Gender Obsession

Gender Obsession

*Deep breath*

I just spent the last 45 minutes reading the most heartache-inducing article I think I’ve ever come across.

There are certain topics that I just don’t talk about on this blog, truthfully out of fear for being “cancelled.” Not that I am anyone who has any sort of notoriety from which to BE cancelled, but hey – if dog ladies at Central Park can be given the cultural axe, then I guess anyone is fair game at this point.

I was in Duane Reade (the NYC equivalence of Walgreens/CVS) last night waiting at the check out line, when I glanced down, and spotted an unsettling magazine cover.

A nude, disturbingly thin man graced the cover of New York Magazine in tighty whities, with a stance and a look almost challenging the reader to gaze upon his body.

The recent New York Magazine cover story describes a transgender man’s Phalloplasty, & how only his new penis made him “fully himself.” Top Eating Disorder Recovery blogger shares her experience with body dysmorphia, and considers what - if any - similarities exist between the two. #edrecovery #recovery #catholic #healing #mentalhealth #faith #eatingdisorder #gender #god #life

The first thing I noticed was how womanly his shape was — more hourglass than I’ll ever be, I’ll tell you that.

But after about 1.5 seconds, I realized that this was the “infamous” New York Mag cover story I’d been hearing about recently from various conservative news sources that I listen to, about a trans man (a woman that transitioned into a man), and his surgical journey of fashioning a penis out of the skin of his thigh. The cover story declares, “I didn’t need a penis to be a man. But I needed one to be myself.”

This is a topic that I have long wanted to write about. I have no less than six drafts stored in my computer of posts on this topic that, when the time came to push publish, I chickened out, afraid to ruffle feathers, hurt feelings, or be flagged as “bigoted,” and then subsequently cancelled.

Because that’s the thing: the issue of transgenderism is a very emotionally charged issue for many people, as it is a very real, life-altering existence. And the compassion in my heart for those suffering with it is enormous. I have great empathy for their struggle, given a similar struggle of my own, which I will get into in a minute. But I want to just preface the rest of this post by saying that my words come from a deep place of love and prayer.

But I cannot give into fear and shy away from this topic any longer. Especially given the frightening legislation that was just passed in Canada.

I read the article from New York Mag. All 45 minutes of it. And it was really hard to get through. I mean, the opening sentence was “On the day I heard that my penis would be huge, I sobbed.”

Graphic depictions of the actual phalloplasty surgical procedure and recovery process. Emotionally disturbing glimpses into her mind, who as a child was even contemplating taking her own life. Talk of “patriarchal, heterosexist, racist, capitalist [Midwest] acculturalization,” talk of her praying to “ancestors and transcestors.” Talk of being a priestesses and her past lives.

But as the title suggests, “My Penis, Myself – A Love Story,” it was exactly that – an ode to this person’s manmade sexual appendage. And how at the end of the day, he is an “asexual gay man with a penis and a vagina” who, only after this surgery can ‘be fully himself.’

The entire article just made me really really sad, because you could feel this person just flailing in need of God’s presence in his life. The pain, the searching, the ultimate bodily mutilation, the mental anguish — this person was trying to fill that God-sized hole with everything under the sun, trying to define who he or she is, unable to find the ultimate answer: that he or she is a child of God, created by a loving Father.

And while that is true, I don’t want to focus on that tonight, because I feel that, though accurate, mainstream pushback is that that is backwards thinking, akin to “pray the gay away,” which is not something I believe in, to be clear. Same sex attraction is a very real thing, but that’s a different post for another day when I’m feeling brave.

But I want to just gently share about something I’ve experienced in my own life, that though different, has me curious as to the potential connection with gender dysphoria. As many of the descriptions of this woman’s body image in the article, resonated in a familiar, yet different way with me personally. And that is: body dysmorphia.

Body dysmorphia is the stereotypical image that many textbooks/self-help books depict when it comes to anorexia, as an emaciated girl, staring into a mirror, and her reflection staring back at her is an obese version of herself. This is, of course, bringing to light the very real, very harmful condition of body dysmorphia that people with eating disorders suffer with: where their perception of reality – their perception of themselves – is totally amiss.

Myself included.

Though I was wasting away at 78 pounds, all I would see in the mirror is a whale of a human. I would stand in front of that full-length mirror – for much longer than I’d like to admit) and obsessively scrutinize every square inch of my body. I truly, honest-to-goodness believed that I was fat. It didn’t matter if all I had eaten that day was the skin of a green apple and a can of chunk light tuna in water…I saw a fat girl. I saw ginormous thighs. I saw a fat stomach. It didn’t matter that you could play my ribs like a xylophone, or that you could see my heart beating through my skeletal chest, I believed I was fat. Enough to literally starve myself for. And praise God that I am free from that place. (And to this day, I do not keep a full length mirror in my apartment. I don’t scrutinize my body. I don’t weigh myself. My body is an act of worship to God, for giving me the second chance at life that I nearly gambled away with my eating disorder.)

The recent New York Magazine cover story describes a transgender man’s Phalloplasty, & how only his new penis made him “fully himself.” Top Eating Disorder Recovery blogger shares her experience with body dysmorphia, and considers what - if any - similarities exist between the two. #edrecovery #recovery #catholic #healing #mentalhealth #faith #eatingdisorder #gender #god #life

But body dysmorphia is a real thing. A real mental illness. And so when a person struggling with gender identity says they don’t see the accurate reflection staring back at them in the mirror, I believe them. I have compassion, having also walked that road, feeling completely alienated from my body, hating it, wanting it to literally disappear.

I believe them. And I want to love them through it.

But here’s the thing.

Would it have been love for my parents, knowing that I was struggling with this, to tell their 78 pound dying daughter, “You know honey, I know what you’re seeing in the mirror is a figment of a mental illness, but we’re going to help you lose those 10 pounds that will make you believe you’re not a whale.” Would it have been love for them to push me to work out, or encourage me to skip meals, all to appease the distorted body image I had in my mind? No.

Love was intervening. Love was, (even with me kicking and screaming) staging an intervention — pulling me out of school, even — and not letting me go until I agreed to go to an inpatient hospital for 3 months, leaving the very next morning (and therefore missing high school graduation).

Love is tough.

Love is really tough sometimes.

But that’s what we’re called to do when we love someone. And that’s what Jesus calls us to do: love one another.

1 John 4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.

After reading this article about the trans man, I felt compelled to open the Bible to today’s readings. And that was the very first line: “love one another.” There it is. Plain as day.

One of the things about the whole transgenderism movement — that’s probably not the correct term, and forgive me, please — is that the whole thing is so caught up in labels: pronouns, gender identity, sexual identity. Who a person is has been deduced to the pronoun they use, how they identify, what their genitalia is, who they fornicate with. Waking up after the penis surgery, the author said, “this was what being alive was…I was centered, in my body…perfect.”

The recent New York Magazine cover story describes a transgender man’s Phalloplasty, & how only his new penis made him “fully himself.” Top Eating Disorder Recovery blogger shares her experience with body dysmorphia, and considers what - if any - similarities exist between the two. #edrecovery #recovery #catholic #healing #mentalhealth #faith #eatingdisorder #gender #god #life

It’s just so sad to me, because we are so much more than a body part. We are so much more, than even a man or a woman, or our profession, or our nationality, or what types of books we read, or whether we identify on the the political left or the right, or whether we root for the Dodgers or the Yankees, or whether or not we’re a feminist.

None of that matters.

What it all boils down to, is that we are all creations of God. Created in love, on purpose. Perfectly imperfect.

The recent New York Magazine cover story describes a transgender man’s Phalloplasty, & how only his new penis made him “fully himself.” Top Eating Disorder Recovery blogger shares her experience with body dysmorphia, and considers what - if any - similarities exist between the two. #edrecovery #recovery #catholic #healing #mentalhealth #faith #eatingdisorder #gender #god #life

We are all worthy of love. And as brothers and sisters of the same Father, we are called to love one another. To shoulder one another’s burdens. To help those in need. To will the good of the other.

We are called to love.

And sometimes, that love is tough.

As for this reminding me of my body dysmorphia, I am only pointing out a situation that I endured, which I felt may perhaps have some similarities. But as I am obviously not a medical doctor or psychologist, my personal response comes only from a place of seeking to understand, to empathize, to relate, so that I may love as we are instructed.

What are your thoughts? Have you read the article? I am linking it here, where you can read half of it, and if you download their free app, you can access the entire New York Magazine article for free. I would love to know what you think. And please, be kind in the comments section.

The recent New York Magazine cover story describes a transgender man’s Phalloplasty, & how only his new penis made him “fully himself.” Top Eating Disorder Recovery blogger shares her experience with body dysmorphia, and considers what - if any - similarities exist between the two. #edrecovery #recovery #catholic #healing #mentalhealth #faith #eatingdisorder #gender #god #life

To hear my story, click here.

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5

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119 responses to “Gender Obsession”

  1. Love it – you are BRAVE and amazing! Thank you for writing straight from your heart with love and kindness.

    • Thank you so much! gosh, I appreciate your support. it was definitely terrifying to hit the publish button! Hugs and love xox

    • thank you Iacobus, I appreciate your support. You’re right – it is a salmon swimming upstream in very hostile waters, to say the least! Hugs and love xox

  2. Your post is brave, compassionate, and vulnerable. I agree – it makes me sad that people feel they are solely identified by the variety of things you listed when in fact we are each a wonderful creation of God. We all struggle with identity at some point and to varying degrees. The enemy is a liar trying to rob us of our true identity in Christ. It’s not easy to shut our ears to the lies and embrace ourselves like Jesus does. Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Laura, thank you so much for your encouraging words and support. I agree, that’s what society has forgotten in all this: that we are God’s loving creation. And you’re absolutely right, the enemy’s lies fuel so much of this identity crisis. Amen. so glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

  3. I hadn’t heard of this person but find the whole thing so very sad. That’s all I can say really… I applaud you for publishing this, Caralyn. ❤️

    • Thank you John, yes it really is sad. And my prayers are not only with this person, but everyone who may be struggling with this personally, or has a loved one who is. Thank you for your support and for taking the time to read it. Hugs and love xox

  4. I feel the same as you, but without the religious element. When we hate our bodies, as you described for anorectics, we are helped to overcome that. Some of us don’t recover as well as others, but at no point are we told well go ahead then and get some liposuction so you can feel thinner. I am aghast at the surgeons who mutilate these poor people!

    • Hi Paula, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right – it is something that, with help, we can overcome. I agree. i believe it goes against a doctor’s hippocratic oath to “do no harm.” so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much for your kind words and prayers, it truly means so much. I pray that someone be helped too!! Hugs and love xox

  5. Thank you!!!!! Your post over the past few months have been so spot on and I really appreciate you sharing your journey and being so authentic. You have helped our family, especially my daughter, over the past two years more than you know!!

    • Hi Misty! thank you so much for such kind and encouraging words! it really means a lot. And wow, words cannot express the gratitude in my heart to know that my little blog has been helpful to your family and daughter. Praise God. Sending so much love and hugs xox

  6. This is a tough one. I’m not a Christian, so my lens is a little different. As I read this, mental illness did pop into my mind, but I’m not sure the DSM lists being transgender as a mental illness, but the way this article is summarized, it sounds like it.

    I hope we learn more about the psyche of a transgendered person’s mind to truly understand what is going on.

    • Hi friend, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right, this is a tough one for sure. And like I said, I am not a doctor or psychologist, so my thoughts are merely just that of someone who overcame her own body dysmorphia, and resonated with many of the words spoken in the article. I agree – I hope that we learn more too, so we may understand, love, and be of help and support if need be. I’m glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much for your kind words of encouragement and support, Amanda. I was very nervous to publish this post, so I really really appreciate it! Hugs and love xox

  7. Well done, C! I’m sure the trolls will come out of the woodwork. Ignore them. Like you said, love shares the truth. Have a good week! 🙂

    • Hi Kenneth! Gosh, thank you so much. Yes – i am bracing myself for them haha But so far, it’s been really pleasant in the comments section! very grateful! And thanks for the support and always being in my corner. You rock my friend! You too, have a wonderful week! Hugs and love xox

  8. You are spot on and I thank you for being brave. The world will go it’s own way and say and do whatever it wants, but just remember they can’t cancel your name from the Lamb’s Book of Life.

    • Hi Amy, thank you so much for your support and encouraging words. You’re right about that – we were not made for this world. We must live in light of eternity! Hugs and love xox

    • Hi Robert, thank you so much for your support! You’re so right, especially in today’s climate, that’s a frightening task to say the least. but we are called to share His Truth and Good News! I truly appreciate your kindness. Hugs and love xox

  9. Well written insight! Thank you for your courage to share. Many will benefit. 1John 4 was on my mind today also as I wrote in my post. Appreciate your loving example of Christ. We all have a God shaped hole only He can fill. 💕😊

    • Hi Mary! Thank you so much! I’m so glad this resonated with you. Yes – that is a powerful verse that hits home with so many things life throws our way. Amen to that – only He can fill. that took me a long time to learn, but wow – His love is life changing! so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  10. Hi, thanks for sharing this. It wasn’t long into your article that I knew where this was going. The reason being that I’ve had the same thoughts, and expressed the same sentiments to people in the past. I also had an eating disorder, (not anorexia) and couldn’t see anything but ugly looking back at me. Ugly and too big. It’s an awful place for your mind to live. And I’ve said the same thing ‘would it have been right for someone – a doctor, say – to give me weight reducing surgery in order to appease my emotional/mental health issues when I clearly was either underweight or only just scraping through the acceptable weight range?’ I think that, having been through that, it does give you a real sense of how this whole gender dysphoria turned transgender phenomena thing is really damaging. And, in case you’re interested, I read a great book a few years ago called ‘Saving Truth’ by Abdu Murray. He handles this subject with care, thoughtfulness and – as the title suggests – biblical truth.

    • Hi Jenni, thank you so much for sharing your heart and story. I’m sorry that we both have ED in our pasts, but I’m so glad we’ve both found freedom 🙂 You’re so right about that – I think when you’ve seen the depths like that, you gain a certain perspective that makes you see things that others may not necessarily understand quite so personally. And thank you! I will absolutely look into that book. sounds powerful. so glad you stopped by. Hugs and love xox

  11. I appreciate the gentle way you approached this topic, but I must respectfully disagree. To choose surgery to change one’s body to reflect the gender he or she feels one truly is is a thing to be celebrated. A person born with a cleft palate who chooses surgery to repair the issue is not viewed as having body dysmorphic disorder, nor is a person who changes the hair color they were born with. Why should gender be any different? Who has the right to judge any person who makes the brave choice to alter a physical part of themselves to allow them to be who they feel they really are, as long as that choice is not causing them physical harm?

    • Hi friend, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this, and for taking the time to read and respond. This is definitely a very delicate and emotional issue, and I appreciate and respect your perspective. You’ve brought up some great food for thought. Hugs and love xox

    • Hey, I can appreciate your point of view here, I would probably have agreed in the past despite my own history. There are some very interesting, but sad statistics that relate to people who have gender dysphoria (or think they do) and have surgery. It’s not pretty. And I think the thing it tells us is that, often, the real issue isn’t actually going to be made better by surgery or being the gender someone thinks they want to be. I mentioned it in a comment, but the book ‘Saving Truth’ by Abdu Murray really helped me gain clarity here. Also, as someone who also had an eating disorder, and some body dysmorphia, I can honestly say I agree with this perspective so much. The desire to be ‘beautiful’, ‘skinny’ or whatever is so incredibly intense and consuming that you truly believe that looking a certain way would make everything better. But now I know that was never true. One of the things Abdu Murray highlights in his book is how the ‘transgender movement’ actually undermines the struggle that many people with true gender dysphoria are suffering. It’s become almost trendy, but it is nothing but for the ones who are anguished. They just want to feel ‘normal’. It’s such a difficult topic. It’s good to see some healthy discussion even amidst disagreement.

    • Thank you Emily, I really appreciate your kind words and encouragement! It means a lot! Hugs and love xox

  12. I love how you write and say what most of us shy away from saying. But you say it with compassion and give place to both sides. I am amazed at this article and didn’t know about this situation specifically but know people walking through this. I appreciate your candor and your the hope you always leave us with.

    • Hi Debbie, gosh thank you so much for such kind words of affirmation. Wow, i am truly so touched. Yes – there is always hope to be found. That hope is what got me out of the depths of my eating disorder, and I’ve made it the foundation upon which I’ve built my new life! So glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  13. Typing from my phone, I do not have this exact quote, but C.S.Lewis said something along the lines of, “You have never met a mere mortal. Every man and woman you encounter is in reality either a creature of such magnificence that we would be tempted to fall before them in worship if we saw them as they are, or a creature of such horror before which we would tremble in fear.”
    No one knows what we will “look like” in Eternity, but we who know Jesus will be like Him; and I suspect those poor souls who are deceived will look a lot like their master who has lied to them.
    May God have at least a “final mercy” for those who refuse any other.
    ❤️&🙏, c.a.

    • Oh wow, what an absolutely incredible quote. Thank you CA for sharing that. it’s so true – we’ve forgotten that we were made in the image and likeness of God, and that we were created by a loving Father. And that’s a great point…it’s kinda fun to try and imagine Heaven, isn’t it? What a glorious day that will be 🙂 Amen to that. thank you again for stopping by, my friend! Hugs and love xox

  14. Courageous & loving post my sister! Compassion and truth need to be our guides – and for humans, that’s not always easy…for me – that’s one big reason Ima needin’ a whole lotta Jesus daily.

    You penned it very well 💜🙏🏻.

    • Hi Karah! Gosh, thank you so much for such kind words! Amen amen to that! Compassion and truth! That could literally solve all of the world’s problems! so glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  15. Satan biggest lie is telling people that they are not good enough! It is a battle that is going on in their mind, that only God can give peace to. Thank you for this post!

    • You are so right about that, Rashida! He is the liar of all liars, and loves to make us feel less than! Amen — only God can bring that peace! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to read and respond! Hugs and love xox

  16. I struggle with this concept as well, especially as a parent. If my child was to tell me they were seeing angels or ghosts, I would be expected to have them evaluated for Schizophrenia, even though prophets in the Bible historically saw these things, but if my child says they are trapped in the wrong body I’m supposed to respect his/her chosen identity. It feels like we are hypocritically defining mental illness. I am all for people choosing their paths in life and loving themselves. I’m just heartbroken that we are saying changing yourself to such an extreme is the right answer.

    • Hi Kristie, thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart on this. I am right there with you – and thinking about it from a parent’s perspective makes this whole thing all the more difficult. It actually keeps me up at night thinking about having children of my own one day, God willing, and what the world will be like that they will be born into. Sending so much love and hugs xox

  17. Long one – sorry!
    Culture is falling into the trap of believing our very identity is defined by the labels and causes we align with, rather than us being a person and us having ideals and facts and causes just being things we believe in and associate with that can change with time and knowledge.

    As it stands today – it has become an almost fetishistic obsession to show off, indeed force that identity on others, as any validation literally defines their entire self worth. And when challenged on a particular doctrine, they blow up intolerantly because you haven’t attacked a belief or fact, you’ve attacked them, their very identity, the entire of their core being. And so it becomes an existential crisis to hear someone have a different opinion, because it’s not perceived as an opinion but as threat to their core identity. It’s very child like in lots of ways. Take mask wearing, gender, left vs right, any woke cause actually – its all the same. ​

    Back to your article – I actually don’t think trans people are even in the 1% of offenders here – it’s the cause collecting pronoun brigade where for them it’s literally turning into a race to the bottom for fetishising gender identity. It’s become almost fashionable, which again, comes back to identity and the child like need for validation. Theres an intersection with some trans people- i.e. your article – but I don’t think it’s most at all – they are simply too busy for the most part trying to live their life and enjoying the relief no doubt of outside matching inside – and that’s as it should be – it’s the cause allys, the identity brigade.

    We should just encourage people to be themselves, be happy, live their life, but people are becoming conditioned to believe their identity and opinions are special, where we really should expect others to be no more than pleasantly ambivalent about it like they are for everyone else. Instead we’re giving the ‘child’ a voice and guess what – they’re learning that if they stamp their feet enough they get another biscuit.

    All this “look at me I’m special because of this identity label shell I have made for myself and if you don’t violently agree then silence is violence and you’re oppressing me” is just identity based narcissism and for me, thats a hard pass.

    Peace!

    • HI Charlie, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. you bring up a lot of great point. and I so agree — this whole pronoun phenomena has become exactly that: fashionable. it’s really quite sad. Glad you stopped by@! Hugs and love xox

  18. Hmmm…I have a lot of thoughts on this.

    I know a number of people who identify as transgender. I can’t speak for those friends, but what I would say is that there does seem to be an increasing body of evidence that transgender kids who get gender-affirming care end up with better mental health outcomes than those who don’t (I haven’t seen as many studies with transgender adults, but the few things I’ve seen seem to be suggesting something similar). Considering the alarming mental health statistics with those who identify as transgender, anything that improves mental health outcomes for the community is something I support. Just my two cents on that.

    That being said, like you, I’ve been thinking a lot about labels and getting caught up in them. Related to that, I’ve been thinking with regards to gender identity labels how different cultures in different time periods have had different gender labels. There were and are some cultures where there are third and fourth and fifth genders that not only exist, but are celebrated! And then of course here in the U.S. and Western Europe we have transgender, non-binary, etc. It’s just interesting to think about how different cultures have different labels for similar sorts of experiences.

    P.S. I also think there’s a lot to learn on the science of gender, so I think that most of all, we should proceed with grace.

    P.P.S. I know you mentioned something about body dysmorphia being a real mental illness (which it is). It’s also worth noting that gender dysphoria is on the DSM-5 (though I know it’s a bit of a contentious question as to whether gender dysphoria is a mental illness, but that’s another story).

    • Hi Brenden, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. You bring up some really interesting perspectives, especially when it comes to children. You’re right – we should proceed with grace! Hugs and love xox

  19. Thank you for your brave words. We have someone in the family going through this, and it is even hard to have a safe place within the family to share our confusion and hurt by this. It’s like one cannot ask questions or discuss lest one is labeled a hater. We love this person, but it has been tough. I have yet to figure out the “definition” of each gender that allows for choices other than stereotypes. I feel like people are saying they are smarter than God—isn’t that basically what the serpent told Eve? I really pray for wisdom in this.

    • Hi Andrea, thank you so much for sharing your story, and your thoughts on this. Yeah, that’s such a great point – it’s either your for or against…there’s no grace period where you’re trying to learn/discuss/ask questions. That sounds like such a difficult situation, and I will absolutely be keeping you and your family in my prayers. And on your last point, I fully agree, and that is my biggest concern: people playing God, or acting as though they know better than God. Wisdom indeed. Hugs and love xox

  20. Thank you for writing this. Your love and sincere concern shine through so clearly. We need to be reminded more often that love means doing the hard things. The parallel you draw to body dysmorphia resonated with me and awakened a new compassion for people who identify as transgender. People who are made in God’s image, who He has called me to love, and who are in need of redemption through God’s truth just as much as I am. Well done. Thank you.

    • hi Kimberly, thank you so much for your kind words on this. You’re so right – love means doing the hard things. Amen – we are all in need of His redemption, that is so important to remember. Hugs and love xox

  21. It’s heartbreaking to know that there are still people in our world who are victims of the captivity of darkness. The scriptures provide information about your true identity. You are a royal priesthood. God declared that everything He made, including man, was good when He created it. You are good whether you are a man or a woman, short or tall, black or white. 

    • Hi Chris, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this. That is such a powerful way to put it: the captivity of darkness. Wow. And amen – we were created *good*. amen. Hugs and love xox

  22. I didn’t read the article, but thank you for sharing your perspective. It’s really sad that we aren’t allowed to say certain things. And I have more to say that I’d rather say privately. I’ll email you.

    • Hi Greg, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right – it’s frightening to see the censorship happen in this country. Hugs and love xox

  23. Haha — you say you’d love to hear what I think!

    OK: What I think is that most people use the word “free” incorrectly … insofar as they usually mean only “free of money”. Most things touted as “free” are still *in exchange* for something else (and usually that something else is something people hardly think about at all — even though they should).

    As an example: Seeing a billboard would normally considered to be “free” … unless you consider that seeing that billboard means it is blocking the view of something else.

    A good thing to remember is the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” — and wise people should always practice a healthy skeptical attitude when someone offers you something for FREE!

    🙂 Norbert

    • Hi Norbert, what an interesting perspective. thank you so much for sharing. No such thing as a free lunch – indeed! i’ve certainly come to learn that in NYC! Hugs and love xox

      • I tried to reach you on Instagram, but I don’t know how to private message. I have had some gut issues and you mentioned a book or something that helped you.

  24. Love your post, as always. Be consistent in preaching your message though objections may be on their way. I think you serve the purpose of becoming a sign of God’s presence to the world by constantly imparting the biblical message you deem relevant for our time. And, as the person whom you serve dearly was also rejected, despite all his good works and preaching, experiencing the same thing is unavoidable. That’s the cost of discipleship! I agree with you. Without God, our life will be groundless, anchorless. Without him, we will unceasingly search for meaning and do everything to fill the bottomless pit inside. And that’s futile. Sadly. Well, thank you for sharing Caralyn. Your message is destined to touch many souls. It’s only about time when people finally realize that God is their true soul and source. Without him, to quote St. Augustine, our hearts will remain restless and find no repose. Without him, all this crazy and frantic search for meaning will end bad and only perpetuate trouble. God bless you, my friend. Happy New Year, though it is too late to wish you so. Cheers.

    • Hi Jerry, wow, I am truly so touched by your generous words. Thank you. I am humbled, truly, by your affirmations. God is good, and this world has such a desperate need for His truth. And you’re right – without Him, our lives would run completely amiss — restless for sure. God bless you too, my friend. Hugs and love xox

    • Hi Bridget, gosh thank you so much for your kind words and encouragement. i truly appreciate it! Hugs and love xox

  25. I very much appreciate your perspective on this issue since you have personal experience with body dysmorphia.

    That being said, it’s not always as simple as “it’s never the right choice to transition.” There are plenty of trans people out there that tried so hard to live as the gender they were born as, believing it was the right thing to do, only to admit to themselves that it was impossible after their suicide attempt failed. And thank God they are still alive! They only found a measure of peace and healing from transitioning, and their lives are valuable and precious to God as well. He made them, after all!

    And on the other end of the spectrum, one family I know personally took their preteen child into the doctor with some of the beginning signs of gender dysphoria, and the FIRST thing they were told was, “If you don’t put your child on hormones and puberty blockers RIGHT NOW, you will lose them to suicide.” Strongly implied that if they didn’t, they would lose their child and it would be THEIR fault.

    So it’s a mess out there.

    • Hi Athena, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. you bring up a lot of great points, and it truly saddens me to think of the pain that people who experience this live with. And thank God they are alive indeed. I pray for God’s peace over their hearts. Yikes, that sounds just awful for that family. Oh, my heart hurts for them. Sending big prayers. A mess indeed. Hugs and love xox

  26. The word of God still says,
    Gen.1:27
    So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
    In Kenya we say that,”kazi ya Mungu haina makosa”, that is God’s work has no fault.
    Psalm 139:14
    I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.
    We’re the products of God and he made us perfect,it is for us to discover ourselves,our purpose,our talents and gifts.Kazi ya Mungu haina makosa.

    • Hi Stella, thank you so much for sharing your heart on this. You’re so right – God’s work has no fault! I love that! AMEN! That’s our purpose, to discover and live our God’s will for our lives. Kazi ya Mungu haina makosa. Hugs and love xox

  27. Caralyn, rarely, do I write in response to your posts. Although I read all of them. Today, however, is different. I write.

    First, a general comment. We are different, you and I. No surprise. Of course, we are. In manifold ways. However, what I have in mind here is our general philosophical, socio-political orientation. In a word, you are more a conservative/traditionalist that I, and I more a liberal/non-traditionalist than you.

    That said, in reading “Gender Obsession,” I felt and found deep resonances within me. First, I admire your courage in addressing in the public square of cyberspace so complex a life’s concern. Secondly, which, truly, is foremost, I honor your compassionate sensitivity to the humanity — indeed, the persons — involved. Thirdly, which, as truly, also, for me, is foremost, I, as a Christian, was and am moved by your identifying empathy — expressed in your ability and willingness to peer through the lens of your own life’s experience of/with anorexia — all grounded in your theological rootedness in the love of God; aye, in the God Who is Love.

    Two penultimate words: Thank you.

    One ultimate word: Love

    • Oh my gosh, Paul – this comment touched my heart so much. Thank you friend. thank you. You’re right – I think it’s really easy to just slap a label on things we don’t understand as “other,” but the fact is, every single one of us has struggles, all different, yet all struggles just the same, and so, as we are all creations of God, and therefore a family, it is that compassion and love that makes this world bearable. Because this world isn’t Heaven, and so we must run the race together, helping one another along the way. And just like your ultimate word, the best way to do that: is love. Your comment is going to stick with me today. I appreciate it, and I am grateful for you 🙂 Hugs and love xox

  28. I think you really hit the target on this issue. I have been thinking for a long time, that unless there is a medical condition presenting, shouldn’t we be taking a look at what makes these souls so uncomfortable with being a woman or a man? I believe your correlation to body dysmorphia is spot on. Thank you for presenting your thoughts in such a kind and loving way.

    • Hi Holly, thank you so much for your support and encouraging words. You’re right – there’s something deeper, and it makes me sad to think we so quickly jump into surgical/physical changes that will alter this person’s life forever. Big prayers going up for all who are struggle with this. thanks again for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  29. Thank you for being brave enough to post your blog. God;s belessing on it so it will bring others to his love

    • Hi Jo, Gosh, thank you so much for your kind words. Yes – that is my prayer too. His love heals all wounds. Hugs and love xox

  30. I too remember my anorexic days,oozing in the mirror wanting thin. I weighed very little, but all I could see was a big body. I exercised so much, kept records of my routine, adding more & more reps, time, less food more exercise. Sad, now I am blessed to not be thT obsessed…lol

    • Thank you so much HJ, I do truly appreciate your support. I was really nervous to push “publish.” So your kindness is greatly appreciated. Hugs and love xox

  31. Paul, in writing to the Corinthians, taught about the resurrection of the dead and the spiritual body: “So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body” (1 Corinthians 15:42–44). The spiritual body is not a mere spirit, for then it would not be a body. Nor is it a flesh-and-blood body, which in this world needs food, sleep, air, etc. After the resurrection, the spiritual body will be of a different quality, needing none of those things. The spiritual body will be fit for the spiritual realm, as Paul explained elsewhere: “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:20–21).

    • Oh wow, what a powerful truth, given to us by the Father. It really is moving to consider our bodies, and what they mean, when reading those passages. And you’re so right – Heaven is our home. We are just passing through. And therefore, we must live in light of eternity! Hugs and love xox

  32. I applaud your courage and emphasis re: such a volatile subject. Love is always right, but not always expressed as culture would like. It is misguided when we find our identity in a body image, a sexual preference, or anything less than our mutual humanness. But then . . . we can expect no less from a godless culture.

    • Hi Ivan, thank you so much for your kind words. And you’re absolutely right: love is ALWAYS right. And yes! That mutual humanness has been so lost, in so many different realms in today’s culture. If only we could see one another as the true brothers and sisters that we are, it would solve so many things. Hugs and love xox

  33. Thank you for speaking truth in love Caralyn. I have often though of the similarities between anorexia and gender dysmorphia. Your testimony made this truth so much more powerful!

    • Hi Heather, gosh, thank you for such kind words. I truly appreciate your support. Yes. It really is quite astounding the similarities between two, seemingly drastically different conditions. It just goes to show that that “God hole” every one of us has can manifest in a myriad of ways, but the healing power of Jesus’ love is the cure for all. Hugs and love xox

  34. I’ve been in many hospitals ( when I was younger ) with teenage men with eating disorders. It’s so common today. The reasons may appear different on the surface however …. this major disease is deadly because the mitigation of emotions we suppress is devastating.
    It becomes harder to understand the link between the emotion & the feel ing of inadequacy or ‘fatness’ that the eating disorder serves / served ..

    • Hi Daisy, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and your heart on this. You’re so right — that suppression, or “bottling up” as I used to say — of emotions manifests in such devastating ways. That’s a really great point. Prayers for all those suffering! Hugs and love xox

  35. You spoke about this with a lot of love and compassion. It helped me see it from a different perspective. I pray for people who are suffering this way, and hope and pray they find true peace and love in Jesus. Blessings, sister.

    • Hi Ryan, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad this brought about a new perspective for you. yes – i will absolutely join you in that important prayer! Hugs and love xox

  36. Hey Carolyn,

    Your post is great and I like how you go down a different path than a lot of others in dealing with this subject. From your blog I know that you’re authentic in your love for these people. And the way you put forth the question about what exactly it means to love others through sharing your testimony helps people find the right answer.
    We need more people in our society who love others in much the same way your parents did you. They stuck it out and made the hard choices that were also the right ones.
    It is definitely a sorrow that our society has reduced people from being complex people with personality to being just a list of choices. If anything each person is the most complicated ven-diagram to ever exist as it expands with each day that passes or becomes more detailed.

    -Zachary

    • Hi Zachary, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right – sometimes tough love is the best way to love someone. I am so grateful for my parents, and their unwavering love and support, even when it was hard, and pushed them to the brink. They are amazing people. And that’s so true – that reduction in humanness, is heartbreaking. thanks again for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  37. First of all let me say good for you for finding your way out of the darkness! I don’t know you but, I’m so proud of you for staying strong!

    Also, don’t worry about cancel culture. I come here to write whatever is inside my head. I know that some of my posts can be controversial or maybe even triggering. But, I truly feel more people need to be “triggered”. It provokes thought & conversation which is always needed!

    I agree with you that there is way to much focus on minimizing yourself to 1 word. We are so much more than a pronoun or 1 specific identity. I wish more people would see how you see, the world would be a much better place! I wish more people had people surrounding them who truly loved them even when it’s hard. If I didn’t have people around me who truly loved me, I wouldn’t be alive today!

    • Hi Friend, thank you so much for sharing your heart. I agree — conversation is so needed, and opens the door for common ground and understanding! Amen – we are SO much more than a pronoun. Gosh, you’re kind to say that. And you’re right – I pray that too. We are lucky to have those people in our lives! Hugs and love xox

  38. I have also experienced body dismorphia. As a vertical sleeve gastronomy patient who has lost 180 pounds, I still see that morbidly obese woman in the mirror. It’s only when I look at side by side pictures that I realize how far I’ve come.

  39. Great post. I admire your courage for speaking out on this topic. Your perspective–writing as someone whose “self identity” (overweight person) did not line up with your physical reality (dangerously thin)–offered a different way to look at this.
    I just saw a statistic that 75% of Americans still believe there are only 2 genders. It’s sad that many of us are afraid to say that in 2022.

  40. As an incest survivor and spending my whole life in and out of treatment for an eating disorder and body dysmorphia, I now am an IFS trauma therapist which helps me counsel others who suffer as others do with identity. Most of my clients have had terrorizing childhoods and almost all suffered a breech in touch. Believing I was a lesbian for 12 years all through my 20’s was a natural reaction to my choices being stripped of me during development, causing suicidal thoughts and deep shame. It wasn’t until I was 32 that my sexual abuse surfaced that I was hospitalized for starvation. I wanted to be invisible and out of the way, a common feeling I got from my parents statements. My clients are predominately gender identity and eating disorder people who have been further demonized by church. What I have witnessed countless times, is my encouragement and love toward them, my prayers for them behind the scenes and my own story to trust God’s process of getting ahold of their hearts, right where it was ripped off, in childhood. Subconsciously we can live life on autopilot because the chaos on the home-front was our norm, but when Our Savior becomes greater than our pain we stop holding onto it to define us, but I did not remember what had happened to me until Jesus knew I couldn’t shove the truth anymore. It is possible for all victims of either spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse or neglect to overcome the tragedies we have lived and turn the course of our lives around even if we have altered ourselves permanently. I went to great lengths to change my outside world through mutilation and much of it began with my thoughts. Once I found a love greater than I had know in a relationship with Jesus, my crooked path of promiscuity and depression was made straight. My love/hate relationship with food still exists but I have seen the connection so many of us make to shame and guilt through both sexual and physical appetite’s. Ministering to the broken spirit of a human soul allows the Holy Spirit to be counselor in those past memories where shame is held in secrecy. This is a topic I have written countless entries on and it is my hope for the passion of Christ to love these people where they are at just as He did for me. It may just be that after all they have done to change themselves that they find the One who loves them just as they are because He has been in the moments of suffering which made them believe in something they are not. Rifts in identity are made and pain has a way of twisting us up on the inside. I trust that this is the era in which we will see more transgender and homosexual individuals come into the acknowledgement of their worth and self-love than any other time before and it will be beautiful. Thank you for sharing your heart too!

  41. The Pumkin8r once again turned a Halloween Horror into a delectable read. Give her a pumpkin, and witchcraft happens, in a good way.

    I live in a country where the crazy californication ideas sadly are taking root. Where a man won’t dare to be masculine, as the girls will call him out. Yes, they first kill their man, then go look for one too marry. As there are no men left since the feminist avalanche, the girls rather marry girls, leaving the guys with obsolete tech in the crotch. Just something to spray the garden with.

    The sad thing is that the feminists, in reality, are haters of their own gender first, trying to eradicate a most intricate Godly design. They try to turn women into men. They can try, if they have grown a pair. There is a reason why blazing fast Caster Semenya can never compete against Hussain Bolt on equal terms, despite the efforts of whimpy little girls from Europe to feed her pills to slow her down. Anti-female feminists at work, as per usual.

    I watched my wife give birth – twice. No man can do that, the bravest US Rangers would die on the spot. Who is going to give birth to our future generations? Silly Willy, perhaps?

    • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. Some powerful food for thought for sure. You’re right – child birth is such an incredible feat. Strong women indeed!! Hugs and love xox

  42. Amen!!! I know the feeling of fear/not wanting hut feelings it can be so crippling but as you said love is tuff sometimes. I got into a heated conversation with a pretty Close associate a few weeks ago. Because she claims to be Christian but is willfully sining. I politely told her it’s not pleasing to God’ and she threatened to fight me, cursed me out and told me if she goes to hell she goes to hell. It was hard at first but He took me to “if the world hates you remember it hated me first. ” I say that to say continue to push past fear. Jesus has your back!!!❤️

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