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Catholic Culture Podcasts

true to himself -- or, liposuction on anorexics

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 05, 2008

The Sydney Morning Herald carries a lighter-than-air puff piece about Erica, Eric, a deeply disturbed expat Pom who decided to lengthen his name and abbreviate his manhood. Naturally, Erica is thrilled with the change. Let me reposition the adverb. By the terms of contemporary journalism, naturally, Erica is thrilled with the change. He and the frau are held up as examples to be emulated: 

Eric underwent a sex change operation six years ago, aged 61. After a lifetime of confusion about his sexuality, decades of cross-dressing, years of hormone treatment, all with Joan's knowledge, Eric grabbed his last chance to be true to himself. Living as a woman was a secret joy he had allowed himself to experience on occasional weekends away with Joan. It was the heart attack -- intimations of mortality -- that propelled him to come out to his community and friends as a female, assume the name of Erica, go under the knife, and be liberated from the prison of pretence. 

We can take it as a given that Eric is deranged and leave the question of his moral culpability to the side. The same isn't true of the surgeons who performed the mutilation, nor of the psychologists who promoted it. Under the guise of medicine they exploit the sexual confusion of their patients for ends unrelated to their well-being. This was noted and condemned fifteen years ago by Dr. Paul McHugh, director of psychiatry of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine:

It is not obvious how this patient's feeling that he is a woman trapped in a man's body differs from the feeling of a patient with anorexia nervosa that she is obese despite her emaciated, cachectic state. We don't do liposuction on anorexics. Why amputate the genitals of these poor men? Surely, the fault is in the mind not the member. 

The answer to McHugh's question -- "why do we mutilate those already defective?" -- is that professionally endorsed sexual disfigurement helps advance the moral revolution which progressivists hope will replace Christian doctrine and lead ultimately to its extinction. As with the prisoners employed in Dr. Mengele's medical experiments, these "patients" are pawns in a larger battle -- a culture war -- in which their own will is irrelevant.  

Note that the SMH journalist writes that, when Eric became Erica, he was "liberated from the prison of pretence." Is that an expression an impartial reporter could have used?

Sydney Morning Herald photo

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