POLITICAL PAPIST COLUMNIST
A lecture emphasizing the differences between men and women and the ideological problems inherent in transgenderism educated students Oct. 11 in the Gentile Gallery.
Addressing a crowd of students and members of the Catholic Social Workers’ National Association conference, Patrick Lee, professor of bioethics, spoke on the issue of transgenderism and elaborated on the fact that the differences between male and female are God-given.
He argued that the concept of being a man trapped in a woman’s body, or vice versa, is “identifying the self as a purely spiritual something and thinking of the body as something extrinsic to the self. That’s a mistake. … What I am is both the body and the soul.”
Lee then asserted that a person’s physiological sex plays a large role in masculinity or femininity. He said that bodily sex begins to develop one way or the other soon after conception and, unlike other systems in the body such as the circulatory or digestive systems, is not complete in one individual — the reproductive system points to the unity possible in marriage.
In conjunction with that idea, he also mentioned how that bodily difference affects the community of marriage and gives it high significance.
“When each (person) performs the male or female part of the reproductive act, they become one single subject of a single function,” Lee said. “So, differentiation of the sexes makes possible this distinctive community.”
Playing devil’s advocate, Lee drew out a common question about one’s identity: What about gender? He differentiated between bodily sex and gender by explaining that many people perceive gender as “the feeling of one’s sexual identity.”
Lee said the disharmony between sex and gender is caused in part by two historical movements: the sexual revolution and radical, second-wave feminism, which both strove to eradicate the inherent meaning of marital union and the differences between the two sexes.
“We should try to get our subjective sense in line with reality,” said Lee.
Lee urged the audience to “not go out of our way to obliterate the differences” between men and women. “What the other has to contribute should be prized,” he said.
Junior Anna Gontis said, “I really enjoyed how he was able to give a very straightforward analysis of issues. I thought it was important how he said that feelings don’t make you male or female.”