I came across this – article – on the news this morning. Basically, it’s about the soldier who released army secrets on Wikileaks, and now he is being tried as a criminal. The defense is using his gender identity disorder as a defense or excuse for why he did what he did.
I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it seems to point to what I’ve argued all along, that crossdressing or gender identity issues can become serious addictions and compulsions. They really do stir us to make unwise and risky decisions. They really do jeopardize our jobs. Crossdressing, at least, really seems to make us lose our head and not think clearly. But on the other hand, I can in no way see how it would be possible for crossdressing desires or transgender desires in his case to cause him to do what he did. I don’t see any possible connection. Does anybody else? It just seems utterly ridiculous. Do they really want to be saying that those who are struggling with their gender are basically insane and not accountable for their actions? It’s hard to see how they could get away with that in our culture where transsexuals are generally accepted as normal people.
I also think it is ridiculous that we give people excuses for their actions based on psychological problems. I don’t want to be extreme on that point. Surely there are people who are insane and should not be too harshly judged for something they did. But our country is out of hand on these types of things. People have to be accountable for what they have done. None of us are psychologically perfect. All of us are messed up to a degree, at least according to Christians. I think often people are labeled as insane not based on biological evidence, but based on the strange things they have done. “You are insane because you butchered 20 people.” I’d say, “no, you are sinful and you butchered 20 people and you will be held accountable for it.” It’s like our society doesn’t want to accept that people are messed up and do evil things. Our society doesn’t want to accept that people are sinful. So if someone does something really horrible, they must be insane. That reasoning doesn’t always work.
In my opinion, we also label too many problems and issues as “disorders.” Maybe you just have improper desires that you need to resist. Maybe you just have tendencies to control. Maybe you just have emotions to check. Maybe you are just sinful and need forgiveness and transformation through Jesus. Counselors so easily diagnose things as a disorder, but how do we know if they are right or if they are just calling a bunch of actions, feelings, or thoughts by a name. It doesn’t seem scientific all the time.
Is gender identity disorder a real condition or disorder? I’m not so sure. Maybe it’s just a label we give to someone who is confused about their true gender. Giving it a disorder label gives it more power as a real thing outside the person, like a disease or cancer or something out of their control. The same with crossdressing. I’d rather say crossdressing desires are desires that some people develop and need to be resisted because crossdressing is an unhealthy harmful sinful addiction. I’d rather not say someone has a gender identity disorder. I’d rather say someone is confused about their gender and some of their feelings and beliefs about what it means to be masculine or feminine are not correct. If we label either one as a disorder outside the person, then the person has little hope of change. They might as well just accept their desires and give in to them. But if we just look at the desires as simply desires, we realize we have the freedom to choose which our desires to give in to or not. We might feel more like a woman than a man, but we do not have to let that feeling control us. We might feel like putting on a dress, but we don’t have to let that desire control us.
Surely some things like some types of depression have clear biological causes and can be helped with medication. I’m not saying “no” to calling anything a disorder. Surely there are some real disorders. But I also think depression is way too over diagnosed. We live in a medicated society. People have run to medication instead of finding real joy in life in the ways we are supposed to.
Let’s stop making excuses for our actions, calling everything a disorder. Let’s be responsible for what we do, think and feel.