Tom Hoopes is Vice President of College Relations and writer in residence at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. He has written for the Register for more than 20 years and was its executive editor for 10. His writing has appeared in First Things’ First Thoughts, National Review Online, Crisis, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside Catholic and Columbia. He has served as press secretary for the Chairman of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee. He and his wife, April, were editorial co-directors of Faith & Family magazine for 5 years. They have nine children.
We never reported on the Omaha, Neb., Catholic elementary school that barred an 8-year-old boy because his parents — following the advice of an “expert” — refused to dress him as a boy.
In “Boys Will be Girls?” the Register reported on just that brand of bad advice.
In this case, “The child is welcomed to come, but it would not be acceptable to change the child’s gender and present as a girl,” said Omaha Archdiocese’s chancellor, Father Joseph Taphorn.
After being a student there for three years as a boy, it would be distruptive to return as a girl, he said.
WPTZ.com spoke to the the girl’s mother, who it called a devout Catholic, and she said: “She’s been a girl since the beginning, everything about her, the way she dances and skips around and the things she’s attracted to. It’s more than toys and clothes.”
“One night, she said, ‘Every night when I go to bed, I pray my inside will match my outside. But it never happens,’” she added.
In the Register, Celeste McGovern reported:
Sometimes little boys playing with their sister’s Barbies or little girls refusing to wear dresses are just a passing phase. Sometimes, it’s more serious: Mental health professionals call it Gender Identity Disorder or gender dysphoria syndrome when the condition of viewing oneself as having an opposite-sex identity is, among other things, consistent and lasts more than two years.
So-called “transgender” children are increasingly likely to be channeled into programs that treat them with hormones and on the road to full “sexual reassignment” — including amputating surgeries to give them pseudo-genitalia of the opposite sex.
But the Carson family’s story illustrates that a Catholic response to gender confusion may offer the most genuine hope for full healing.
The Catholic response is rooted in the Church’s theology of the body, which holds that each person is a unity of body and soul made in the image and likeness of God. Because of this, the Second Vatican Council’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes (The Church in the Modern World) states that “man may not despise his bodily life. Rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and to hold it in honor since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day.”
As well, in Catholic theology there is no such thing as being “trapped in the wrong body.” Human beings are created male and female and although humanity’s fallen nature can result in psychological disunity and confusion regarding an individual’s sexual identity, every person’s body reveals his or her God-given gender.