Letters to the Editor

Fact Checking

I read Father Clark's commentary, found in the May 26 issue of the Southern Cross with the headline “It is time to call nonsense what it is: 'nonsense.'” The headline made me think I was going to get some biting political humor regarding the current national election. Instead I was treated to an ill-informed commentary on XX and XY chromosomes and human sexuality/gender. You would think Catholic clergy would stay away from science ever since the Galileo debacle. 
 
Human gender/sexuality is more complicated than the author of the article seems to understand. Just as with any other chromosomes, the XX and XY chromosome pattern may be disrupted causing a genetic anomaly with resulting physiological difference from the standard “Adam and Eve” the author seems to uphold as the only gender option for humans. 
 
The following is a list of gender/sexuality/urological disorders and the rates per live births: 
-Not XX and not XY one in 1,666 births 
-Klinefelter (XXY) one in 1,000 births 
– Androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 13,000 births 
– Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 130,000 births 
– Classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia one in 13,000 births 
– Non-Classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia one in 66 individuals 
– Vaginal agenesis one in 6,000 births 
– Ovotesticular Disorder one in 83,000 births 
– 5 alpha reductase deficiency no estimate 
– Mixed gonadal dysgenesis no estimate 
– Swyer Syndrome one in 150,000 births 
– Hypospadias-A one in 2,000 births
– Hypospadias-B one in 770 births 
 
Total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or female: one in 100 births 
 
Total number of people receiving surgery to “normalize” genital appearance: one or two in 1,000 births 
 
Stigma hurts. Stigma hates. We cannot help when we stigmatize. Science is just beginning to explore and understand the human gender/sexuality spectrum.
The unknown is frightening. My question to the author of this article is how could pastoral assistance be given to a family experiencing the birth of a child outside the XX or XY when the author does not even believe such a thing exists? 
 
Susan Gallagher 
Holy Family Church 
Columbus, GA
 

Letters published do not necessarily reflect the views of the Southern Cross or of the Diocese of Savannah.

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