Transgenderism: Understanding the issue, answering the questions, and knowing how to respond in true love.
“Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.“ -Genesis 1:26-27
As I sat at my piano teacher’s house last May, waiting for my lesson, the cover to Time magazine’s latest issue caught my eye. The cover looked like blue subway tile with six rainbow-colored rolls of toilet paper hanging from the wall. The article that this picture was representing was entitled, The Battle of the Bathroom. I thought to myself, “Hmm, that sounds interesting,” and flipped through the pages to page thirty…
The LGBT agenda has been a major issue in America for many years now, but the T part of that – the transgender issue – has garnered significant attention since the Obama administration’s executive order on transgender bathrooms in schools. Today, I hope to help young people better understand the issue, answer some of the common questions that come up on the news or on social media, and offer a Biblical method for responding in true love to the continual death of morality in America. It is extremely important that Christian young people study and get a proper grasp of these things; now is the time for us to lead!
To begin, I’d like to lay out some basic information about transgender Americans, from the 1950’s to the present day.
As of 2012, only 3.4 percent of Americans identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, with less than half of one percent (0.3%) identifying as transgender, according to Wikipedia.
Many of the changes we have seen in America began in the 1950’s and 1960’s with the “sexual revolution,” when traditional, Christian definitions of marriage and gender were being challenged. Transgender stars such as Virginia Prince, Christine Jorgensen, and Alfred Kinsey began to have a public appearance. These people worked to bring a public light to the “needs” of transgender individuals, and published two different magazines, one called Transvestia: The Journal of the American Society for Equality in Dress and the other simply Transvestia. Also in the 1950’s, a movie was made called Glen or Glenda? which, though not widely appreciated, is considered a “plea for tolerance.”
Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s, more transgender people came on the scene, usually as actors or actresses, such as Holly Woodlawn. Since then, others have made a public appearance, such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox.
Rights: Racial Discrimination vs. the Sexual Revolution
“Trans people deserve something vital; they deserve your respect.”
Time magazine, in “Battle of the Bathroom,” says of transgender Americans, “For decades, they have lived, sometimes literally, in the shadows, the subject of taunts, the victims, disproportionately, of homelessness, violence, depression and suicide.” The author then goes on to compare this treatment to discrimination against African-Americans. Many today compare sex-segregated bathrooms to racial-segregated bathrooms. I can see how the similarities would appear quite clear; for example, according to Time, a 1957 Arkansas newspaper asked, “Will the white girls be forced to take their showers with Negro girls?” Similarly, people today are asking if transgender students will be allowed to use the bathroom assigned to the gender with which they identify. Many have become convinced that this is a civil rights issue; just another battle America must win in order to achieve true equality. As I’ve studied this issue, I believe that there is one major difference in the battle for “rights.” That difference can be summarized is one word: morality.
Morality: A Time for Choosing
Listen to the words of Fredrick Douglas, a courageous African-American man who was literally in the trenches of the battle for racial equality, and escaped from slavery in 1837 at the age of nineteen:
“I will unite with anyone to do right, and with no one to do wrong.”
With Douglas’ words in mind, this is my question for America: “What is right and wrong, and is anyone willing to stand up for what is right?”
In this modern age, people have accepted a relative definition of right and wrong. We have rejected God and His standard of morality. And, if we insist on rejecting His standards, we have no reason to punish evil or praise good. As one philosopher put it, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.”
Now, I am not saying that a transgender person cannot be a kind person, but the transgender lifestyle – and the other sexual perversions of today – are completely opposite of traditional moral guidelines. Transgender rights aren’t about what’s right.
On top of the immorality of the LGBT lifestyle, it is extremely dangerous to base any society on “feelings” or “identification.” If we continue to make exceptions to long-held beliefs and standards, where will it end? If someone can change from male to female, why can’t they change from human to animal? Or if a man can marry a man, why can’t a man marry three men or three women, or even an animal? If I can identify as Asian, what makes me Caucasian?
What makes me sixteen? If I “self-identity” as twenty-one, why can’t I own a firearm? After all, what’s on my birth certificate was just assigned to me. In the same way, just because someone “self-identifies” as a female, that cannot change their actual gender.
If there is not a moral standard, society will begin to crumble. I’m sixteen, because I was born in the year 2000, and someone is male or female, because they were made that way.
Kristen Clark of GirlDefined ministries writes the following in her article, Transgenderism: Is it Really Possible to Change Your Gender?
“God decided to handcraft humans that would personally reflect HIS image (Genesis 1:26). He wanted you and me to see a glimpse of who HE is through our distinct gender. The male and female were created to reflect different parts of the character, nature, and image of God… God gave us an extremely detailed account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 because He wanted to clearly show us what He created and why.
Gender isn’t a random identity given to us by “nature.”
It isn’t an identity based on how we feel about ourselves. Gender is an identity assigned to us from the beginning of time by the God of the universe. It’s an identity given to us on purpose and for a purpose. Before you were born, the eternal God had a plan for your life; and that plan is built upon your God-given gender identity (Psalm 139:13-14).
God is our Creator. He is the final authority. He defines who we are, not the other way around.
No matter how many surgeries a person gets, how much makeup they wear, and how much they change their clothes, they cannot change who God created them to be.
A man born a male will always be a male, no matter what he does to his body. A woman born a female will always be a female, no matter what she does to her body.
Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital agrees. He stated, “People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women.”
As Christians, it’s time to choose who we represent and what we will stand for. I challenge Christians in America with Joshua’s challenge to the Israelites. Joshua 24 says,
“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth… If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
How do we respond?
“Jesus loves all people, but He does not love all ideas.”
The LGBT movement has often called those who stand up for what they believe hateful things such as “intolerant” and “unloving.” We need to reevaluate our understanding of love. Jesus gives us a wonderful representation of how love forgives and requires change at the same time. Love doesn’t necessarily accept every behavior, but is loving enough to show the truth.
In their book One Man & One Woman: Marriage and Same-sex Relations, Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley help us understand more about God’s love.
“God commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lev. 19:18), and does not exclude any category of human beings from that love, including those who are evil and those who hate us (Matt. 5:44-48). Yet love is not our only rule, for God teaches us what love means through the many commandments of His Word (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2). The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are inspired of God and sufficient to guide us in all matters of faith and obedience (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Gender, healthy sexuality, and marriage are not defined by humanity, but by the Creator to whom we must submit…”
In the eighth chapter of John, we find the account of Jesus’ interaction with the woman caught in adultery. The Pharisees, knowing that, according to the Mosaic law, she should be stoned, bring her to Jesus to see His reaction. Jesus asks for whichever Pharisee that is without sin to “cast the first stone,” and one by one, they leave the scene; only Jesus and the woman remain. Jesus then turns to the woman to ask if anyone condemned her. She replies, “No man, Lord.” Jesus then does something amazing. He says to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”
It’s incredible! Jesus extends grace and forgives her, but doesn’t accept the behavior, and tells her, “Sin no more.”
Again, in their book, Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley point out how God loves the worst of us.
“In His sovereign, electing love, God loves sinners of all kids… He forgives and changes those whom He saves so that they have a new identity in Christ as saints sanctified to God by His amazing grace (1 Cor, 1:2, 30; 6:11).”
Similarly, we can, and must, extend grace by “speaking the truth in love,” truth that sets men free!
“I didn’t want to be a boy. I kind of wanted to be nothing. I don’t relate to what people would say defines a girl or a boy, and I think that’s what I had to understand: being a girl isn’t what I hate, it’s the box that I get put into.”
Those are the words of Miley Cyrus, a singer and former Disney channel star. When I hear things like this, I have had the tendency to just roll my eyes and say “Oh, please.” But I have been convicted about this type of response, and I am reminded to think about her soul. This young woman is obviously searching, trying to find the missing piece by changing – or maybe just ignoring – her gender. But the truth is, God does not make mistakes, and He is willing to reveal His truth to her.
Christians must respond to transgenderism in God’s love. We should be willing to call sin for what it is, but also offer the solution to sin – Jesus Christ!
The church has an extremely important role in the world. We are the representation of Jesus Christ to this world, and we must be willing to stand up for what’s right. Notable individuals have recognized the influence of the church in the presence of evil. These are the words of Albert Einstein:
“Being a lover of freedom, when the (Nazi) revolution came I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities took refuge in silence.
Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers, whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their live of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks.
I then addressed myself to the authors, to those who had passed themselves off as the intellectual guides of Germany, and among whom was frequently discussed the question of freedom and its place in modern life. They are, in turn, very dumb.
Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler’s campaign for suppressing the truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration for it because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.”
At times, we may find ourselves as the only one standing for truth, but that doesn’t change the truth. So, in a world where everyone is looking for their purpose and identity, Christians have a wonderful opportunity to show love, and lead the lost to the arms of Jesus Christ!
“Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
Stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you,
Ye dare not trust your own;
Put on the gospel armor,
Each piece put on with prayer,
Where duty calls, or danger,
Be never wanting there.”
“Glen or Glenda”
And I recommend you also read:
When A Nation Forgets God: 7 Lessons We Must Learn From Nazi Germany – Erwin Lutzer
Glen or Glenda: