Doctor, estranged wife at odds over gender surgery during divorce

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. —  A Bartlett-based psychiatrist who is transitioning from a man to a woman said her estranged wife has filed to keep her from spending money on things related to the transition including clothing, makeup, medication and an upcoming surgery.

Dr. James Woods spoke to News Channel 3 from a Washington, D.C. hotel room where she was speaking at a pharmaceutical presentation.

“I’ve had gender dysphoria since I was six years old," Woods said.

The 63-year-old never told loved ones about it until a recent sudden heart attack.

“I think the constant stress of living in shame was getting to be too much for me and stealth, and lying,” Woods said.

It prompted Woods to make a drastic change and transition — from living life as a “he” to “she.” The procedure is called an orchiotomy.

But Woods' estranged wife filed a request to get the court to stop Dr. Woods from spending money on anything related to his transition until their divorce is finalized.

"I don’t mind giving her the money. This is such a small percentage of my income that, if this is not about the money, then what is it about?"

In fact, Dr. Woods has filed a counter-suit in federal court that the request violated her civil rights.

She said she only planned to spend about $6,000 on the transition, or about 2 percent of her annual income.

A chancery court lawyer will rule on the estranged wife's request Thursday.

"This is not about money. This is about something else," Woods said. "If I can be part of something bigger and something better, and represent my community, get some meaningful change done, I can live with that."

She said she could lose her job for speaking out, but she's 63 and financially stable, so she's in a position to be able to do it when so many others can’t.

WREG contacted the lawyer for Woods' estranged wife multiple times but did not get a response.

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