Monday, January 07, 2008

Boob Jobs Ok With Catholic Hospital As Long As Your Birth Certificate Says Female

The twist in logic used at Catholic run Seton Medical Center (hat tip: Feministe) where non-reconstructive breast enlargements are just fine as long as those getting boob jobs had "female" listed on their original birth certificate, but where transgendered people, such as Charlene Hastings, are banned from the same procedure because they should stay the way God made them is awe inspiring.

If people are meant to stay the way God created them then all plastic surgeries which don't have a clear medical need associated with them (and maybe some of those that simply improve quality of life) should be banned from this Daly City, California hospital.

At a minimum, this logic as applied should mean that breast reductions at this hospital are done only on those born male. If it is unmale to get larger breasts then it must be unfemale to get smaller ones.

God created me with moles and one of them -- with no risk of becoming cancerous -- I had removed because it was in a position where it frequently got irritated. No mainstream religious person who uses the "stay as God created you" justification for denying medical services would think about banning the minor surgery I went through. I believe this is because most people can relate to removing a minor skin irritant so they don't view it as going against God's wishes.

Most people however cannot relate to someone whose spirit and body are in discord over whether they are female or male. Because of that it is easy for these people to treat those in that position with a level of disrespect that they would never show over other issues related to physical appearance, identity and medical care.

If God made a person with a complete stomach then gastric bypass surgery should be viewed as going directly against God using the logic applied at this Catholic hospital. But again because this is a procedure that deals with an issue most people can relate to --weight -- it doesn't get the same kind of stigma even though there are serious medical complications that can arise from this procedure.

For too long the medical profession pretended that all babies were born either clearly male or clearly female with no ambiguous sex organs and no conflicts between chromosomes and hormones. The treatment of these babies was often arbitrary and recommended to remain a secret withheld from the child. But intersex is real and secrecy only adds to the stigma placed on those who don't fit expected gender molds.

The rules at the Catholic hospital in essence continues to deny that any child can be born intersex or that being transgendered is something real and not merely imagined.

The Bible doesn't talk about these issues so they must not be real and valid medical issues for individuals and their doctors to work out together.

What this feels like to me is bigotry and ignorance which uses religious doctrine as an excuse for discriminatory practices.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:16 PM   2 comments links to this post


At January 10, 2008 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello, Marcella. Mr. Anonymous here, again to support you in a matter. As I told you in a previous comment, I am a retired surgeon.

In my second year of Med school, I was shown a picture, a full frontal nude view of an attractive female body. The caption said that the female was genetically a male, "her" sex chromosomes were XY. There is a syndrome called testicular feminization. The individual is genetically male but develops as female. The individual does not have a uterus and the gonads are testicles. The cause is a defective gene, located ironically on the X chromosome. The effect of the defective gene is that the individual is not responsive to the masculinizing effects of male sex hormones.

There are other scenarios. In situations called Adrenogenital Syndromes, because of an enzymatic defect, the adrenal cortex produces hormones chemically similar to male sex steroids instead of adrenal cortical steroids. In female babies, this has the effect of transforming the female external genitgalia into male like structures. When I started my surgical residency, men with advanced prostate cancer were treated with estrogens, which had a marked effect on breast development. One of my patients remarked to me how jealous his wife was of his bust.

Intersex is something part of each and every one of us. Basically we are all conceived female. If you receive a Y chromosome, you are more susceptible to masculinizing influences. If you do not, you are not immune to them.

P.S. You can do a Google search on Testicular Feminization

At January 11, 2008 8:29 AM, Blogger nellta holdings said...

The wiki article was an interesting read until it tried to explain freemartinism in cattle...
Nuh-uh. :-)
Sadly, that means the rest of it is probably just as unreliable.

(The amusing part was the claim that the adult freemartin would try to ride cows the way a bull does - the author clearly not knowing that bisexualism is an integral part of being a cow. I'd be worried if any of my cows *didn't* do that.)


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