The Catholic Religion and Transsexuals
by Laura Amato
Its easy to condemn someone. Either we are disgusted with them personally or for the actions of those who are different. Often times though, our displeasure can be misguided through ignorance. Recently the Catholic Church has taken a stand against Transsexuals who have had Sex Reassignment Surgery. They view (SRS) surgery as self mutilation and Transsexuality itself as having no physical Biological cause. Both views are not factual and are based on ignorance.
Transsexuality is a medical condition and present at birth. It is not a lifestyle choice or a moral delemna. It is described in the HBIGDA Standards of Care. Candidates are under both psychological and Medical Care. There have been two medical studies done which certainly point to biological causes. One is the "A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and its Relation to Transsexuality" and a newer study. The other is called "Psychoneuroendocrinology" Which was printed in the August issue of Scientific Journal.
In the human brain study it was found that Male to female (MTF) Transsexuals have a FEMALE sized hypothalmus. This measurement can only be performed after an autopsy and not on a living person. In the Psychoneuroendocrinology study it was found that Transsexuality actually seemed to be found in genes which means that it is genetic and therefore INBORN. In both studies the number of Transsexual subjects was small. Religions can only blame themselves for the lack of meaningful research. Anytime a grant is awarded with the word "SEX" in it, as in Homosexuality or Transsexuality, Religous groups strongly object to and usually kill the grant. Elected Governments often cower before religous objections. After all who wants to be seen as immoral. Indeed the Catholic Church itself has threatened Politicians if they do not vote the way the church orders them to (abortion). You thought there was seperation between Church and state? Guess again. Personally I would welcome a large scale study on Transsexuals and Homsexuals. What are the churches afraid of? They are afraid that we are right and neither one is a choice. Yet we already knew that.
Transsexuals are not comfortable in their own skin. Our brain sex does not match or physical sex. Most report that their first recallable memories are that there bodies did not reflect the gender they felt at the age of four or five. Face it! Who listens to a five year old? Almost all report constant teasing, taunts, ridicule, and physical assaults at the hands of other children growing up. We just didn't fit. Imagine for a moment a real life horror story as Female to Males (FTM's) grow breasts and have periods. Imagine too as a teenage MTF grows body hair, looses that sweet voice and wakes up to nocturnal erections. Is it any wonder that Transsexual teens resort to cutting or mutlilating themselves daily? Is it any wonder that our suicide rate is estimated from 31% to 50%? Is it any wonder that almost EVERY Transsexual at least one point in their life attempts or thinks about suicide? Our list of death from violence stands at 328 we know of and 28 in 2005 alone. Why then,does the world and the Government continue to ignore us?
Everyday medical centers treat people with tumors and birth defects. If the growths were on your face would the Catholic Church object to the removal of healthy tissue? No of course not. They only object because it changes SEX organs and for no other reason. Unless of course we could pop baby's out of our new organs. Then there tone would be different.
Transsexuals go through a life of hell. Medical science possesses the skills to alter our birth defects and eliminate the tumors we grew through no fault of our own. They can make us whole again so that we can live our lives at peace with ourselves. Isn't it ironic that the people who are comfortable within their own skins want us to live with it even though we are uncomfortable in ours.
Fortunatley the church doesn't follow the teachings of Leviiticus or certainly we would all be stoned to death. Religions often talk about having compassion. Yet in practice they often deny it to those who need it most.
It would be best if religions stick with the things that are religious and let us try our hand with the medical profession. After all how can they cure something of which they are totally ignorant of.
If religions truley want to help us they can start by reducing their prejudice against us. It will make our lives much easier. Stop referring to us as making sinful lifestle choices. Who in their right mind would choose this life? Besides maybe they can remember what Jesus said about casting the first stone. After 35 years of Pschotherapy I can saftley assume my condition isn't curable no matter how much I continue to pray.