News – Using Gender Identity Disorder as a Defense

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.


6 comments on “News – Using Gender Identity Disorder as a Defense

  1. Robyn says:

    First, I agree with you that I cannot see how GID fits into a defense unless he says that his GID is making him insane and thus not responsible for his actions.

    For some disorders such as depression, I think it is often not diagnosed correctly. There are people who suffer greatly because of it. It is not because they lack self-control or the discipline to get past it.

    Also, you state that crossdressing is a harmful sinful addiction. I assume you are not a doctor… If crossdressing is an addiction in the medical sense like alcohol, gambling, drugs, or sex, there would be drugs along with a 12-step treatment. But there isn’t anything. If it is a compulsion or of session, OCD drugs would take care of it. Your analogy of crossdressing and eating disorders is very good. There may be other similarities between them besides the image in the mirror.

    There may be instances when crossdressing is not sinful. There may be mitigating circumstances reducing or eliminating culpability. There may be issues that impair the ability to control the dsire. On the other hand, there are instances when it clearly is sinful, very sinful, whenever there are sexual reasons or intent.

    You are correct that crossdressing is harmful. I don’t think too many people would choose this as a fun thing to do. It certainly puts a tremendous strain on wives and families. BUT it is not harmful like alcohol,drugs, or smoking which slowly destroy the body along with everything else. Many crossdressers can control their desires and actions enough to minimize the impact on their lives and relationships.


  2. Ralph says:

    Totally agree. Our society has been conditioned to dodge all responsibility for our actions and decisions.

    As for what he did… well, you probably don’t want to get into the politics but I’m torn. On the one hand, information given to the enemy that could harm our own defenses should be suppressed; on the other hand it’s worse to hide behind “national security” as a means of covering up our mistakes and atrocities. Our military forces should be held accountable for their actions, just like everyone else.


  3. thorin25 says:

    Yeah Ralph, I agree, I don’t know what to think about his actions, that’s a whole different debate 🙂


  4. Ralph says:

    Robyn, I recently wrote a letter to someone (anonymously — she was the wife of another crossdresser and I wanted her to see that it wasn’t just some unique freakish trait in him but a common occurrence) going into a lot of self-examination on the subject of motivation; I later shared that letter with my wife in the hopes that it would also help her understand me a bit better.

    The reason I bring this up is, while you could argue that it is or isn’t a compulsion now it certainly started that way. To this day I have no idea what possessed me to suddenly take an interest in my (deceased, 5 years at the time I started) sister’s old clothes and try them on or dig through my mother’s underwear drawer and try on her girdle. Nor could I begin to understand what kept drawing me back to those things. It sure wasn’t a conscious choice; even at that age (about 10) and lacking a real solid understanding of sexuality, I knew that what I was doing was extremely strange and not something I wanted anyone else to ever know about. And yet for all my fear of discovery and fear that there must be something wrong with me, I kept going back and putting those clothes on. It just felt… comforting, somehow.

    After 40+ years off and on (mostly on the past 25 years) of doing this, the line between “I’m compelled to” and “It’s what I’m used to” is hard to define. Now I consciously choose to dress the way I do, because all these years of the dressing has cemented a connection in my subconscious between the dressing and feeling at peace. Would I still feel the compulsion without the accompanying feeling of relaxation? I don’t know. It’s like saying I have a compulsion or addiction to caffeine. Can I get through the day without it? Yes, and I’ve done so sometimes upwards of a week or more when I worried that it was affecting my health. But when I skip that morning can of coke or cup of coffee, I’m miserable and not operating at full potential all day. In the same way, I have gone several days without a stitch of clothing on that didn’t come from the men’s department — seeing the doctor, staying with friends out of town where I didn’t have one minute of privacy, etc. I can do that, but just like when I skip the morning jolt of caffeine, the whole day just seems wrong and the longer I go without, the more uncomfortable I feel.

    When I put it like that, it does sound like an addiction… but not as urgent a pull as nicotine or heroin or even alcohol. So I guess my answer just created more questions, rather than resolving or explaining anything 🙂


  5. John says:

    Robyn, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, in some, perhaps many cases, crossdressing can manifest as a sexual addiction. It is even mentioned in some 12 step program literature as one of a number of behaviors that might be tied to sexual compulsion/addiction. Now, from all I’ve read of Ralph’s story, this is not the case with him. However, many here on this blog have indicated that the dressing is closely linked with sexual arousal and other arousing behaviors such as looking at images or reading stories. In those cases, a 12 step support group might indeed prove helpful. Drugs are not frequently indicated to help people with addictions, although in some cases they may prove helpful, as in reducing depression or even sex drive.


  6. Robyn says:

    @Ralph, You describe my actions and thoughts EXACTLY! “To this day I have no idea what possessed me to suddenly take an interest in … clothes and try them on …. Nor could I begin to understand what kept drawing me back to those things. It sure wasn’t a conscious choice; even at that age (about 10) and lacking a real solid understanding of sexuality, I knew that what I was doing was extremely strange and not something I wanted anyone else to ever know about.” There were a lot of things that happened or didn’t happen but should have to me in childhood. After lots of therapy, it always came back to “I have no idea…”

    @John, I agree 100% that crossdressing can be or is a huge sexual addiction for some. And if it is, It should be treated as a sexual addiction. Also, there needs to be a clear definition of what is an addiction. Just being aroused by CD behaviors, photos, or stories may not be an addiction. For example, if someone has one or two beers or glasses of wine a week but they wanted to quit totally but had trouble, they would feel very out of place going to an AA meeting. These types of sexual issues might be better managed through therapy.

    Keep in mind that for some there is nothing sexual about crossdressing at all. There are drugs to treat OCD but if crossdressing is not an obsession or compulsion, these drugs won’t have any effect. There are many different reasons for crossdressing and therefore many different ways to manage or control it.


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