Transgender issues: And Catholicism isn’t a mental disorder?

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By Dianne Skoll
LGBT Perspectives columnist

OTTAWA — CBC News is reporting that Edmonton Catholic School Board trustee Larry Kowalczyk said (referring to a transgender student): “I see that as a mental disorder, my faith sees it as a mental disorder.”

Let’s examine this.

First, Mr. Kowalczyk presumably is not trained as a psychologist, yet he  diagnoses the condition of a student he probably hasn’t even met. That’s quite the feat.

Second, Mr. Kowalczyk says his “faith,” presumably Catholicism, sees being transgender as a mental disorder.

Well, what’s the official Catholic position? Apparently, it is this: transsexuals “publicly show an attitude contrary to the moral requirement to resolve one’s sexual identity problem according to the truth of one’s sex.”

So the Catholic faith, which we all know has been far more successful at improving human health than modern medicine, seems to think that the
“truth” lies in one’s body and not in one’s brain. It seems to me that’s a rather arbitrary choice; if God [sic] made a mistake, who’s to say that the mistake was the brain and not the body? Why should there be a “moral requirement” to force your brain to fit your body rather than to force your body to fit your brain? Why is the first moral and the second immoral?

Third, “mental disorder.” If a student had a physical disorder, any trustee who even mentioned it would rightly be shamed. Yet because our society so stigmatizes mental illness, people who flail around looking for reasons to support their arbitrary viewpoints invoke mental illness to shut down discussion. This is both factually wrong in the case of gender dysphoria, and contributes to the continuing stigmatization of people who really do have a mental illness.

If the Catholic Church were genuinely concerned for the well-being of people, it would stop its obstructionist tactics that serve to scapegoat transgender people who do the single most effective thing to improve their health: Transition.

(Photo: St. Peter’s Basilica, in Vatican City. From Wikimedia Commons)

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“Let harmlessness be the keynote of your life.” — Alice Bailey

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