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Transgenderism, transsexualism,
gender dysphoria, & gender identity

Comments on transsexuality
etc. by individual Christians

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Background:

Christianity Today, "a magazine of evangelical conviction" is the largest evangelical Christian magazine in the U.S. and probably the world. During 2008-JAN, they published an article on transgender concerns titled: "The Transgender Moment: Evangelicals hope to respond with both moral authority and biblical compassion to gender identity disorder." It is perhaps worth noting that the title did not include reference to reason or scientific knowledge.

Some points raised in the article:

bulletA poll for the Human Rights Campaign found that 48% of those randomly selected American adults surveyed said that they would have "no problem working with a transgender person."
 
bulletAs of 2008-JAN:
bullet13 states have laws protecting transgender people from discrimination in employment or accommodation.

bullet10 states have passed hate crime laws protecting "gender identity or expression."
 
bulletJimmy Creech is a former executive director of Faith in America, located in Raleigh, NC. The agency promotes equal rights and protections for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender persons. He commented:

"Religion has been used in history to discriminate against various groups of people by justifying slavery, denying women the right to vote, and persecuting religious minorities Today it is being used to persecute lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people."


bulletMatt Barber, policy director for cultural issues for Concerned Women for America (CWA), a religiously conservative advocacy group said:

"The transgender lobby is following the example of the homosexual lobby in that they are co-opting the language of the civil rights movement in order to push their own radical and wacky agenda."

Christianity Today comments:

"Barber points out that the American Psychiatric Association, which declassified homosexuality as a mental disorder in 1973, still classifies the condition of transgender as a disorder. Barber says the political left wing is facilitating more gender confusion by counseling the afflicted to feel good about themselves rather than find a treatment for this disorder. 'You are what you are -- male or female,' Barber says."


bulletPeter Sprigg, vice president for policy at the Family Research Council (FRC), a fundamentalist Christian group, said:

"The pressure for acceptance is ultimately a challenge to the authority of Scripture and a violation of natural law. In the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement there is a tendency to continually push the envelope in trying to demand the acceptance of what most people perceive to be unusual behavior."

Christianity Today stopped posting readers' comments on the article during 2008-FEB-25, about two weeks after it was published. By this time, they had received 110 comments by readers. We suspect that the vast majority of postings were from evangelical Christians, because of the nature of the magazine and website.

A sampling of postings:

These are the first 15 postings, after two comments that were not directly related to transsexuality were deleted. Spelling and grammatical errors were corrected:

bulletDalymar: "I don't think God ever tells somebody to change their sexes because he condemns that in the book of Romans. so the person that said that she felt like the Spirit talk to her on doing that is not only sinning by changing her sex, but by also blaspheming the name of the Spirit, which is a non-forgiveness sin. God does not make mistakes. he created you one sex only and it is for a reason, so be happy for who you are."
 
bulletMichele M: "... My spirit resonates with God's Word and the Holy Spirit (as I discern Him), and I agree that while this problem may feel 'inborn' to some who suffer with it (and I believe they suffer tremendously), it cannot be beyond God's redemptive power - the same power that raised Jesus from the dead and is available to us here and now. (2 Peter 1:3). Our approach should never exclude love, compassion, and willingness to use our gifts toward the healing of hurting people."
 
bulletDonald Schell: "Is this the voice of contemporary Evangelicalism? 'Even if science does determine differentiation in the brain at birth,' Throckmorton says, 'even if there are prenatal influences, we can't set aside teachings of the Bible because of research findings.' If we insist that 'teachings of the Bible' includes the Biblical writers use of first century (and earlier) natural science, we end up lauding the Vatican for condemning Galileo."
 
bulletAnonymous, apparently referring to Adam and Eve wrote about transsexuals: "They're beyond 'becoming like God, knowing good and evil'. They've evolved to the point at which they tell God that HE made a mistake."
 
bulletbmh: "Evangelicals could start by not calling it a disorder."
 
bulletRalph: "One may change his/her outward appearance as much as they desire. They can never change their chromosomal makeup. If you are born XY you are a male, XX then female. SOMETHING happened in these persons' lives to lead them to reject everything associated with their gender or were taught that their born gender was not worth living out."
 
bulletScott: "First and foremost this has to be a pastoral issue. This is a very complex issue! Christians better be very careful because the genetics issue here doesn't fit into a simplistic theological or moral framework. Thus, there should be a pastoral perspective applied where different tacts should taken with different individuals. If this is a matter of truth. we should err on the side of generosity. This is what Jesus would do, the one who stood with woman caught in adultery against those who would condemn her."
 
bulletKim refers to one of Paul's writings on idolatry: "Roman's chapter 1 tells us that if we engage in that which is ungodly enough that God will give us over to a reprobate mind. We sure are willing as a society to justify anything we choose to with some sort of syndrome and program to help us become comfortable with things so that we are able to live happily ever after. Our pride makes us crave that and somehow society accommodates us. Woe be to us. God created us exactly as He intended us to be, He called us into being and we were then born into a sinful world. Sin is a condition as well as an act. The condition is socially contagious and encouraged."
 
bulletPam Meyer: "... I believe that God is great enough to redeem us from our deepest struggles. The person whose GLBT struggles are physical, which I believe is real, has the greatest challenge. I think the best outcome for them is to be abstinent and in a loving community with others who can understand their particular struggles (ie. belonging to an Exodus International group.) I hope the church will grow to accept people whose processes show on the outside since we all have them on the inside."
 
bulletTimothy Mills: " I am very sorry to see Christianity Today endorsing a sinful life style. Transgender Identity Syndrome may be tagged by the APA as a disorder, but that cannot become an excuse for the sinful behavior. ... The person with the transgender identity crisis cannot allow that to overtake their obedience to the commands of God. Having those 'tendencies' does not mean that is the way God made them. ... God knows what disaster would come if those behaviors were not prohibited and the probation placed on us for obedience. Godlike love means we work to help them, not tolerate them."
 
bulletKim: "I felt this was a very balanced article. The author does not say that having the feelings is sinful any more than someone with XXY is sinful. We are all sinful! However, God has laid out specific boundaries in scripture and sometimes it is agonizing to follow those boundaries. They are always the best, not necessarily the most comfortable. Regardless, we as Christians are called to love people no matter what they struggle with. Christ would have eaten dinner at a transgender person's house and built a relationship with him or her. How could we do any less? THAT is the point of this article."

bulletsergey: "I understand that such problem may exist. But why make an issue of it. If person is born with male and female traits and he or she is Christian, he or she just should take their cross and shut up about it. You have to understand that God is love and this trial is for reason. Suffer, because in weakness we are strong and much grace given to one who suffer without complaining."
 
bulletJohn: "I am probably one of the more liberal readers of CT and CT online. ... But 'transgender' issues cross a line for me. ... I fully support the right of businesses and offices to enforce dress codes that say what a man or a woman should wear. A man wearing lipstick, a dress, and high heals is highly distracting and not the kind of thing that anyone has a civil right to pursue. If in the (very rare) case you can get a doctor to certify you for sex change surgery so you are now indeed a woman, so be it. Otherwise companies and employers have the right to insist that you dress like a man."
 
bulletEM: "This is a complex issue -- just like any other issue. We may want to justify the behavior despite how far it takes us from being in relationship with God. Yes, there are issues that seem 'new' in their development or even in their relevance to our time. Let us not forget that 'there is nothing new under the sun.' The enemy [Satan] is crafty in his ways of 'masking' himself. The result of a behavior or feeling that brings such turmoil, unrest, and confusion is the end of what the Bible speaks of sin -- that which separates us from God. It is not only the 'feeling' of someone who believes they should have been born the other gender, or the 'feeling' of a woman who likes a man who is married to another woman, or a 'feeling' of someone who feels like taking something that doesn't belong to them...and we can go on and on making scenarios of emotions and feelings...All which bring us into a separation from God as these things do not align with His will for us as beings who He wants to be in relationship."
 
bulletchuck: "God created us as he meant us to be, but let us not forget that sin has altered that perfect state. It did not and does not simply alter the mind and soul, it altered and continues to alter the tangible things that are "us". We continue to treat disease as an invasion of sin into God's plan--that is until we hit those physical anomalies that include sexuality. Then, for some reason, we seem to change theologies. Is it not possible that the (accurately diagnosed) transgender person who has completely changed to the other gender has in fact been "restored" as best as possible this side of heaven? I think we need to separate homosexual and transgender identities when discussing the matter, simply because they are not the same thing. One is the pursuit of personal pleasure at the expense of social and natural order and the other is an effort to correct the brokenness of a life."

One posting by a transsexual:

The second last posting was by Shauna, who identified herself as a transsexual. Its message was markedly different from other postings:

"I believe with every essence of my being that the Almighty created me as transsexual. To deny that is to deny the Hand that created me. I won't do that. My church has welcomed and accepted me with open arms, and I continue my ministry as cantor and musician. Nowhere in the 4 Gospels does Jesus condemn the LGBT community - and that is the only Scripture that really matters. When the Second Coming happens, the Master won't appear at the Vatican nor in Jerusalem. Neither will he appear in Mecca, Hill Cummorah or any other religious center. He will appear among the homeless. He will be with the poor of Calcutta. He will be serving hot meals in soup kitchens. He will be giving strength to the child that has been thrown out because he is gay. He will be holding the hand of someone dying of AIDS. And He will be with us as we are beaten to death in a hate crime - with the last thing we hear screamed at us being various curses and scriptural quotes -- and welcome us home."

Reference used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. J.W. Kennedy, "The Transgender Moment," Christianity Today, Volume 52, #2008-FEB, at: http://www.christianitytoday.com/

Copyright remains with the authors of the individual postings
Original posting: 2009-FEB-01
Latest update: 2011-APR-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

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