A teenager in Australia, born a biological female, has recently been given permission by a family court to get a double-mastectomy in order to more resemble the gender he identifies with — male. Alex, a 17-year-old, has been on hormone treatment since he was 13 to prevent menstruation, and he had to petition the court because he is a minor.
Family Court chief justice Diana Bryant showed great sensitivity to Alex's situation. If he's going to live as male, she argued, his breasts would obviously be a problem. "Overwhelmingly, the evidence was that it was in his interests. And I made that order." Want to hear Catholic groups' responses as well as mine? Then
Catholic groups view the decision as irresponsible, and to this day, "gender identity dysphoria," which describes the feeling transgendered people have that their biological sex is incompatible with the gender they identify with, is often spoken of as a "disorder," or even in this news story, as a "psychological condition."
Theorists of gender like Judith Butler argue that all gender identities are dysphoric — that none of us inhabits them as comfortably as we think we do. (Some women don't feel "feminine," some men don't think they're "manly," and every other discomfort in between.) Transgenderism, in a way, just makes all of our gender dysphoria more obvious. What are your thoughts on this issue? Have you ever known anyone who transitioned, or who didn't feel they were born the "correct" sex?