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)