I was talking with a friend about the politics and real world challenges of people who don’t feel comfortable with the gender they were born with. I lean toward helping them learn to feel comfortable in their original skin. My friend believes, deep down, that is the best thing, but his comment was to me was, “But remember, these are real people who are really hurting.” He means that we can’t legislate people into feeling ok about themselves. I agree, but right now, we are legislating to make it illegal to help people feel good about their original selves.
Here’s where I am coming from. I have a scientifically proven, genetically-based disorder called autism. For years I struggled with depression, suicidal thoughts, perfectionism. I tried to become a better Christian, I tried counseling (this would have worked if we had known I had autism at the time, but since that was unknown, the counseling was ineffective), I tried everything I could think of. It wasn’t until my son was educationally evaluated and found to have autism that I realized: that was my problem, too. Now that I know that I have autism and have learned what challenges it causes in my life, I have learned strategies to deal with those challenges. I am no longer brought down by depression and the perfectionism is getting much better, too. Knowing the problem, and treating it have made me whole.
Pretending that I don’t have a disorder would not help me, and not learning strategies to help myself would also not lead to the generally happy life I now have.
And that is why I believe that we should stop lying to people who feel that they were not born the correct gender. According to some studies, people who struggle with these feelings often have similar genetics, possibly making this condition a genetically-based disorder, just as autism is. Rather than tell people that this is normal thinking and then encourage them to destroy their physical bodies in hopes that it will bring psychological peace, as we are currently prone to do, I think we need to be honest with these dear ones. My understanding, from the research I have done, is that the euphoria of finally becoming the new gender that they believed they should be lasts about one month, and then the person goes back to feeling just as depressed and confused about themselves as they were at the beginning of the journey. And on top of that, they have caused great harm to their bodies.
It makes me angry to think that we are actually encouraging people to mutilate themselves and in the end, they are no better off than before they started. These are hurting people, and instead of truly helping them, we are just encouraging them to hurt themselves more.
Should there be laws stopping people from changing genders. I don’t know if that would be helpful. But we do need to stop making laws that keep people from learning truths about themselves.
We need to help people understand that they are beautiful beings with special gifts to share with the world, just as they are created. They need to know that any thoughts to the otherwise are enemies of their true self. Loving, gentle counseling and therapy to help people realize their potential as they were created is what will bring true peace, just as it does for people with autism, who feel like they are aliens in this place that most everyone else calls home.
Our brains are powerful, but we can coach them into behaving – into telling us the real truth about ourselves. With God’s help, all things are possible!
To all of you out there struggling, I love you, understand a bit of your struggle, am praying for you and believe that you will find peace in who God created you to be!
PS I realize that some people are born with true biological sex identity issues such as having both sets of organs, not having organs appear until much later in life, etc. They do have a whole different path to navigate.
5 thoughts on “There are many hurting people”
This is beautifully stated and right on the mark. Excellent work, Heather!
Thanks, David. I appreciate the encouragement!
Brave of you to verbalize this truth. Just adding more hurt to hurt.
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Thanks so much for the comment. I would be lying if I didn’t say that I was a bit nervous publishing this.