Last month I was blessed to be interviewed by an excellent journalist, Dan Hitchens, about the theological and pastoral landscape of transsexuality in the Catholic Church. I was interviewed alongside two other dear Catholic trans women: my friend Aoife Assumpta Hart, and a fellow activist Jane Fae.
An article based on the interview was featured in the Catholic Herald. You can read the entire article here: What’s the truth about transsexuality? by Dan Hitchens.
I highly recommend you read the article in full, and I’m not saying this only as a personal plug, but because Dan does a great job of slowly introducing the entire topic with an increasingly wider scope. His article is a great primer if you want to begin thinking more deeply on the topic.
One point I’d like to highlight in particular is the relationship between transsexuality and Gnosticism, one which Dan was eager to explore. From the article:
Catholic online evangelist Bishop Robert Barron sees the former Olympian, now TV reality star Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn Jenner as sheer Gnosticism, in which “the body is presented as an antagonist which can and should be manipulated by the authentic self”. Anna, a Barron fan, disagrees.
“I cannot speak for all transgender people on earth,” she says, “but my personal experience has validated a Catholic understanding of the relationship of the body and the soul.” Before her transition, she recalls, “I had a reality that maybe you would call Gnostic: I felt like a brain in a vat. It wasn’t a matter of belief, it was a matter of experience.
And then post-transitioning, I have a very Catholic experience of my body. So I’d say that is a story of redemption, a story of integration.”
For Anna, “the Catholic understanding of the body” – she is thinking particularly of St John Paul II’s Theology of the Body – points to “a much richer understanding of trans issues than any other philosophy or system of ethics.”
I want to highlight this because I hope that, upon gathering fresh emotional wherewithal for 2016, I can address this specific topic in more detail at a future date. EDIT: I did! I found the wherewithal! You can read my treatment on Gnosticism here.
In the meantime, dear friends, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!