Thanks to Sean Alderman for the link to this 2004 article at First Things about the clinical case against gender-reassignment. In it, Paul McHugh of John Hopkins outlines his experience both with adult patients asking for male-to-female sex-change surgery, and with the long-term outcomes of infant boys with ambiguous genitalia who are surgically castrated, given female-like outward genitalia, and raised as girls. The paper is long but eminently readable, and I encourage you to read the whole thing, because he outlines several different situations and the clinical evidence for appropriate treatment.
(You might have more interest in some disorders than others. If one section doesn’t interest you, skip along to the one that does.)
I’m of course no clinician, but the results on all counts certainly resonate with what I have seen and heard in day-to-day life. I say that with a recognition of the overwhelming difficulty that certain of the conditions outlined create for the individual. There’s no, “If you would just _____!” pat solution that would make all things better in a few easy steps.
And on that note, let me observe now: This side of the grave, there’s no such thing as being “too far gone” from God’s love. It is easy to fall into thinking that if, say, a man undergoes sex-change surgery, he’s passed some boundary from which there is no return. One might imagine that, having made an irreversible change to his body, he has likewise made an irreversible change to his soul. Cut himself out of the Catholic faith forever. This is false.
There are many things we can do that build barriers to our relationship with God. Some of those barriers are great indeed. But they are not too great for the grace of God. The same God who holds the universe together by His will alone is capable of putting your soul, and your life, back together if only you will let Him.
God wants you to be healthy, whole, and sane. But He does not need you to be any of those.
When you are ready, God is ready. If you’re willing to abandon yourself to His love — no matter how scary and unknown and crazy that love sounds — He’s got a place for you in the Catholic Church as His beloved child.
Photo by Yathin S Krishnappa (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons