Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 2012
The Principle of Totality and Integrity
Sex Reassignment and Catholic Schools
The author was consulted by two Catholic schools in separate cases of a student and a teacher preparing to undergo sex reassignment. Such cases give rise to special ethical and pastoral concerns. This article discusses the disorders that may lead to sex reassignment, distinguishing between congenital disorders of sex development (intersex conditions) and gender identity disorder (gender dysphoria). It also notes the ethical differences between the correction of congenital anomalies and interventions to relieve dysphoria: in the former, treatment is meant to restore as much normal function as possible; in the latter, mutilating intervention destroys what were otherwise healthy bodily functions. In Catholic schools, concern for the well-being of an affected student or teacher is required, as is a clear understanding of the condition being treated, the ethical implications of treatment, the privacy issues, the effects on other students and staff, and the effects on a teacher’s ability to give faithful witness to Catholic teaching. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 12.1 (Spring 2012): 85–97.