October 23, 2018 § Leave a comment
“Trans people are the latest conservative whipping girl, like African-Americans in the 1950s, or gay people in the 1990s and 2000s. Nothing is more dependable now than the passion the heartless display when trans people’s humanity is offered up for mockery.”
Tirades like this one signal a major identity crisis. The memo issued by the Trump administration, maligned as an attempt to roll back Obama-era progress in recognizing LGBTQQIAetc. citizens, merely seeks only to affirm what we’ve known throughout all of human history until relatively yesterday:
“Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth… The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate, as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”
The wound here is self-inflicted. This opinion writer in The New York Times has anchored his entire identity in a transgender ideology that stands in stark contrast to biological and genetic reality. When that ideology is challenged by an attempt to clarify reality, his entire existence is threatened. “About 1.4 million Americans who identify as transgender would find that identity eradicated by the federal government,” he claims. “I do not exist.”
Jennifer Finney Boylan does indeed exist, and Jennifer is a human being gifted with dignity and eternal value as an amazing reflection of the Creator. But Jennifer, born male, prefers to be identified as female, and that last part is all that matters to him.
Our true identity is determined by the one who made us, decidedly male and female. What’s more, human beings, as confused as they can become, are made in God’s image, immensely loved by a God who saw us worthy of rescue and redemption from our own sin through the sacrifice of His own Son.
That is objectively who we are, regardless of whatever paper-thin notion of identity we might claim for ourselves. When we put our identity in anything less, we lose ourselves when it eventually collapses.
March 16, 2017 § 1 Comment
From TIME Magazine: “This week’s TIME cover story, with exclusive data from GLAAD, explores a change taking hold in American culture. The piece explores how you-do-you young people are questioning the conventions that when it comes to gender and sexuality, there are only two options for each: male or female, gay or straight. Those aspects of identity — how one sees themselves as a man or woman, for instance, and who they are drawn to physically and romantically — are distinct but undergoing similar sea changes, as teenagers and 20-somethings reject notions of what society has told them about who they are supposed to be.”
What this article (‘Behind the TIME Cover Story: Beyond ‘He’ or ‘She”)(1) shows is that a generation is struggling to ground itself in any kind of firm identity, many opting instead to go wherever their feelings take them to search out an identity. Often we don’t like who we are, but I think the issue is more that we don’t know who we are. And we can’t truly know who we are unless we know who God is.
Objective truth can be grounded in the nature of God, but without belief in God or truth that is objective, absolute, or universal, we would have no reason to believe in something like the immutability of gender or sexuality. In fact, if truth were relative, what would it mean to finally decide who we are on our own? Any future conviction we may have about our identity would be just as subject to change as our current convictions. Facebook’s 60 options for a user’s gender are not nearly enough.
God’s word reveals that “God created mankind in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Gen. 1:27) While God has no gender, it’s noteworthy that the completeness of the male and female complementarity came right along with forming mankind in His own likeness.
If nothing else, this tells us that male and female “binaries” are not merely “notions of what society has told them about who they are supposed to be.” This is our Creator telling us who we actually are and have always been.
The truth that we are God’s image-bearers, that He made us and loves us, justifies any notion of value or self-worth. If the God of the Bible does not exist, then we are likely accidental collisions of molecules. Do we matter then? Or are we just matter?
I met a high school student who had written YOU MATTER on both his own forearms with a pen. When I asked him about it, he said he’s not sure if he really believes he really matters, but seeing it there helps him through his depression. We only matter if God made us on purpose. This already depressed young man is in particular danger if he follows his atheism to its logical end.
Given the high degree of depression among the LGBTQ community, especially teens, and those with gender dysphoria, there is an accelerated danger in rejecting our Creator, His pattern for sex and gender, and trying to redefine both for ourselves.
We will never be fully satisfied in remaking ourselves in our own image because then we have idolized autonomy, choosing to live in “my reality” vs biological, historical, or spiritual reality. We’re told we can be whoever we want to be, but we need to start with who we actually are. A confused culture “in the throes of self-discovery” will not find its true identity until it finds God.
1) Steinmetz, Katy “Behind the TIME Cover Story-Gender and Sexuality: Beyond ‘He’ or ‘She’.” TIME Magazine 16 Mar. 2017. TIME.com Web. (Link: http://time.com/4703058/time-cover-story-beyond-he-or-she/)
June 4, 2015 § Leave a comment
Bruce Jenner changed his first name to Caitlyn, and we should refer to him as Caitlyn. It’s a fairly simple legal process to change a person’s first name. I’m not positive that Caitlyn has followed the legal process, but nonetheless, as names are given by people, typically parents, any adult should have the right to be called what they would like to be called. Out of respect for that, we should no longer refer to Mr. Jenner as Bruce.
While some may view this as disrespect (“mis-gendering” is the new hot term for using the wrong pronoun), we shouldn’t refer to Caitlyn as “she”. Unlike a name, our gender is not given by our parents or chosen by individuals and is therefore immutable in any real sense. In the US, many states allow altering the sex on a person’s birth certificate, but most require proof of sex reassignment surgery (So transsexuals will have an easier time at this than the transgendered). But more importantly, Christians understand biological sex and gender to be inextricably linked and given by our Creator (Mark 10:6)(1). Referring to Caitlyn as female, even though it seems to fit his new name, would only fuel the fire of cultural confusion over gender and sexuality. Transgenderism says we have a sex we are born with (a body that is either male or female), and a gender (feelings of identity toward either male or female) that is fluid and free to differ from our biological sex. While Caitlyn is male, he feels like a woman, which is a disconnect from the reality that he was born male and will always be male.
This is an easy trap to fall into, but may Christians never use a expression of disgust to describe Caitlyn Jenner, who like everyone else was made in the image of God, and who like everyone else has fallen into sin. The “Argument from Ickiness“(2) is not a rational argument at all, as the lost battle against the advancement of same-sex marriage has proven. Emotional reactions like “that’s just gross” have no credibility or place is civil dialog. We should identify Transgenderism for the lie that it is, and one that attempts to defile the image of God, but we should not disparage the image of God in the process. There are plenty of sound arguments against Transgenderism, but “Ew!” is not one of them.
As far as what Christians SHOULD be talking about regarding this issue, for starters, take a look at The Absurdity of Transgenderism: A Stern but Necessary Critique by Carlos D. Flores(3), or Bruce Jenner, Transgenderism and the Church by John Stonestreet(4), or the transcript of Dr. Albert Mohler’s The Briefing podcast from June 2, 2015 (story 2 and 3)(5). And of course, “by speaking the truth with love, let’s grow in every way into Christ…” (Ephesians 4:15)
1) “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ (Mark 10:6, NIV)