Transgender Surgery And The Separation Between Mind And Body

3056 words - 12 pages

Is there a distinction between the mind and the body? And if so, where does a person’s sense of self and consciousness lay? If consciousness lies within the mind, how should humans’ treat the body, as valuable or invaluable? According to dualist views there is a separation between the mind and the body that transgender patients feel every day. Imagine the pain and frustration one might feel when the people around look at you and think you should act and dress one way but you feel differently. That is the frustration transgendered people feel daily. They feel as if their gender and biological sex are opposites and it leads to physical, psychological, and social challenges throughout ones entire life. These challenges and separation within themselves is what pushes transgender patients to undergo the long and arduous process of sex reassignment surgery. There are many critiques and objections to this surgery that have roots in society, medicine, and the ethics of performing surgery on a physically healthy body. The ethical theory of hedonism supports the will of transsexuals to undergo the sex reassignment surgery in order to change their physical sex and decrease the pain and suffering felt by transgendered people as well as increase their pleasure and improve their lives in the long run. The ethical dilemma of transgender surgery and the ethical theory of hedonism go hand in hand in that they both seek what is pleasurable for their mind and their idea of self without valuing the body in importance.
Transgender surgery is a technique that is used to change the genital structure of a person thus allowing their genitals to more closely resemble the genitals of the opposite sex. This procedure can be preformed on people who were born with ambiguous genital structure or on adults who wish to change their genital sex. (Collyer) Usually, adults who wish to change their genital sex by the methods of transgender surgery suffer from gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria can be described as “a persistent unease with having the physical characteristics of one’s gender, accompanied by strong identification with the opposite gender and a desire to live as or to become a member of the opposite gender.” (“Gender Dysphoria”) A major misconception that leads to this is that sex and gender are one in the same but that is incorrect. Sex is a term that is used to describe the biology of a person whether they are male or female whereas gender is a term that is used to describe a person’s identity and whether they are masculine or feminine. (Sheridan) Transsexual people who suffer from gender dysphoria face the problem that their gender does not match what society places with their sex. For example a person might be male by sex but identify themselves as feminine by gender. In these cases the individual faces the problem that there is discord between their self-identity and their body image.
Throughout the first half of the twentieth century transgender surgeries were...

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