five stages over almost two years and was performed under the supervision of the eminent German sexual psychiatrist, Dr Magnus Hirschfeld. Due to a misunderstanding of the nature of transplant surgery, the second operation transplanted ovaries which created rejection problems.
Lili became the victim of sensational newspaper reporting and her marriage to her existing partner was declared null and void (some present day trans people will understand these situations only too well). Lili did, however, manage to obtain a legal change of name and passport.Like some other trans people, Lili's fondest wish was to be able to be able to carry children and this, sadly, led to her death in 1931 from complications bought on by a fifth operation, seemingly an attempt to transplant a womb.Lili Elbe's is in some ways a sad story, but she was brave enough to be a pioneer of gender confirmation surgery and also of some modern transplant surgery.
Lili's story was written about in ELH Jacobson's 'Man into Woman' (written under the pseudonym of Niels Hoyer in 1933) and has also been used more recently as the basis of a novel in David Ebershoff's 'The Danish Girl' (published in 2001).
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