Hey everyone, was hoping for some advice on how to deal with a friend who identifies as transexual, they were born female, but now identify as male. I’m obviously treating them with love and respect, but at the same time I obviously want to uphold Church teaching on this issue, and my concern if over how I should refer to this person in terms of pronouns. I don’t want to give the impression I support or believe in this change so I don’t use him/he/his, but at the same time I’m reluctant to use the terms she/hers/her because I think that will just set them or mutual friends aflame. So as I’ve pondered this issue I’ve relegated myself to just repeat their name which oddly enough could be used as a male or female name or I’ve just used the plural they to refer to them when conversing with mutual friends. How should I go about treating this person in this regard, and moreover, let’s say they later decide to change their name to something more definitively masculine, should I call them by this name or no?
Maybe you could stick to neutral identifiers? I went more than four years without referring to either of my in-laws by name; perhaps you could do that same
You should pray for this poor person who has a serious disorder. She/he certainly did not consciously choose this disorder. I think that what name or pronouns that you use for her at her request is not a huge matter. Let her know that God loves her and will never forsake her.
My brother is a transsexual. I’m not a good one to give advice, because he’s no longer speaking to me, because I expressed concern and uncertainty about his status as a woman. When I studied the matter years ago, I think I found that the church has no official position. There is also this: “A 2000 document from the Catholic Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concludes that the sex-change procedures do not change a person’s gender in the eyes of the Church. “The key point,” said the reported document “is that the transsexual surgical operation is so superficial and external that it does not change the personality. If the person was a male, he remains male. If she was female, she remains female.” That’s from Wikipedia.
Johns Hopkins (a major hospital) quit doing sex reassignment surgery, saying it was the only mental illness that we attempt to treat with surgery: .narth.com/docs/johnhopkins.html
Dr McHugh (psychiatrist) wrote: We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.”
I would call your friend by the name she was born with, and perhaps discuss your feelings of uncertainty regarding this. Honesty shouldn’t cause a rift. Unfortunately, that isn’t always true.
My brother lives with a woman, but considers himself a lesbian. I think Dr McHugh is right.
I would refer to your friend as a him, and use masculine pronouns. Even if you don’t support his decision you should still respect his wishes by calling him what he wants to be called. It’s just courtesy.
Also if he changes his name then you definitely should call him by the new name (if that’s what he wants). There’s no church teaching I know of against name changes, or even having a name that is generally given to the opposite sex.
Basically I think if you try to call him a her or use the old name you’re just going to drive him away from you, and no one benefits from that.