Powerful Academic Paper on Sex Reassignment Surgery

I just read this article – The Psychopathology of “Sex Reassignment” Surgery:   Assessing Its Medical, Psychological, and Ethical Appropriateness.  Read it – “here.”
By Richard P. Fitzgibbons, M.D., Philip M. Sutton, and Dale O’Leary.

Wow this was a powerful read.  It put into clear written word many of the things I have been thinking about transgenderism / transsexualism.  It clearly explains how it is technically impossible to change our sex.  It explains how sex reassignment surgery is unethical for doctors to perform as it is mutilation of someone’s body.  It explains how this surgery is unethical for those that go through it.  It explains how people who have the desire for this surgery actually have psychological confusion about their sex and identity, and that the surgery often preempts the rigorous counseling and self-examination that is necessary to bring healing to the underlying problems and confusion.

The article is full of really interesting stuff.  I don’t have time to talk about it all.  But I highly highly highly suggest taking some time and giving it a slow read.  I know it’s long, but it’s well worth it.  I was thoroughly convinced by their arguments.  At the end they come at the issue from a Roman Catholic perspective, but the majority of the article I think is convincing even if one does not believe in God at all.

I think gender identity problems are the result of psychological confusion and that sex reassignment surgery is not the solution.  I know this is not the politically correct view, but it is the one I hold to.  I have no hatred or fear of transsexuals (though I don’t appreciate what I view as deception of the public and those they get into relationship with.  That concerns me greatly).  Mainly I pity them as they have mutilated their bodies and not appreciated the body that God gave them.  They have sought to take away their emotional pain by surgically altering their bodies.  But this surgery only changes their appearance and not their underlying struggles, pain, and gender confusion.

 

 

One part of the article I thought was especially interesting.  Here is a quote –
Radical feminists embraced the idea that sex—the biological reality—could be separated from gender, which they viewed as an artificial social construct imposed on male and female bodies. For them, sex may be a biological given, but gender is in the mind and because it is constructed by social interaction, it can be deconstructed.
Those calling themselves transsexuals took the separation of sex and gender in a different direction; for them, gender was natural and sex could be constructed—the body modified to fit the mind.”

Such confusion.  I think the feminists also are confused.  I don’t buy into our culture’s new distinctions between sex and gender.  It’s true that gender is a cultural construct.  What it means to be male or female changes from culture to culture.  But gender is not something that we just construct for ourselves or choose for ourselves.  It’s utter nonsense to say you can be the female sex but have a masculine gender.  That just means you don’t fit the gender stereotypes of a given culture.  But gender stereotypes are stifling and problematic anyway.  We’d be much better off to just talk about ourselves as men and women, as people used to do, and not talk about gender as a concept at all.  Gender doesn’t actually exist.  It’s just the name our culture has given to the stereotypes we have about males and female.

Males are males, even if the act in different ways.  Females are females even if they act in different ways.  We are born (almost all of us) as a genetic male or female.  That is what we are, and it cannot be changed.   We don’t then get to choose which gender we want to be, as if we can choose to be the “gender” that is normally associated with females.  This is just nonsense and it frustrates me how confused our culture is.   Instead of saying, “I’m a woman, but I’m going to live as the male gender.”  Instead, she could say, “I am a woman, but the stereotypes in our culture about how women are supposed to live are stifling and wrong, so I’m going to live more assertively, and do a line of work that used to be just considered mens’ work.

Comments?  Questions?  I hope I’ve been clear enough about why I don’t buy into the prevalent usage of “gender” and “sex” in our culture today.  If not, let me know and we can dialogue more about it.

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7 comments on “Powerful Academic Paper on Sex Reassignment Surgery

  1. Robyn says:

    Gender might be considered a cultural construct. However, this construct has always been based on nature; that is, gender is a natural reflection of sex. It is not a stereotype and it is not something DETERMINED by a culture or a society. There is nothing wrong with gender stereotypes if used correctly. There has been an on-going effort to disconnect sex and gender, that a person can be one sex while having the other gender. Since sex and gender are naturally connected, when someone or society break that natural bond, dissonance and disharmony are created. This can lead to all kinds of problems as we have seen… (one of them being the premise that our bodies belong to us as if it were a possession and we can do whatever we darn well want to do with our bodies…)

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  2. Jared says:

    All I know is this. We can change on the inside to suit the outside. We can become what we will to be.

    The sex change operation is downright awful, and just the thought of it absolutely sickens me. It is incredibly deceptive, and goes against what God created us to be.

    I read a story not too long ago where a man transitioned to a woman, changed back to a man, then changed to a woman AGAIN.

    He thought becoming a woman would make him happy, but it didn’t. So he changed back. Still wasn’t satisfied, so he did it again.

    I view it as a quick fix, which is what our society is about these days. Have a headache? Just take an aspirin. Suffer from pain? Take a pill.

    Have a gender identity disorder? Just get a sex change. Everything will be just fine afterwards.

    To me, gender and sex go pretty hand in hand. We all have some characteristics that would be associated with either gender, some more than others. The bottom line is that we must strive to be the best men or women that we can possibly be so we can serve God and humanity.

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  3. Eric says:

    Thorin,

    I’m glad your are talking about transsexuals, but I don’t think that’s the best paper. The main sources are a 1979 John Hopkins article, Narth, and Ray Blanchard.

    Here’s some info on Narth http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/narth.html and Blanchard http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/ray-blanchard.html

    Here’s some interesting reading material about how transition is not a “quick fix”, but a 4-5 year journey through hell.
    http://www.tgchatroom.com/wiki/index.php/So_You_Want_To_Be_a_T-Girl_(Chapter_1)
    http://www.tgchatroom.com/wiki/index.php/So_You_Want_To_Be_a_T-Girl_(Chapter_2)
    http://www.tgchatroom.com/wiki/index.php/So_You_Want_To_Be_a_T-Girl_(Chapter_3)

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  4. thorin25 says:

    Thank you Eric for weighing in. I appreciate the links. It’s important for people to get a balanced perspective as they figure out what the real truth is. I realize the article I posted has certain biases. I also do not know much at all about the people who wrote it or about Narth.

    However, the links you sent have their own biases (which I disagree with). For one quick example, the statement – “In the meantime, Blanchard’s star continues to fade, reduced to eugenicists, old-school sexologists and psychologists, and those self-hating gender variant people who seek a “cure” for their gender variance”

    So those that are gender variant and seeking for a cure are self-hating? Really? That’s a strong (and foolish) claim. I would say they love themselves enough to seek out help. And the links basically insinuate that people trying to “cure” others are idiots. Such biases are just as problematic as the biases in the article I posted.

    I would not claim to believe 100% everything in the article I posted, but I do think those that struggle with their sex identity can find healing and wholeness in the sex they were born with, with good help and support. And there are countless testimonies to support this.

    But again, thank you for giving us some other links to think about and mull over.

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  5. thorin25 says:

    Eric, I’ve been skimming just briefly those 3 last links you posted. Some of it is just ridiculous. Such as this statement –
    “All men, and I mean all men, want to feel like a woman, and try it to some extent over the course of their lives. Most will crossdress, most will have anal sex with men, inanimate objects, and even women adorned with strap-ons. Some go so far as to try on make-up, others venture out as women from time to time, and some venture out as woman often.”

    But it is interesting to note that the author seems to view transitioning as a hellish experience as you said. Oh, I wish those struggling with their sex would realize there is another way. What they are doing is distortion and confusion and only hurting themselves more. There is healing to be found in God instead.

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  6. Eric says:

    Thorin,

    Thanks for the polite response and reading those links I included. I should have said earlier that I agree with you that “those that struggle with their sex identity can find healing and wholeness in the sex they were born with, with good help and support.” I don’t agree with 100% of what those links say either. If you want to engage with the TS community, you should know who is in their “hall of shame”.

    There were points in the academic paper I found interesting and informative, but the tone I found irritating. I apologize that my posts came out angrier than I intended. I get frustrated that such seemingly easy advice as “just live like a man” is very hard to do.

    The last 3 links I think are extreme but I think it’s important to be able to point out to T individuals that transition is very hard and to use T community material to do it. Just like you would know the Koran if you were witnessing to Muslims, you need to know the T literature to witness to T people.

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  7. thorin25 says:

    Eric, that is a really great point in your last paragraph. I’ve spent far too much time in my life reading what crossdressers have to say about their views. But in fact, I haven’t spent that much time reading the arguments and views of transgendered or transsexual individuals. It’s important that I listen to them and read what they have to say.

    I should have mentioned in the original post, but I also thought the tone to be somewhat “off” in the essay. For a supposed academic article, there seemed to be a lot of passionate emotion in it.

    As you keep finding helpful articles and information on this subject, pass it on to me. I can’t guarantee I’ll get to them right away though. I already have 11 pages of post ideas and links to read and research that will take me years to get through probably. But if you find more good stuff for me to read, I’ll certainly add it to my list. Or you can post them in your comment as you have done so others can find their way to them.

    Your posts didn’t come accross as angry at all, and I hope that mine did not either. It’s certainly hard to write on the internet, and especially on blogs about controversial subjects like this, without people reading into your emotions incorrectly. But anyway, your posts didn’t seem angry.

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