Disorders of Gender Identity

From interaction in this forum I’ve learned that in Catholicism there is a distinction made between same sex attraction and homosexuality (pardon me if I got either of those terms wrong, but what ever distinguished some one that is attracted to the same sex vs some one that acts on it).

I was wondering if there were any teachings/views on conditions that physiologically make a person one gender while genetically the person is another gender.

For example, an XY fetus that doesn’t have proper levels of testosterone and anti-mullarian will appear to be female based on external physical features but their chromosomes say the person is male (a form of peudohermaphoditism. Don’t do an internet search on that word if you are easily offended by the sight of gentiles). Such a person would most likely be raised as a female. If such a person started to feel attractions towards other females based on physical features one would see this as homosexuality. But looking at the person’s genetic gender’s this would be a heterosexual interaction.

Are there any catholic teachings or guidance on this or other similar scenarios?

If the child has male genitalia rear the child as a boy. If the child has female genitalia rear the child as a girl. Teach purity at any age.

The question is very specific and I wanted to treat it seriously, so I did a search on “catholic pseudohermaphroditism” (note the “s” in “pseudo”, missing in the OP) and there were no images in the google results. Even if there had been, I would have regarded this as an unwanted, but necessary, side-effect of legitimate research. (I wouldn’t have looked at them, but a more medically minded person could do so, if they were in published medical research).

There is not a lot of information available, but a very good answer from Fr.Stephen F. Torraco at EWTN.

Medical and surgical procedures to correct hermaphroditism must be considered in the light of two points: 1) Everyone has a right to be a member of one sex or the other. God created humanity and its pattern of sexual distinction. When anomalies occur, there is danger that those who suffer these conditions will be psychologically and sexually abused. People need to be educated to understand that hermaphroditism is a matter of unfinished sexual development. The ultimate question of which sex is properly identifiable in a given case is left to the medical specialist. 2) Everyone has the right to have the inconsistencies of his sexual anatomy corrected by plastic surgery and/or pharmacological therapy. In true hermaphroditism, where sexual variables may be totally equivocal, the individual, or in the case of infants, the parents in consultation with the medical specialist, may decide the sex toward which the correction will be sought. In the relatively more common case of pseudohermaphroditism, where one sex is identifiable as predominately predetermined, the corrective measures must be in the direction of the predominate sex determined.

So, if I read him correctly, he is talking about the case where there is some uncertainty about the physical appearance of the sexual anatomy, and is saying that a sex for the child should be chosen with consultation between medical specialists, and the parents, and/or the person themself, depending on his/her age.

This would not seem to directly address the case of a person who is clearly of one gender, outwardly, and another chromosomally, but I hope it provides some guidance. Do such cases exist though? I’ll throw that back to the OP.

As Buck Crosswhite said above, “Teach purity at any age.”. This, at least, saves the uncertain individual from wondering “Should I be having sex with men, or sex with women”. If the answer is “neither, because I am single”, then that is one question answered, and s/he is in the same position as any other single person.


Apparently they do. I came across a scenario in some medical material. It wasn’t clear if it was an account of something that occurred or a description of a potential scenario. About 15 years ago I also remember my mom talking about such conditions. I decided to do a search on the word today and while the medical material my mother had years ago had illustrations the internet search brought up actual photographs of in between states.

Okay, that sounds consistent.

It does, thanks.

Gender Identity Disorder, Transgender, Transexual, and Intersexed conditions is an area that the Roman Catholic Church has no public position on. It is an area of medical research that much is changing quickly on and therefore the church has chosen to take no public position. I have written on this subject and spoken at Fordham University on this subject. Here is a link to my research togetherstyle.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/to-be-or-not-to-be-a-catholic-transexual-speaks-out/

I am not one to quote the bible out of context but this does seem to say it all:

There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28

May peace be with you.

The URL in Miss Hilary’s piece is not to be trusted. Miss Hilary published the article in Conscience magazine a magazine of Catholics For Choice and directs you to her own website to read it. Her URL page says *I have been asked to put the full article I wrote for Conscience magazine a publication of Catholics for Choice for view on the web rather than download. *led an unsuccessful effort to downgrade the Holy See’s status in the United Nations… The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops,[6] and the Archdiocese of Mexico:highprayer: have stated that CFC is not a Catholic organization and that it promotes positions contrary to Catholic teaching.
It is a cruel thing IMHO to take a profoundly personal and very sincerely expressed question on a topic of the deepest intimacy and to promote a URL without declaring affiliations that are clearly very antagonistic to the Church, sentiments strongly expressed in Miss Hilary’s deceptively delivered article. Miss Hilary before you attach the suffix “phobe” to any adjective you may apply to me if you choose to reply please understand it has no affect on me since it is an old tool for silencing opposition. If you can’t communicate without deceit how can we be expected to give the understanding you correctly requires of us Catholics. . :knight1:

If the Church has no official position, is there anything (related to the issue) that someone who’s “changed sexes” is required to confess?

Kade’s assertion that my URL is deceptive seems unjustly pejorative since I do indicate it is my own writing and it is. His skepticism is healthy however and we do share the belief that is promoted by Conscience magazine that as Catholics we must discern truth by looking at all views. Everyone is free to challenge my conclusion that the church has chosen to not take a position on intersex issues because of developing science but it does not alter the fact that there is no evidence of a teaching from the church on this subject. Like other birth defects perhaps there is no need for the Church to have a teaching and it should just be left to medical science.
If there is teaching on this subject that I am not aware of in my research of the past 2 years then I would welcome it being brought to the discussion.

May peace be with you,


Agreed. One often sees web articles published in both a blog and a magazine, and you are entitled to link to whichever one you choose. The first line of your blog even indicates the magazine it was published in. There was nothing deceptive in your link.

Yeah, I can’t say that I in any way felt deceived by Hilary’s response. I know the writing was her own and find her input on the topic to be most helpful and appreciated for the continuing offline discussion that I have been having on the topic.


I am sorry for your being hurt by my being “unjustly pejorative” to you. It was not my intention to cause you hurt but to prevent you from hurting others, however innocently.

That said my objection still stands.
I did not indicate that the deception was against any of the following:
That it was Hilary’s own work is not in dispute, Hilary clearly declared it as such especially on her blog where she directed us. Neither was I declaring as deceptive her conclusion that “the church has chosen to not take a position on intersex issues because of developing science and that there is no evidence of a teaching from the church on this subject” as she said in her reply to my comment. In fact I agree with her on both points and am grateful for the care the Church takes in understanding the great personal difficulties faced by those with intersex challenges and her reminder of it in this forum.

The deception I was addressing in Hilary’s article where she used the following sentences many of which are little less than jthye talking points of her original audience’s - readers of the magazine of Catholics For Choice, Formerly Catholics For Free Choice - attitude to Catholicism. -----
Start quotes
*However, the sources assertion that one’s genitals are superficial could only have come from someone committed to celibacy.

Like all the church policy that flows from the precept of ‘Natural Law’ (sex exists only for procreation) we find that this policy follows neither nature (as science shows) or law (as an equal protection).

Priests who undergo a sex change may continue to exercise their ministry privately if it does not cause scandal. (Women priests? Sounds scandalous.)

An affirmation of the validity of marriages in which one partner later transitions. (A Catholic affirmation of a same sex marriage?)

My priest has noted the unique perspective I have on gender issues that come from seeing life from both sides now. He has noted how my path to my true gender has parallels in Ignatian discernment to understand God’s desire for us.

Certain Christian denominations, including the Presbyterian Church (USA), Ecumenical Catholic Church, United Church of Christ, Metropolitan Community Church, and the Unitarian Church openly accept transgender individuals.
-------* END quotes—

The deception occurs where I was expecting a deeper education leading to a deeper understanding in conscience of the intersex issue as it impacts a fellow human being I got way too much propaganda against our beloved institution. I myself could have helped Catholic Answers admin had I clarified where the deception lay for me. I accept the chastisement. I hope my reply clarifies my views.

Kade - Your last post indicates that you are much more of a gentleman and a scholar than I had supposed by your original post. I thank you very much for your concern about my feelings. When I was a man I didn’t understand that my hurtful words could produce physical pain in women. It was shortly after I started on feminizing hormones that I was made painfully aware of that truth and was chastened by it. Apology gratefully accepted.

For your scholarly excerpting of the most incendiary lines from my piece while leaving the main message behind almost beckons readers to go to my website to find the truth of the situation themselves. And for that site traffic I am grateful. I accept that you may not agree with what I have to say. Gods choice for me to live in more than one gender has made me uniquely able to appreciate ambiguity, uncertainty, and irony. I hope you caught that from my article but I fear you may not have. Based on what I have found on the internet I think my piece is actually closer to a balanced point than much of what is out there. It looks like it has inspired some discussion and that I believe is good.

I am sorry it did not meet your needs for a deeper discussion on this subject. Although I have been speaking about transgender issues for almost 20 years it was my first article and the first one printed on this subject in that magazine so I did feel compelled to make it introductory in nature. Fordham has inquired about a longer article and I hope that comes to pass. I will be meeting this month with a group of spiritual leaders to develop curriculum in transgender issues for students of theology. If you have deeper questions that you believe should be considered please do share them online here or in a private message.

Your sister in Christ,

I will admit to not have read the responses, but the answer is obvious: Whatever and however you are especially created by God, you must accept the fact of who you are. “to thine Own Self Be True.” This not Politics, Medicine, Law, Popular Sociology, Psychopathology, Theological and Canonical edict. “Oh, what’s wrong with me that I am what I am?” UBU.
God does not create disorders. Who died and made someone the judge of your soul and being? Whose robes and ribbons and stentorious oratory in the name of some mortal institution assign you? How dare they! As I am witness, if a person live an inauthentic life, he or she is dead to all. If a person live in the shame of truth with which God has bestowed upon us, we punish ourselves and thereby curse the One who created us. Of the wonders of Creation God adores variety the greatest of His beauties (from the K’u’ran). Damn the selfish emotion of Guilt from which there is only self flagellation and nothing but hatred. forget shame where there should never be. though men and the world defy you you will find succor in the breasts of those of your own. God knows and loves you always and you cannot hide.

“I will not admit to anything I am not.”- Quentin Crisp, male art model and sexual independent, at his trial before the British Queen’s Bench for being a homosexual; Since he did not pander, he was acquitted.


Thank you for your understanding and your thoughtful and considered response. :hug3:
You are trying to foster a dialog to address a very complicated (for us who don’t have to live it), and a very real and painful issue (for you who lives it from minute to suffering minute) . There is a greater call to be Christian where the difficulty of understanding is great. The essay on your blog was vital to me in that sense. It would have helped if I did not find there the kinds of tropes I can read any day on any Internet forum attacking Catholicism. There were places in your essay which I saw as incendiary (you agree it appears) and bordered on anti-Catholicism and therefore a damper on your essential point and good effort, to wit: A call to understanding of intersex issues from the personal experience viewpoint. Who is better qualified than yourself to deliver this message? Where better can the rest of us go to get to that right understanding of the personal experience of suffering we can hardly imagine by a process we cannot yet understand?

My mother thanks you for calling me a gentleman, she worked very hard on it and sometimes felt she failed. but I am no scholar. My profession is in roofing and I hold no degrees. I will take that wonderful compliment in the spirit intended though ;).

Your Brother in Christ


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