By Cherri Gregg
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A 48-year-old transgender woman took on her parents Wednesday in a Bucks County courtroom. She’s fighting for her right to have gender-reassignment surgery. Her parents want her declared incompetent.
“Now I’m so happy and free,” says Christine Kitzler. At 48-years-old, she says she’s finally able to be herself.
“I’m a woman,” she says.
Christine says she’s identified as female since her teen years and even dressed as a woman in college, calling herself “Chrissy” on her college diploma. Then life forced her to repress it for years.
“It’s really a hard thing where you’re torn apart like a rag doll,” she says, “I drank away something I didn’t even know I was drinking away — and I just ran away from life.”
Tuesday was supposed to be the day the agony ended. Dr. Christine McGinn who’s also transgender and has performed more than 1,000 gender reassignment surgeries was scheduled to perform the procedure on Christine Kitzler. That was until Christine’s parents, Klaus and Ingrid Kitlzer traveled from Ohio to McGinn’s office to stop it.
“We had to have them removed by police,” says Christine McGinn, D.O.
The Kitzler’s filed court papers — alleging Christine — born a boy and named Christopher — suffers from mild retardation, suicidal thoughts and serious medical conditions that make surgery too risky. The argued Christine is not mentally stable able so they should be named her guardian.
“They’d rather have their daughter committed than have this surgery — if we were talking about a vasectomy, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Attorney Angela Giampolo, represents Christine Kitzler and says using guardianship to stop a sex change operation is unheard of.
“This isn’t a competency hearing, this isn’t a guardianship hearing, this is a difference of opinion hearing,” she says, noting that Christine prepared for the surgery for more than a year. Giampolo says multiple doctors approved Christine for the surgery, assessing her mental soundness. She says it’s a life or death situation.
“Transgender individuals who are denied medical care commit suicide at a rate of 60 percent if they are denied their surgery,” she says.
The judge sided with Christine Kitzler. She says she knows the surgery is risky, but she’s ready.
“I might for die,” she says, “but it’s worth dying. I would rather die than live the way I was.”
As for her parents:
“They don’t have a son, they have a daughter and now I’ll have the parts too.”
Christine Kitzler says she’s happy about the ruling and plans to get her surgery tonight.