Seeing all of the discussion about Lia Thomas, a male who has entered and won many female swimming events by claiming to be a woman, made me think about a question I got a few years ago when I gave an introductory talk on Theology of the Body to a group of high schoolers. I was asked an interesting and timely question: “What does God think of gay people?”
I told the group that regardless of sexual orientation, God loves all of His creatures equally. I also pointed out that for God’s love/grace to shine forth in our lives, we need to be receptive to receiving His love/grace, and the way we participate in God’s love is by following his commandments. God gave us commandments not to limit our happiness but to maximize our happiness, especially eternal happiness.
I think the same answer could be applied to those experiencing gender dysphoria, a subset of the mental disorder obsessive-compulsive disorder. God loves Lia Thomas and anyone experiencing gender identity issues, mental or physical health issues, and emotional or spiritual health issues. Again though, we are called to participate in God’s desire to grace us. His grace can only reach us if we agree to follow His word and let His grace shine through our lives.
But on a deeper societal level, I started thinking about some things regarding Lia that really bother me. While the media make it seem that everyone has gender dysphoria and needs to transition, the reality is that this true disorder affects hardly anyone. Traditionally it has affected young male children, most of whom grew out of this disorder or were successfully treated with mental health techniques without hormonal or surgical intervention. Now an increasing number of prepubertal and pubertal girls are experiencing this condition, mostly by being talked into it by their peers, teachers, doctors, counselors, parents, or social media. And again, most grow out of it on their own or with proper non-drug, non-surgical intervention.
But here’s what bothers me about Lia. Did you ever ask yourself the question, “Why is he calling himself a woman NOW, at this time?” And, “Why has he not transitioned all the way, including surgically?”
My own belief, and I could be wrong and certainly mean no judgement here, is that Lia has no intention of fully transitioning to a woman, and will likely stop hormone therapy once he wins the Olympics as a woman. My guess, and this is just a guess, is that Lia picked this time to claim to be a woman because he was losing races as a male swimmer and knew he would likely beat female swimmers. I mean think about it: couldn’t he wait another year or 2 and begin to transition after college if he really suffered from gender dysphoria. I know if I was suffering from gender dysphoria and wanted to transition (which as a Catholic I know is not a morally correct decision, but go with me on this,) I would devote ALL of my time to my condition and not worry about competing in collegiate sports, which would definitely turn my attention away from my desire to transition and to get the mental and physical help I might “need” or desire. Again, I could be totally wrong, and Lia might have very valid reasons for transitioning in the future rather than the present. And again, I mean no disrespect and apologize if I’m wrong, since gender dysphoria, while extremely rare, is still a painful mental disorder.
Still it’s bothersome that no one is asking these questions of someone who looks like and has the genitals of a man, exposing himself in front of female teammates in the locker room, and who supposedly is still attracted to women. Is his gender dysphoria a serious problem that requires immediate attention (which is what the media and “experts” tell us about children supposedly suffering from this condition,) or is his transitioning not a big deal and can wait for some future time? If this is true, how much suffering exists if we can put off needed medical procedures to end mental suffering? I don’t encourage speculation, but these questions are worth asking when we’re publicly told that people suffering from transgender issues are really suffering and need immediate treatment, and then see a prominent figure not getting that immediate, life-saving therapy.
Of course as Catholics, we should pray for Lia to find peace through the sacrifice of Jesus. We must ask the Holy Spirit to guide him to make the right moral choices, and to find comfort if he really does suffer from gender dysphoria (which as I said I’m questioning based upon the arguments I’ve made here.) And finally, we know that the devil is having a field day with our world which has turned away from God, attacking us at our very being of male and female.
This Lent, we read about how Yahweh allowed the Israelites to suffer based upon their decision to turn away from God. God is allowing our world to suffer now as well, be it abortion, the high rate of pornography and premarital sex/cohabitation, “gay marriage,” and the transgender movement. Only through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can we restore our relationship with our Lord, who always seeks our good and only wants to grace us with His Love.
Will we let God grace us, or will we continue to complain and turn away from Him as we walk in the desert of our choosing, desiring our sinful “comfortable” past ways? Will we trust God, go through the pain of bearing our crosses, and reach the promised land?