Sunday, February 15, 2015

Neurological Intersex?

Having talked a lot about the need to include trans voices in the conversation, I'm thrilled that one of my friends offered to do a guest post. Edie is a transgender Catholic studying for a Masters in Theology.

by Edie Fetch

Recently, Carlos Flores of UC Santa Barbara wrote an article that’s been making the rounds among those sectors of Internet Catholicism concerned about trans issues. I felt that, as a transgender Catholic who is at least making a healthy go of trying to be both, it would be beneficial to engage Flores directly.

This is obviously something deeply personal for me; it is not solely an academic question but speaks about my deepest experience of myself. It has been an ongoing existential challenge for me, and one which I spent years deeply resisting. I even spent a year in seminary as part of my attempt to reify and strengthen the hard walls of the strict binary which I found myself constantly straining against.

That said, my goal here is not polemic; neither is it entirely personal. I am addressing Mr. Flores as a fellow ethicist and traveler, and assume nothing but the best of intentions.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Neither Man nor Woman

I've written a few posts about trans issues here and at Spiritual Friendship, and I've realized from my com-box that I probably need to help readers understand better where I'm coming from so that hopefully more of my Catholic readership will be able to follow me.

When I started looking at this issue I had a fairly typical traditional conservative Catholic point of view. I believed (and still believe) quite strongly in sexual complementarity, that sexual identity – male or female – matters tremendously in terms of the formation of personality, and that there is a serious theological dimension to the creation of humanity male and female.

It seemed to follow from this that people should clearly and simply fall into one category or the other, and that becoming oneself would always involve embracing a sexual identity based on more or less obvious bodily characteristics. I didn't have a well thought out position on trans issues; in so far as I thought about them at all, I simply adopted the position that I encountered in most Catholic media. I felt that acknowledging trans identities, legally or personally, would involve co-operating with delusion. More importantly, I feared that such acknowledgement would undermine Scripture and present a serious challenge to the Church's teaching on a variety of issues from marriage and sexuality to women in the priesthood.

So how and why has this changed?

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The Absurdity of Transgenderism: A Stern But Necessary Critique of The Witherspoon Article

The Witherspoon Institute recently published an article by Carlos D. Flores that bills itself as “a stern but necessary critique” of the “absurdity of transgenderism.” The article attempts to refute the most common defences of trans identities, arguing in particular against the proposed legislation known as “Leelah's Law” that would attempt to prevent parents from forcing trans kids into therapy to try to correct their gender identity.

The arguments that Flores presents are flawed on a number of levels, but there is one example that he discusses at some length that I would particularly like to engage with because it might provide a more helpful way for conservative Christians to think about and understand how we ought to respond to folks with trans conditions.