Transgenderism

Concerned Christian: My profession is promoting transgenderism and I don't know how to respond as a Christian. What should I think about this issue? Great question. Here are my thoughts on the subject:

The LGBTQ community believes that “sex and gender exist on a spectrum.”[1] They believe that “different gender identities and differences of gender expression are not pathologies.”[2] They believe that they are being discriminated against and deserve equal rights. The transgender issue is also known as gender dysphoria. “Transgender refers to people who believe their gender identity does not correspond to their biological sex.”[3] How should Christians understand this issue? Does the Bible have anything to say about gender dysphoria? How should Christians respond to those who identify as transgender? What are we to think about the Caitlyn Jenner’s of the world?

First, it must be said that Christians should always respond to all human beings with compassion. It is easy to vilify someone who is not like us. The Bible helps us see that our real enemy is Satan and his demonic minions (Eph 6:10-12; 2 Cor 10:3-4). 1 John 5:19 makes it clear that all non-Christians are under the control of the evil one; they are not the enemy. This does not mean that we should be silent concerning sin, but it does mean we should care about all human beings, no matter what they are struggling with. Before we do anything, we must check our attitude and make sure it reflects Christ’s love.

But what is the loving thing to do concerning the transgender issue? If gender exists on a spectrum, then we should accept transgender individuals without attempting to change them. But if it is a psychological disorder, a pathology, then we don’t help them by ignoring the problem. All people are broken in different ways; we all inherit a sinful nature from Adam (Rom 5:12-21). Galatians 6:1 makes it clear that we should seek to restore gently a person who is trapped in sin. The real question is “What does the Bible say about the transgender issue?” If it is sin or an abnormality due to the Fall, then we should seek healing/forgiveness for the person trapped in this way of life. If there is something seriously wrong with a person who suffers from gender dysphoria then silence and pretending like there is nothing wrong is not the loving thing to do. If someone is hurting themselves, then ignoring their actions is hateful not loving. If you knew someone was cutting themselves, you would not be loving them by pretending that they don’t have a problem. It would also be unloving to beat them up. Compassionately offering help and prayer is the right thing to do.

Second, it must be said that the Bible does speak on this issue. Genesis chapters 1-2 give us God’s ideal plan before the Fall. Genesis 1:27 states: “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Here we see that gender, male and female, was God’s idea in the beginning. Albert Mohler explains:

 

This means that an evangelical theology of the body begins with the normative understanding that every human being is born biologically assigned as male or female. That biological assignment is not a naturalistic accident, but a sign of God’s purpose for that individual human being to display his glory and aim for flourishing and obedience to that creative purpose.[4]

 

Any departure or digression from the simple plan of God in making humans male and female should be considered an aberration. All deviations from God’s original plan are harmful not helpful to human beings and society. Gender is not a socially constructed concept like the new sexual theorists argue; it is a trait we are born with by God’s design. Genesis 3 introduces the Fall; we are all broken because of this event and need help. It appears that transgenderism is a product of the Fall, an aberration from God’s original intention.

Transvestitism is also prohibited in the Bible in Deuteronomy 22:5. Some might say that this is a law under the Mosaic covenant and no longer applicable, but what was the principle behind the law? The principle seems to be that God wants us to identify with the gender we are assigned at birth.

The overarching principle of the Bible that we are to be good stewards of all that God puts us in charge of also pertains to taking care of our body (e.g. Luke 19:11-27; 1 Tim 4:8). John Hopkins University was the first American medical center to perform sex reassignment surgery in the 1960’s. They stopped performing the procedures in the 1970’s because they found that the surgeries had no psycho-social benefit. Amputating normal organs without any positive affect was deemed as unnecessary. People with sex-change operations were almost 20 times more likely to commit suicide than the overall population.[5] 70-80 percent of children who declare transgender feelings spontaneously lose those feelings later according to studies done at Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic.[6] By advocating transgenderism we are encouraging a life of needless pain. Transgenderism is bad for people.

We have seen what the Bible says, but natural law tells us the same thing. First, if the body and mind disagree and the body including the Y chromosome is functioning properly, then more than likely the mind is at fault, not the body. A young person’s identity—swarmed by hormones—is fragile and needs guidance, not more options. Transgender people “have the highest rates of suicide, substance abuse, and homelessness.”[7] Is this because of their treatment by society or because gender dysphoria is a pathology? Is the person fine but persecuted, or are they broken? Since there is a disconnect between mind and body and there is nothing wrong with the body, it would appear that the mind is broken and needs help.

Transgender seems to be anti-feminist. Can a man really know what it is like to be a woman? Is he simply confusing effeminate feelings with gender? For a man to say he knows what a woman feels like or for a woman to say she knows what a man feels like is patronizing nonsense. We should try to empathize with each other and care for each other, but a man will never know what it is like to be a woman, so he cannot possibly even know if he is female inside. When a person is so confused that he thinks he is a woman even though he has male parts, he needs serious psychological help; he doesn’t need to be told that he is right. If we really care for these people we will seek to help them, not encourage their deception. Transgenderism opens up Pandora’s box. Rachel Dolezal, former president of NAACP, claimed to be black even though she was white; was she being dishonest, or do my personal feelings make things true?

The transgender issue has taken the front page of our society. People who are sincere are upset with those who they feel are robbing the transgender community of its right to exist without being harassed by bigots and racists. Some people out of zeal for truth have spewed hatred on those they don’t understand; this is tragic. As Christians we are to love everyone, especially those who are hurting because of this broken world. The best help for the transgender community is to love them, befriend them, and share the truth in love with them. We do not help them by ignoring their brokenness and pretending there is nothing wrong. We also don’t help them by emitting anger and hatred on them. The real enemy is Satan; let’s attempt a rescue mission even if we get hurt and misunderstood in the process. Check your heart and reach out to those who will listen with the love and truth of the gospel.

God bless,

Pastor Larry

[1] “No Labels on the Table” Massage and Body Work, March/April 2017, 68.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Gospel Coalition.

[4] R. Albert Mohler Jr., We Cannot Be Silent (Nashville, Nelson Books: 2015), 107-108.

[5] “9 Things You Should Know About Transgenderism.” Current Events June 17, 2014. Based on a 2011 study at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “No Labels” 68.