The Truth About Gender Dysphoria

The Truth About Gender Dysphoria

This article was originally posted by “To Save a Life”

About a year ago, after seeing the responses to Bruce Jenner’s revelation as transgender and that he is in the process of transitioning physically from a man to a woman (which was not nearly as surprising to many as was his revelation that he is a Republican), I jotted out the following post on Facebook:

Gender identity disorder is a mental illness. No one with a mental illness should ever be made fun of, picked on or bullied. At the same time, the answer to this mental health condition is not to pretend like it is “normal” or “healthy.” It is very difficult for someone whose brain is telling them they are the opposite gender of who they were born as. We need to advance our research and treatment to help the brain stop misfiring so that people can live without being internally (and often externally) tortured. We need compassion and truth … and more medical communities need to go the way of JOHNS HOPKINS and stop providing sex reassignment surgery because we know that for most, this does more harm than good.

I was encouraged to elaborate, so I wrote this blog. Yet, I never published it … wasn’t quite ready to “go there.” But with the push for transgender rights, the headlines are filled with stories about controversies in North Carolina and Target. So, I thought it was time to revisit this blog and actually hit post this time. It’s time for more mental health professionals, Christians in particular, to get into the conversation. Here goes…

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) contains the names, descriptions, diagnostic criteria, etc. of current recognized mental health disorders. There has been a debate as to whether or not to continue to include a diagnosis for someone who is born one gender but identifies as the other, but for now, the current diagnostic term used is Gender Dysphoria. The name was changed from “disorder” to “dysphoria” in the most recent edition to reduce stigma and help normalize this condition while continuing to include the diagnosis so that individuals could receive insurance coverage for treatment. The type of treatment provided continues to evolve, and there are many political and social reasons for and implications of every change made in the DSM. The fact is, mental health professionals disagree on whether or not gender dysphoria is a mental illness.

Some mental health professionals, like me, see this condition as an actual problem within the brain. Where the problem derives can be debated. For example, it could be a misfiring of chemicals in the brain, similar to the imbalance that happens for some with depression. Or, as a Christian, I may think that this is an attack from Satan. Something that may or may not be able to be “cured” (such as is the case with a wide variety of mental and physical health problems). I do not believe that struggling with thoughts or feelings that you were born the wrong gender is a sin. I do believe that acting upon these feelings and attempting to change your gender through any means including hormones and surgery is going against God. But, even if I did not believe this, I would still say attempting to change genders is a very harmful practice.

Think about it like this: If although I was born a female, I identify as a male to the point that I dress as a man, take male hormones and have surgery to physically (to a certain extent) transition from a woman to a man … what guarantee do I have that this will alleviate my emotional suffering? What if I take those drastic measures, and regret it? What then? There is a reason Johns Hopkins stopped providing gender reassignment surgery years ago.

As a mental health professional, I just cannot understand anyone supporting these harmful practices. Many people say this should be supported for the sake of acceptance. I say that you can accept someone as a human being worthy of compassion and love without accepting every action the person takes or belief the person holds to … in particular when you accept something that is harmful to him or her. We should care more about people than that.

We, as a society, have got to stop going down this dangerous, slippery slope of “anything goes. As long as people are happy, we should support them.” We have no idea what the long-term impact of these decisions will be, and we are fooling ourselves if we don’t believe that more, unhealthy behaviors will follow. As a society, we’ve got to stop attempting to normalize what is not normal.

Look at what is happening today … with young children making the decision with their parents’ blessing that it is OK, healthy, normal to “become” the opposite gender. It is not okay for a 4-year-old little boy to decide he should have been born a girl, so he starts using a female name, dressing as a female, using the female restroom, etc. Sadly, this is happening in our society. Many young children are confused and exploring at that age, and it is a tangled web we are weaving when instead of helping our children understand issues related to gender, we simply go along with their desire to be the opposite gender. (Which they can never be because all of the hormones, surgery and opposite gender clothing in the world will not change DNA.)

As I stated in my simple Facebook post, no one suffering from gender dysphoria should ever be made fun of. We should treat these, and all, people with dignity, respect and compassion. We should encourage them to seek treatment from well-trained mental health professionals who can help them work through what is going on in their mind to trigger these unnatural thoughts and feelings. We should never encourage someone to “become” the opposite gender based on confusing and upsetting thoughts and feelings. We should love. And, Christians, we should pray.

Read More

3 Ways Abortion Robs America’s Mothers—and All of Us

3 Ways Abortion Robs America’s Mothers—and All of Us

*This article was first published by Bound4Life, and was later re-printed by, Charisma News, and For Every Mom. Thank-you to all of these organizations for spreading this important message. Please visit one of these sites for this blog post with pictures and hyperlinks to important sources of information. And please follow these four sites on social media so that you don’t miss a thing!*

We put in our application to adopt in February, announced our plan to adopt on Mother’s Day, and became ‘home study ready’ on September 11. In 2014. It’s now been two years of waiting and praying.

Mostly patient, I’m finding myself becoming less serene and more frustrated at this wait—with its end yet to be determined.

A prepared adoptive family may wait years for a placement. The abortion clinics are full… why aren’t adoption agencies teeming with children?

Our society makes abortion so easy. It’s cheap, it’s accessible and it has even become glamorized (thanks to Planned Parenthood’s extensive Hollywood outreach). We hear all the time how abortion is so common, and it is. But that doesn’t make it right.

When I think of all that is lost as a result of abortion, it breaks my heart. Much has been said on the horrors of abortion, yet we rarely focus on how abortion robs us all of the blessings of adoption. Here are three ways abortion robs from adoption:

1. Abortion robs the birthmother

When a woman realizes she’s pregnant, she has three choices: she can raise the child herself, she can place the child for adoption, or she can abort the child. Let’s be honest, all too often we’re talking about 13, 14 or 15 year-old girls here. While teen pregnancy and abortion rates are at the lowest they’ve been in 40 years—thanks in part to effective pro-life laws—abortions still take place seven days a week.

Whether choosing an abortion or forced into it by another, women are robbed of the blessing of adoption. In an extremely difficult place in life, she feels her only option is to choose death.

Yet for years, perhaps decades, this woman will face trauma and even grave health issues as a result of post-abortive stress.

Through adoption, women have an amazing opportunity to redeem a bad decision or unintended consequence. Yes, this choice carries its own difficulty. One birthmother shares in the New York Times how, despite a painful decision to place her child for adoption, it comforts her to see the child with his adoptive family. She would be robbed of this consolation if she had chosen abortion.

To be clear, adoption is not the only—or even always the best—alternative to abortion. Sometimes the right choice is for the expectant mother to parent. No woman should feel forced to place a child for adoption that she can care for. The point is: when a women or couple cannot provide a good home for their child, regardless of the reasons why, abortion is not the answer. Adoption is!

2. Abortion robs families of the opportunity to adopt

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every child was born into loving and capable families? I would love to see the unplanned pregnancy rate and national abortion rate go to zero. Any pro-life advocate would be perfectly content if there were no babies to adopt, because there was no need!

But the reality is, as long as women are still heading to abortion clinics, there is a need for adoption. Thousands of families nationwide have been making life changes so they can be ready to adopt.

Sometimes they bring unique strengths to the adoption process, like having raised several children; others, like my husband and I, bring a love for children we’ve nurtured through staying engaged in child sponsorship.

For both birthmother and adoptive family, adoption represents a great sacrifice of time, tears and treasure. When God uses adoption to save a life—or perhaps change a family’s entire storyline—the beauty and value that adoption brings into the world cannot be denied.

3. Abortion robs our society and communities

When one third of a nation’s population is wiped out through the genocide of abortion, there is a huge financial and emotional cost. It’s estimated that our nation has lost $16 trillion dollars in federal revenue as a result of abortion, according to former liberal activist Mark Olson.

But that is nothing compared to the destinies we’ve lost. I cannot help but wonder what our society might look like were it not for abortion; would a cure for cancer have been developed? Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, was raised in an adoptive family after his birthmother Joanne Schieble bravely brought him into the world. Think about her next time you check your iPhone.

Whether an aborted child was diagnosed in the womb with cerebral palsy, or whether they would have faced other challenges, their life had a story the world will never know.

There are practical economic issues too. “Babies are essential,” reports family trends expert Glenn Stanton. “Economic growth, debt retirement and support of an increasing population of elderly requires young workers, and these young creators, providers, inventors, consumers—not to mention taxpayers—only come in one original size: babies.”

So I will keep waiting and praying for the day a brave woman makes the very difficult, but incredibly honorable, decision that she will choose life for her child… and that she has chosen us to parent that precious baby.

And I’ll keep praying that every woman in a crisis pregnancy who cannot parent makes the same decision. Because we must not allow abortion to rob us all of the joy and blessing of adoption.

Read More

Mama, can you make time slow down?

Mama, can you make time slow down?

If you haven’t seen the viral video by Nichole Nordeman, take a moment to watch it HERE. Seriously. Watch it now and then come back to this post. I’ll wait…

Now that you’re back with about 10,000 used tissues by your side, can we all agree this is the most beautiful song? I resisted even watching the video, but when I did…yeah, it had me totally undone. What a fitting tribute for every mom this Mother’s Day who simply wants time to slow down so that her babies don’t grow up so fast. Or a song that leads to sweet (and sad) reminiscing about the past. Or maybe this song makes the woman who, like me, is longing for motherhood look ahead to the future…and recognizing the importance of making every moment count. (And perhaps increasing the longing just a bit.)

Maybe this song makes you think about your own mom. How much you love her or, if she’s gone, how much you miss her. How much she will always mean to you. And how you, too, wish that time could slow down. I know I feel that way about my own mom. So, I reflected on what an additional verse and chorus would sound like placed in this song, if it were written from child to mother. I’m certainly no song writer, but I thought of a few lines fitting for my own mom. Maybes yours too? Read the lyrics below while humming along with the tune that is still floating around in your mind…

Here’s to you
Kisser of every boo-boo
And caregiver of the family
Here’s to you
Never had a chance to chew
Before family meals got chilly
You helped us walk, taught us to talk
Thought of us
Took care of us
You tried to show us how to be the best we can
Cause you loved us and were always there somehow

Slow down
Can’t we stay here a minute more
I appreciate you more now than ever before
But it all went too fast
Wish it lasted a lifetime more
It went by in the blink of an eye and makes me want to cry
I am your biggest fan
I hope you know I am
Do you think you can somehow make time
Slow down

Although time slowing down won’t be wrapped up in shiny paper and topped with a big bow waiting for you to rip open, may your Mother’s Day bring you joy with memories of or time with a loving mother or someone who’s been like a mother to you. May it be a sweet time filled with memories of or time with your own precious children or children you’ve poured into. May it be a day filled with hope and love, no matter how it’s spent or who it’s spent with. While this day can be difficult for many different reasons, there is still much to celebrate. I’m committed to focusing on the beauty of this day…even if a few tears are shed…sure hope you will join me.

Happy Mothers Day, Mama! I love you!

Read More