International Day Against Racism

Sex change operations have been carried out in what is now the Czech Republic since the early 1960s, and they are available through the Czech Republic's public health service free of charge, but public awareness of transsexuals is virtually non-existent. Members of the country's transsexual community met in Prague on Tuesday for a seminar to increase public awareness of who they are and what it means to be transsexual. Nick Carey was there and brings back this report.

The seminar, called "We live amongst you" brought together medical experts, sex therapist and members of the Czech transsexual community to talk about the issues facing those who undergo sex change operations. The majority of speakers agreed that while Czech society is generally tolerant of the issue, it is still largely ignorant of their existence, or what transsexualism actually means. Many transsexuals, and medical experts, prefer to use the term transgender, because they say this is not a sexual matter, but a gender disorder. According to sex therapist, Petr Weiss, transsexuals feel that they are members of the wrong gender from early on: