Gender Theory and Loving Yourself

I’ve been reading a lot about gender lately, and more often than not, I find arguments supporting the person’s choice to identify as the “gender” they personally feel they are. I think we need to be careful about what we are saying when it comes to “gender” today. We walk a very fine line when we say that by allowing a person to be whatever “gender” they identify with we rid ourselves of gender stereotyping.

I beg to differ.

Does this not simply encourage more gender stereotyping? When we say that our personal experience indicates to us that we are a man or woman, what are we basing that upon? A person cannot truly understand what it means to be a woman if they don’t experience the specific things that make me a woman, which are the very things that make me different from a man: my anatomy, physiology, and even psychology. So when a person identifies as another gender, is it just that we are more attracted to the things that men or women typically are associated with in our society? And in saying we identify with those things, are we not encouraging the unfair stereotypes we so long to be rid of? Do we not see how backwards this is?

Absolutely love the things you love: pink, blue, cooking, trucks, etc. Those are things you like! They are good! But your preferences are not your identity. Your preferences do not determine your gender, because society doesn’t make us male or female—nature and biology do. We cannot choose which “gender” we are because of the things we are more attracted to. My love for pink and online shopping doesn’t determine that I am a woman: my anatomical make up demonstrates to me that I am one. Biology isn’t subjective.

By rejecting the way in which we were created—male and female—and celebrating that rejection, we as a society are not celebrating our differences, but rather we celebrate a rejection of the human person and who we were made to be. We actually do the opposite of encouraging one another to love ourselves. We tell people that it’s ok to not love the way they were made. We tell them it’s ok to reject who your body wants to express that it is. We separate the body from the soul, and when we do that, we actually become the very definition of death, and bring that to the world, rather than love, which brings life.

The complementarity of the masculine and the feminine brings life to the world. The objective truth and reality that those two things exist, and embracing that diversity, brings new life to this planet. Love and life cannot be separated. To reduce our bodies to something that we can manipulate and mutilate in order to match what our thoughts and feelings are is a dangerous line to walk. We make ourselves into objects to be used, rather than people to be loved. Altering the way we were made actually divides us from our very selves. We no longer know who we are.

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.

It is truth that frees us and brings us authentic peace of mind and heart, because it is only in knowing and accepting truth that we are able to see things clearly. Truth helps us to understand what we were made for, and in understanding that, we can become who we were made to be.

“When the freedom to be creative becomes the freedom to create oneself, then necessarily the Maker himself is denied and ultimately man too is stripped of his dignity as a creature of God, as the image of God at the core of his being.” – Benedict XVI



Ashley Ackerman is first and foremost a daughter of God, and after that she works for His glory as a high school religion teacher, campus minster, speaker, and blogger. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she earned her master’s degree in Theology. You can read more of Ashley’s blog posts by visiting her personal blog, “A Heart Made for Grace” where she shares her musings on all things Catholic.


  1. Ashley,

    Well said, I Pray my kids grow their faith as strong as yours every day….
    “God Bless you”, Pray for us and this world, Thank you for bringing more kids to him
    I would like to follow your writings

    By Glenn Landry | 5 years ago Reply
  2. So right on and loving article. Mindful thoughtfullness and so desperatly needed in todays world and must of been even back in Benedict’s time.

    By Chris | 5 years ago Reply
  3. I am agree with you at all. But how hard is for them understand that we are not judging them. But, we are trying to let them know the Truth that God want us happy and God’s way is the way.

    By Iliana | 5 years ago Reply
  4. Well written! Thank you!

    By Nataliya Poto | 5 years ago Reply
  5. Very beautiful post. I do not agree nor accept the gender ideology and your article offers a really beautiful, concise and concrete way of having the really difficult and messy conversation of gender ideology.

    By Mary | 5 years ago Reply
  6. Your writing is clear and beautiful. This article was both informative and a pleasure to read!

    By Mary McGee | 5 years ago Reply
  7. This post is OFFENSIVE, girl. Have like, a SINGLE conversation with a trans person before you write crap about them.

    By Anthony | 5 years ago Reply
    • Yes! Preach!! So many trans people don’t hate themselves, they just feel more comfortable as the other gender!

      By Mary Frances | 5 years ago Reply
    • Yes! Preach!! So many trans people don’t hate themselves, they just feel more comfortable as the other gender!

      By Mary Frances | 5 years ago Reply
  8. Thank you very much for your article. My mission as a religious starts by praying for the souls involved in the practice of the gender ideology, and also by trying to listen and have mercy. I’m not a judge of any body. Listening is the tool for letting the Holy Spirit inspire you and give a council to the one that need’s it. I’m praying for you, your family ando your souls. Please pray for my Vocation.

    By Jose Rangel | 5 years ago Reply
  9. Dear Ashley,

    I applaud your effort to tackle the complex concept of sexual identity in your blog, the simplistic viewpoint put forth that sexuality and self-identity are only about body parts is naive. The main objection is that your argument left out the science of brain/body chemistry: pheromones cause us to be attracted to others, but what if your anatomy and your hormonal chemistry don’t match? This can happen, and does; A sharp increase in homosexuality among male babies born in London during the bombings of WWII points out this idea: The pregnant women’s fear caused a hormonal change that affected the unborn while in development. That resulted in the anatomy and the internal chemistry of the baby being at odds. Sexuality and self-identity do include unseen factors. This is not evident in your article. The article says; “Gender theories seek to break down the human person into a pile and parts” that can be manipulated. To my mind, that is what you are saying to people — you are your body parts, not the whole of your experience of yourself.

    I have taught theology for over fifteen years and know that theology, uninformed by science, can be narrow, just remember what happened to Galileo. Instead of reading about gender perhaps it would be better to walk with someone who is trying to make sense of the disharmony they experience. God bless, and don’t stop learning!

    Ruth Cook
    Theology Teacher St. Labre Indian Catholic School

    By Ruth Cook | 5 years ago Reply
  10. Great article! We humans are never satisfied with who we are. We constantly want to change our hair color, change our jobs, change spouses, change the way we look. We are not loyal to ourselves, and yet we pretend to “Love ourselves on social media.” After making the change, we still feel unsatisfied. The devil confuses people, breaks marriages, and hurts us. We constantly question God. All we need to do is trust that God knows the best for us.

    By Tracy | 5 years ago Reply

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