catholic thought

Eve Tushnet’s Stupid Approval of Sex For Transgender Humans, But Not Gay Ones

So you’re well aware of the ridiculous divide between some GLBs and some Ts over whether the Ts should be part of the LGBTs? Let’s allow Eve Tushnet, the lesbian celibate Catholic who wants homosexuals to stop offending god with their sexytime, to push that line of thinking to the extreme, by claiming gender reassignment procedures are in line with Jesus’ teachings, but not gay persons showing physical affection for loved ones.

Tushnet is a “controversial” figure because any person who identifies as gay and Catholic, and then runs her mouth about what you should do in your own bed, is bound to wind up described that way.

In a (really great) conversation with blogger and constitutional law professor Ann Althouse, who believes in sex only for copules in love, Tushnet immediately confuses being “intersex” and “transgender” — two very different things, and wow, that’s a doozy to gloss over.

But Tushnet’s argument for permitting sex changes completely circumvents a common argument against gay sex: because it does not further the possibility of procreation, it is sinful. Well, even post-op transgender folks aren’t about to start having children because a surgeon turned a penis into a vagina, so shouldn’t they be barred from intercourse even after changing genitalia? Tushnet explains this away by claiming Catholic views on procreation “overstated.” Uh huh.

As philosophy teacher religious scholar and Daniel Fincke notes about Tushnet’s stance (in a manner better than I can), it leaves gays who want to have sex only two possibilities, and one involves a scalpel.

Instead of recognizing all of these sorts of real category distinctions which track people’s extremely strong psychological natures, which we have no reason not to medically, socially, and morally accommodate wherever there is no demonstrable harm to anyone to do so, Tushnet’s views of ethics (but thankfully not law, it seems) would give non-transgendered gays only two choices, both of which run fundamentally contrary to their allegedly “God-given” natures: celibacy or sex reassignment. This means that Tushnet thinks God created homosexual natures for people just to have them live either in perpetual frustration and sublimation of them on the one hand, or, on the other hand, to be morally forced into surgeries to change their sex to be opposite of the genders He also supposedly gave them, if they ever want to fulfill that sexual nature He gave them in a morally and religiously acceptable way. This is symptomatic of the kind of anti-natural way that traditional Roman Catholics approach what they ironically call “natural law philosophy”.

The case of Eve Tushnet’s particular bizarre and reality-refusing conclusions is illustrative of the problematic way in which Roman Catholic traditionalists approach philosophy. Putatively they are trying to make arguments which are not merely religious but which are grounded in the sorts of conceptual, scientific, and ethical evidence and logic that could persuade any open, rational human mind. They insist that they are not merely dogmatically referring to the Bible or Catholic tradition when developing a natural law argument but, rather, making a philosophical and universally valid argument, rooted in universally discoverable and defensible natural laws which even the most hardened atheist should be able to understand.

While I fully believe Tushnet’s argument is ruefully stank with contradictions, I did enjoy this little web video debate, and would like to see more of them.