Georges Burou was the son of a French teacher in Algeria. He qualified as a doctor, and initially worked in a gynecological clinic. He moved to Casablanca, Morocco in 1940, and served in the Fourth French-Moroccan Mountain Division, and was part of the liberation of Alsace.
Back in Casablanca he opened his Clinic du Parc at 13 rue Lapébie. In 1956 he was approached by Jenny, a nightclub electrician, desperate to become a woman who had already been rejected by other gynecologists. In 1957 the newspaper France Dimanch carried a story about Jeannette Jiousselot, a carpenter who likewise was accepted by Dr Burou.
Burou developed a technique to create a vagina using a live graft taken from the penile skin, and continued to refine and improve it. He was initially unaware of previous such work by Ludwig Levy-Lenz in Berlin in the 1930s; Lennox Broster in London in the 1930s and 1940s; Harold Gillies in England in the 1940s and 1950s; Elmer Belt in Los Angeles in the 1950s.
It was Jenny who informed Coccinelle of what Dr Burou could do, and over the next few years several performers from Le Carousel, not only Coccinelle but Bambi, April Ashley, Amanda Lear and Capucine came for the operation, and Borou became famous as the sex change doctor of choice.
In the US, especially after Belt reduced and then discontinued his practice, Harry Benjamin sent many to Dr Burou for surgery. Many surgeons have credited Burou as the basis for their techniques, including Howard Jones and Stanley Biber.
In 1973, Dr. Burou gave his first formal public presentation on his innovative surgical technique at a major conference held at the Stanford University Medical School. By that time he had performed over 3000 MtF operations.
"I do not transform men into women. I transform male genitals into genitals that have a feminine aspect. All the rest is in the patient's head."Notable patients also include Jan Morris and Carol Riddell (who were in the clinic at the same time), Colette Berends, Jean Lessenich, Corinne van Tongerloo, Carousel Maki, Vanessa Van Durme, Della Aleksander and Michael Brinkle.
Renée Richards famously came to his door but then turned away.
Burou was a keen waterskier. He drowned under his boat at age 77.
- Georges Burou. “Male to Female Transformation”. Donald R. Laub & Patrick Gandy (eds). Proceedings Of The Second Interdisciplinary Symposium On Gender Dysphoria Syndrome. Stanford University School of Medicine. 1973. Also online at: http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Burou/Burou.html.
- Maxime Foerster. Histoire des transsexuels en France. Paris: Harmatten 2003. Beziers: H&O 2006: 21, 76, 78, 97-100, 170-1.
- J Joris Hage, Refaat B. Karim, Donald R. Laub Sr. “On the Origin of Pedicled Skin Inversion Vaginoplasty: Life and Work of Dr Georges Burou of Casablanca”. Annals of Plastic Surgery. Dec 2007, 59,6: 723-9.
- “Dr. Burou – de man achter operatie ‘Casablanca’”. What the Papers Say. http://www.europeants.org/WTPS/Papers/burou.htm.
- “Mémoire: En souvenir des transsexuels”. www.dianeetlesexedesanges.ch/3colset008/_souvenirs-d-un-passe-insolite.htm
- Bambi. “Un jour que j’étais en tournée à Nice”. www.dianeetlesexedesanges.ch/3colset008/_page-anecdote1operations.htm
- “Georges Burou”. Wikipedia: Die freie Enzyklopädie. de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Burou
Note: his name is sometimes misspelt 'Bourou'.