In April of 2016, a 23-year-old man from Washington D.C. performed the first of two disturbing DIY surgical procedures. Using his own apartment as an operating room, he removed his own testicles with a ceramic knife, easing the pain with just ice water.
Less than a year later, in January 2017, he performed another, similar surgery upon himself, this time in a North Carolina motel room. He again used a ceramic knife, this time to remove his penis. For his second surgery, he also made use of the pain killers prescribed to him after the first.
His severed genitalia had been kept in his family’s freezer, that is, until his mother threw them away.
Becoming a Nullo
The man is IT worker Trent Gates; and the procedures, he said, helped him to tackle his severe depression. This extreme form of body modification makes Gates what some call a “nullo,” which is short for genital nullification.
Gates explained that he had felt like an “an androgynous in-between” when it came to his gender identity.
It was after seeing a famous nullo by the name of Gelding when he was 15 that Gates was inspired to perform the procedure himself. Years later, he sanitized his ultra-sharp ceramic blade with alcohol and got to work.
DIY Surgical Procedure
“I used a ceramic [knife] because its sharper than the steel, less ripping and tearing,” Gates told Metro, adding that he’d taken “every precaution” prior to his surgeries. He also immediately admitted himself to hospitals following both surgeries.
On both occasions, he was stitched up by a surgeon and provided painkillers.
“I honestly didn’t have a problem with the pain,” he said of removing his penis. “I used a little bit of a numbing agent, a little bit of lidocaine on it, and I took to five milligrams of oxycodone that they prescribed me when I did my balls to take the edge off.”
Despite being at a different hospital 16 hours away, he somehow managed to get the same surgeon both times.
Understanding His Sexual Identity
Of his genitalia, Gates said, “it didn’t feel like part of me,” yet he added that he also had “no desire to be a woman” either. He describes himself as non-binary and says he’s attracted to men. He’s not a fan of the pronoun “they,” however, as he says he feels more male than female.
After the procedures, Gates did receive psychiatric treatment and was found to be of sane mind.
“I feel happier. I feel more me. I feel, I guess, freer in a sense. It’s kind of hard to describe it,” Gates said. He also claims to now have an improved sex life post-nullification.
His boyfriend, Gates says, fully accepts his modified body. As for his parents, it seems it took them a while get over the initial shock. However, they ultimately have been accepting of Gates’s decision. Though his mother was apparently not keen on keeping his privates in the freezer.