Thursday, April 20, 2017

My Thoughts On Transgenderism

Here in Malaysia, we never go much into the issue of transgenderism, which refers to the people who identify themselves as the opposite gender of their biological sex which they were born in. This is mostly because of how religious this country is. Although not all Malaysians share the same belief, almost everyone still feels some kind of discomfort when it comes to transgender. Society has thought us that this is wrong since we can remember. It is very different from the western world here. There are things that are not normalized and not that I am saying that everything should be normalized but I think that this closes the door on actually understanding the root of the problem. I am all about being able to disagree on things but I am certainly not in favour on completely dismissing the issue.
Now when it comes to transgenderism, we tend to only touch on the tip of the iceberg about this issue. It is so easy for us to call names to these people like “Mak Nyah”, “pondan” or “tomboy” and then just move on with our lives. How long are we going to shun them and treat them as outcasts without actually trying to understand about what they are dealing with? I do not mean that we need to stop what we are doing and celebrate these people or calling them heroes which I see some are trying to do here. I am saying that we need to understand what they are going through which is why I chose to write about this issue.
I wanted to talk about this for so long but struggled on deciding if I should because of how controversial this may be but I am just going to say right now that transgenderism is a mental disorder. I am not trying to belittle transgender people it literally is a mental disorder. This disorder is called “gender dysphoria” which is listed in DSM-5, a leading source of academic information about mental disorders. According to Google definition, it is the condition of feeling one’s emotional and psychological identity as male or female to be opposite to one’s biological sex. This is what some referred to as “being trapped in the wrong body”. What I would like to focus on here is the word “dysphoria” which is a feeling of dissatisfaction, anxiety and restlessness. It explains that people who have this disorder are really suffering. They can be extremely uncomfortable with their body and hate the way the look in the mirror wishing that they were never born that way. This leads to a high rate of suicide for transgender people which are estimated to be 41%. 
Does calling this as a mental disorder a free pass for us to use as a weapon to attack them? Of course not. Just like depression, social anxiety, claustrophobia or any other mental disorder, it is wrong to use them as a weapon for insulting them but it is also wrong to be hiding this fact out of political correctness. If we keep hiding this just because we do not want to offend some people, it will be a major disservice to people who are actually suffering from this. Calling this a mental disorder is not an insult. It is just a way of classifying things.
Touching on the subject of classifying things, since being a transgender has become a trend and seems to be glorified in this world, there are people starting to claim to be one without being diagnosed with dysphoria. They are not transgender. While people with gender dysphoria hate the way that they look and uncomfortable with their biological body, these people just easily think they are transgender by simply wearing a wig, putting on eyeliners, wearing different clothing style and voila! They are now trans and can demand on public bathroom rights! Some classify them as “transtrender” who just want to be one because of following the trend. I am not saying that I have all the right to classify people as transgender or transtender but it is very demeaning to people who actually suffer from it.
So far there are no known treatments. There are no pills you can take or any other cure. There are some who talk to psychiatrists about their disorder but it never really helps them in the long run. The only treatment that has a little bit of success in this is transitioning which can be faulty at times. It involves hormone treatments or surgical interventions to help the person resemble the opposite sex that they identify with. While some can be happy with it and move on with their lives, some can still have an extremely persistent dysphoria. Some may even have regrets later in life because transitioning has permanently sterilizes them. Transitioning may just be feeding into the disorder but I do understand that they might not be able to do anything else about it.
As a Christian, do I believe that transitioning is right? Well, no I do not. There are a lot of verses in the Bible that do not support living as a transgender. In Deuteronomy 22:5, it says “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” I firmly believe that cross-gender identification is a concern because it threatens to dishonour the creational order of male and female. However, since there is no known cure for gender dysphoria, we cannot just choose to condemn them but instead, give them the support that they need. We cannot cure them right now but we can create awareness about this disorder instead of trying to normalize or celebrating it and I pray that one day, the world will put aside the political correctness and really find a proper treatment. That is what Christians are called to do. Pray for the brokenness of the fallen world.

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