A response to ‘What the Catholic Church Wants the Transgender Community to Know’
If you do a Google search for the words ‘Catholic’ and ‘transgender’, this is the first search result: https://lifeteen.com/blog/catholic-church-wants-transgender-community-know/. It appears that the author of the article hasn’t been active on social media for the past few years, but seeing that the article is easily searchable via Google, I thought I’d give it a response.
Christina emphasised thoughout the piece that God doesn’t make mistakes. I don’t think anyone (including trans people) is saying that God made a mistake in trans people. Gender dysphoria is a medical condition that can be dealt with (nature makes mistakes, probably), just as any other medical condition can be dealt with, and it appears that medical transition is an option that works for many trans people in order to deal with dysphoria. Should people born with a missing limb be denied the best prosthetic limb available that allows them to function everyday as if they never had a missing limb to begin with?
Contrary to what Christina thinks, the gender dysphoria experience can go on for a lifetime unless dealt with effectively. If medical transition is doing ‘harm’ to a healthy body in order to manage dysphoria harm as a last resort, then so be it. She means well, but it doesn’t appear that she’s talked to trans people in real life before — trans people do not ask for gender dysphoria. It really shows in statements such as “In reality it is hurting the dignity of who you are, body and soul”, and “If you feel like you as a male, you don’t fit the stereotype of men — so be it!”
I believe God has mercy on those who are afflicted with DSM-5 conditions. To the degree in which gender dysphoria affects the sufferer’s ability to understand and obey His commands, is the degree in which His mercy extends (Romans 2:12–16).
Then there are statements such as “There’s been a misunderstanding recently that sex is the highest form of love and fulfillment and if you can’t have sex, you’re doomed to being unhappy and unfulfilled”, which are irrelevant to gender dysphoria. Probably to reinforce the point that what “the Church does teach is that there’s only one way to have a sacramental marriage — one man and one woman… biologically men and women each have something different and unique to offer in the ways they reveal God’s image and likeness in their complementary ways of giving and receiving”.
I get that, but besides the fact that that’s a covenant, not a contract, if marrying should only be done for the right reasons, then not everyone in this world is suitable for marriage. More importantly, if one thinks sex (straight or gay) is pleasurably important, then that’s the real problem because there’s much more to life than sex. Pornography is a bigger problem than an LGBT couple, or a single person who doesn’t obsess over sex! At least, that’s a take of mine on sex outside the holy sacrament of marriage.
№ 2333 of The Catechism of The Catholic Church states that “everyone, man and woman, should acknowledge and accept his sexual identity. Physical, moral, and spiritual difference and complementarity are oriented toward the goods of marriage and the flourishing of family life. The harmony of the couple and of society depends in part on the way in which the complementarity, needs, and mutual support between the sexes are lived out”. Should, not must. Therefore, if not should, must have good reasons for not doing the should. Exceptions to the rule for everything, I suggest the Church reconsiders this complex matter.
Unsurprisingly, last year the Catholic Church published a document titled “Male and Female He Created Them”, rejecting the terms transgender and intersex, and criticised the idea that people could choose or change their gender as a “confused concept of freedom” and “momentary desires”. It asserted male and female genitalia were designed for procreation. The general unwillingness of the Church to engage with trans people means that, I think, it’s now up to trans people to proactively and productively engage with the Church. It sucks, but there’s no other way to do it.
I was raised Roman Catholic, and it occured to me this year that running away from the Catholic Church as a teenager was a cowardly act on my part, just because some nun wasn’t helpful when I told her that I’m MTF trans. I’m reclaiming my Catholic identity now because it seems like the right thing to do, regardless of Canon Law.
How will this battle of ideas on identity end? Rene Descartes philosophised “I am, I exist”, which could be extended to “you are, you exist”, which both could be concluded as two sides of the ‘live and let live’ coin. A good coin is one in which its weight is balanced, and not split — the outcome does not need to be zero-sum.