Gender Dysphoria and Dissociation

I recently found a very interesting blog – Third Way Trans – by someone who used to be a trans-woman but has come back to accepting living as a man.  There are many very thought provoking posts which I plan to read through eventually.

One post I thought was quite helpful in giving more explanation to something I have talked about in various posts is – Dysphoria = Dissociation.  The author’s story is raw and painful, but very moving.  I am so glad he has come to terms with his body and learned to appreciate it.  I know people closely who have gone through eating disorders and the process is very much the same.  Their mind/soul tells them something is wrong with their body when their body is actually healthy.  They will not listen to anyone who tells them otherwise.  But if their barriers finally break down, and they get help and treatment, they go through a long process of learning to love and appreciate and accept their body as part of who they are.

The author explains what I have also argued, that in transgender ideology there is a lot of dualism between mind/soul and body.  There is disconnect between the two, and often it is the body that is undervalued.  The idea is that the mind/soul is who the person truly is, and the body is what feels foreign to them.

From a Christian perspective this is very interesting.  Many of the New Testament authors spent much of their time arguing against gnosticism and the accompanying dualism.  Some of the early Christians had trouble even accepting that Jesus was a real flesh and blood human being.  They thought he must have just been pretending, because physical bodies are too dirty and inferior for God to ever mess around with.  But that is the power of the incarnation of Christ.  It powerfully affirms the goodness of our created bodies, and shows the great lengths God went to, to become like us, reveal himself for us, live the perfect human life we could not live, and take the punishment for our sin as our representative human.

Our bodies are part of who we are, which is why the hope of the resurrection from the dead is such a strong theme in Scripture.  In Heaven we will only be disembodied spirits, but at The Resurrection we will be given new perfect bodies and live on a new earth.  Having a body is part of what it means to be human.  Transgendered ideology minimizes the importance of the body and basically argues that we should change it however we see fit to match what is within our soul.   But while we are charged in the Bible to keep our bodies healthy and so have to do some minimal things to alter our bodies, we don’t get to choose what we look like or what sex we were born as.    We just have to be thankful for what we’ve been given and learn how to live with it and accept it as a good thing.  Sometimes it’s not the body we think we would most prefer, or that our mind would best fit, and we struggle with envy of others, but we still have to learn acceptance.

The author’s personal story (written in other blog posts of his) is eerily similar to my own in some details.   I am thankful that both of us have been learning to realize it is okay we are different from average men, and that we can still be men, with male bodies, even if we are different from many of the stereotypes.  We can accept our bodies as part of us, and not try to disguise them with hormones or clothing not meant for us.  For me, this process is gradual but progressive.  Each year I am away from crossdressing and gender confusion, I am accepting and loving my body more and more.  (though I can’t say I love my baldness, I am at least accepting it and not worrying about it!).  In my first 20 years of life, I spent most of my time feeling insecure, not confident, and shame about my body.  Since that time, each year has shown small growth in learning to appreciate different aspects of my body, and not being afraid or ashamed of who I am.

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