Close to Sinful

03-26-2023Pastor's LetterFr. John Bonavitacola

Dear Friends,

In a recent interview, President Biden said, “What’s going on in Florida, is as my mother would say, close to sinful.” Wow. I must admit I never thought of Florida as a den of iniquity. Well, maybe Miami Beach or the Keys but certainly not Tallahassee or Clearwater. So, what almost sin has Florida committed? The “close to sinful” sin is that the Florida Board of Medicine put the brakes on sex-reassignment surgeries (mastectomy, hysterectomy, castration etc.) on minors.

Well, you can add to the places that are close to sinful: Arizona, the entire countries of Denmark, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. They all have put the brakes on “affirming care”, that is that the only acceptable clinical intervention for a young person who wants to transition to the opposite gender is affirming their choice and doing whatever is necessary to facilitate the choice. What Health officials and others have learned in these almost sinful places, is that the transgender experiment is just that, an experiment. There is very little solid clinical research and peer reviewed studies to support the “affirming care” protocol. In fact, there is increasing evidence, which should surprise no one, that a great deal of harm is being done.

For instance, puberty blockers were considered “harmless” and “reversible”. It turns out they are not. Additionally, they can cause lifelong bone density problems as well as affecting brain development in adolescents. Then there are serious side effects from surgical procedures that result in long-term, usually life-long need for medical treatment. And one of the biggest harms is the lack of attention that is paid to other issues or comorbidities that affect a young person struggling with gender identification. Issues such as depression, anxiety, autism, past trauma from bullying, sexual abuse, substance misuse, and many other psychological and psychiatric issues. The lack of clinical treatment of these issues can often lead a young person to think that changing genders will fix their pain and stop their struggles.

The most dramatic change in clinical thinking is perhaps the closing of the Tavistock Clinic Gender Development Service run by the National Health Service in London. A long and deep dive into the practices and protocols of the clinic, lead the NHS to take dramatic steps and shut it down. The Investigation basically concluded that the Clinic was experimenting on children without any research driven treatments; there was little to no follow up to see how patients were progressing or long-term monitoring of outcomes, mental health well-being, etc.

Basically, medical science was being held hostage by a political ideology and children were its victims. The use of hormones and surgeries to treat gender dysphoria is not unlike how in the early Twentieth Century lobotomies were used to treat mental illness. You can read the full report here: It’s pretty scathing.

Oh, and we can also add Pope Francis to the “close sinful” as he recently stated: “Gender ideology is one of the most dangerous ideological colorizations…because it blurs the difference between men and women...” In 2016 the Pope also said, “Today children — children — are taught in school that everyone can choose his or her sex. Why are they teaching this? Because the books are provided by the people and institutions that give you money. These forms of ideological colonization are also supported by influential countries. And this is terrible!” (Follow the money and you will find lots of vested interested in pushing this ideology.)

The fast growing “Detransition” Movement is revealing the regret than many have for undertaking these treatments and the hard sell that only hormones and therapy will fix you. The Medical Malpractice lawsuits are starting to roll in.

The President’s words were reckless, harmful, and divisive. I know he is being fed political talking points and I doubt he has done any serious research into the issue. And you would think that as a responsible leader, a father and grandfather, he would want to know that children who suffer gender confusion would be given the very best assessments based on solid evidence and data, clinical interventions that don’t go only one way and be informed what outcomes might be like from hormone treatments or surgical mutilations. Or maybe consider that these other countries and Florida have discovered something that should make him reconsider his position. But sadly, no. He, like many others are content to use our children’s suffering and confusion to further a political ideology and not solid evidence based clinical treatments. And that is more than close to sinful.


Fr. John B.