Gender gymnastics are going on out there. Transsexuals disenchanted with their chromosomal selves are having parts lopped off or stitched on in attempts to change sexual identity.

They hope to override male XY or female XX hardwiring – thinking a newly configured appendage or cleft re-defines gender. And they enlist a surgeon to mutilate the body accordingly.

These tortured souls don’t need draconian measures to align their physical exterior with confused gender suppositions – they need psychological and spiritual truth that frees them to celebrate the skin they’re in.

Last month the legitimacy of so-called sex-change surgery was challenged. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that a New York state employer, P & C Food Markets, was not required to pay for an employee’s “gender reassignment.”

Marc Mario, born Margo, argued that she suffered “gender dysphoria,” a recently hatched phrase describing the sincere conviction that one’s gender was a mistake – he or she should have been born as the opposite sex.

Could the Creator have flubbed it?

Former transsexual Gordon Babcock, who stopped short of surgery, says, “I used to pray, ‘Lord, make me the same on the inside as on the outside. I don’t care whether I wake up as a man or a woman, just as long I’m the same inside and out.'”

Margo Mario wanted out of her female physique and “transitioned” from female to male via voluntary double mastectomies, a hysterectomy and hormone therapy. The newly minted Marc then sought reimbursement through his employer’s health-care plan.

The court nixed it, saying costs were not “medically necessary.” P&C Food Markets also cited conflict in the medical community over whether or not gender dysphoria is a legitimate illness worthy of such severe medical intervention.

“I had misgivings at first,” says James J. Reardon, M.D., a Manhattan surgeon who specializes in female-to-male transitions. “But I did research and found that gender dysphoria is an acknowledged condition.”

Acknowledged, perhaps, but valid?

“Some people consider it mutilating. And, of course, the scientific side of it is pretty damn weak,” said Chester Schmidt, M.D., one of the founders of the Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

In 1960, Johns Hopkins was the first U.S. medical facility involved in sex reassignment procedures. The program was discontinued in 1979 after Dr. Jon Meyer published his long-term follow-up report of adult transsexuals treated at Johns Hopkins. None of the post-operatives showed measurable improvement in their lives.

“Sex re-assignment surgery confers no objective advantage …” Meyer concluded.

Dr. Paul McHugh, chairman of the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry, criticized the procedures as “the most radical therapy ever encouraged by 20th-century psychiatrists,” comparing it to the discredited frontal lobotomy.

Surgery will not silence Margo/Marc Mario’s torment. Transsexual and medical doctor Gregory Hemingway, son of author Ernest Hemingway, went through sex-change surgery. But the sought-after serenity escaped him – he died an alcoholic shortly after his arrest for indecent exposure in October 2001.

“I would have been better off staying the way I was,” said tennis star Renee Richards, the high-profile sex-change recipient. “Today, there are better choices … for dealing with the compulsion to cross dress and the depression that comes with gender confusion.”

“How can outward physical change bring about the needed change within? [After surgery] there is still a painful void,” says a regretful Joseph Cluse, who in 1979 had surgery in Trinidad, Colo. “Relationships are destroyed and everyday I have to live with scars. The mirror is ever before me.”

Cluse and Gordon Babcock point to acute psychological wounding in earliest childhood as pivotal to their severe rejection of masculinity. Both say they then heard the reoccurring lie, “No hope.”

And both credit powerful divine assistance for their rescue, saying that the Creator – through counseling, revelation and unconditional acceptance – rewires and heals the damaged psyche.

“God touched my heart and showed me truth,” says Cluse. Babcock initially thought his impending sex switch was God’s will, but now says, “Jesus led me out of the prison I’d been in for more than 40 years.”

Transsexuality signals a deceptively fierce disorder. Elective castration, mastectomy, hysterectomy, etc. are futile non-solutions. The cruel, permanent disfigurement of so-called gender reassignment is not the answer.

Fortunately there looks to be a better way.

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