Baby boy raised as a girl, attracted to girls....lesbian or not?


#1

A few years ago in a college Sociology class I came across this study and it altered the way I viewed sexual orientation in a way that put me in line with the Catholic Church, long before I even knew where the Church stood on the subject.

It's a short article, but if you don't want to read it here's a summary:
Twin boys were circumsized in an unconventional way that included burning in stead of cutting. One of them was botched so badly that there was little trace of a penis left. The family decided to **completely remove male genitals and raise him as a female **under the guidance of a doctor from Johns Hopkins, who believed sexuality was learned and not something that came naturally. The child was dressed, treated, and raised as a girl but wanted to play with other boys, dress like a boy, was attracted to girls, and even came out as "lesbian" when the child hit puberty. At that time he was told that he was born a boy.

(For reference, here's what the Catechism says about homosexuality:
2358
The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359
Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.")
[LIST]
*]What would you do as a parent in this situation?
*]Do you believe in Nature or Nurture? (God-given vs Society)
*]Do you think sexual orientation is a choice, or something we are born with?
*]Would you have accepted this person as a "girl" who liked girls?
*]Would you have only accepted this person as a "boy" who liked girls?
[/LIST]


#2

What would you do as a parent in this situation?

Just because someone is mutilated does not suddenly change their gender. It was wrong of the parent's to treat this unfortunate child differently because of this accident; and to make it worse by further surgery specifically targetted at making it worse.

Do you believe in Nature or Nurture? (God-given vs Society)

Both in a sense; some of the desires we have are innate; but these can become perverted and distorted by a poor upbringing; it really depends on the imterpretation; internalisation and context of social experiences that can lead us to have disordered views of the world; and even experience disordered feelings. That said; the primacy of the will must be asserted at all times; voluntarism is the only worldview reconcillable with reality.

Do you think sexual orientation is a choice, or something we are born with?

This is a crude dichotomy. I do not think people are born homosexual; however they do not necessarily choose it. As a result of a poor upbringing individuals natural tendancies can become warped and perverted to the extend that they believe that they are homosexual. It is doubtful that people "choose" this; but it is also not the case that being homosexual is a natural state of affairs; it is more akin to a internal confusion or distortion of reality.

Would you have accepted this person as a "girl" who liked girls?

If the person was biologically male (ie; Chromosomes etc.) then that person is a boy; regardless of his unfortunate accident as a child. The parent's surgery didn't change his gender; just increased the magnitude of his mutilation - which is tantamount abuse.

Would you have only accepted this person as a "boy" who liked girls?

I think it is only right to accept him as a Boy; regardless of what gender he proffesses sexual preferances for (if any).


#3

I am familiar with this case. I read a book about it, & it made me so sad for that poor child…And for the family, really, who were assured that it would be the “best thing” for their child, at a time when they had to be feeling great stress & pain for what had occurred.
There is more to this story, including the fact that the “therapist” who was treating the twins (to “help them adjust”) was actually a very perverted person & was abusing both children.
I don’t feel that we can possibly know what pressure was put on the parents to do what they did. It was certainly objectively wrong, but I doubt that either of them was capable of anything but panic, and some :mad:unprofessional ‘professionals’ were telling them that they “had” to do this.


#4

Right on Zooey, it really was a twisted situation. You’re the only other person I’ve met outside of that class who has heard of it! And John, thank you for your answers! Very good points.

What they did to the entire family was aweful. What this study tells me is that there is something about sexual orientation that cannot be changed by people, no matter how much therapy or surgury they do ((there was so much emotional trauma caused by the “therapy” that this man actually chose to end his own life when he was just 38)).

The child thought he was a girl, but felt attracted to girls because that’s what he was naturally born to feel, that’s how God made him. Is there a difference between the sexual orientation that the boy naturally had, even though he thought he was a girl, and the sexual orientation that a homosexual would have?

I’m bringing this up because I’ve seen a lot of people saying being gay is just a choice. I’m not sure it is a choice…at least, I don’t know that the choice is “being” gay, rather it’s acting out on it that is the choice. I’ve personally never had a gay friend who hasn’t said, “If I could choose women I would.” The urge to sin is in all of us, just to different degrees. I’m not a gay-rights activist, I’m just trying to get a real

In the case of the little boy raised as a girl, he obviously wasn’t a lesbian. Being surgically altered was ultimately the only thing that separated him from his twin brother despite how they were raised, and his liking girls was what came natural to him. Everything about his upbringing told him to be attracted to boys, but he was born to do otherwise.


#5

I read the book.

What I came away with was a white-hot flame of anger directed at John Money and his ilk who tamper with God's design on purpose. (The original mutilation being an accident, and the parents lost and following the best advice of 'experts')

And the story has a tragic end: both brothers eventually committed suicide.


#6

I read that book too. It seemed an example of cruelty done with the best of intentions, which really made it more of a horror story to me.

Very sad.


#7

[quote="Being_Brave, post:4, topic:208716"]

... I'm not a gay-rights activist, I'm just trying to get a real

[/quote]

...idea about why people are the way they are. The more I understand the more I feel I can reach them.


#8

I learned about this in genetics class last year. Let me be clear, after his parents told him he was a boy, he began to live like a male because he knew he was a boy for as long as he could remember (as you said in the article, he always acted like one). I don’t see this as having to do with sexual orientation, but rather gender identity. I see it as being proof that gender identity is something we are born with and cannot be changed. Sexual orientation is too (they failed at getting him to be attracted to boys. )

Since I have learned in genetics class about this and many other situations like this, if something like this happened to my son, I would still raise him as a boy in the first place, because that is how he was born. Based on the science that I know of, I think sexual orientation and gender identity are almost entirely influenced by nature , and not nurture, (including people who are transgender, gay, or bisexual)

(although in my opinion sexual orientation has to do with hormones in the womb, and not genetics, but the jury is still out on that one. and i think when someone is transgender it has to do with a severe imbalance of hormones in the womb, too. after all their chromosomes are normal.)


#9

I'm wondering if there was a thing about this on TV a few years ago. It sounds somewhat familiar. Horrifying. Gender selection occurs at conception. Science KNOWS that you're either an XX Girl or an XY boy. Why on earth would anyone think that something embedded in every one of your cells from the moment of your existence could be so malleable??? Of course I can think of so many reasons why people are blind to the obvious, and it all comes from one source - the devil and his attempt to get us to reject the basic truths about our bodies that God has imprinted on us. He's not doing a bad job. :(


#10

So here is a question for you then? Why are Catholics (and others) who agree that our sex is more than just a penis or vagina,who believe that it is a psychological and spiritual fact, and who are ok with people with obvious sexual disorders like hermaphrodites havinh drugs or surgery to help, so much against the possibility that transsexuals may be a similar situation? THat is, that their feeling of being the "wrong" gender may be based in physiology?

How is this different than these other situations?


#11

I agree. I don’t think there is any infallible (or any at all, really, its not in the catechism, and as far as I know it’s not in any encyclicals) Catholic teaching on this subject, but I do hope in the future Catholics come to understand that there is a real, physical reason why people are transgender, just as much as there is one for someone who is homosexual. And I hope when the church clarifies their teaching that it reflects that.


#12

I didn’t read the book but I saw a documentary on it. The “doctor” used it for fame and his own perversion. He manipulated his own truths and the family. Both kids were never the same after the truth came out. The doctor had been trying to prove a point for a while and these scared and devastated parents were just a means to an end. Identical twins, he hit the jackpot he didn’t really care about anything else.


#13

If you read the book, you would see the things the ‘doctor’ had children perform for him were worthy of Satan himself.


#14

I saw a documentary on this a few years back....what an absolutely tragic and horrible thing. I can't imagine the pain these people endured.

I think the question about homosexuality is misplaced though, because these men were never female at all, which they obviously knew all along despite the 'nurture' (which I hesitate to even call it....more like horrific mutilation and abuse). So, what we have is males attracted to females not females attracted to females.

What would I have done as a parent? First off I would never ever ever subject my son to genital mutilation (aka circumcision) so, I wouldn't find myself in that situation....but for the sake of argument if my son's penis was somehow so badly mutilated that it was basically gone, I'd still raise him as a boy and help him deal with the obvious issues not having normal male genitalia as best as I could.

That 'doctor' was an absolutely monster, but as a parent I really have to wonder what these parents were thinking.


#15

It comes down to DNA. If a hermaphrodite ACTUALLY has DNA that doesn't tell the sex (like an XXY), then we really don't know the sex. If a transsexual FEELS like a different sex, but has a particular genetic code, then we know the sex. This is pure biology. It's not like there's some invisible spiritual "reality" that Catholics believe it, but others don't have to. It's science. And as Catholics, we recognize that which is true. So if the sex is known (and DNA reveals that), then you are what you are, no matter what you FEEL like (this would be the case of the transsexual). If the sex is unknowable, based on the scientific knowledge we currently have (in the case of a true hermaphrodite), then you do the best you can with a very difficult situation.


#16

[quote="shannyk, post:14, topic:208716"]
I saw a documentary on this a few years back....what an absolutely tragic and horrible thing. I can't imagine the pain these people endured.

I think the question about homosexuality is misplaced though, because these men were never female at all, which they obviously knew all along despite the 'nurture' (which I hesitate to even call it....more like horrific mutilation and abuse). So, what we have is males attracted to females not females attracted to females.

What would I have done as a parent? First off I would never ever ever subject my son to genital mutilation (aka circumcision) so, I wouldn't find myself in that situation....but for the sake of argument if my son's penis was somehow so badly mutilated that it was basically gone, I'd still raise him as a boy and help him deal with the obvious issues not having normal male genitalia as best as I could.

That 'doctor' was an absolutely monster, but as a parent I really have to wonder what these parents were thinking.

[/quote]

Shanny, I honestly believe there had to be some medical way to deal with something so horrible in order to have that little boy be and look like little boy.

In researching hypospdais repairs, normally the foreskin is used as extra tissue. If the boy were missing the foreskin for some reason, tissue is taken from the inside of the mouth.

I know it isn't the same as what happened to this boy...but they do perform female to male "gender reassignemnet surgery" How do they do those?


#17

I think you are giving too much weight though to DNA, and too little to what you call FEELINGS.

In the first case, we know that DNA is not really what makes us men or women. We can see in those cases you mention - clearly the DNA is not making those people men or women, they are what they are despite DNA. And we need to be careful not to imagine that DNA is alone responsible for what we are, even physically.

And as for the FEELING that one is the wrong sex - there is some good reason to suppose this is based in physiology. If that is the case - and it is not well understood - then it is really quite similar to people with more obvious disorders, it is simply not clear to the naked eye. The brain and body do not match.

There isn’t much we can do to try to change a person’s brain. Personally, I am not sure sex changes are the answer either, but I also don’t think Christians deal with people with such difficulties well.

As far as the OP, I think the doctor was at best blinded by the opportunity that situation presented for his research, and at worst he may have deliberately treated his research as more important than the child.

That being said, it seemed to be the general consensus among doctors at that time that it was really important for kids to have a clear “gender identity”. A young fellow I knew slightly was a hermaphrodite and had surgery to make him a girl as a baby for that reason… Often this really backfired, but I don’t think it was badly intended. So it isn’t perhaps that shocking that the parents in this case accepted the doctor’s recommendation.


#18

[quote="Being_Brave, post:1, topic:208716"]
[LEFT]A few years ago in a college Sociology class I came across this study and it altered the way I viewed sexual orientation in a way that put me in line with the Catholic Church, longbefore I even knew where the Church stood on the subject.
It's unfortunate that there is a generation of nurses and medical students who were taught that sexual identity could be manipulated successfully this way based on Money's papers. I am one of the nurses who was taught that (between 73 & 75) and was horrified to read about Bruce many years later. Wonder how many in my nursing class ever heard that our instructors had been wrong?
[/LEFT]

[/quote]


#19

[quote="ThyKingdomCome, post:15, topic:208716"]
...then you are what you are, no matter what you FEEL like....

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#20

Exactly! I don’t really see much difference. God makes us man or woman on the outside, so why would it be unbelieveable that he also makes us **feel **man or woman on the inside? (by feel I mean feeling transgendered(etc…) and feeling/attraction to men or women).

In my mind I can only make sense of it by reasoning that God uses different tactics to bring to light what his intentions are for us (no extreme is too extreme when it comes to how God communicates with his people). If homosexuality is a calling to celibacy, it makes sense that God did it on purpose. No need to try to change it, you are how He intended you to be. It comes down to the choices made given the circumstances: to give in, or abandon selfish urges and live for Him only.


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