Is identifying as transgender a sin

I just want a straight, doctrinal answer (if one is available). I read a few articles online and it seems like the church generally disagrees with being transgender. So I assume they would also say identifying as transgender is a sin (although I haven’t read anything that states that clearly). Has the church ever plainly talked about this, or do we just have to imply this from their writings. Thanks,

-Teneth

forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=566074&highlight=transgender

Yes.

No.

Identifying as anything doesn’t make the sin. Doing something about it might - much like with homosexuality.

If I, as a biological female, felt my gender was actually that of a man - that would be fine (and a huge cross to bear). If I underwent extensive surgery to fit my body to my mind - however understandable that desire might be, it would be sinful. To change the body so drastically is mutilation (as the link in the answer about makes clear)

And you base this on what?

There is a doctor from Johns Hopkins who has recently called this type of thing a mental disorder - and I think he is right. The physical body and the associated DNA are whatever designated sex it is and cannot be changed. All the “celebrating” of this kind of thing is only in the end going to cause more people more problems.

Yes. Because saying that you ARE a male when you’re biologically female is telling God that he made a mistake, and that you know better than he.

It’s also just plain dishonest to yourself and everyone around you - so it’s lying.

Now, just having the feeling that you’re a man in a woman’s body (or vice versa) isn’t a sin in and of itself, though it is disordered in the same way that having homosexual urges isn’t sinful but still disordered. I think that there’s a strong case pointing towards gender dysphoria being a mental disorder, and something that should be treated with genuine compassion.

I agree with this on the whole - but I am very very uncomfortable with the “a ts. is telling God He made a mistake” argument.

If He is so involved in the creation of every human life, then He also deliberately makes people be born with a host of other problems - which are in some ways very much harder (physically) crosses to bear (being born blind, for instance):

“Saying that you can’t see when you are biologically meant to be able to see, is telling God that He made a mistake, and that you know better than He.”

Now I don’t believe that for a minute.

Can someone answer me this:

On what basis can a person claim to be transgender? I keep hearing about people who claim that a person who is born a man feels like he is a woman, or vice versa as well as supposed research that claims that transgenders have the “brain” of the opposite gender, whatever that means. But if a person is born a man (like me) there is no basis upon which he can claim to know what it is like to be a woman, and thus cannot claim to feel like a woman. Nobody has provided any actual explanation of what it even means to feel like a woman, or how a transgender person’s brain is different from a non-transgender brain other than the fact that it belongs to a different person. It’s even more problematic because even if a man feels like a woman, he/she would have to have known what it’s like to be a man in order to know that this is not what he/she is, when in fact he/she is claiming that he/she has always been/felt like a woman.

There was an article here on CA in which an apologist (maybe Jimmy Akin) cited examples of other body dysmorphia, for example, people who feel like their arms don’t belong to them and want them amputated, along with a youtube link of a woman explaining that she feels she needs to be quadriplegic and uses a wheelchair, and wants to find a doctor to sever the nerves in her spinal column to make herself truly disabled. She feels like this is necessary for her to be happy. What does her brain look like? Can we claim that this woman’s brain is closer to that of a quadriplegic?

Such is yes going contrary to nature and reason - against the nature of the particular person as male or female. So yes objectively it is disordered and I would say would be sinful to choose. However that being said - the question of culpability can enter in - various factors can lessen such (not making it “ok” though). Persons with this difficulty are to be loved and assisted in working towards overcoming it.

See apologists answer up above (2nd post).

Hope this helps: transascity.org/the-transgender-brain/

His views are the exception to the rest of the professional world, by promoting the exception just because it suits your prejudices only serves to discredit your opinion.

The Church has not proclaimed doctorinally any opinion on transgender. Transgender people have been around for a very long time.

There is no one today who can say with certainty that this is a choice. In fact there are many examples in the animal world where there is equivalence to transgender behavior.

Mutilation is gravely disordered.
However not all surgery is called mutilation.

So how do we decide what is surgical correction and what is mutilation.

Well, I suppose we have to have an idea of whether nature has made a mistake or not in this particular case.

That discernment is fairly obvious when the mistake is in a physical structure or even in more subtle physical “deformities” such as genetic disorders.

What about “gender”?
Is gender just about having the correctly formed physical genitalia and genes?

Science seems to be saying gender involves a variety of ducks that need to be lined up in a row to be what nature intends (as opposed to a variation called a “mistake”).

Is brain gender somehow involved too?
And other more subtle things…

It seems likely that this could be the case.
Many people do experience having a body of one gender yet apparently inherent psychological dispositions, feelings and interests that places them in the opposite gender.

Sure, many such people can be “re-wired” by consistent upbringing and learn to appreciate and develop the psychological interests and feelings of their physical gender.
But not all.

So I do not believe it is any easy call to say sexual reassignment (depending on how far it is taken) is a black and white case of mutilation.

If it involved effective sterilisation and inability to procreate in a human fashion then most would regard that as mutilation I suppose - because as mistaken as nature might be, voluntarily losing the ability to procreate is not good.

religioustolerance.org/transsexu15.htm

From Pope Benedict XVI’s address to the Roman Curia which covered various current topics -so it is not a pastoral document addressed to persons who have this painful difficulty - he would have addressed them in a different way - but he does though address here the problematic nature of such a theory of gender:

"The Chief Rabbi of France, Gilles Bernheim, has shown in a very detailed and profoundly moving study that the attack we are currently experiencing on the true structure of the family, made up of father, mother, and child, goes much deeper. While up to now we regarded a false understanding of the nature of human freedom as one cause of the crisis of the family, it is now becoming clear that the very notion of being – of what being human really means – is being called into question. He quotes the famous saying of Simone de Beauvoir: “one is not born a woman, one becomes so” (on ne naît pas femme, on le devient).

These words lay the foundation for what is put forward today under the term “gender” as a new philosophy of sexuality. According to this philosophy, sex is no longer a given element of nature, that man has to accept and personally make sense of: it is a social role that we choose for ourselves, while in the past it was chosen for us by society. The profound falsehood of this theory and of the anthropological revolution contained within it is obvious. People dispute the idea that they have a nature, given by their bodily identity, that serves as a defining element of the human being. They deny their nature and decide that it is not something previously given to them, but that they make it for themselves.

According to the biblical creation account, being created by God as male and female pertains to the essence of the human creature. This duality is an essential aspect of what being human is all about, as ordained by God. This very duality as something previously given is what is now disputed. The words of the creation account: “male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27) no longer apply. No, what applies now is this: it was not God who created them male and female – hitherto society did this, now we decide for ourselves. Man and woman as created realities, as the nature of the human being, no longer exist. Man calls his nature into question. From now on he is merely spirit and will. The manipulation of nature, which we deplore today where our environment is concerned, now becomes man’s fundamental choice where he himself is concerned. From now on there is only the abstract human being, who chooses for himself what his nature is to be. Man and woman in their created state as complementary versions of what it means to be human are disputed. But if there is no pre-ordained duality of man and woman in creation, then neither is the family any longer a reality established by creation. Likewise, the child has lost the place he had occupied hitherto and the dignity pertaining to him. Bernheim shows that now, perforce, from being a subject of rights, the child has become an object to which people have a right and which they have a right to obtain. When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being. The defence of the family is about man himself. And it becomes clear that when God is denied, human dignity also disappears. Whoever defends God is defending man."

~ Pope Benedict XVI

w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/speeches/2012/december/documents/hf_ben-xvi_spe_20121221_auguri-curia.html

Not quite. When someone is born blind, their admitting that they are blind is in no way saying God made a mistake; it’s merely a statement of truth. If they say that “I would have sight right now, but God screwed up,” that would be different. A blind person may seek to have their sight fixed, whenever advances in science make that feasible, because they are changing their body to its natural state - humans naturally have sight.

When someone has gender dysphoria, them merely admitting so isn’t saying that God made a mistake either. If Bruce Jenner came out saying that he had gender dysphoria but still considered himself to be a man, that would be alright. It’s not wrong to admit a disability or disorder. But what he and other transgender people say is that the problem isn’t their dysphoria, but their bodies. And instead of trying to fix the problem by getting treatment for their dysphoria (which is probably illegal in the US), they try to get everyone to join in their confusion.

Yes, God does cause people to be born with disabilities, but since we are not privy to his full plan, we cannot pass a judgement on his motives for doing so. We just have to trust that his plan for each of us will lead to our salvation if we follow his commandments. Nowhere has God forbidden the blind to seek a cure for their blindness - just the opposite, in fact, since Jesus healed the blind. But he has created only two sexes, which are different and complementary both spiritually and physically - and God doesn’t make a mistake there.

This is more Quietism than Catholicism.

I think the issue is about “Nature” and not God.

Nature clearly makes lots of mistakes and God allows man to recognise them and correct them by use of our God-given reason.

Clearly Nature does not create just two sexes - at the margins there is a blurring of the lines at both the level of genitalia, hormones and likely “brain gender” for want of a better word.

If we accept these failings of “Nature”, which it is difficult not to, in a significant number of cases then we may legitimately consider how far we can validly go in correcting or ameliorating these mistakes of Nature.

The only basis is an emotional feeling. People will try to use biology as an argument for it. However, there really isn’t any real strong biological arguments and what research has come up with don’t necessarily say … you’re born this way as if it’s the same as the colour of our skin or hair. It’s much more complicated then that. Our biological makeup for some may pre-dispose somebody towards the development of gender dysphoria and even same sex attraction but at the same time not neglecting other factors like environment and early childhood experiences. Gender Dysphoria is a complex and complicated phychological issue that cannot have a simple answer for.

I lived as a transgender for a few years, for most of my life I felt I should have been a boy. I related in the masculine. The feminine was a mystery to me and foreign. Today I am happy and well adjusted as a woman. I readily relate as a woman among many different kinds of women. I no longer relate in the masculine. I am a woman and I reveal femininity in my own unique way. Mind you, it’s not the stereotype of what we think of when it comes to femininity but obviously culture impacts the way we view femininity or masculinity. The way culture views femininity and masculinity will impact some people’s perception of their own gender identity. And then some may get confused if how their gender identity as a man or woman is not what’s typical.

It’s not an easy question and there’s no simple one-liner response that can be given.

**At the same time, I wouldn’t trusted sources that are obviously biased. **

If they want you to believe one way they’ll present a slanted interpretation of research findings rather than a non-biased presentation. So be careful with what sources you read from.

And here is the problem. In today’s culture, in modern western philosophy is the concept of relativism. To say what’s right for you and what’s right for me may be different but we’re both right … doesn’t quite ring true. Mostly people base their “truths” upon how they feel. Just because you feel one way or another way that doesn’t mean that it’s intrinsically true.
People rarely think to ask the deeper questions as to why there’s a disconnect with one’s own gender? They just simply say, "oh well, I always felt I related better with the boys, I like boys things, I enjoy sports, I like to play rough and don’t mind getting dirty etc etc and never was into dolls, don’t like to wear dresses, etc etc therefore my feels must be true and simply just have the wrong physical body? No, it’s not that simple. Perhaps there’s a message very early in life a child heard …

for example; a young girl getting molested and physically abused by her father may internalize that as meaning “to be a girl is to be vulnerable, it’s better to be a boy.” or they hear the message, it’s not good to be a woman. As a result they start to disconnect with their mother, they start to disconnect with their other female peers. It can be both a subtle and overt message received. Or take a boy, he could internalize that men are bad and that men can be scary and they might not be as athletic and so with their sensitivities relate better with the girls. None of this means they were always suppose to be the other gender. It’s purely feelings and emotions but perhaps there’s a genetic pre-disposition in one’s personality traits that allow for such internalizations but that’s about it.

It’s primarily a feeling of which gender one identifies mostly with. I used to say,
“There’s not a feminine bone in my body” Well, why did I come to that conclusion? I am a woman, my physical body was in fact completely and totally female, therefore, intrinsically feminine. The difference is, at the time I didn’t identify with other women mostly because I couldn’t relate with other women but I could relate with men and found I identified with men. It was just a feeling. When I began to experience healing in my own life I began to realize what caused my reaction to hate being a woman and essentially that’s what it was. I hated being a woman, it meant to be vulnerable, it felt like I had this target on my back for men to abuse me. So, my reactions were from a place of self-protection. There’s much more to it then that. It looks slightly different for men.

Obviously we can readily see the psychological issues present in cases like this.

In short, to separate the physical from the spiritual is coming into agreement with heretical teaching. Namely, Gnosticism. The influence Gnosticism says that the physical is bad and the spiritual is good. This creates one of two extremes. The first extreme is to live a life getting rid of all fleshly desires and suppression of feelings and emotions and the goal is to be holy and pure … it’s like the extreme version of the puritanism movement. The other extreme is to allow for every depravity known to man including all kinds of sexual sin. Either way, it’s heretical.

Over the years Gnosticism rears it’s ugly head in different forms and in different ways. We see this readily when people have disdain for their physical bodies in some way or form.

**At the heart of the issue here though is that it’s a psychological disorder. Some people might not like that but it’s true! And if it’s a psychological disorder to say it’s a sin or not a sin to identify as transgender, in much the same way as whether or not it’s sin to identify as gay. It’s a compromise of biblical and intrinsic truth. It aligns oneself up with heretical teaching and that should give us a warning. Point is, people are asking whether this is a sin or not as if to ask, how often can we play with fire before we get burned. If the potential is to get burned while playing with fire then why play with fire? **

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.