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Mental Dysphoria
Alfred B. Davis
Posted: 29 April 2023

Recently, I had a two-hour conversation with a doctor who was fired from the hospital where he worked due to his refusal to engage in transgender procedures. He expressed his concern that we are endangering children through unproven, risky hormone therapies, puberty blockers, and irreversible surgeries. His words to me: "I am a doctor, not a butcher." As a biology major myself in college, I can understand the doctor's frustration with being forced to perform what are ultimately futile medical procedures that carry great risk of chronic infections, permanent disfigurement, and as yet unknown long-term adverse mental and physical side effects.

I say ultimately futile because no amount of hormonal treatment, puberty blockers, or surgical intervention can change the underlying genetic condition. All human beings possess, from the moment of conception, either an XX or an XY sex gene pair. XX is the female gene pair. XY is the male gene pair. It is a biological fact. No amount of hormonal treatment, puberty blockers, or surgical intervention can change that. Consequently, it makes no sense to drastically alter and maim healthy bodies to remedy what is essentially a mental, not physical, disorder called gender dysphoria. This also helps explain why children who undergo transgender procedures are 19 times more likely to commit suicide than those who do not and 85-95% of those who do not undergo transgender procedures eventually identify with their biological sex.

As a pastor I have been asked for guidance and advice in dealing with the frustration and confusion of parents and children affected by gender dysphoria. My advice is guided by the Bible's statement in Genesis 1:27, "So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Since, biology reflects this biblical truth by showing that we are all either genetically female (XX) or genetically male (XY), my understanding is that gender dysphoria is not a physical problem but a spiritual, mental, and/or emotional problem. Consequently, treatment should address the underlying spiritual, mental, and emotional problems causing gender dysphoria rather than seeking to maim or alter a healthy body or interfere with the natural physiological development that a child goes through during puberty.

So why is it that so many people insist on drastically altering or maiming otherwise healthy bodies of those suffering from gender dysphoria first? Wouldn't it make more sense to begin with looking at the underlying spiritual, mental and emotional issues causing gender dysphoria first instead?

Consider, for instance, a related disorder known as xenomelia or Body Identity Integrity Disorder (BIID). BIID generally involves an overwhelming desire to amputate a healthy limb or, more rarely, it involves a desire to be paralyzed, blind, or deaf. Those afflicted with BIID sometimes seek out doctors who are willing to amputate a healthy limb. If unable to find a willing doctor, they sometimes force the issue by damaging the unwanted limb severely enough so that it must be amputated. In extreme cases they may even attempt to remove the unwanted limb themselves.

Now, most people understand that an overwhelming desire to amputate a healthy limb is not normal. Consequently, counseling those with BIID to paralyze, bind, or immobilize healthy limbs to simulate their loss, let alone amputating them, is not generally the first approach. Instead, there is usually an attempt at discerning the underlying reasons causing the person to suffer from BIID. So why is the first approach to helping those suffering from gender dysphoria often to push them in the path of hormone therapy, puberty blockers, and the removal of healthy body parts rather than looking for the underlying reasons first? And why the insistence on circumventing parental authority while preventing, banning, or even making illegal efforts to provide counseling to determine and address the root causes of gender dysphoria instead?

It makes no sense, unless those pushing the transition agenda are suffering from a dysphoria of their own, a mental dysphoria. A mental dysphoria that, I believe, is caused by an underlying spiritual problem: the curse of sin.

In Romans 5:12, the Bible says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned," referring, of course, to Adam's sin in the Garden of Eden when he chose to disobey God and eat from the forbidden fruit. Genesis chapter 3 relates how Satan tempted Eve in the guise of a serpent, caused her to doubt God and His Word, and beguiled her into eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Eve then offered the fruit to Adam who willingly and deliberately chose to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit. In that moment he knew, for the first time, evil because he had sinned against God. Consequently, "sin entered into the world" and, a short time later, "death passed upon all men" when God placed a curse upon Adam and Eve and the entire world in Genesis 3:17-19:

"And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

According to Romans 8:22, the curse of Genesis 3 is ongoing and pervasive:

"For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now."

Sin and death are the obvious results of the curse. However, it is much more than just sin and death. It is the sorrow, toil, decay, and pain resulting in the degradation and decay of God's once perfect creation. The pain and difficulty of living in a fallen, cursed world results in a variety of spiritual, mental, and emotional problems as well as physical ailments, disabilities, and maladies. Consequently, gender dysphoria, as well as BIID and many other psychological disorders, are the natural result of the curse just as are physical disorders.

Likewise, mental dysphoria is a result of the curse. It is characterized by a rejection of knowledge and a rush to rash actions without fully understanding the consequences or dangers of those actions. Solomon wrote of this in Proverbs 19:2 saying, "Also, that the soul be without knowledge, it is not good; and he that hasteth with his feet sinneth." The result, given in verse 3, is that, "The foolishness of man perverteth his way: and his heart fretteth against the LORD."

With that in mind, it stands to reason that, just as we would not immediately pursue cutting off healthy body parts or interfering with their ability to function properly for those suffering with BIID, we should not immediately pursue cutting off healthy body parts or interfere with their ability to function properly for those suffering with gender dysphoria. We should endeavor, instead, to determine what the underlying spiritual, mental, and emotional problems causing gender dysphoria are. To do otherwise is mental dysphoria. And the treatment for that can only be found in God's Word:

"Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold. She is more precious than rubies: and all the things thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her. Length of days is in her right hand; and in her left hand riches and honour. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to them that lay hold upon her: and happy is every one that retaineth her. (Proverbs 3:13-18)"