Saturday, July 15, 2006

Gender Dysphoria

Thanks to my blogpal, the Florida Masochist for pointing this one out.

According to the

One little girl entering Broward County kindergarten this fall is actually a boy.

Few will know this genetic truth, because the 5-year-old's parents and school administrators have agreed that it's in his best interest to blend in as a female.

Mental health professionals have diagnosed Pat -- not his real name -- with gender dysphoria, a condition in which a person believes that he or she is the opposite gender. After two years of examination, they have determined that he is not simply effeminate or going through a phase.
Okay, some transitory (oops, wrong word) tentative thoughts on being transgender.

Let's assume this child truly is experiencing gender dysphoria.

Without intending to disrespect those who might well be living in a transgendered state, wouldn't you agree that nature (at least in this case) went haywire during some formative stage of fetal development?

That is, if the body is physically (by x/y chromosome definition) male and yet the mind/soul identifies so strongly with being female that the person actually hates his sexual organs, then this is not a natural phenomenon. Can we agree to that?

It would be analogous to being born deaf, blind, or with any other physical handicap, disease, or condition that causes that person to function in a way that "nature" did not intend. (Now I know I'm broaching a moral issue when I use the word intend. That is intentional.)

You see, without denigrating those with physical impairment we can at least, by simple observation, determine that something isn't as it ought to be. In other words, a person ought to be able to see, hear, walk, talk, run, love, laugh, and live a natural life (ie, a life that, when all the parts are in working order, is normal for a member of the human species called Homo sapiens).

A person who's gender is male ought to develop into a person who's mind and soul is masculine. This is what nature intends. Without prejudice or hate or arrogance, we know that this child in Florida likely will struggle with his sexual identity until he dies.

If this seems logical to you, it is because you hold at least two assumptions (probably more, but like I mentioned at the beginning, these are tentative thoughts at this point). These assumptions may not be articulated as such, but they provide a basis for much of our spoken arguments.

First, nature does intend certain things. Otherwise we would have no basis for classifying something as unnatural (e.g. a kitten with two faces or chicken mcnuggets). Why this is a moral issue is that when a disaster (any disaster) occurs, we react with moral sentiment: "That shouldn't have happened that way." The very use of the word 'disaster' implies that some things are and some things aren't; that the world should exist a certain way.

Now, if "a person who's gender is male ought to develop into a person who's mind and soul is masculine" (my quote from above) makes some sort of logical sense to you, then the second assumption you hold is that there is something called masculinity and that it is different than femininity. These concepts are under attack today, and unfortunately I do not have time to explore them in this post.

But hang with me as we expound on some of these issues in the next few weeks as I enter into dialog with a new blog acquaintance, aTypical Joe, "a gay New Yorker living in the rural South." I asked Joe if he'd like to start an argument on gay marriage, and he graciously agreed to a sincere, thought-provoking "diablog" on the topic.

Should be engaging and I hope you participate in the discussion. Why not start now? What are your reactions to what I've posted so far?

Discussion also at Blue Star Chronicles. And soliciting comments at the following Open Posts: bRight & Early, Stuck on Stupid, Cao's Blog, and Outside the Beltway.

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