Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 92, 2018

Philosophy, Catholicism, and Public Life

Phillip Berns
Pages 321-332

The Ethical Impermissibility of Cross-Sex Hormone Therapy in Gender-Dysphoric Minors

Gender dysphoria in children has become a hot-button topic; however, clinical data still remain sparse on the effects of hormone therapy and transitional surgery on the physical and psychological well-being of those children. The American College of Pediatricians (as opposed to the American Academy of Pediatrics) cites studies indicating that anywhere from 77 to 94 percent of boys and 73 to 88 percent of girls desist in GD; that is, following puberty the majority of children who experience GD will identify with their assigned biological sex. After reviewing the clinical studies, this paper addresses the notion of gender from a Thomistic perspective, locating gender as a differentiation in the matter of the person flowing from the essence of the soul, resulting from the power of generation as opposed to other differences such as sight, which functions the same regardless of material differences. As a result, the paper concludes that hormone therapy cannot be morally licit for children.