This article is a post-script to Are Transgender People Gnostic? An Answer to Robert Barron.
Trans persons have been accused of dualism – separating our minds and bodies as if they have nothing to do with each other.
While I personally have come to understand my transgender existence through a hylomorphic lens (ie. concieving my body and soul as basically inseparable), I think writing off all dualism as “Gnostic” is unfair.
Dualism per se is not anathema to orthodox Christianity. While I as a Roman Catholic practicing the Latin Rite and participating in the Western tradition of Christianity (very specific conditions) am tied to an Aristotilean/Thomistic tradition that has a very particular conception of the body, the vast majority of Christian theology, both Eastern and pre-Aquinas Western, rejects Aristotle and is more influenced by Platonism and Neo-Platonism. Both are, according to most understandings, dualist systems of philosophy.
Many Church Fathers were also tripartite, meaning they believed human beings to be composed of body, soul, and spirit as opposed to only body and soul.
Aristotlean Christianity is not always clear either; even post-Aquinas, many scholastic debates in theology were over the finer details of how matter and form relate to each other (such as the nominalism debate). What do we mean, for example, that form is instantiated in matter and the form of the human being is the soul which instantiates itself in the body, but the soul also survives the body and lives on after death? How does that work? Are Aristotle and Jesus even compatible? Aquinas certainly thought so, but one doesn’t get a particularly Aristotilean vibe from Paul’s epistles or John’s Gospel.
It’s problematic to demand that every Catholic theologian cling to Aristotle and Aquinas alone. It reeks of Roman Triumphalism and calls into question even many of the Church Fathers. The intimate connection between the body and soul does not preclude the body and soul from being clearly distinct, any more than the intimate union between the Persons of the Trinity precludes them from being distinct Persons of one God.