Thursday, July 21, 2016

Identity Crisis

When I was pregnant with Baby 5, I remember my four biggest kids discussing if the baby was a boy or girl.  I told them they had to wait until the baby was born to find out.  My three year old daughter piped up and said "That's right!  If the baby is bald, it's a boy.  But if the baby has long hair, it's a girl!"  We smiled at her innocence and left it at that.  He was born a bald boy, so it all worked out in the end :)

On Friday, I posted a quick little comment thinking about how we know this baby in utero is a boy based only on his biological boy parts scanned by an ultrasound technician.  "Oh, he's definitely a boy" she assured us even though I was pretty certain this bambino was going to be a girl.  We didn't even think to question her judgment.  It was plain as day on the screen that he was, no IS, indeed a boy.



Yet, I am left to wonder, why is it that once those babies are born and grow up, it's not so simple?  Why is there now a disparity between sex organs and one's gender?  What used to be so black and white is now all shades of gray.  We've always taught our kids since they were little that you "get what you get, and you don't get upset" when it comes to playing the hand they've been dealt.  But now the world is trying to tell them that the most basic issue in our life: our gender, is questionable, is changeable?  How did we get here?  Has nobody read the Emperor's New Clothes?  He's naked people!


Don't get me wrong, I truly feel so badly with anyone who struggles with this issue in their life.  A boy who thinks he should have been a girl or a girl who identifies as a male...but that doesn't mean we need to change our definitions of male and female identity.  We need to help these people who feel at war with their bodies.  Offer them counseling, prayer, medications, anything to help them mentally and emotionally accept their state in life.  Because their struggle is a mental disease.  And to proclaim their mental anguish as a heroic testament to the human race isn't fair to anyone.


If we allow people to look down at their bodies and decide they were created "wrong" and allow them to identify as another gender, then we have to be okay with allowing anyone to identify as anything whenever they want.  Are we ready for that?  Consider the following:

When I am in need of some time off from work, can I identify as a 67 year old woman and qualify for retirement benefits?


When my kids apply to college, can they identify as minorities/geniuses/star athletes to obtain more scholarship money?

When my doctor says I am obese, can I identify as a 6'9" tall man who is actually underweight?

When my baby won't stop crying at night, can I identify as a college girl and pack up and head for a semester abroad in Europe?

When my husband forgets to pick up his dirty socks in the bathroom again, can I identify as an unmarried woman and find a new spouse?

When there are no close parking spaces at the mall, can I identify as handicapped to scoop up the last remaining spot by the door?

When I love my pet dog, I mean really just think he is the love of my life, can I marry him?  Love is love, right?



Why can't I choose to identify as a different person with a  different lifestyle when that is exactly what is being pushed through our culture right now.  It seems crazy, right?  But how can anyone judge me for wanting to be a completely different person than what I was born to be when I'm not allowed to judge them for doing the same?  When does identifying as somebody or something we are clearly not become a lie and not just a life choice?  When did coming out with a different identity earn a person accolades for being "brave" and "heroic"?  How do we stop the madness yet still be compassionate and kind to all those suffering?  


34 comments:

  1. I cannot wrap my brain around someone wanting to change their gender. It shows an incredible amount of lack of faith and is a big slap in God's face. I very much worry about the influences our children are going to have to face in our world.

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  2. Great questions! Great post! Amen!

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  3. I can't even properly articulate my feelings on this topic because it is so absurd to me. I totally agree that it is a mental disease.

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  4. AnonymousJuly 21, 2016

    I'm a big fan of your blog, but this post saddens me. It is hatred and bigotry disguised as logistics. Marrying a dog?! Really?!

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    1. Its not hatred and bigotry, it's concern for all these suffering humans who are applauded instead of treated. Why is marrying a dog not acceptable if I can choose whom I love? Is it because it's an animal? How about if I want to marry my brother? And he wants to marry me too, is that ok? Love between two consenting adults? This is my point, once we change definitions and allow people to do whatever feels good, no judgement allowed, then there will no longer be boundaries for anything. Where's the line? Who decides it?

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    2. Amen Colleen.
      Our culture is confusing our youth so unnecessarily...it is so very sad

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  5. Great post. Much of what you said here echoes conversations we've been having in our family lately. It really is crazy--and those poor people who struggle over this need to be helped, as you said, not given accolades. I often ask myself what the world is coming to, and fear for my grandchildren's future...but then I tell myself that they will be among the voices that will rise up and stop the madness.

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  6. I agree Colleen. This world would have you believe you have a very narrow-minded viewpoint, when in actuality, you are seeing the big picture---God, and his divine plan. Like in the Bible, "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you", and how about... "I know the plans I have for you", and my personal favorite, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight".
    We must show everyone mercy, no doubt; but as a wise priest recently pointed out, mercy is not the acceptance of sin. That's where we go wrong.
    Great post.

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  7. I love this as well! I couldn't have said it any better.

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  8. AnonymousJuly 21, 2016

    Bigotry no matter how you dress it up is undefensible and morally wrong .. Marry a dog, so is that what you equate gay marriage too, wow that's disgusting.
    I have always liked your blog, today not so much. I don't think I will be following you any more either.
    Saffron in the UK

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    1. I never said gay marriage = bestiality, but why can you say bestiality is disgusting if that's what makes someone feel loved and happy? My point is that once we allow certain things, the sky is the limit. It's close minded of me to not agree with gay marriage but it's ok if you wont accept bestiality? Why?

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    2. AnonymousJuly 22, 2016

      But you implied that Gay marriage = Bestiality when you wrote
      'When I love my pet dog, I mean really just think he is the love of my life, can I marry him? Love is love, right?'
      and then posting directly below this statement, with the well known LGBTQ quote
      'As long as you are happy does it matter who you fall in love with?'
      Therefore you did imply that Marriage of an adult human to a dog and marriage between 2 Gay people are the same.

      I did not say that Bestiality is acceptable, I did say that it was wrong to compare bestiality and gay love,
      Bestiality is Animal Cruelty because it is not between two consenting creatures with equal reasoning skills, (whether they were adults or not) who both have the capacity to make the decision of copulation or marriage equally, oh and both have the ability to sign their marriage licence.
      Gay Marriage, is between two consenting adults, who make their decision of their own free will and who have the ability to sign a marriage licence.

      Were you never taught to treat others how you wish to be treated, to show others respect and tolerance like you wish for them to respect and tolerate you. I was.
      Saffron in the UK

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    3. The whole point of this post was to say that if we are allowed to change our gender, then where is the world going from here? If you don't think this is the door opening to so many other ways of life that might seem "disgusting" to you now, but will one day be accepted and praised because it's what a person wants, then I think you're in for a shock. We are going down a slippery slope when we redefine marriage and gender to be what people want instead of what it is. I used the animal point to raise the issue to the next crazy level. Of course it's absurd for a human and a dog to get marries, and we seem to agree on that. But what about two consenting adults who are siblings? First cousins? Already married to other people? Have an age difference of 70 years? I'm honestly asking these questions. How can we say a man marrying a man is ok but not if they are brothers, that's gross! I just don't see how anyone can judge anyone for whom they love if they agree with that LGBT quote I used.

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  9. AnonymousJuly 21, 2016

    Colleen...I say this in love. Would you say what you have written here, word for word, to a gay or transgender person? Do you actually know any gay or transgender people, I mean actually know, and not just judge from afar? Is this what you would say to one of your children if he or she came out to you? What is most hurtful, and hateful, is that your comparisons to the situation of a transgender person are all about seeking personal gain or avoiding responsibilities. I don't think that's what you really think of gay and transgender people. I think you are angry at something called "liberal America," which is not a thing, but a body of people who act in ways you disagree with not to personally hurt or offend you, but out of compassion for other people who are persecuted. Do you know how many gay and transgender people are beaten, killed, or commit suicide each year precisely because of the kind of hate speech you are casually tossing out on your blog? To suggest that they choose their lifestyle as a means to personal gain or convenience is beyond offensive. Is this what Jesus would say to those people? I don't think so, and I say this as a fellow straight Catholic. I think you know this too, and I think you are uncomfortable with your own vitriol, since you changed the title of this post from "Identify the Lies" to "Identity Crisis." You are, of course, entitled to your own convictions. But please, listen to your conscience, and do not say hateful things like this in the name of Jesus. I debated whether I should even post this, as I really think most dialogue about politics and religion online is pointless, but I truly believe that one of the biggest problems in our country, and in our world, is that we hate what we do not understand. The more we treat each other with love, compassion, and respect (in spite of differing convictions), the better off we'll be, and the more Christlike. This is not about convictions. This is about kindness. -Kathy

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    1. Kathy, I read your comment in the charity and love intended. I did change the title of my post because I don't think people who are having an identity crisis are lying on purpose, I think they are suffering, even though in the end what they are saying is a lie, i.e., I have male anatomy but I am a female. That's why I changed the title, so as not to accuse anyone of purposefully lying or deceiving society. And you're right, I am mad at liberal America and the ideas being accepted and taught to children so they will be raised thinking the truths and beauties of our faith are hateful and judgemental.


      To ask me if I would state my opinion on my blog in exactly the same way as if I would speak to a transgender person is a little offensive. Of course I want to be kind and compassionate in a conversation with anyone. There are plenty of times when I might complain about pregnancy on the blog, but would never complain about it to my friend who just had four miscarriages.

      As for saying things in the name of Jesus, where did I write that? But Jesus did say to sin no more and follow him. He was compassionate and forgave sins while at the same time calling people on to be better and stop their sinful ways. He loves us in spite of our failings and sins, not because of them.

      Of course I know people who are gay, don't we all? And while o don't agree with their lifestyle, I still love them. I don't agree with the actions of many of my catholic friends who are contraceptive, divorced and remarried, abusing drugs/alcohol, etc. but I am not them, they can make their own choices and they know where I stand.

      What I really disagree with is the idea that being kind means I can't voice my own opinion. Or that saying, hey lets get people the help they need isn't kind. Why do people who preach love, compassion, and tolerance not tolerate any conservative viewpoints? Is that kind?

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    2. AnonymousJuly 22, 2016

      Hi Colleen, thank you so much for your thoughtful and gracious response. It is my great hope that we can learn from each other. It is so frightening how difficult it is for people of differing opinions to actually carry on a respectful conversation these days. I think people on both sides of any issue can agree on that!

      I do understand your reasoning about changing your title, but...the insinuation is still there. To compare what transgender people suffer with the examples you gave is a sign of your great privilege: you do not know what it is like to lose your family, your home, possibly even your life, because you are not at home in your own body. I don't know what it is like either, but I have read their stories and have great compassion for them. I am not saying that you don't (not at all!), but the tone of your post practically screams otherwise.

      I was dumbfounded that you were offended by my question. Isn't publicly saying or insinuating something about an entire group of people that you would never say to their faces...the definition of unkindness? My goodness, I strive to never say (or certainly publish) anything about anyone that I would not say to their face. Imagine that you met a transgendered person. Imagine that they came to your church, met your lovely family, and came to dinner. Then imagine that they discovered your blog and read this post. Would that not destroy your friendship?

      I understand what you are saying about pregnancy, but it's a disingenuous point, and I think you know that. Imagine you did complain about morning sickness on your blog (and heaven knows it's worth complaining about!) and then a friend who had suffered a miscarriage read it. Might she be hurt? Possibly. But would it end your friendship? No. Because you did not flippantly insinuate that her suffering was her fault, the result of a desire to shirk responsibility or seek personal gain. That is the difference.

      Now let's imagine that you have friends who read your blog who are divorced and remarried, or who contracept. Would you write a post condemning all such people as hypocrites and liars? I don't think so. No matter what your convictions are, you can separate them from your love and compassion for these people, or at least pragmatically you understand that the only way to sway their hearts is to love them and speak to them with compassion.

      What concerns me more, here and globally, is the reduction of an entire population of people (and a frequently mistreated minority, at that) to a demonized other. To demonize is to dehumanize. The more we dehumanize others, the easier it is to disregard them. To think less of them. To mistreat them. To kill them. I am not accusing you of all these things (certainly not!!), but that is where this rhetoric leads. To hate and to violence. Even just thinking of the terrible violence in the past few weeks, is it not the common thread? That the "other" people are bad and deserve to die?

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    3. AnonymousJuly 22, 2016

      You are worried about the world your children will grow up in, and so am I. I am a mother too, and there is no stronger instinct than to protect our precious ones. I am less worried, however, about what my children are taught about sex and gender than am I worried about how they are taught to treat others, especially those who are different. In the community where I used to live, a transgender child who fell asleep on the bus home from school was lit on fire (LIT ON FIRE) for being transgender. My beloved professor was beaten black and blue in broad daylight outside a restaurant for being gay. And it is this kind of hateful rhetoric that leads children to grow up and perform such hateful acts.
      Rather than positioning our children to view the world as "us vs. them," I would much rather teach them to treat all with compassion and to seek common ground.

      Now, of course, you are entitled to your own opinions, and I respect your right to hold them and speak them. But you are not entitled to hurt other people, and that is what you are doing here. You are free to voice your own opinion, and I am free to inform you that it is hateful. I am free to voice my own opinion, and you are free to disagree. To answer your question, yes, you CAN both be kind and have an opinion. You can do that by stating your opinion KINDLY. When you reduce the suffering of an entire group of people to a disembodied "issue," you are not being kind. I think you know that. People who preach love, compassion, and tolerance do not tolerate viewpoints that are...intolerant. Because they are the opposite of love, compassion, and tolerance. It's very simple. Why do conservatives who preach love and compassion not tolerate liberal viewpoints of...compassion? You tell me. (It is true, I do admit, that I am intolerant of intolerance, especially intolerance of groups who are already so marginalized and mistreated, Bit of a David and Goliath situation that triggers all my love of divine justice. I don't reject intolerance for any rhetorical reason. I reject it because it is unkind. I do not reject YOU. I reject your unkind statements. This does not change my love and respect for you as a person.)

      Finally, you did not say anywhere that you speak for Jesus. But we all do, all of us Christians, all the time. We are His hands and feet. If we do not love, who will? Is that not where we should always, always, always start?

      Colleen, I am so sorry, I have written you a whole novel. I apologize for that. But thank you for writing back to me and challenging me to articulate my positions. Please forgive me if I have stated any of them too strongly. I write, again, in love. -Kathy

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    4. AnonymousJuly 22, 2016

      I don't speak for Colleen, Kathy. But I'm amazed that you have criticized Colleen for being unkind and full of hate when your response is nothing but harsh and unkind. You shred a pregnant woman to pieces for sharing her point of view...and Colleen isn't encouraging people to attack or hurt gay people (not that you are saying she is, but you are saying she's being hateful)! She is stating that she's afraid where our society is going, which is a pretty nonviolent route. I don't mean to attack you either. But I just wanted to point out the irony.

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    5. Kathy - Do you have a Catholic radio channel you could listen to sometimes?
      You should tune in...they talk about this issue from the stand point of the church. Do you believe you are wiser than the Magisterium of the Holy Church? (I'm assuming your are Catholic.) If so, that would be the sin of pride. I struggle with NFP teachings, but I know the church is right and I am wrong...they are my sins.

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    6. AnonymousJuly 27, 2016

      Hi Katie, thank you for your comment. I'm not going to type a full response because my last comment was not published. The owner of a blog has every right to decide to what will be published, and I respect that. I guess I have to fall back on my original instinct, which is that the internet really isn't the place for this kind of conversation. I can say too that I have felt terribly sad about it all week. I don't want to live in a hateful world, and I don't want to contribute to it. I am truly sorry if I have stated my feelings in a hurtful way. I don't think there is anything left to say except that I wish you the very best, and I wish we could have this conversation over coffee and not at keyboards. In any case, my love to you. -Kathy

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  10. I live this post and am so very grateful that I follow your blog. Thank you for speaking, we need more people like you and your family in this world. May God Bless you all.

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  11. Good post.. and very brave for posting it and reading all the comments and answering them too.

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  12. Do you honestly think that a gay person wants to be gay? Do you really think that a transgender wants to be transgender? Who in the world would put themselves out there as different? Is it so hard to believe that a mistake in gender does occur at birth...and that people are born gay..and that we cannot simply pray and it will all go away? Seriously? I have a gay brother and he has said to me many times..."Do you really think I want to be gay?" It's not a choice...people are born that way and no amount of praying or counseling or medication is gonna change that. The world is not all black and white and it never has been. What would you do if one of your children "came out" to you one day..either as gay or transgender? Is that the fear you are living with...that one of your children may be "different"? You seem to spend an awful lot of time and energy on this issue. What will be will be...and I hope that if one of your children does tell you that they are "different" I hope you will be able to open your heart and mind in acceptance. By the way...most gay and transgender people that I know...don't have to grow up and realize they are different...they know right away...at a fairly young age. If your one son already knows that he wants to be a priest when he grows up...how hard is it to understand that a child doesn't need to grow up and proclaim themselves gay or transgender...they kinda already know...

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    1. I am about to have my seventh child, and I'm sure they will all face struggles or make choices in their life that I won't agree with. I believe that a chaste life is a happy life, no matter what orientation a person is. Just because somebody is gay or straight or bisexual doesn't mean they are sinning. Acting on sexual desires in any unchaste way is the sin. If one of my children is gay or transgendered, you don't have to worry about me loving or accepting them. They are all unconditionally loved but that doesn't mean I will agree with their lifestyle or choices they make if they are living unchastely.

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  13. I try to love everyone that has kindness in their heart. I know gay/lesbians that are amazing parents and amazing spouses to each other. Jesus did not judge others and loved and accepted everyone - the criminals, the adulterers, the sinners.

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    1. Jen, I think both our hearts are in the right place here. Jesus did love and accept everyone, but not their sins. He tells them to get up and sin no more. Love the sinner, hate the sin. And Jesus, I believe, does indeed judge - we will all be judged by our actions at the time of our final judgement when we die. I think what people get confused about when they speak of judgement is that WE can never fully judge a person as WE do not know their situation/intent/medical diagnosis/etc. but we can judge their action. If someone murders a person in cold blood, I can say that action (murder) is wrong but I do not say that the person is evil and going to hell. Only God (and Jesus is God) can truly judge their soul. Likewise, we judge societies by it's actions, and ours is looking very sad, I think.

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  14. I think one thing with the transgender issue that gets lost in all this, is that there actually are people who have a medical discrepancy between their external genitalia and internal genitals or hormones, etc. I have no idea what percertage of trangendered individuals actually have some sort of medical condition/disorder, but I do think that it is imporant to acknowlege that for some individuals there may be an medical cause, that may or may not be diagnosed, depending on whether someone gets tested for these conditions.

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    1. Yes, great point! So let's get them the medical help they need.

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  15. Colleen, this is a great post. You bring up a lot of very interesting and thought provoking thoughts. And they should necessarily make us all think very hard. This world we live in is not so simple as "do whatever makes you happy"--it can't be, though that can be difficult to accept at times.

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  16. I just saw and read this post and I agree wholeheartedly with everything you wrote in this post. Good for you for speaking on such a controversial topic!

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  17. I wouldn't want to downplay the intent of people who struggle with gender dysphoria by giving examples that suggest they have some ulterior motive or are simply pretending to feel like the other gender to get some benefit. None of us fully understand the hormonal, chemical, emotional, and mental components that cause a person to feel like they don't match the body they were born with.

    Even though I believe your God-given sex is an essential part of your eternal identity, I also believe gender dysphoric people deserve compassion and words chosen carefully not to misrepresent the seriousness of the struggle they deal with. No one just wakes up in the morning and says, "I'm sick of waiting in long lines at the bathroom so I identify as male now."

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