Transgender issues: Christine Kitzler case more than a family affair

The parents of Christine Kitzler could learn a few things from the parents seen in this picture, who were showing their support for their trans child as well as all other transgender people during the 2014 D.C. Capital Pride parade, held in Washington, D.C., in the United States on June 7, 2014. They  marched as part of a contingent representing the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) of the Lower Shenandoah, a PFLAG chapter based in Virginia. (Photo: Tim Evanson/Wikimedia Commons)
The parents of Christine Kitzler could learn a few things from the parents seen in this picture, who were showing their support for their trans child as well as all other transgender people during the 2014 D.C. Capital Pride parade, held in Washington, D.C., in the United States on June 7, 2014. They marched as part of a contingent representing the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) of the Lower Shenandoah, a PFLAG chapter based in Virginia. (Photo: Tim Evanson/Wikimedia Commons)

By Dianne Skoll
LGBT Perspectives columnist

OTTAWA — On Wednesday, Sept. 2, the parents of a transgender woman named Christine Kitzler went to court in Pennsylvania seeking an injunction to prevent their daughter from undergoing sexual reassignment surgery.

The parents contend that their daughter is “not competent to make an informed decision to have the surgery” and were seeking to have a temporary guardian named. What makes this case totally shocking is that the daughter in question was not some 16- or 17-year-old, but a 48-year-old woman.

The judge had issued a temporary injunction to stop the surgery while he considered the case. Soon afterward, the judge lifted the injunction and told Kitzler her surgery could go ahead.

The behaviour of Kitzler’s father, Klaus, in the court is telling. According to the Daily Mail article, “Klaus repeatedly referred to Kitzler as ‘he’ or ‘my son’, using the male pronoun 38 times in 45 minutes of testimony.  He was eventually asked by the judge to swap to a female, or gender-neutral, pronoun, after which the father began using ‘that person’ instead.”

And the most telling quote of all from Klaus: “I would love to have a son back who goes to church with us on Sunday mornings.”

This is another example of religious dogma trumping compassion and
understanding.  Kitzler’s parents intervened to stop an operation that Kitzler herself said would be life-saving, all because they could not understand and accept their daughter.

It’s also an example showing why it’s so important that the latest DSM from the American Psychiatric Association no longer refers to gender dysphoria as a “mental disorder.”  This removes an important pretext that others might use to meddle in the private affairs of transgender people.

I hope this case sends a message to everyone that gender dysphoria is real and that wanting to transition is not a sign of mental illness.

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