CHICAGO (AP) — A Chicago museum that chronicles the history of surgery is planning an exhibit on sex-reassignment procedures.

Collin Pressler is the International Museum of Surgical Science‘s director of exhibitions. He tells the Chicago Sun-Times that he hopes the museum can help “demystify” the “relatively obscure” topic.

Pressler says museum officials have seen the issue become a “flashpoint” in social, cultural and political conversations and the museum hopes to be able to contribute to the discussion in medical and surgical terms.

He hopes the exhibit opens before the end of the year.

A 2016 University of California study says that about 700,000 people in the country identify as transgender. The Encyclopedia of Surgery reports that up to 500 sex-change operations are performed each year in the U.S.

(© 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE