Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 46 (6):782-804 (2021)

Melissa Moschella
Catholic University of America
In this article, I explore difficult and sensitive questions regarding the nature of transgender identity claims and the appropriate medical treatment for those suffering from gender dysphoria. I first analyze conceptions of transgender identity, highlighting the prominence of the wrong-body narrative and its dualist presuppositions. I then briefly argue that dualism is false because our bodily identity is essential and intrinsic to our overall personal identity and explain why a sound, nondualist anthropology implies that gender identity cannot be entirely divorced from sexual identity. Finally, I make the case that arguments in favor of hormonal and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria rest on this mistaken dualist anthropology, and that these treatments therefore give false hope to those suffering from gender dysphoria, while causing irreversible bodily harm and diverting attention from underlying psychological problems that often need to be addressed. I also briefly discuss how these philosophical claims relate to empirical studies on the outcomes of hormonal and surgical treatments for gender dysphoria and to testimonies of transgender individuals who regret having undergone these treatments.
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/jhab030
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