his book On Liberty he declared that “an engagement by which a person should sell himself, or allow himself to be sold, as a slave, would be null and void; neither enforced by law nor by opinion”. Slavery negates one’s personal identity as a free being.
Something similar can be said about swapping genitalia. Not only is the operation extremely risky, physically and psychologically, but you become less of the person you are. It’s an attack on your very identity. The idea that sexuality is just an optional module of the human body reaches its zenith in this bizarre project.
The mad vivisectionist in HG Wells’s novel The Island of Dr Moreau had similar warped ambitions, and a similar attitude to the ethics of his surgical experiments. At one point he explains his philosophy – or lack of it:
“I went on with this research just the way it led me … You cannot imagine what this means to an investigator, what an intellectual passion grows upon him! You cannot imagine the strange, colourless delight of these intellectual desires! The thing before you is no longer an animal, a fellow-creature, but a problem!
“To this day I have never troubled about the ethics of the matter,” he continued. “The study of Nature makes a man at last as remorseless as Nature.”
The passion for using a scalpel to create new humans lives on in Belgrade.