Hormones and Gender Identity

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I read an interesting article today on CNN linking ibuprofen use to infertility in men. Ibuprofen has already been linked to affecting the testicles of babies in utero, so further studies have begun to reveal what could happen in male adults. For example, an athlete using ibuprofen regularly for 14 days developed compensated hypogonadism: a hormonal imbalance resulting in low testosterone and associated with impaired fertility, depression, and heart disease.

Since most drugs are not tested for their effect on male fertility before hitting the market, there are many unknowns regarding what drugs may be impairing fertility. We have already recognized that BPA, a common additive in plastics, mimics estrogen and disrupts the endocrine system. We are now also seeing synthetic estrogen – taken by women in birth control pills - finding its way into our water systems, and treatment plants aren’t designed to filter out synthetic hormones.

The question I want to pose, then, is how is this affecting us societally?

What if our men are not only experiencing low testosterone through medication, but also an increase in estrogen through water and plastics? Is this just contributing to lowered fertility, or could this be a factor in gender identity confusion? Take, for example, Bruce Jenner, an Olympic athlete who likely is no stranger to drugs like ibuprofen. Add to that the psychological toll of several failed marriages, a camera crew in your personal life and the family dynamics of the Kardashians, and perhaps there are underlying reasons why he feels more like identifying as a woman?

I am not a scientist, I am purely pondering out loud here, but I wonder if we can take a step back from gender identity right’s issues to look at other possible underlying causes, such as hormone issues. One thing we can be sure of, though, is that God created us to be a body and soul, so our physiology and psychology are interconnected. Sin disrupts that connection. God also created us male and female, to compliment each other and create families in the image of God.  And so if there is a break from God’s design, we need to discover the cause in order to heal it.

If we are rooted in God’s truth, the reality is: God created them male and female. I learned in biology that you either have xx or xy chromosomes, (barring a few abnormalities which are the exception, not the norm).  You need both of these chromosomes to come together to create a new person; to be fruitful and multiply.

But we have taken sex out of the context of being fruitful and used it primarily for enjoyment.

And then we took sex out of the equation to be fruitful and multiply by creating babies in a laboratory.

And now we have taken sex out of the equation of marriage, as you can marry whatever gender you wish or even “change” your own gender.

So what if contraception and other medications have also altered our hormone levels on a biological level to such a degree that we struggle with our identities?

I think it’s worth doing research into medical, biological, and hormonal implications of gender confusion. We have a body/soul union, and if our bodies are not working properly, it could affect how we feel. As for ibuprofen, "Larger clinical trials are warranted," the CNN article quotes. "This is timely work that should raise awareness of medication effects on men and potentially their offspring."

From the Chastity Project blog:

“Gender theories do not seek to unite and diversify human beings. Gender theories seek to break down the human person into a pile of parts that can be used and manipulated to please our every desire. It pits our bodies against our souls. Acceptance and love are its mantra, but in fact it does the complete opposite: encouraging us to reject our own selves.

We are destroying ourselves and our unique and particular dignity as men and women. We are crumbling the very foundation on which we are built.

I have no doubt that those who struggle to accept their identity as male or female experience very real pain. My heart breaks out of love, not pity, for them. We each are a beautiful and complex creation, and understanding ourselves is a great mystery that we will spend our entire lifetime trying to discover. It’s ok to ask someone for help with this. This is what we are supposed to do for one another: help one another discover truth so as to flourish and become the persons we were made to be. We need to be there for one another when times are hard and we are suffering. This is what authentic love is all about. Not rejection of another, but embracing them in all of their messiness, and helping one another to live a life of freedom from chaos and confusion.”

You can also read: I wished I was Born a Girl

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The Silence of Love

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When I was in college, I had friends that began dating their freshman year. I remember passing them in the hallway between classes our junior year. They were right in the middle of the hallway, just staring into each other’s eyes. I stopped to talk to a friend, and then passed by this couple again five minutes later to get to class.  They were still staring into each other’s eyes, not saying a word. It was so striking to me that I remember it a dozen years later. At that time, it made me feel uncomfortable to think of staring another person in the eyes so close for that long, but perhaps it’s because I had never been in love yet.

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The Silent Night of Bethlehem

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“Silent Night” has never been one of my favorite Christmas carols, but this year I think I’ve changed my tune. I’ve been meditating on silence this Advent, ever since I started reading “The Power of Silence” by Robert Cardinal Sarah.

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A Follow Up On Prayer

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Prayer: Appointment with God Part 1
Prayer: Appointment with God Part 2

I was hesitant to write on prayer for fear of feeling like a hypocrite. Truth be told, I do feel like one. You see, my prayer life is not terribly consistent or so amazing that I can tell you confidently that I am great at praying. I struggle to make the time for prayer and to tell the Lord that He is first in my life. Lately I can feel the wrestling deep within my soul: spend time in quiet prayer or scroll through my phone or watch a show? Sometimes, the show wins out. And sometimes, I am able to carve out space in my day for quiet prayer. What this means is that I’m trying. And I’m honest with the Lord about how hard it is sometimes, and I tell him that I’ll keep on trying.

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Prayer: An Appointment With God Part 2

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Now that you have a place set aside for prayer, a time for your appointment, and you know whom you are meeting, let’s talk about what to do next. Remember, Jesus is our model for prayer, and he taught us to pray saying, “Our Father, who art in heaven…” So let’s take the Our Father step by step to walk us through our prayer time.

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The Most Loving Thing For My Family

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A question I often ask myself when discerning big life decisions is, “What is the most loving thing for my family?” Over the last few years, sometimes the answer has been a part time job here or there to bring in money. Other times the answer has been to stay home and focus on raising our kids. Sometimes the most loving thing is to support my husband’s dreams, and sometimes it’s advocating for something important to me or the kids. Asking what the most loving thing is has even led us to homeschooling this year, and to transitioning my husband’s business to be home more often.

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Making An Appointment with God Part 1

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Something I’ve discovered in my work in ministry is that many Catholics don’t really know how to pray. They may be able to pass a test about doctrine, but are lacking when it comes knowing Christ personally. You can memorize your prayers and go to Mass on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean that you really have a relationship with the Lord. For many, it’s likely that you really haven’t been shown how to pray.

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The Nature of Worship

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Human beings have always been fascinated by nature. Since we first started painting on cave walls, we’ve seen the beauty and wonder of the world around us, and we’ve wanted to understand it, tame it, take it in. We are curious creatures. After all, you don’t see a lion mourning for the lost beauty of a slain gazelle. You don’t see birds marveling at the loveliness of a sunset. If, then, we are created in the image of God, can you not imagine what sense of wonder He has for all He’s made?

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From mouths of babies

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There are two methods of evangelization. One where you’re trying, and one where you’re living. Both can be valid and effective to varying degrees. Let’s focus on the second one for a moment. Children are experts, here. When you are very young, you don’t really care about offending people. You say what’s in your heart without any of the barriers that prevent adults from doing the same. The following story is an example of what can happen when you share your faith in all honesty and innocence.

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Lack of charm

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I’m not going to mention the usual Halloween stuff which surrounds us this time of year. Indeed I highly reccommend reading this on just how bad things have got in our culture around the ghoulish.

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