“To become spring means accepting the risk of winter. Becoming presence means accepting the risk of absence” The Little Prince said; we thought there was a bulwark that could not be outraged: childhood.
Believers, atheists, politicians or scientists, we have always found a secure convergence point: child protection, boundless respect for children, and their care. Yet, it is current news that Great Britain’s National Health System provides pharmacological treatment for children suffering from gender dysphoria, that is to say, gender identity disorder.
Everything started in 2014, when London decided to begin administering hormonal therapies to 9-year-old children to delay puberty, as a prelude to a potential sex reassignment surgery. This kind of treatment is offered by the National Health Service, hence it is paid with public money: we are talking about “hypothalamic” drugs, which decrease the production of testosterone and estrogen. In case it is established that gender issues persist, children will probably undergo further treatment. Last year alone, the State has spent 2.6 million pounds to administer treatment foregoing sex change to over one thousand children.
Many associations rose up to reprimand that pharmacological treatment of such young organisms is imprudent, especially because it is difficult to distinguish gender dysphoria from other kinds of distress during puberty, which can be treated in less invasive ways. One of the foundations that collaborate on assessing medicalization cases is the London-based NHS Foundation Trust. According to some people, it is related to the currently closed MK Ultra Project, with which CIA carried out mind-control programs.
Of course, such surgeries go with a precise ideology, according to which biological determinism is outdated and should be abandoned in favor of psychic determinism: put otherwise, we can become what we regard to be right for us, not what we are from birth.
In 2013, at the end of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum”, Joseph Ratzinger already sensed the risks and talked about sexuality philosophy. The Pope Emeritus prophetically declared that “being man or woman is no longer an original fact of nature to be accepted and endowed with personal meaning, but a social role one decides in autonomy, whereas up to that point, the decision had belonged to the society. The deep fallacy of this theory and of the anthropological revolution on which it is grounded is obvious.”
We feel immense tenderness when thinking about these children who, instead of being helped to understand the roots of their distress, are “frozen”, waiting for someone to assess whether they can become what they are or not. It is a clear example of our inability to accept human nature when it is imperfect, problematic, and dubious. All these things boil down to the inherent risk of existence: that of finding ourselves in complex situations, which sometimes have no solution.
To paraphrase Saint-Exupery: To become spring entails the possibility of winter and, human beings have to remain in this contradiction and paradox in order to avoid becoming nothingness. If we endorse a determinism that rejects nature, who is going to decide on what to work towards? The truth is that no surgery can ever spare us the beautiful – albeit controversial – and incessant struggle of living: that is the most authentic slap in the face of our arrogance.