"With the Talk of Gender Change, Is It Moral?" What a Priest Said When He Was Asked This Question


He begins by saying “the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: ‘Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law”’(No. 2297). That statement is generally considered by Catholic moral theologians to prohibit the sort of ‘sexual reassignment surgery’ of which you speak.”

That’s true. It’s not moral even though it’s become a fad, now.

Interesting article with a reference straight from our Catechism. How sad to read of the post surgery suicide rate. I hope all those struggling with gender dysphoria are able to receive adequate counseling.


Except that the Church in her wisdom does not teach this definitively. She knows that not enough is known about gender dysphoria and appropriate treatment. I know, I know. It would be so much easier if people who are transgender would only try harder to accept their genitals so that we could forget that they exist and face difficulties we can’t imagine.

About the suicide rate - those studies indicating high rates are outdated and/or neglect to acknowledge a few things:
Rejection by friends and family increases suicide risk

Transgender people who are rejected by their families or lack social support are much more likely to both consider suicide, and to attempt it. Conversely, those with strong support were 82% less likely to attempt suicide than those without support, according to one recent study. Another study showed that transgender youth whose parents reject their gender identity are 13 times more likely to attempt suicide than transgender youth who are supported by their parents.

Discrimination increases suicide risk

Transgender people in states without LGBT legal protections are at higher risk of suicide. Other studies have found that transgender people who have been discriminated against are at a higher risk of suicide. What makes this worse is that discrimination against transgender people in health care, employment, accommodations, and housing is very common. Even in places with legal protections for transgender people, like Washington D.C., cultural bias and discrimination remains.

Physical abuse increases suicide risk

Transgender people who have been physically or sexually abused because they are transgender are at a higher risk of suicide. As the number of abusive incidents increases, the more likely the person is to have attempted suicide. The amount of abuse is also associated with the number of time suicide has been attempted. Again, studies on how often transgender people are assaulted show shockingly high levels of violence.

ETA: This is a good source with an interview with the researcher whose work is constantly misrepresented to show that transitioning increases the rate of suicide.

Calling it a fad is dismissive. Fads go away after a few weeks or months and don’t involve thoughts of suicide, fear of rejection by family and friends, and the very real risk of violence (see my post above.)

Again, see my post above about the suicide rate. People who transition are required to undergo counseling, and many who do not transition also seek counseling. I’m wondering what you think counseling will do. Counseling is not a panacea but it can help a person with gender dysphoria sort out what approach to transitioning is best for them.

They don’t. Sadly most people just accept what’s happening, with the opinion that trying to do something about it is “interventionist” and “bigoted”. Hopefully this erroneous consensus on the moral compass will swing back to the Christian view, and that this will occur before we reach a point of no return.

When I was a little kid, I identified as a superhero. I expected to be able to fly, and shoot explosive rays out of my hands once I reached my teens. Since this did not happen on its own, I demand doctors attach wings and ray guns to my body.

The Church doesn’t have a history of strong all encompassing teachings against ‘gender dysphoria’ because it has only recently become common and because the serious medical procedures were not previously available. But it does have a long history teaching about the sexes and how each should act.

I don’t know why you’d dismiss the suicide rates. Those are one of the few objective measures of this issue. I doubt the suicide rates will change as our society has accepted this just like with homosexuality and the related higher suicide rate.

It’s not that gender dysphoria has become common but people on the LGBTQ spectrum are more visible. Perhaps that’s what you meant. The Church teaches and encourages (in the truest sense of the word) prudence and chastity. All are called to chastity, yes. Is transitioning somehow not chaste? The quoted para from the CCC: "Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against the moral law” excluded every transperson? I’ve noticed a couple of things on this forum and elsewhere (such as articles that are linked/shared): One, people talk about transitioning as though it always includes surgery. Look at the many threads about kids who are trans and there’s a lot of talk about how terrible it is to do SRS on children or give them hormones and many transpersons are satisfied with hormones and those that want surgery opt to for top surgery only; both knowing that they can’t proceed with more as they are ready or can afford it. Also, I rarely see transwomen discussed, save for Caitlyn Jenner. Transmen are the discussed, just as gay men are the focus when these topics come up. Transwomen and lesbians, are afterthoughts.

I don’t know why you’d dismiss the suicide rates. Those are one of the few objective measures of this issue. I doubt the suicide rates will change as our society has accepted this just like with homosexuality and the related higher suicide rate.

I’m not dismissing suicide rates at all, but I’m not twisting the research or repeating those who have done so. I’m also listening to transpersons and what they say causes/exacerbates depression and suicidal ideation. Their families shunning them or if they don’t shun their trans family member, the family will not refer to them by the gender they identify as or dead-naming them; also the difficulty or waiting to be approved for HRT or not having enough money for SRS.

It’s difficult to explain to someone how they know God is real or describe what it feels like to fall in love or know that one has found the right person to marry. It is also difficult to describe how one knows that they are female when they were born with a penis but they are experiencing something very different in their brains. They have no way to describe it than they “feel” that way, or by adopting the outward appearance including hair style, clothing, mannerisms, as well as, stereotypical interests or play (for children) to express what they feel inside.

You didn’t “identify” as a superhero, you were engaging in fantasy play. Don’t mock the best way that transpersons and others know how to express who and what they are. If you don’t understand something, research, and I suggest you get it from the horse’s mouth. Would you go suggest a person go to an anti-Catholic site to learn about Catholicism? Or course not. So bite the bullet and read a trans-friendly source to understand transgenderism. If you aren’t willing to do that then I suggest you refrain from commenting on it at all. Consider that people who identify as LGBTQ come to CAF everyday. Some are looking for hate, bigotry, insults and they find it in spades. And some come here looking for hope and find none. Talking about them as though they are less than human or belong in a freak show.

Most trans people have something wrong with their brains, so why would I take their word for it? They, like the gays will just claim they were “born that way”.

When did it become the accepted norm to treat gender dysphoria by making physical changes to the body rather than by treating and making mental changes to the mind?

DNA don’t change.

Whatever the cause of gender dysphoria why are others being asked to go out of their way to validate these peoples feelings, sometimes at the expense of their own wellbeing? I can accept in theory that a person may feel trapped in the wrong body but it’s very difficult to ignore my own senses and perception, ie if someone is a man/woman people will inevitably perceive them as a man/woman and react accordingly.

What treatments or therapies are effective at treating gender dysphoria? What treatments are effective at treating same sex attraction?

So far transitioning is the only approach that offers any relief.

Years ago divorce held such a stigma that many people would not even talk to a person who was divorced. People with various disabilities, if not ignored entirely, are approached with great awkwardness and people often do and say thoughtless and unhelpful things. As a society we’re getting better at it. The more visible the differently abled are the better everyone is at interacting naturally and appropriately. If you can manage to interact appropriately with people who are different than you, then you can learn how to approach, have a conversation with a person who is transgender. It takes effort, though. I credit the unkind and ignorant remarks made by some here on CAF as inspiring me to look into this myself. It took awhile to take it all in and I’m still learning. I also was introduced to a trans person on social media by a mutual friend. My willingness to accept them and treat them like I would anyone else opened up the opportunity to discover that two people I know well are transgender. One I had lost touch with and the other hasn’t started transitioning. You’ve encountered transpersons and didn’t know it. You’ve also probably encountered women who aren’t dainty, uber feminine flowers. My mom was called sir on the phone regularly but she didn’t sound like man to me or most other people. She had what some would call man hands. I’ve posted pics of a transwoman who is a model and very beautiful and very feminine; moreso than my mom, moreso than me. If you judge by how well they “pass” that isn’t helpful. Some trans people pass better than others and they are the ones you don’t think are trans. The ones you think you notice, treat them the same way you treat other people. They might be a cisgender woman who isn’t good with the whole makeup thing (because why bother, I’m not pretty anyway, she thinks) or they are a cisgender man with a slight build and elfin features who is way prettier than and woman in a 500 mile radius.

TL;DR You wouldn’t focus on someone’s appearance alone unless you are shallow. You wouldn’t want to discriminate based on a mental health or other issue. This not a new thing. It’s just newly visible and as people we are trying to get better at treating each other decently.

There are people who don’t know how to act around children or seniors, or young people with interesting hair and Doc Marten’s. But we can learn if we make an effort.

If it’s just a casual encounter, like a conversation, family get together, meal out etc. then that’s fine, even if someone was very obviously male or female I would try my best to use the right pronoun and apologise when slipping up. That wouldn’t be a potentially threatening situation and I would never want to unnecessarily make someone feel uncomfortable and I certainly don’t wish any harm on such people.

It’s obviously different when its someone you know, I don’t have any trans friends but I do have male friends who I have slept in the same room with while travelling but I would feel very differently about male strangers. Obviously I cant comment on whether I have met trans people without realising it in toilets but it seems to be pretty obvious in photos.

However there are situations where the trans person’s desire for validation comes at too high a price. In the UK there have been proposed changes to the law regarding gender recognition. I have a close female family member who’s health conditions are all below the belt so she prefers to have a female GP, according to this she could only request a GP who ‘identifies as female’. It would also mean that places such as mental health wards would no longer be able to be sex segregated. Imagine being a female rape victim who goes on to suffer mental illness and is told she has to share accommodation with someone who has a male body and if she complains she is guilty of discrimination. Why on earth should it be the job of vulnerable women to validate a man’s feelings of femaleness at a significant cost to themselves, no one has the right to demand that.

I think it’s also fair to point out that there are trans people who will never be able to pass as their desired gender. I’m fairly sure if I wanted to be male I’d be one of them and I cant help but think they are being given very unrealistic expectations about what transitioning can do for them.

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