Thursday, 2 February 2017

Gender Dysphoria


FROM THE NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE OF WALES
Recently the question of GENDER DYSPHORIA arose on this blog.

Some readers were very compassionate and others were ignorant or intolerant.

1% of the population suffers from this condition in one way or another.

That is 600,000 people in the UK

And 50,000 on the island of Ireland.

We should all know about this condition which affects so many of our brothers and sisters.

We should all show COMPASSION, UNDERSTANDING and LOVING SUPPORT.

Remember: "BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD - THERE GO YOU".

Introduction

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there's a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity. It's sometimes known as gender identity disorder (GID), gender incongruence or transgenderism.

Biological sex is assigned at birth, depending on the appearance of the genitals. Gender identity is the gender that a person "identifies" with or feels themselves to be.

While biological sex and gender identity are the same for most people, this isn't the case for everyone. For example, some people may have the anatomy of a man, but identify themselves as a woman, while others may not feel they're definitively either male or female.

This mismatch between sex and gender identity can lead to distressing and uncomfortable feelings that are called gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a recognised medical condition, for which treatment is sometimes appropriate. It's not a mental illness.

Some people with gender dysphoria have a strong and persistent desire to live according to their gender identity, rather than their biological sex. These people are sometimes called transsexual or trans people. Some trans people have treatment to make their physical appearance more consistent with their gender identity.

Signs of gender dysphoria

The first signs of gender dysphoria can appear at a very young age. For example, a child may refuse to wear typical boys' or girls' clothes, or dislike taking part in typical boys' or girls' games and activities.
In most cases, this type of behaviour is just a normal part of growing up and will pass in time, but for those with gender dysphoria it continues through childhood and into adulthood.

Adults with gender dysphoria can feel trapped inside a body that doesn't match their gender identity.
They may feel so unhappy about conforming to societal expectations that they live according to their anatomical sex, rather than the gender they feel themselves to be.

They may also have a strong desire to change or get rid of physical signs of their biological sex, such as facial hair or breasts.

Getting help
See your GP if you think you or your child may have gender dysphoria.

If necessary, they can refer you to a specialist Gender Identity Clinic (GIC). Staff at these clinics can carry out a personalised assessment and provide any support you need.

Assessment

A diagnosis of gender dysphoria can usually be made after an in-depth assessment carried out by two or more specialists.

This may require several sessions, carried out a few months apart, and may involve discussions with people you are close to, such as members of your family or your partner.

The assessment will determine whether you have gender dysphoria and what your needs are, which could include:
  • whether there's a clear mismatch between your biological sex and gender identity
  • whether you have a strong desire to change your physical characteristics as a result of any mismatch
  • how you're coping with any difficulties of a possible mismatch
  • how your feelings and behaviours have developed over time
  • what support you have, such as friends and family
The assessment may also involve a more general assessment of your physical and psychological health.

Treatment for gender dysphoria

If the results of an assessment suggest that you or your child have gender dysphoria, staff  will work with you to come up with an individual treatment plan. This will include any psychological support you may need.

Treatment for gender dysphoria aims to help reduce or remove the distressing feelings of a mismatch between biological sex and gender identity.

This can mean different things for different people. For some people, it can mean dressing and living as their preferred gender.

For others, it can mean taking hormones or also having surgery to change their physical appearance.
Many trans people have treatment to change their body permanently, so they're more consistent with their gender identity, and the vast majority are satisfied with the eventual results.

What causes gender dysphoria?

Gender development is complex and there are many possible variations that cause a mismatch between a person’s biological sex and their gender identity, making the exact cause of gender dysphoria unclear.

Occasionally, the hormones that trigger the development of biological sex may not work properly on the brain, reproductive organs and genitals, causing differences between them. This may be caused by:
  • additional hormones in the mother’s system – possibly as a result of taking medication

  • the foetus’ insensitivity to the hormones, known as androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS) – when this happens, gender dysphoria may be caused by hormones not working properly in the womb
Gender dysphoria may also be the result of other rare conditions, such as:
  • congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) – where a high level of male hormones are produced in a female foetus. This causes the genitals to become more male in appearance and, in some cases, the baby may be thought to be biologically male when she is born.

  • intersex conditions – which cause babies to be born with the genitalia of both sexes (or ambiguous genitalia). Parents are recommended to wait until the child can choose their own gender identity before any surgery is carried out.
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How common is gender dysphoria?

It's not known exactly how many people experience gender dysphoria, because many people with the condition never seek help.

A survey of 10,000 people undertaken in 2012 by the Equality and Human Rights Commission found that 1% of the population surveyed was gender variant, to some extent.

While gender dysphoria appears to be rare, the number of people being diagnosed with the condition is increasing, due to growing public awareness.

However, many people with gender dysphoria still face prejudice and misunderstanding.

Gender terminology

Gender dysphoria is a complex condition that can be difficult to understand. Therefore, it helps to distinguish between the meanings of different gender-related terms:
  • gender dysphoria – discomfort or distress caused by a mismatch between a person’s gender identity and their biological sex assigned at birth

  • transsexualism – the desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by the wish to have treatment to make their physical appearance more consistent with their gender identity

  • transvestism – where a person occasionally wears clothes typically associated with the opposite gender (cross-dressing) for a variety of reasons

  • genderqueer – an umbrella term used to describe gender identities other than man and woman – for example, those who are both man and woman, or neither man nor woman, or moving between genders
Gender dysphoria isn't the same as transvestism or cross-dressing and isn't related to sexual orientation. People with the condition may identify as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual or asexual, and this may change with treatment.

Symptoms

There are no physical symptoms of gender dysphoria, but people with the condition may experience and display a range of feelings and behaviours.

In many cases, a person with gender dysphoria begins to feel a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity during early childhood. For others, this may not happen until adulthood.

Children

Gender dysphoria behaviours in children can include:
  • insisting they're of the opposite sex
  • disliking or refusing to wear clothes that are typically worn by their sex and wanting to wear clothes typically worn by the opposite sex
  • disliking or refusing to take part in activities and games that are typically associated with their sex, and wanting to take part in activities and games typically associated with the opposite sex
  • preferring to play with children of the opposite biological sex
  • disliking or refusing to pass urine as other members of their biological sex usually do – for example, a boy may want to sit down to pass urine and a girl may want to stand up
  • insisting or hoping their genitals will change – for example, a boy may say he wants to be rid of his penis, and a girl may want to grow a penis
  • feeling extreme distress at the physical changes of puberty
Children with gender dysphoria may display some, or all, of these behaviours. However, in many cases, behaviours such as these are just a part of childhood and don't necessarily mean your child has gender dysphoria.

For example, many girls behave in a way that can be described as "tomboyish", which is often seen as part of normal female development. It's also not uncommon for boys to roleplay as girls and to dress up in their mother's or sister's clothes. This is usually just a phase.

Most children who behave in these ways don't have gender dysphoria and don't become transsexuals. Only in rare cases does the behaviour persist into the teenage years and adulthood.

Teenagers and adults

If the feelings of gender dysphoria are still present by the time your child is a teenager or adult, it's likely that they're not just going through a phase.

If you're a teenager or an adult whose feelings of gender dysphoria begun in childhood, you may now have a much clearer sense of your gender identity and how you want to deal with it. Many people with strong feelings of gender dysphoria are fully transsexual during their teenage years.

The way gender dysphoria affects teenagers and adults is different to the way it affects children. If you're a teenager or adult with gender dysphoria, you may feel:
  • without doubt that your gender identity is at odds with your biological sex
  • comfortable only when in the gender role of your preferred gender identity
  • a strong desire to hide or be rid of the physical signs of your sex, such as breasts, body hair or muscle definition
  • a strong dislike for – and a strong desire to change or be rid of – the genitalia of your biological sex
Without appropriate help and support, some people may try to suppress their feelings and attempt to live the life of their biological sex. Ultimately, however, most people are unable to keep this up.
Having or suppressing these feelings is often very difficult to deal with and, as a result, many transsexuals and people with gender dysphoria experience depressionself-harm or suicidal thoughts.

Treatment for gender dysphoria aims to help people with the condition live the way they want to, in their preferred gender identity.

What this means will vary from person to person, and is different for children, young people and adults. Your specialist care team will work with you on a treatment plan that's tailored to your needs.
Treatment for children and young people

If your child is under 18 and thought to have gender dysphoria, they'll usually be referred to a specialist child and adolescent Gender Identity Clinic (GIC).

Staff at these clinics can carry out a detailed assessment of your child, to help them determine what support they need.

Depending on the results of this assessment, the options for children and young people with suspected gender dysphoria can include:
  • family therapy
  • individual child psychotherapy
  • parental support or counselling
  • group work for young people and their parents
  • regular reviews to monitor gender identity development
  • hormone therapy (see below)
Your child’s treatment should be arranged with a multi-disciplinary team (MDT). This is a group of different healthcare professionals working together, which may include specialists such as mental health professionals and paediatric endocrinologists (specialists in hormone conditions in children).
Most treatments offered at this stage are psychological, rather than medical or surgical. This is because the majority of children with suspected gender dysphoria don't have the condition once they reach puberty. Psychological support offers young people and their families a chance to discuss their thoughts and receive support to help them cope with the emotional distress of the condition, without rushing into more drastic treatments.

Hormone therapy

If your child has gender dysphoria and they've reached puberty, they could be treated with gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues. These are synthetic (man-made) hormones that suppress the hormones naturally produced by the body.
Some of the changes that take place during puberty are driven by hormones. For example, the hormone testosterone, which is produced by the testes in boys, helps stimulate penis growth.
GnRH analogues suppress the hormones produced by your child’s body. They also suppress puberty and can help delay potentially distressing physical changes caused by their body becoming even more like that of their biological sex, until they're old enough for the treatment options discussed below.
GnRH analogues will only be considered for your child if assessments have found they're experiencing clear distress and have a strong desire to live as their gender identity.
The effects of treatment with GnRH analogues are considered to be fully reversible, so treatment can usually be stopped at any time after a discussion between you, your child and your MDT.

Transition to adult services

Teenagers who are 17 years of age or older may be seen in an adult gender clinic. They are entitled to consent to their own treatment and follow the standard adult protocols.
By this age, doctors can be much more confident in making a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and, if desired, steps can be taken towards more permanent hormone or surgical treatments to alter your child’s body further, to fit with their gender identity.

Treatment for adults

Adults with gender dysphoria should be referred to a specialist adult GIC. As with specialist children and young people GICs, these clinics can offer ongoing assessments, treatments, support and advice, including:
  • mental health support, such as counselling
  • cross-sex hormone treatment (see below)
  • speech and language therapy – to help alter your voice, to sound more typical of your gender identity
  • hair removal treatments, particularly facial hair
  • peer support groups, to meet other people with gender dysphoria
  • relatives' support groups, for your family
For some people, support and advice from a clinic are all they need to feel comfortable in their gender identity. Others will need more extensive treatment, such as a full transition to the opposite sex. The amount of treatment you have is completely up to you.

Hormone therapy

Hormone therapy for adults means taking the hormones of your preferred gender:
  • a trans man (female to male) will take testosterone (masculinising hormones)
  • a trans woman (male to female) will take oestrogen (feminising hormones)
The aim of hormone therapy is to make you more comfortable with yourself, both in terms of physical appearance and how you feel. These hormones start the process of changing your body into one that is more female or more male, depending on your gender identity. They usually need to be taken indefinitely, even if you have genital reconstructive surgery.
Hormone therapy may be all the treatment you need to enable you to live with your gender dysphoria. The hormones may improve how you feel and mean that you don't need to start living in your preferred gender or have surgery.
Changes in trans women
If you're a trans woman, changes that you may notice from hormone therapy include:
  • your penis and testicles getting smaller
  • less muscle
  • more fat on your hips
  • your breasts becoming lumpy and increasing in size slightly
  • less facial and body hair
Hormone therapy won't affect the voice of a trans woman. To make the voice higher, trans women will need voice therapy and, rarely, voice modifying surgery.

Changes in trans men

If you're a trans man, changes you may notice from hormone therapy include:
  • more body and facial hair
  • more muscle
  • your clitoris (a small, sensitive part of the female genitals) getting bigger
  • your periods stopping
  • an increased sex drive (libido)
Your voice may also get slightly deeper, but it may not be as deep as other men’s voices.

Risks

There's some uncertainty about the possible risks of long-term masculinising and feminising hormone treatment. You should be made aware of the potential risks and the importance of regular monitoring before treatment begins.
Some of the potential problems most closely associated with hormone therapy include:
Hormone therapy will also make both trans men and trans women less fertile and, eventually, completely infertile. Your specialist should discuss the implications for fertility before starting treatment, and they may talk to you about the option of storing eggs or sperm (known as gamete storage) in case you want to have children in the future. However, this isn't likely to be available on the NHS.

There's no guarantee that fertility will return to normal if hormones are stopped.

Monitoring

While you're taking these hormones, you'll need to have regular check-ups, either at your GIC or your local GP surgery. You'll be assessed, to check for any signs of possible health problems and to find out if the hormone treatment is working.

If you don't think that hormone treatment is working, talk to the healthcare professionals who are treating you. If necessary, you can stop taking the hormones (although some changes are irreversible, such as a deeper voice in trans men and breast growth in trans women).

Alternatively, you may be frustrated with how long hormone therapy takes to produce results, as it will take a few months for some changes to develop. Hormones can't change the shape of your skeleton, such as how wide your shoulders or your hips are. It also can't change your height.
Hormones for gender dysphoria are also available from other sources, such as the internet, and it may be tempting to get them from here instead of through your clinic. However, hormones from other sources may not be licensed and safe. If you decide to use these hormones, let your doctors know so they can monitor you.

Social gender role transition

If you want to have genital reconstructive surgery, you'll usually first need to live in your preferred gender identity full time for at least a year. This is known as "social gender role transition" (previously known as "real life experience" or "RLE") and it will help in confirming whether permanent surgery is the right option.

You can start your social gender role transition as soon as you're ready, after discussing it with your care team, who can offer support throughout the process.

The length of the transition period recommended can vary, but it's usually one to two years. This will allow enough time for you to have a range of experiences in your preferred gender role, such as work, holidays and family events.

For some types of surgery, such as a bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) in trans men, you may not need to complete the entire transition period before having the operation.

Surgery

Once you've completed your social gender role transition and you and your care team feels you're ready, you may decide to have surgery to permanently alter your sex.

The most common options are discussed below, but you can talk to members of your team and the surgeon at your consultation about the full range available.

Trans man surgery

For trans men, surgery may involve:
  • a bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts)
  • hysterectomy (removal of the womb)
  • a salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries)
  • phalloplasty or metoidioplasty (construction of a penis)
  • scrotoplasty (construction of a scrotum) and testicular implants
  • a penile implant
A phalloplasty uses the existing vaginal tissue and skin taken from the inner forearm or lower abdominal wall to create a penis. A metoidioplasty involves creating a penis from the clitoris, which has been enlarged through hormone therapy.

The aim of this type of surgery is to create a functioning penis, which allows you to pass urine standing up and to retain sexual sensation. You'll usually need to have more than one operation to achieve this.

Trans woman surgery

For trans women, surgery may involve:
  • an orchidectomy (removal of the testes)
  • a penectomy (removal of the penis)
  • vaginoplasty (construction of a vagina)
  • vulvoplasty (construction of the vulva)
  • clitoroplasty (construction of a clitoris with sensation)
  • breast implants
  • facial feminisation surgery (surgery to make your face a more feminine shape)
The vagina is usually created and lined with skin from the penis, with tissue from the scrotum (the sack that holds the testes) used to create the labia. The urethra (urine tube) is shortened and repositioned. In some cases, a piece of bowel may be used during a vaginoplasty if hormone therapy has caused the penis and scrotum to shrink a significant amount.

The aim of this type of surgery is to create a functioning vagina with an acceptable appearance and retained sexual sensation.

Some trans women can't have a full vaginoplasty for medical reasons, or they may not want to have a functioning vagina. In such cases, a cosmetic vulvoplasty and clitoroplasty is an option, as well as removing the testes and penis.
Life after surgery

After surgery, most transsexuals are happy with their new sex and feel comfortable with their gender identity. One review of a number of studies that were carried out over a 20-year period found that 96% of people who had genital reconstructive surgery were satisfied.
Despite high levels of personal satisfaction, people who have had genital reconstructive surgery may face prejudice or discrimination because of their condition. Treatment can sometimes leave people feeling:
  • isolated, if they're not with people who understand what they're going through
  • stressed about or afraid of not being accepted socially
  • discriminated against at work
There are legal safeguards to protect against discrimination but other types of prejudice may be harder to deal with. If you're feeling anxious or depressed since having your treatment, speak to your GP or a healthcare professional at your clinic.

Sexual orientation

Once transition has been completed, it's possible for a trans man or woman to experience a change of sexual orientation. For example, a trans woman who was attracted to women before surgery may be attracted to men after surgery. However, this varies greatly from person to person, and the sexual orientation of many transsexuals doesn't change.

If you're a transsexual going through the process of transition, you may not know what your sexual preference will be until it's complete. However, try not to let this worry you. For many people, the issue of sexual orientation is secondary to the process of transition itself.

Policy guidelines

There are a number of laws and guidelines that protect transsexual people and outline how they should be treated by medical professionals.

Gender Recognition Act 2004

The Gender Recognition Act 2004 gives certain legal rights to trans men and women.
Under the Gender Recognition Act of 2004, trans men and women can:
  • apply for and obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate to acknowledge their gender identity
  • get a new birth certificate, driving licence and passport
  • marry in their new gender
To apply for a Gender Recognition Certificate, you must be over 18.
The application process requires you to prove that:
  • you have or have had gender dysphoria
  • you have lived as your preferred gender for the last two years
  • you intend to live permanently in your preferred gender

53 comments:

  1. The Catholic Church has no magisterial teaching on transgenderism. Unfortunately, this hasn't stopped Pope Francis making some pretty crass statements on the subject, like referring to transgender instruction in schools as 'gender colonization'. This was a not-so-subtle allusion to his unfounded belief that these educational programmes, (in part, to help prevent prejudice and discrimination against trans-people ) constitute an ideological war or conspiracy against magisterial notions of gender binary (gender determined strictly by biological sex) and of family.

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    1. Again it is a case of the church ignoring science. The "Galileo Syndrome" is alive and well in Rome.

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  2. If the church has so many sensible people in its ranks as bourn out by many of the comments on here how come the faithful are so slow to tell Rome fek off

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    1. Brainwashing? Fear? And increasingly Contempt? Irrelevance?

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    2. There is and will be no telling off as they know it would be water off a sanctimonious back side.

      The best thing for the faithful is to show their disapproval with their lack of posterior on the pew.

      +Pat your touching too many issues close to my heart. My daughter has been battling her sexuality since puberty began. Now please don't try and say it's just this and they will grow out of it. That may well be but I'm the type of father that my children can talk to and feel listened to.

      The child in question made and has made very good argument about how they feel from the emotional to the physical and yet I have been there every step of the way for them in LOVE.

      But when the child thought they'd talk about it in a confession environment then it all fell apart. The rants and raves of the priest showed nothing but cruelty.

      I thank God that they came back and told me and trusted in me more than the priest.

      The church likes to say its slow to move, change, act and judge. What SANCTIMONIOUS bull shit. This is not yhe middle ages as much as the church would like to keep us in it. It's 2017 with an educated faithful time for the church to rethink it's approach or at least bring it up to the not so perfect Vatican II stage of life.

      Listen with compassion and Love to the parents of such children or the adults who now discover that they can say they are different from the "norm" of the human family.
      They are still a gift and image of God,

      Rant over for the day lolol

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  3. Just heard Dermo on RTE Radio talking shite about Rome visit. Was asked about 6 priests that were sanctioned-members of orders-dialogue ongoing? Now word about those being ordained or not....

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    1. I'm afraid we must come to the conclusion that Diarmuid is as bad as the rest - if not worse!

      He gave us hope that he was different!

      The more hope - the bigger the disappointment !

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  4. Dear Bishop Pat, I am the mother of a young man of 25 who is facing the issue you write about on today's blog. It was very difficult for him to tell us about it and it was very difficult for myself and his Dad to learn about his pain and struggle.However we are determined as a loving family to see all this through with the help of the doctors and counsellors. It has not being helped by our parish priest telling him in confession that he was disowning the body God gave him and would go to hell. We wished we lived nearer to you so we could talk to you and go to your masses. Thank you for your blog today and for its compassion. Phil.

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    1. Dear Phil, I feel very deeply for you, your husband and your son.

      If I, as a sinful, fragile human being feel like that about you just imagine how much more God loves you all.

      I would like to come and visit you - and talk with you - no matter how far away you are - and if you like celebrate a Mass in your home.

      Please let me know if that would help.

      With love,

      Pat

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    2. You will have the sympathy and prayers of many of the sincere people who post on this blog. Warmest good wishes to you and your son.

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    3. Oh my God I've just read on to see that I'm not the only parent to have experienced the confessional reaction. It would be too much to hope that it would be the same one, the odds couldn't be that good in my favour.

      So it only exposes once again how uncompassionate this church is.

      Dear parent with the son, I have a daughter the same and as long as we protect and Love them then they will be alright no matter what changes they make to themselves.

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    4. Dear Phil I wish you and your family well and my prayers go out to you all. Sounds like Fr Gobshite was hearing confession. Perhaps said Fr. is a victim of his environment but this is no excuse. I came across an article on the binding power of Canon Law and the truth is it does not have any. Canon Law presumes we all want to be good R Catholics but never legislated for what might happen if somebody challenged the law except to say your excommunicated. This does not hold water either because the R C Church agrees nobody can be excommunicated from the Grace of God. Confession rightly understood is about healing not a black and white notion of sin and penance. Church of England/Ireland orders are deemed not valid in R C canon law yet the R C church treat vicars and ministers with the respect due to the ordained. Im sure Pat would be of great support to you and your family but please beware that fekker has broken every law in the R C Canon Law book. The Grace of God transcends human rules and regulations. The R C Church values ecumenism but is wary of dissenters inside and outside of the fold

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    5. Phil, I'm sorry that your dear son was treated so disgracefully and ignorantly by that priest. If it helps, try to remember that most priests (if any) are not specialists in this field.

      Unfortunately, this won't stop the less cautious among them from speaking out as if they were specialists...and infallible with it! Be generous and give them all a fool's pardon.

      As I said earlier on this blog, the Catholic Church has no magisterial (official) teaching on transgenderism (Gender Identity Disorder). Why? Because so very little is known about it. That priest had no authority that matters for claiming that God assigned your son a gender determined solely by his biological sex. And he most certainly had no moral authority for condemning your son to Hell should he reject this highly notional understanding of Natural Law.

      The man is not just a fool, but an ignoramus.


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  5. What does your priest know about medical matters , Phil
    He should have said he wd pray for him instead of lecturing about something he prob never even read up on
    Good luck to your child Phil
    I will keep you in my prayers also xx

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  6. The last man I spoke to who was suffering from Gender Dysphoria was thrown out of confession - without absolution - at an Irish Cistercian Monastery.

    These judgemental priests and monks are far more on the Road to Hell than anyone suffering from GD!

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    1. Christ! I know you're not joking, but I so wish you were.

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  7. Hi Sean, what is that about
    6 priests ? Never heard about them
    Did no one ask him anything about gergeous ? ? ?
    I sligo recently It's as lovely as ever

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    1. He refuses to comment on Gorgeous. First time Diarmuid Martin ever refused a comment to the media!

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    2. 14.19. Not a word. Interview on RTE 1 radio. The 6 were members of orders who were sanctioned. As much as I know. No reference to those preparing for ordination. I'm sure it's on podcast. Sean o Rourke show I think. I was in the car

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    3. I know you shouldn't judge by appearances but thon Puck boy doesn't look right in the head!

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  8. MourneManMichael2 February 2017 at 15:11

    The vitriol and hostility displayed by the priests (in confession) above mirrors that I experienced in 1968. At that time having not long left 3rd Divinity in a major seminary,I was fairly well clued up on RC matters and the recent Vatican council, and still attending mass. At an inner city Sunday mass, I heard a pompous ass of a priest spouting the most stupid and negative garbage, and after mass went to the sacristy and asked the priest, very politely and deferentially I assure you, if he could explain something he'd said in his sermon.
    I received a torrent of verbal hostility while his face went puce that anyone dared question him.
    It was about that time I ceased attending mass and other than 'hatching, matching and dispatching' rite of passage ceremonies, have never attended since.
    It's sad, and an indictment of the RC church that it still retains and continues to produce clerics of this sort.
    My every good wish to Phil and Hank above for your families.
    MMM

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    1. Mmmmmm.....Never met anybody who gave up the drink because of a row with a barman!

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    2. Ah, 15:54! That would have to be a row with the brewer or distiller.

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    3. MMM my mam got refused absolution for atin a sausage on a Friday. Some feckers mess with sausages they have no right to touch and life goes on. Confession used properly can be a great healer. Used wrongly it crucified. The proddies are right when they say God forgives not the "dog in the collar"-that last phrase is mine

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    4. MourneManMichael2 February 2017 at 18:50

      Indeed, never have I either. Mind you I have known some who have chosen not to further frequent that particular 'cold house' establishment, and after looking elsewhere, realised it no great loss.
      I'll later raise a glass of Dalriada Dick's favourite tipple to their good sense.
      MMM

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  9. Priests can bullying and judgemental. A few years ago I was very ill and under three consultants. I kept going and still went to mass. Unfortunately one priest thought I wasn't doing enough and suddenly announced"You are not perfect...You are lazy!". I could have shown him my completely abnormal blood tests.

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    1. Jane, I'd have shown him the door...on the end of my toe.

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    2. MourneManMichael2 February 2017 at 19:04

      Hi Jane.
      I think a basic personality trait (little Hitler/Napolean complex) of far too many clerics, (especially the Irish variety) is fostered by seminary training (or lack of!), and the traditional Irish deference to the RC clergy, to the extent that since their viewpoint is seldom confronted (as they tend to only circulate within their own 'subservient' circle) many become puffed up with their own self importance. Too many then soon assume knowledge way outside their field of competence leading to arrogance I'm afraid. And their subsequent bullying is simply a reflection of their inability to acknowledge the viability of alternative viewpoints.
      MMM

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    3. Thanks for the support! In the end I sent him a stinking email. He looked quite hurt!...but at my stage of life, if someone gives it out, I will throw it back.

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    4. Yes I've known priests whose confidence was so immense they'd advise a brain surgeon or rocket scientist how to do their job.

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    5. I've known popes to do the same. Ask Galileo. The pope thought he knew more about physics and astronomy than this intellectual giant.

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  10. On the Sean O'Rourke interview, Archbishop Martin was very positive about the state of the church in Dublin. He said most parishes in the diocese were never as vibrant as they are now and that the quality of worship and community better than ever. He said quantity to him didn't matter. O'Rourke as a realist put to him whether it would be sensible to dispose of churches now hard to man and half empty on Sundays. He didn't answer the question.

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    1. I'm sure the captain of the Titanic would have said his ship was in great shape too before it hit the iceberg and sank. Bishops have a great capacity to fool themselves and when they visit parishes the stops are pulled out to impress them. Those of us on the ground in Dublin know how bad things are and it will not be helped by DM releasing sex addicts on us! Dublin Priest.

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    2. I do believe that priests should be married if they want to, to either a man or woman
      But sleeping around is sinful for any of us.yes I am having sex with my male friend, we both widowed but because of family commitments and distance we are married in spirit only.....the widow

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    3. Agree with the poster who commented on Puck.
      Where on earth did they find him ?

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    4. Agree with 20.12 where the hell did Puck come out of? He looks like one of the Krankies, all he needs to fit the part is a purple school cap.

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    5. Some of the ones who write on here about Puck think he is "hot"!!! He looks like a medieval gargoyle and the sight of him in that jockstrap is enough to cause projectile regurgitation. Grotesque little demon.

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    6. If Dermot Martin was "positive" about the state of the Church in Dublin and thinks the Church in Dublin is "vibrant", then he is either mentally ill, or in deepest denial, or delusional, or lying through his teeth, or given over to "the Madness of King Gorgeous", or all of the above.

      One thing is true - the Church in Dublin is in one hell of a state. It is dying. The ordination of Gorgeous will help it to die just that big bit more!

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  11. MMM @ 19.04 Brilliant......could not not have put it better.
    Rasputin

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  12. Jane...I hope you are feeling in a better place now.
    I'm a fairly healthy woman, once I went to see my Gp, she said
    ""You don't deal with being sick well""
    Never did I expect such a statement, so I can understand your frustration at the priest.
    Expect he was one of those people who thought women had no business being sick.
    L O L.

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  13. The polish priest are worse when it comes to confession! No compassion or mercy. I have not attended the sacrament for a few years which I told the polish priest, the response I got back was horrendous. I will never be back!

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    1. I suppose when you write they don't have 'compassion' or 'mercy' what you really mean is that they won't let you justify living in whatever way you want. Mercy and compassion are not bywords for 'do anything you like'. Let's not forget what Jesus said when He forgave: go and sin no more.
      The truth can hurt, but don't let that be a reason to stay away from the sacrament of confession. When someone is truly sorry for their sins and intends to change their way of living, there is great peace found in confession

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    2. When one is truly sorry for their sins and intends to change their way of living there is great peace found in that alone. ALL confession, whether Roman Catholic or not, is sacramental.You quoted a good example : when Jesus told the adulterous woman to 'go and sin no more'.

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  14. Haven't been since 2014, so I suppose I should
    I still receive holy communion when I go to mass
    Now that should warrant a few choice reprimands.

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  15. 1% ? I don't believe it. They used to tell us that 10% of the male population was homosexual. That has been disproved many times but the original % just seems to be the one homosexuals like but they are a bit less inclined to quote it these days. In a nationwide anonymous survey in the UK less than 1.5% said that they were homosexual/bisexual and even in London, where many move from other parts of the country, it was less than 2.5%. The Equality Commission has a bit of a vested interest in creating fictitiously substantial minorities for its own funding and influence viewpoints. As the Church in Ireland appears to be fishing in a pool of less than 2% of its population for ordinations, the are obviously going to be in a lot of trouble. They surely could have worked that one out.

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    1. It was Alfred Kinsey who estimated the 1-in-10 statistic for homosexuals in the general population. Far from being an over-estimation, his percentile may actually have been an under-representation, since men especially are reluctant, even today, to admit to being gay or bisexual.

      I know of some men who lied about their sexuality in official surveys for fear of stigmatization and rejection. In fact, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you will know that the anonymous professional who alleged he was sexually assualted by another gay man on Church property in Bray was reluctant to give his name because he was in a heterosexual marriage and not 'out' to family and friends. I suspect that there are many more men in similar situations.

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    2. Kinsey? A charlatan as has been proved. He was a sex-obsessed nutter. Anonymous surveys would appear to be the best source of information and they tell a whole different story from the 10% canard.

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    3. Your dismissal of Kinsey, both personally and professionally, is more opinionated than objective, and, certainly where his professional status is concerned, not a social or academic concensus.

      When Kinsey died in 1956, the New York Times acknowledged his notoriety, but also his status as a scientist.

      As for 'anonymous surveys' being 'the best source of information' here, this is, again, more opinionated than objective. You clearly haven't factored in the reluctance, even fear, of people, especially males, to admit to being gay or bisexual. This would make any survey on sexual orientation, whether anonymous or otherwise, more likely than not to under-represent the percentage of gay and bisexual people in the general population. Really, your minimizing of the effects of homophobic prejudice, even today, on people's willingness to be open about their sexuality is unrealistic.

      In Kinsey's time homophobic prejudice, hostility and discrimination was much more widespread and severe than today. Therefore the responses to his surveys on sexual behaviour would, obviously, have been more likely than those today to tend to unreliability. So no: Kinsey's percentile could not be disproved even once, let alone the fanciful 'many times' you suggested.

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    4. Hey Maggie, you've lost all credibility now, standing up for this pervert
      It also makes one seriously question the rationale behind your views

      https://zenit.org/articles/the-truth-behind-alfred-kinsey/

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    5. No, 16:44, I wasn't standing up for this (or any other) 'pervert'. But I do believe that Kinsey's percentile is more accurate than most estimations of the percentage of gay and bisexual people in the general population.

      The fact that you don't like the outcome of his research (and my opinion of it) is no reason to throw a hissy fit.

      The rationale behind my views? Truth, of course. My academic mind, and pure heart, will have me aspire to no less. You, of course, are not burdened with my weight of responsibility.

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    6. sorry Maggie,
      I didn't realise that 'academic minds' defend charlatans who publish fraudulent data, and that those with 'pure hearts' defend twisted pedophiles - I beg your pardon.
      If only us poor idiots could be blessed to be so enlightened, but I'm sure that you and your ilk will continue to spew your Kinsey-inspired 'truth' on us, so that we too may attain such great 'academic' minds and 'pure' hearts like yours

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    7. 19:35, apart from Dr Alfred Kinsey, you've completely ignored my argument that homophobia would prevent many men from declaring themselves gay or bisexual, even today. Do you doubt this? This fact (and it is a fact) would tend to skew any statistical analysis of social survey data in favour of a lower percentile for gays and bisexuals in the general population. I should know since I studied statistical mathematics during my time at Queens. Even if you didn't study this subject, you may have heard the phrase, from 19th-century Conservative prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, 'lies, damned lies, and statistics'.

      A clever statistician can make socia survey data say almost whatever he wants it to say, from proving pet hypotheses to debunking them. But this becomes impossible if the population sample is afraid to speak out, to be honest. Kinsey would have faced such reticence in his time (1940s-1950s) much more so than researchers would today. Yet there remains, however accepting the media make society appear, a taboo concerning homosexuality.

      Surveys which show very low percentiles for such a demographic should be regarded with caution.

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  16. If you receive that over-censuring treatment from the priest in Confession,I suggest that you respond by saying "I am sure it is not your intention to be abusive and hostile but I'm afraid that is how it is coming across to me!" It works.

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