Fr. John's Letter Archives

Enjoy re-reading Fr. John's weekly bulletin letters for the past year.

Trans and De-tran

10-13-2019Fr. John LettersFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

A different angle for once from Sky News,

A woman who detransitioned in 2018 says there are many people who have had gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn't. Charlie Evans, 28, was born female but identified as male for nearly 10 years before detransitioning… Charlie detransitioned and went public with her story last year - and said she was stunned by the number of people she discovered in a similar position. "I'm in communication with 19 and 20-year-olds who have had full gender reassignment surgery who wish they hadn't, and their dysphoria hasn't been relieved, they don't feel better for it," she says. "They don't know what their options are now"… Charlie is now launching a charity called The Detransition Advocacy Network, with their first meeting set to be held in Manchester at the end of the month.

It seems to me that if we all just took off our clothes, there really could be no “transgender”. What basically makes gender “trans” is pretty much superficial: clothes, make-up, affect. Unfortunately, we have been able to take it a step further and surgically change people’s appearance. But that doesn't change the underlying reality, namely chromosomes that stamp a person as male or female. And as the above story makes clear, surgical change is often deeply regretted and does not alleviate the underlying condition, which is centered in the mind and not the body.

And this is not an issue that just affects individuals, but many aspects of our society. For instance, a Catholic Hospital in San Francisco is currently being sued for refusing to perform a hysterectomy on a woman who wanted to transition gender. Our Catholic Hospitals are guided by the Church’s Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care. One of those directives, which are long held ethical principles, clearly states that the intentional mutilation of a healthy body or organ is morally wrong. So, performing a hysterectomy on a healthy uterus is something Catholic Health Care would not permit. The Hospital in question did refer the patient to another Hospital that was willing to perform the surgery and arraigned for it to be done in 72 hours. Still, the lawsuit came. So much for trying to compromise and respect one another’s most basic values. And in a lawsuit involving a British physician who refused to use a client’s “preferred pronouns” a British Tribunal ruled that the doctor’s belief in the Biblical view that we were created “male and female” was “incompatible with human dignity”. What authority does this Tribunal think it has not only to denigrate a fundamental Judeo-Christian doctrine but also to trash the science of biology? Trans-activism brooks no dissent.

In another case, Dr. Ben Carson, US Secretary of HUD has been greatly criticized, called all sort of names, bigot, transphobic, hateful and all the rest because he changed the policy of HUD so that it would allow Battered Women Shelters to decide for themselves whether or not to admit a transgender to their shelter. He felt local control and not decision making by an anonymous bureaucrat in Washington, DC, would allow Battered Women’s Shelters to make decisions that best fit their circumstances and served the needs of their clients. This was after a shelter in Alaska refused to take a transgender woman. Their reasoning was that the battered women staying in the shelter were traumatized by a man and needed a safe environment to deal with their trauma and abuse and that the presence of a man, even a transgendered man would make the women feel unsafe. Dr. Carson’s intention was not to deny transgender persons the care that they need as a battered or abused transgender but rather to take into consideration the needs of women who are victims of domestic abuse by men.

As we have been seeing in recent years, in the world of Identity Politics, whatever identity is most favored gets to call the shots regardless of the needs or rights of other groups. This is becoming a zero-sum game as the transgendered gets to have it their way and every other group has to accommodate their needs regardless of how it impacts them. Unfortunately, attempts at compromise are met with scorn as Dr. Carson found out.

As Charlie’s story demonstrates, those who struggle with gender dysphoria deserve to hear the whole story and not just the impassioned pleas of activists who refuse to give the down side of simply validating someone’s misperception of their gender. What makes this all the worse is that so many in the medical world are pushing full steam ahead without being honest about the health risks, both physical and mental and without acknowledging the clinical studies that have shown the long-term effects of transitioning gender is not solving the problem.

Pray for Charlie and the many other people who have “detransitioned” and are trying to help others who want to as well. Those who struggle with gender identity deserve our love and support and the truth, not lies that are designed to further a dehumanizing ideology.


Fr. John B.