When it Comes to Parenting there is No Shortage of Challenges

Our society is constantly forcing various ideologies on our kids, often masquerading these ideologies as fact, science, or historical. Because these ideologies are coming from “trusted” sources, our children often assume they are true. One such issue, transgenderism, has exploded in the last few years. LGTBQ indoctrination is now taking place with children in kindergarten. Whether it be through pronouns, Pride participation, or other public support, our society attempts to force us to affirm transgenderism. What society does not tell us is the harm done to those we affirm.

Christians have Rightly Become Engaged in the Transgender Issue that has become Ubiquitous in Our Society

From a Christian perspective, transgenderism distorts God’s created order. Genesis 1:26-27 provides some divine perspicuity:

Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to our likeness;….God created man in His own image in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.’”

We can draw two conclusions from these verses:

  • Because we are made in God’s image, He is the source of our identity; nothing else provides this. Moreover, being made in God’s image alone makes us worthy of dignity and respect.
  • Humans are either male or female, we cannot change our sex.

Jesus reiterates this in Matthew 19:4-6 when asked whether divorce is permissible:

“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’”

It is profound that Jesus did not reference the Mosaic Law to answer the question; rather, He referenced what predates the Law, God’s created order. What Jesus’ answer, along with His additional answer in verses 8-9, demonstrate is that he regarded the created order above the Mosaic law, that the created order was the way things were supposed to be.

Here Again, We See the Bible Instructing us that Our Identity Comes from God

Our sex does not provide our identity. Certainly, our sex is major part of our identity and comes with certain roles, but it is not the entirerty of our identity. So, as Christians, who are we? The Bible tells us we are a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), His workmanship (Eph. 2:10), the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), children of God (John 1:12), fellow heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17), citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20).  The preceding verses are incongruent with any belief that claims our identity is predicated on our sex.

Beyond this, sex reassignment surgeries and hormonal treatments are attempts to undo God’s creation manifested in our bodies. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says:

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore: honor God with your body.”

1 Thessalonians 4:4 says:

“Each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor.”

Romans 12:1 says:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

1 Corinthians 9:27 says:

“But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

We cannot honor God by mutilating our bodies to undo His creation. Likewise, this does not allow us to possess our bodies in sanctification and honor, nor does it allow us to present our bodies as a living and holy sacrifice. Finally, rather than disciplining our bodies and making it our slave, it makes an idol of the body.

Does Transgenderism Offer a Better Solution?

Knowing what the Bible says about our identity is vital, but now we should consider the solution the world offers. We must know what the world presents, and the brokenness it leads to before we can tell others that Jesus offers the better option. One of the best methods of understanding the damage and heartache that comes from secular society’s preferred method of handling the transgender issue is by listening to those who have transitioned.

Forget What Gender Activists Tell You. Here’s What Medical Transition Looks Like

Last October, Scott Newgent wrote an article in the online magazine Quillette titled “Forget What Gender Activists Tell You. Here’s What Medical Transition Looks Like.”[1] You may recognize Scott as one of the participants in Matt Walsh’s documentary, What is a Woman? The article Scott wrote can be summarized as a warning to parents who are allowing their teenage children to transition. Scott is a 47-year-old biological woman who transitioned to become a transgender man several years ago. What follows is quote-heavy because I believe that reading Scott’s words will have a more significant impact than my paraphrasing them.

Scott begins her[2] article by citing a conversation she had with one of her daughter’s friends, who said she thought that she was transgender because she did not like female puberty. This alarmed Scott, so she began looking online for other instances of teens being encouraged to transition. Scott goes on to say that what she found shocked her, because of how quickly people and organizations were pushing teens to undergo a life altering decision.[3] Scott also provides a link to further reading warning of the dangers of allowing teens to transition.[4]

Scotts provides some candor rarely offered by transgender activism:

I wasn’t born in the wrong body. I was born a female. But I didn’t like it. So I changed my appearance, at significant monetary, psychological, and physical cost, with plastic surgery, and hormones [sic]. My sex never changed, though. Only my appearance changed.”[5]

Scott goes on to warn that the transition process is “brutal,” and that “many transition therapies are still in an experimental phase.” Scotts continues by providing some details of his experience with transitioning:

The Transition Process is Brutal

“During my own transition, I had seven surgeries. I also had a massive pulmonary embolism, a helicopter life-flight ride, an emergency ambulance ride, a stress-induced heart attack, sepsis, a 17-month recurring infection due to using the wrong skin during a (failed) phalloplasty, 16 rounds of antibiotics, three weeks of daily IV antibiotics, the loss of all my hair, (only partially successful) arm reconstructive surgery, permanent lung and heart damage, a cut bladder, insomnia-induced hallucinations—oh and frequent loss of consciousness due to pain from the hair on the inside of my urethra. All this led to a form of PTSD that made me a prisoner in my apartment for a year. Between me and my insurance company, medical expenses exceeded $900,000.”

Scott further says:

 “During these 17 months of agony, I couldn’t get a urologist to help me. They didn’t feel comfortable taking me on as a patient—since the phalloplasty, like much of the transition process, is experimental. “Could you go back to the original surgeon?” they suggested.”

Scott continues:

“Whenever you question the maximalist activist line on trans affirmation, you are directed to The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (or WPATH) as a reference. But much of what you find there consists of vague phrases such as “up to doctor’s discretion.” Several lawyers suggested I had a slam-dunk medical-malpractice case—until they realized that trans health doesn’t really have a justiciable baseline. As a result, treatment often is subpar, as I have experienced first-hand.”

Moreover, Scotts says:

“Lupron, the hormone blocker some doctors seem intent on giving to kids like Tylenol, isn’t even FDA-approved to treat children with gender dysphoria. (In 2001, the manufacturer pled guilty to fraudulent sales practices with regard to its marketing as a prostate-cancer drug.) We don’t yet know its long-term effects off-label, despite the fact parents have been assured that its effects are safe and even reversible.”

Scott goes on:

“Here is what we do know: The long-term use of synthetic therapy shortens lives.[6],[7] Specifically, these medications are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks, pulmonary embolisms, bone damage, liver and kidney failure, mental-health complications, and more. Almost a quarter of hormone-therapy patients on high-dose anabolic steroids (such as the testosterone taken by female-to-male transitioners [sic]) exhibit major mood-syndrome symptoms.[8] Between three and 12 percent go on to develop symptoms of psychosis.”

Important Questions about Transgenderism and the Transitional Process

Scott asks some important questions—questions that many who oppose transgender ideology have been labeled as transphobic for asking—”What will happen to a biological boy who takes sex hormones associated with the opposite sex (or vice versa), and grows up without the benefit of natural puberty? What happens to a male body on estrogen over the long term? No one knows.”

As Scott herself points out, in 20109, transgender activists enthusiastically pointed to a study[9] which alleged that medical transition was a benefit to those who suffered from gender dysphoria (the medical diagnosis for those who believe their biological sex is different than their preferred gender.) Nine months later, after numerous challenges to the legitimacy of the methodology the authors of the study were compelled to correct their findings by acknowledging that medical transition offers no significant mental health benefit.[10] Unsurprisingly, this correction was largely ignored by the media, who fervently covered the study upon original publication.

Sadly, Scott acknowledges the continued struggle awaiting transgender people after transitioning:

From my own experience, and from countless conversations with my transgender friends, I can report that most of us regret at least some—though maybe not all—parts of our transition. Even for those who transition successfully, finding peace has stages and takes time. At first, everything is new and exciting. Then, as the years go on, reality sets in, and you have to face up to the reality of biological sex, not to mention the health issues. This is not a life of glitter bombs.

The Harmful Impact on those who Undergo Transition Surgeries and Hormone Treatments

In addition to Scott’s first-hand account of the dangers of medical transition, scientific studies suggest that medical transition has a harmful impact on those who undergo transition surgeries and hormone treatments. For example, in 2017 the American College of Pediatrics found that “Rates of suicide are nearly twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBTQ – affirming countries.”[11]

Moreover, those suffering from gender dysphoria experience suicidal ideation at significantly higher rates than the general population.[12], [13] Additionally,  studies have shown that the majority of those who suffer from gender dysphoria will outgrow this feeling:  “According to the DSM-5, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.”[14] We would do well to have this information available in the event that we are challenged with the popular claim that medical transition is a necessity and saves lives.

Gender Dysphoria and Accompanying Mental Health Disorders

Further, studies have shown that the majority of those suffering from gender dysphoria have accompanying mental health disorders. For example, in 2019, Transgender Health published the results of a study that found that “Approximately 58% of transgender patients had at least one DSM-5 diagnosis compared with 13.6% of cisgender patients” (a made-up term used to describe the vast majority of us, who do not believe that we are in the wrong body), and that “Transgender patients had in-creased prevalence for all psychiatric diagnoses queried, with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder being the most common diagnoses (31% and 12%, respectively).

There was also an increased lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder (11%) and psychotic disorders (4.7% overall, 2.5% for schizophrenia and 2.2% for schizoaffective disorder) in trans-gender adults. Ten percent of transgender adults had a history of a substance use disorder…”[15]

Conclusions about Gender Dysphoria

There are some significant conclusions we can ascertain from all this information:

  • Gender dysphoria is a mental health condition, not a physical disability
  • Surgeries and hormonal treatments will not fix a mental health condition
  • Therefore, medical transitions do not work, and are likely contributing to the problem

Reality of Gender Dysphoria

No one is denying that gender dysphoria is a real ailment; the argument is over how to best treat those who suffer from gender dysphoria. Secular society’s preferred method seems to do more harm than good. The American Psychiatric Association defines gender dysphoria as “psychological distress that results from an incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity.[16]

Gender dysphoria is the only mental health disorder in which the prescribed treatment involves bringing the physical reality of the body into alignment with the irrational mind, rather than bringing the irrational mind into alignment with the physical reality of the body.

Gender Dysphoria, Transgenderism and Christianity

As followers of Christ, who are called to live out the Great Commission, to be salt and light, to serve others, we must be engaged in the culture, for cultural engagement is how we take the gospel to the lost. Cultural battles are battles over ideas; ideas have consequences, and to stand by and allow bad ideas to harm our fellow image bearers rather than be engaged by telling others the better story, the story of Jesus, is to fail in our God-given mandate.

We should be telling our gender dysphoric brothers and sisters that they are not made wrong, they are exactly who they were designed to be, fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14,) whose very hairs of their heads are numbered (Matthew 10:30, Luke 12:7,) who were declared very good (Genesis 1:31.) Understanding that our identity is found in God, who loved us first (1 John 4:19,) provides a peace and acceptance, a confidence that comes with knowing that we were lovingly and intentionally made by God. None of us are mistakes; yes, we are fallen sinners in need of a savior, but we can take comfort in knowing that we are individually made for a specific plan and purpose that only individually can be fulfilled.

Gender Dysphoria, Transgenderism and Parenting

Additionally, and specifically for parents, we need to be prepared to address cultural topics, such as transgenderism, from a biblical perspective. The world is waging a battle for the hearts and minds of our children; the question is not if, but when our children are confronted with these issues. We must equip our children with biblical truth and the confidence to defend that truth.

And as parents, we have a high calling to come alongside our children, to discuss the issues with them so they know what culture is saying and what the truth of God’s word is. Children in the public school system will be presented with transgender ideology. Your kids need to have tools in their hands to talk to their friends because they are the ones who will be the hands and feet of Jesus to their generation.

 

Joel Sinclair
MA Christian Apologetics
Biola Talbot School of Theology

 


 

[1] https://quillette.com/2020/10/06/forget-what-gender-activists-tell-you-heres-what-medical-transition-looks-like/.

[2] Despite Scott’s transition to a transgender man, I have referred Scott as a female. I do not do so to be rude, but because Genesis 1:27 tells us that God makes us male or female. I believe that to refer to a person as their “chosen” sex rather than their God-given sex is to participate in a lie. As you continue to read, you will find that Scott does not believe herself to be a man either.

[3] To avoid misrepresentation, I should note that Scott does believe that some teens should transition eventually, but that hastily making this serious decision is not in the child’s best interest.

[4] https://www.trevoices.org

[5] Italics mine.

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6616494/.

[7] I make no claims to the veracity of Scott’s claim. Readers should read the study Scott cites and decide if the claim is accurate.

[8] https://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2020/09/71296/.

[9] https://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/10.1176/appi.ajp.2019.19010080.

[10] https://segm.org/ajp_correction_2020.

[11] https://acpeds.org/assets/imported/9.14.17-Gender-Ideology-Harms-Children_updated-MC.pdf.

[12]https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339355801_Trends_in_suicide_death_risk_in_transgender_people_results_from_the_Amsterdam_Cohort_of_Gender_Dysphoria_study_1972-2017.

[13]https://watermark.silverchair.com/peds_20174218.pdf?token=AQECAHi208BE49Ooan9kkhW_Ercy7Dm3ZL_9Cf3qfKAc485ysgAAArAwggKsBgkqhkiG9w0BBwagggKdMIICmQIBADCCApIGCSqGSIb3DQEHATAeBglghkgBZQMEAS4wEQQMT8GXEx0hmOdOTbAuAgEQgIICY7e9HWAuaoBIXgAVwe0eCu_uk51h8s6RbLffcMdbgG8a5zDpYkhsvBuxquLR1B39_4G7jq2yTZPA1JTyxWU6969VI0yXM6BUbOygn2x1oOt8FA1qAwI8hQeliHoo4oVEb4ml-dXvruyx-NoSvjb9TdhiHkQAouW3QX5gR0BRrwtCZhvL4Ud79ACafu8jNpAHC_pXmivQxXVs6v52DelduK3HlDsXKddOluvFL9-G0zbLZ8oxFlYIunXMNOe4_J8wZVMyQldJ-7xOpwLhr1hX2n4UgJIP7PRHz_dhWyioZKthti1NyTGHTlQNFdpRYreWp4KMm3cJsFtOGL1DfHtM6HhieJKpc97PuGlNzFyWiV75B3C9W_yGqlVW8jX6RQjAM9EnOqCWbGX1P-41Kf3voi6216bmI1fKa0WRP1hIKfxLE0ZRtLqdR_SMDRSC-NimfsNBB6AtixjmGrjQ3Kk6hCpE2U1DZEi62aEQFydEZpmkodQ8m6hEp3SMQRX2RuUVhWy42QCjyJzBeB32clm5FTR9taj8U8McTIKrKrPg8cOzS3lJhjWzsYLncXcVvZQLWQvc-JOR4e3Gd31iCaQTb8okahgks-0XlEkm–yHXcI0VAtNaSxmgg-VsEOcmNcqY1eJ8XMD0c6kUKLTBEYWvFj61GiRGmy_MalwjRHbIUgPmKhQRNIBr8aOMXkLNrREzpwD58RxXQNEV3Fw6pDITIn_GaxOY1gQbBuWRIHubOqxRZNubuKoX7i-M8BIwdhip_nnP0cQvHLaqx5X5jYC2oR2U5HoaeNYQhuZYrHrUWzcs7sG.

[14] https://acpeds.org/assets/imported/9.14.17-Gender-Ideology-Harms-Children_updated-MC.pdf.

[15] https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/epdf/10.1089/trgh.2019.0029

[16] https://psychiatry.org/patients-families/gender-dysphoria/what-is-gender-dysphoria