Some Christian reflections on transgenderism

by | 26 Apr 2023 | 0 comments

Some Christian reflections on transgenderism

by | 26 Apr 2023 | 0 comments

Until very recently, all human cultures believed – and many still do – that, apart from very rare cases of biological intersexuality, all humanity is comprised of two biological sexes or genders, male and female, and that it is not possible to move from one to the other.

In recent decades, however, transgenderism has sprung up, and in many western societies has become extremely prominent. Transgender ideology asserts that gender identity is distinct from biological sex, and that human beings may adopt gender identities that differ from their sex at birth. Many who transition to a new gender identity say they do so because they feel deeply uncomfortable in the biological body and sexual identity they were born into, and undergo chemical, hormonal, and surgical procedures to make their bodies more similar to that of their desired gender identity.

The premises of transgender ideology are not strongly grounded in biological science, but are nevertheless widely accepted and promoted – in education, media, legislation, and corporate policies. Children and young people can be presented with a smorgasbord of sexual preferences and gender identities, with the implication that they should choose. Some children are encouraged by parents to identify with a gender that differs from their biological sex. Some adolescents are given puberty blockers.

Out of deference to “transwomen”, many politicians are now bizarrely unwilling to acknowledge the previously unchallenged and universal truth that a woman is an adult female person. Also, if someone now advises someone else against becoming transgender, they could be acting unlawfully.

Those who question transgenderism are increasingly considered as bigoted, offensive, and inducing harm or suicide among transgender people.

In the face of all this, how might Christians respond?  Here’s some suggested approaches to think about and discuss…

  1. On the authority of the Bible, Christians believe that humanity is created male and female, in the image of God, and these are foundational beliefs about both the nature of God and the nature of humanity. In a free society we must continue to be free to hold and articulate such beliefs and to live in accordance with them.
  1. In a free society, we must also accept the right of adults to seek to change their “gender identity” if they so wish, and allow space for them to live their own lives.
  1. In keeping with the biblical mandate to love others as much as ourselves, Christians must absolutely show love and compassion towards all those who for whatever reason have become transgender, and must show them kindness and respect as fellow human beings. A good question to ask ourselves is, how would we want these people to be treated if they were our son or daughter, brother or sister? Would we want them subjected to mocking or hostility?
  1. We need to recognise that it is far from an easy road for transgender people. Some have underlying issues of self-acceptance, anxiety, depression, and mental health challenges. Chemical, hormonal and surgical interventions may change people’s overall appearance, but cannot ultimately change their biological sex. Such interventions will usually affect their ability to have children, and may involve ongoing medical problems. Some later regret their earlier choices, and attempt to de-transition.
  1. As Christians, we utterly deplore all violence or incitements to violence against anyone, including transgender people.
  1. On the basis that children and young people need to be protected against making major life decisions that they cannot possibly fully understand, we have profound ethical concerns about the promotion of transgender ideology among children and teenagers. Parents need to be aware of what their children are being exposed to, protect them, and nurture them well.
  1. Because a very high percentage of cases of gender dysphoria are resolved with the onset of puberty, we do not agree with the use of puberty blockers.*
  1. We empathise with those women who feel unsafe with “transwomen” using women’s facilities, and favour separate facilities being made available where practicable.
  1. On the grounds of freedoms of belief, opinion, and expression, we believe that no one should be placed under pressure or coercion – in law, employment, or the public square – to accept transgender ideology, including the very contestable claims that gender may differ from sex at birth, and that there are many different genders.
  1. We insist that in rejecting many of the premises of transgender ideology we do not in any way “hate” transgender people, but just see some important things differently. In a free society, people’s rights to hold different viewpoints must be scrupulously upheld.
  1. As Christians, we believe that ultimately our true identity, transformation, and meaning are not to be found in sexuality or gender, significant though those are, but in fellowship with God through living faith in Christ.

* American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, Arlington, VA, American Psychiatric Association, 2013 (455). 

Dr Stuart Lange
Author: Dr Stuart Lange

Dr Stuart Lange is the National Director of the NZCN and is a Senior Research Fellow at Laidlaw College, where he was formerly Vice Principal. Stuart wrote and presented the historical DVD documentary Te Rongopai: 200 years of the Gospel in New Zealand, 1814-2014.

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