‘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.
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.
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 MassResistance.org, a Waltham-based family organization, and then by LifeSiteNews.com and OneNewsNow.com, 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.”
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 LifeSiteNews.com.
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.”
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This story was made available to Catholic Online by permission of The Anchor (www.fallriverdiocese.org/resources.asp), official newspaper of the Diocese of Fall River, Mass.
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