The Alaska Watchman’s reader comment sections are filled with back-and-forth dialogue between a host of folks who do not always see eye-to-eye. Earlier this week, a regular reader posted a particularly insightful comment explaining why the only truly compassionate response to someone suffering from gender dysphoria is to encourage them to embrace the reality of how they were created. Below is an excerpt from the comment, which was directed to a woman who believes we should affirm whatever gender identity people claim to have.

I can see you’re a compassionate person. Instead of seeing people who disagree with affirming a confused youth in their sense of themselves as being uncaring, I would encourage you to understand our concern comes from a place of love and an understanding that it is actually an evil to perpetrate a delusion held by someone with a body dysmorphism.

To underscore what I am saying, I will speak about an experience I had in college witnessing a friend struggling with another kind of body dysmorphism – anorexia. It would not have been loving for us to affirm her in this misguided sense of herself even as she was thoroughly convinced that her body was the lie, and her mind was the truth. Instead, we had to hold firm in the objective truth that she could not see and act as an anchor for her, as her mental illness threatened to destroy her.

She needed help, not affirmation. She needed counseling to deal with her anorexia and also to delve into trauma from her past that had triggered the body dysmorphism. She needed to heal a very fragile mind. It would not have been loving or kind for us to say, “Oh, yeah, I can see how hard you work to sweat off extra pounds by running for hours on the treadmill wearing two layers of sweatshirts. I can help you along that path by providing you with a down coat to wear over the top.”

Nor would it have been the loving thing to encourage her to continue to throw up any and all food she managed to allow herself to eat all in the pursuit of achieving the body that her brain told her she needed to have in order to be happy. It is not from fear, it is not from hate – it is from a place of love and compassion and recognizing the harm that can come from not holding firmly to a reality that needs to be accepted and cannot be changed.

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Watchman reader: Those suffering from ‘bodily dysmorphism’ need compassion, not perpetual delusion


  • DaveMaxwell says:

    Compassion has different looks! For example the picture at the beginning of this article is an individual leaning on another individual as if saying please take some of my burdens. Another look of compassion that I very much related to was during the film Sound of freedom. When the rescue of the little girl was about to be raped by the human monster, the rescuer confronts the wickedness and not only stops the rape but equally important is that he kills the perpetrator! COMPASSION on steroids! Our society needs to adjust the way we think!

    • Lucinda says:

      You should do some research into why the main guy Ballard is being sued by many women for sexual assault.

      • Anon says:

        Because that is how they role.
        If someone is on their radar, the gloves are off. Do whatever is necessary to discredit them.
        I’m sure you can figure out who “they” is

  • Elizabeth Henry says:

    Well said. I have also used the comparison of anorexia in discussions with friends over the gender dysphoria issue. It is a good comparison. Both struggle to accept themselves as God created them. Also with both there is an element of ‘social contagion’. Albeit I think more so with the gender dysphoria as a result of the push to normalize homosexuality, even promoting it as desirable, inadvertently or intentionally set up the ‘epidemic’ and societal distortion of gender dysphoria. Eating disorders did not have a weird civil rights and piggyback movement to force the populace to embrace eating disorders as a desired and acceptable lifestyle the way that has happened with gender dysphoria. Treating gender dysphoria is a conundrum as grossly confused bad politics are getting in the way of truly helping those that suffer.

    • That Guy says:

      As stated before – Body dysmorphia is an interoceptive disorder and not a classification for other types of disorders. Yes, anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphia are considered interoceptive disorders, so they are all in the same group. Further, body dysmorphia is not the same as gender dysphoria. For starters… Body dysmorphia doesn’t get better through any procedure being completed, while the standards of care for gender dysphoria do improve or see the symptoms of dysphoria decrease or go away. So, anorexia, body dysmorphia, etc, are not good comparisons with gender dysphoria.

      This is the exact reason why diagnosis of health conditions, physical or mental, should be done by a trained/licensed professional and not some random person on the web.

      • Douglas says:

        “while the standards of care for gender dysphoria do improve or see the symptoms of dysphoria decrease or go away.” Quite the vague statement THAT GUY right? If you mean the many current studies (and many many individuals coming out regretting trans medical procedures and feeling MORE suicidal now) indicating how horrible medical introduction of chemical, hormonal, and surgical procedures are for our youth…you are dead wrong. The list of irreversible damage to organs alone is outrageous, and the list of psych issues is growing quickly. Please tell me you do not support gender dysphoria treatment via the route of chemical, hormonal, and/or surgical!

  • Lucinda says:

    The LAST place those in the non hetero world would find comfort is the rabid Christian fundamentalists. Check the comments in the past on LGBT stories.

    • Douglas says:

      Wow Lucinda, you just confirmed what the Bible says in many places. You reject that which you truly do not understand and your intolerance shines brightly. “For consider, what have the philosopher, the writer and the critic of this world to show for all their wisdom? Has not God made the wisdom of this world look foolish? for it was after the world in its wisdom failed to know God, that he in his wisdom chose to save all who would believe by the “simple-mindedness” of the Gospel message. For the Jews ask for miraculous proofs and the Greeks an intellectual panacea, but all we preach is Christ crucified—a stumbling block to the Jews and sheer nonsense to the Gentiles, but for those who are called, whether Jews or Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. And this is really only natural, for God’s foolishness” is wiser than men, and his “weakness” is stronger than men.”

  • Phenex says:

    Bruh conflating anotexia with gender dysphoria is wild. Y’all conservatives really want to shove trans people back into the closet, what happened to being the freedom party?

    • Steven Chappell says:

      I don’t care where or what you do I do take position when you demand I think and act like you. That is the issue not wanting this back in the closet. In the end you will have to make peace with your decisions.

  • M says:

    Does God have compassion for the devil?

    • DaveMaxwell says:

      That’s deep!?! God is eternal! Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent! I s God love? Is God just? If yes, how can these attributes coexist? Don’t stop thinking and see where it leads you!

    • AK Mom says:

      I have no doubt God has compassion for those who have bought the Devil’s lies. The compassion is for those who need us to show them the light of truth and hold to reality. I have zero compassion for those pushing the nonsense and am pointing out the misguided compassion of “affirming” rather than the real compassion of standing firmly in the truth.

  • me says:

    Why are you so obsessed with trans people? Can conservatives try not scapegoating marginalized groups and mind their own business for five minutes?

  • V says:

    I recently met a new mother proudly holding her almost six month old baby. When asked if she had a boy or a girl, the mom replied, “I had a they/them.” I’m sharing this because it’s twisted and such that a mother would choose to groom an infant. And for what purpose?!

  • R L Waldron says:

    Teens lack “frontal lobe development” which affects the ability to realize the consequences of their actions. Thats why teens do stupid stuff… eating Tide pods. This knowledge is Lifespan Development 101, which is required for medical & psychological professionals. It’s disgusting so many “professionals” have ignored the #1 rule of health care: DO NO HARM!