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‘Sex-change’ treatment for ‘transgender’ kids? Hospital clinic draw moral criticism

BOSTON, MA (The Catholic Anchor) - A clinic at Children’s Hospital is providing powerful hormones to disturbed children who believe they should have been born the opposite sex.

The Gender Management Service Clinic helps youngsters with real physical problems, but it also treats those “with no known anatomic or biochemical disorder who feel like a member of the opposite sex,” according to its website.

These patients are called “transgender,” a term coined by homosexual activists pushing the idea that “gender” is a changeable psychological notion divorced from biology. The American Psychiatric Association calls the condition Gender Identity Disorder.

Children as young as 10 years old are given drugs to delay puberty, then if they continue “treatment,” stronger hormones like testosterone and estrogen to change their physical characteristics, according to a March 30 Boston Sunday Globe article. If they then opt for surgical mutation, this would be done elsewhere.

The clinic, which the hospital calls “unique in the Western Hemisphere,” opened last year but received a shot of free advertising with the highly sympathetic Globe report.

In that article, pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Norman Spack, who runs the clinic with urologist Dr. David Diamond, explained that the hormone procedure will likely make the young people infertile.

‘Cooperating with psychosis’

The following case history is detailed on the Children’s Hospital website. Four years ago, Holly Earle of Vermont was depressed and confused at the progression of puberty. The 14-year-old convinced her parents that although born a girl, she was a “trans” who should be a boy.

The family eventually turned to Spack, who prescribed testosterone, which stopped menstruation and gave Holly facial hair and a deeper voice. Holly bound her breasts to conceal them until she could have a double mastectomy, which was carried out at another hospital.

Holly had her name legally changed to Hal. As of last year, Hal was considering a hysterectomy in the future, and was now “presenting” as a male.

“This is cooperating with psychosis,” commented moral theologian Father Anthony Mastroeni of Patterson, N.J. Father Mastroeni, who has taught at Franciscan University of Steubenville and Christendom College, has written extensively to refute the notion that sex-change surgery might be morally justified.

“It does nothing but increase human misery,” he said in an interview. “There’s no scientific evidence that anyone is born with gender dysphoria.”

There are legitimate medical problems, such as ambiguous genitalia, that doctors can correct, he said. “But when there’s nothing to suggest that these kids have a genetic anomaly, something in their background is dysfunctional. The evidence shows that in a boy, he’s over-identified with his mother or other female to the extent that his ego boundaries are blurred. With a girl, usually her mother was seen as ineffective and she identified with a dominant father figure.”

Spack could not be reached for comment. He recently testified before the Massachusetts Legislature in favor of a proposed Transgender Rights and Hate Crimes Bill, which was defeated but which gay activists hope to resurrect.

‘Sex-reassignment’ damage

The clinic’s Web page links to various groups pushing to redefine sexuality: for example, the Human Rights Campaign (“Working for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equal rights”), and the Transkids Purple Rainbow Foundation (“Our kids aren’t pink or blue, but various shades of purple.”)

Pro-family and pro-life groups, appalled that the world-renowned center for children’s health care is condoning this procedure, picked up the news. In April the story was further publicized by, a Waltham-based family organization, and then by and, a publication of the American Family News Network.

Hospital spokesman James Newton declined to comment on whether recent publicity has generated public feedback. He also declined to say whether the hormone therapy is intended to prepare youngsters for surgery elsewhere. “The only information I can offer at this time is what is available on our Web site,” he said.

Although the site states that medical experience with transgenderism is “limited,” evidently Johns Hopkins University and other medical schools actually stopped encouraging sex changes decades ago.

“I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment,” wrote Dr. Paul McHugh, University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins, in his 2004 First Things article, “Surgical Sex.”

“We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia,” McHugh said he eventually concluded of his patients who thought themselves transsexual.

“As for the adults who came to us claiming to have discovered their ‘true’ sexual identity and to have heard about sex-change operations, we psychiatrists have been distracted from studying the causes and natures of their mental misdirections by preparing them for surgery and for a life in the other sex,” he added. “We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.”

Sex unchangeable

Father Mastroeni placed the scenario in a societal context. “We’re living in an age of narcissism, of flight from struggling or pain, with an obsessive-compulsive focus on pleasure. Children become confirmed in their narcissism when they watch self-absorbed parents. So they insist they want to ‘free themselves’ from this dysfunctional idea they have of themselves. That grown people would sanction feeding this neurosis is even sadder.”

The Vatican’s Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in 2000 issued a document that authoritatively concluded “sex-change” operations are invalid — they do not change a person’s sex, according to a Catholic News Service report reprinted in

In its brochure “A Gender Identity Disorder Goes Mainstream,” the Traditional Values Coalition states: “In reality, no person can actually change into a different sex. Maleness and femaleness are in the DNA and are unchangeable.”


This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Anchor (, official newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass.



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1 - 10 of 10 Comments

  1. sarah
    9 months ago

    Some one should protect our kids, we can't expect a profit based industry to do it (thank you Vatican).

  2. Jose Schwartz
    3 years ago

    Another feel good disaster in the works courtesy of the “liberal left”. They want fat kids to be taken away from parents but endorse this type of behavior. Altering children in this way is child abuse. These kids will all wind up on the psychologists couch some day.

    Dr. Spack has been promoting this agenda for years, just place Spack in the search engine.

    The liberal left must quit sexualizing children and allow them to be kids. We have all been brainwashed, read PRIMETIME PROPAGANA and HOW EVIL WORKS.

    Libraries endorse this political agenda by censoring information and promoting one point of view. The facts are documented at

    Gender Identity Disorder is treatable. These kids should be helped, not "fundamentally transforemed" (

    Parents and grandparents, here are a few sites you must visit and share:

    People like Dr. Spack and Alfred Kinsey are not advocates of childhood well being.

  3. sherry
    4 years ago

    step 1 - i invite you to define for yourself the words 'gender' and 'sex', their relationship and their differences in their uses in science and society. ideas should be developed through research of the words, their historical use, and present cultural context. defintions should be well thought about. i invite you to discover your own body.

  4. Holly
    6 years ago

    Erin (If you come back this way.)only God knows what the answer will be but did you go over to Courage/Encourage and check their website out.

  5. Ruben
    6 years ago

    Children needs to be loved by their parents so that they may not be tempted by any sexual abuses.

  6. Lisa Anderson Mares
    6 years ago

    Jesus in the New Testament preached love. This article by the church preaches hate and discrimination. These children are not "disturbed." The Bible states judge not for ye will be judged. I find a lot of judgment in this article.

  7. Angela
    6 years ago

    I have a friend who has believed since the age of 5 that he was supposed to be a girl. He is 52 now and still suffers with this every single day. When ever he apologizes to me about his problem, I tell him not to apologize for being human, and one of God's children no matter what gender they are. What this world needs is more love and less judgement placed on those that have to live with this circumstance that is beyond their control and something they were born with. If Love is the answer, acceptance is the KEY.

  8. Helena M
    6 years ago

    Waddayaknow, I'm Not Nuts!

    By Grace C. Niedermayer, M.Div., M.Ed.

    By that time I was three I was aware of the physical genital differences between males and females, and knew there was something wrong with my body. But, whenever I told an adult I should be a girl but there was something wrong, I received the same answer, "No, You're not a girl. Just look between your legs. That's what you are. Stop thinking you are something else. That's crazy." So, it came to pass that I decided I had to be crazy; especially because the sense I had would not go away. Eventually, I managed to bury it in the back recesses of my mind. Nevertheless, I lived in fear of exposure for decades, even after I "forgot" the thing of which I was so afraid.

    In the years since my birth the scientific and medical communities have learned a world of new information about the physiology of the human body and the neuro-endochrinology of the brain. Today, we are learning things unimaginable forty years ago; things like the physical-chemical basis for gender identity and sexual response.

    Six years ago, the Netherlands Institute of Brain Research published the results of a study they had been conducting. While the implications were startling, except for four brief paragraphs in Discover, it received little publicity in this country. A subsequent report was published last year in the leading international journal for neurological studies, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism [85 (5): 2034-41; May, 2000].

    Robert Sapolski, Ph.D., Neuroendochrinologist, Stanford University, commented on the article, "An extraordinary scientific study should change how we think about what is 'disordered' about transsexuality. The study suggests that when someone says, 'This isn't the sex I was meant to be,' the structure of the brain agrees with them. Psychologists and psychiatrists have long opined about transsexualism. In some cases, it has been viewed as delusional and treated with drugs that counteract psychosis. In other cases, it has been viewed as an extreme defense against anxieties about one's gender role, or over-identification with the parent of the opposite sex."

    What the researchers found were significant differences in the brains of men and women relevant to reproductive hormones, cognition, emotions and our body's responses to them. The differences were both in magnitude and consistency and involve a region of the hypothalamus identified as the BSTc. Human males average about twice as many neurons within the BSTc as do females. In both males and females, transsexuals did not have the neuron number typical of their gender, but, instead, had the number typical of the sex they always believed they should be.

    Further, it was found that the hormones used when a person undergoes a sex change did not account for this dramatic difference n the number of BSTc neurons that transsexuals have. The pattern was not only seen in transsexuals who had sex changes, but also in transsexuals who wished they had undergone treatment, but never did. And, non-transsexuals exposed to these same hormones for related medical reasons did not show a shift in neuron numbers.

    The research suggests something new about the source of transsexuality: Your pattern of chromosomes, gonads, genitals, secondary sexual characteristics, the hormones in your bloodstream and the way you are treated by your parents, teachers, and society at large may all be in agreement that you are a certain sex. But, something as hard-nosed and biological as the number of neurons in a part of your brain may be telling your mind that no, that's not who you are: You are the opposite sex. Imprisoned. The bodies transsexuals are born into actually are the opposite gender of who they really are because prenatally established brain structures determine innate gender feelings and gender identity:

    These structures are "hard-wired" in the early stages of pregnancy, during a hormonally-modulated imprinting process in the central nervous system (CNS). All fetal brains are "wired" female. In normal male development, hormones act to practically double the number of neurons on the BSTc region of the brain, literally creating a "hard-wired", unchangeable male-gendered brain, just as the chromosomes act to develop matching male reproductive organs.

    When the hormones fail to act in this manner, the brain remains a permanently-wired female-gendered brain, but in a gender-incorrect male body created by the chromosomes. Likewise, hormones can act to create a permanently-wired male brain with the increased BSTc development, while the chromosomes act to create a gender-incorrect female body. These mis-matches occur in one of every 10,000 female births (mislabeled "male" because of the presence of a penis), and one of every 30,000 male-births (mislabeled "female" because of the absence of a penis).

    In other words, if the BSTc structures are masculinized in early pregnancy by hormones in the fetus, the child will have a male gender identity, independent of whether the genes or genitalia are male. If the BSTc structures are not masculinized in early pregnancy, the child will have a female gender identity, again independent of the genes or genitalia.

    Dr. Sapolski proclaimed, "These are dramatic, unprecedented, undeniable observations…The implications are far reaching, especially for those who suffer from cross-gender identities. Instead of those gender feelings being considered 'psychological', they can now be understood as being 'neurobiological' in nature."

  9. some advice
    6 years ago

    it may be hard , but just try to support her in every way , family is family no matter what gender

  10. Erin Dowd
    6 years ago

    My sister is starting testosterone hormonal injections next month. My mom and I are absolutely horrified by her decision. She's been "living as a male" for two years but we had hoped it was a sick phase. Now that she's taking such drastic measures, we don't know what to do. We've prayed without ceasing but have come up with little peace of mind.

    We understand and agree with Catholic teaching but does that mean we break ties with our own family member? It is so hard to love her, separating the sin from the sinner. But is she considered the "marginalized" in society? Christ calls us to love and respect all living beings and things. To what extent does that apply?

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