Five years ago, you probably never even heard the word ‘transgender’. Ten years ago, you
certainly did not. But since Caitlyn (formerly Bruce) Jenner came out as transgender in 2015, the topic has been everywhere. Laws have been changed to allow males into female spaces based on how they identify, and child referrals to gender clinics skyrocketed. How should a Christian respond to this overwhelming and sudden change?
Start at the beginning: Love your trans neighbour
Regarding our fellow humans, Jesus’ greatest command is to love them. This means caring about their well-being and being willing to pursue it – even at a cost.
Mar 12:31 Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.
In today’s society, the cost of that may turn out very high – more about that later in this article.
Be wise – understand the relevant issues
Like a doctor who could kill a patient by the wrong treatment, we could harm more than help if we do not go about this wisely. Here are a few points which Christians need to know about this issue.
1) If you want to respond with love and wisdom, here are a few don’ts:
1a) Don’t conflate trans activism with the individual trans person
Transgender children and adults are humans who, for various reasons (more about that in point 2c), think they are not quite male or female, that who they are, deep inside, do not match who they are on the outside.
As Christians, we can sympathize: We believe we are eternal beings, yet live in a temporal body. Like us, the trans person believes in things that are not, from the outside, obviously seen.
Trans activism, on the other hand, is insanity. It puts underage children on a path to destroy their fertility and even their very desire to ever have sexual intercourse. It targets autistic youth. It allows men to win in women’s sports. It puts men in female prisons, shelters and dressing rooms. It keeps important truths about how children feel from parents. It threatens, abuses and takes opportunities from those who do not agree with every word of this dogma. It even silences those who leave their fold to detransition, proving that the activism is not about the best interest of trans people.
Trans people are sometimes pawns of, perpetrators of, or even protesters against trans activism, but they are not the activism.
1b) Don’t whip out the texts which (seem to) prohibit gay intercourse
Being transgender is not synonymous with being gay. Transgenderism is an answer to: “Who do you think you are?” Gay is about: “Who are you attracted to?” Many transgender people are not gay. To quote these verses to them completely misses the point.
For a church kid, being transgender could even be a way to avoid being gay: The girl attracted to other girls could be transitioning in the hope of becoming a straight boy, or the gay boy transitioning to become a straight girl. In this case, these Bible verses could even encourage them in their transition.
Maybe the most relevant texts are the ones about finding an identity in Christ and defining yourself first and foremost by that. This is because the average transgender person firstly and largely define themselves by womanhood/ manhood/ non-binary-ness/ being a demiboy/ being agender/ etc., and by their need to be affirmed in that. Affirm their worth and make them feel accepted and loved, regardless of their gender.
1c) Don’t forget the needs of the rest of society
Trans activism, unlike gender dysphoria itself, negatively affects many people not from within their own minds, but from the outside.
In a world where 98% of sexual offenses and three-quarters of violent crimes are by men, trans activism denies women the right to sex-specific locker rooms, boarding schools and colleges, domestic violence shelters, and prisons. Under trans activism, woman guards have to pat down male prisoners or male suspects who “identify as women.” Women who want a female nurse for intimate procedures, or a woman therapist after sexual abuse, sometimes gets an obviously male one. People – mostly women – are fired, de-platformed and rejected for speaking the truth – an assault on freedom of speech. Some of them are even assaulted for their gender-critical views. Lesbian women and straight men are told they are bigots for not sleeping with penis-having ‘women’. The pressure of not being seen as a bigot causes some of them, especially the younger generation, to grudgingly accept unwanted intercourse.
Children who play with the wrong toys or like the wrong clothes (see point 2c) are told their bodies are wrong. Parental oversight is purposefully avoided with teachers not even telling parents their children identify as trans. Puberty blockers mean that children do not go through the sexual, physical and intellectual maturation involved in puberty. None of the puberty-blocking hormones or cross-sex hormones has ever been clinically tested and approved for use in transgender patients, making this large scale experimentation on children. Breast binding causes chest pain and breathing problems. Gender reassignment surgery leaves people infertile. The overwhelming majority of adult trans people (80%+) will never go for re-assignment surgery, yet doctors want children to decide on surgery without parental consent.
1d) Do not assume that trans people had counseling about accepting themselves
Today’s trans activism made it against the professional code of conduct  in many countries, for a therapist to even pursue avenues like resolving trauma which the patient associate with their bodies, telling people that the other sex also experiences the problems they think will be solved by transitioning, etc. Instead, therapists nowadays work from the assumption that anyone with gender dysphoria must be their assumed gender. Many a trans person was hardly told about the side effects of hormones, about making your potential dating pool much smaller, or the ways in which even the best surgery will never make them the other sex.
As such, you could not assume that this course of action already failed. You cannot assume the trans person got a list of advantages and disadvantages of transitioning and then made the rational choice concerning their own dysphoria. You could not even assume that they had or even want surgery – only a minority of adults who identify as trans are expected to do so.
2) Are here are a few do’s:
2a) Do remember that trans activism causes some people to be genuinely afraid of other opinions
Some trans people and their allies, when they hear a statement like “a woman is an adult human female” seem to hear “all trans people should die“. If you have notions about the correct restroom for them to urinate in, they think you want them not to empty their bladders at all. This is the result of trans activism, which tells them that everyone who does not 100% agree with them is advocating violence against them.
The Bible says that fear drives out love and vice versa. (1 John 4:18). Fear, in this case, is one of the reasons why they react aggressively towards people who harbor them no ill will. If you want to speak the truth about these issues, be sensitive to the fact that many young people – trans or not – might be indoctrinated to see innocuous (to you) statements as hate. They may respond with threats or with lies – because they believe the dishonest story will find more acceptance than the true one.
Let the love of Christ shine through in how you sensitively address these issues.
2b) Do promote acceptance and appreciation of the body God has made:
For a transgender person, the lie that they are female/male could seldom really satisfy, because no matter what operations they go for, no matter what hormones they take, no matter how many times they enter the gym locker room of the opposite sex, every cell in their body, every aspect of their physiology, will still contradict their chosen identity.
I know a few liberal Christians who, out of kindness, say trans people really are women/ men if they say they are. However, these Christians cannot answer the simple question of what they mean with the words “man” and “woman” in these assertions. If the liberal Christian asserts this without really meaning it, how can transgender people trust them? If this Christian says “Jesus saves”, why should the unbelieving hearer not think it is also just meaningless words? If lots of people regret transitioning, can a kind person take the transitioning side unquestioningly?
Instead, the church could encourage accepting and thanking God for your body.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful,
Genesis 1:27 So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
The trans person would, in the short term, prefer to have their ideas of who they are accepted, as opposed to their bodies. But Christianity has always been on the side of renewing your mind to fit the truth (Rom 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:5). The self-image of trans people should, just like the self-image of anyone else who wants to follow Christ, be renewed to fit the truth. This is part of what Christians call “identity in Christ.”
However, the same way a chemically depressed person will not stop being depressed in the blink of an eye if they find Christian joy; and how someone with advanced cancer would not be healed in this realm simply because they believe in healing in the hereafter, we should not expect an immediate change for trans people either.
Sensitivity is, of course, important. Nobody wants to hear: “How dare you dislike your perfectly good body, you ungrateful oaf!”
2c) Care about the motives of trans people in your response
Not all trans people see themselves as men/ women/ nonbinary for the same reasons. Their reasons include:
> Women who escape being abused or neglected as women/ girls
Many a young woman who transitioned and is now de-transitioning tells of a history of sexual abuse; or of feeling that the opinions, dreams, and desires of a girl matter less than those of boys. If she believed that girlhood/ womanhood is about being abused, about not mattering as a person, about getting fewer opportunities than your brothers, then she is logical to feel that this treatment is not what she should get, that she is part of a class of people who should not be treated like this. Since the better-treated class of people are boys and men, could we blame her for starting to identify as male?
Maybe part of the response to her is to create a society, and church, which respects women, encourage them to use all their gifts and stand up against sexual abuse.
> The girl or boy, man or woman who subscribe to gender stereotypes
I never heard a reason for child transitioning which is not 100% about gender stereotypes. Parents who describe transitioning their pre-teens describe boys who like Barbies and sparkly tutus, and girls who like “boy clothing” and army trucks. Many (not all – see point 1b) transitioning teens are noticing a sexual interest in their own sex, and seemingly reason that this sexual interest makes them the other sex. Transgender adult males sometimes claim on social media they are “more of a woman” than many women, because they spend more time on clothing and cosmetics.
Can the church help them by sending out a clear message that gender roles are not manhood and womanhood? I believe the church can, and has an entire blog dedicated to the topic.
> Autistic children who struggle to fit into gender boxes
A disproportional percentage of transgender children are on the autism spectrum. Autistic girls – this includes me when I was younger – often feel they are not as “feminine” as their peers. The boys sometimes feel that they are less masculine.
The autistic girl may, for example, hear that girls take very good care of their looks – while she has poor executive functioning and therefore her hair is a mess, and a sensitivity to discomfort which causes her to choose clothes and shoes as practical and comfy as she can find. An autistic boy may hear, for example, that boys do not cry and do not show fear. Meanwhile, with his profile of hyper- (more than others) and hypo- (less than others) sensitive aspects, he sees things to be scared of that other boys do not notice, and his emotional regulation is different. Or the stereotype may be that boys like sports – but his coordination and muscle tone is terrible.
In today’s culture (this cultural aspect is less than five years old!), these children may be convinced that they will be more accepted as the other sex. Acceptance is a great need for people who are different because other children and even teachers often reject them. Can the church give autistic children the acceptance they need?
> Autogynephiles (AGP)
This word is derived from auto = self; gyne = women; philia = love.
Autogynephiles are men who feel sexually aroused by seeing themselves as women, dressing in ways they find feminine, etc. To call autogynephiles “she” is to participate in their sex games.
I am sorry that this paragraph will get graphic, but this is part of understanding at least some trans people. Some AGP would – according to their own social media groups – take selfies in the restroom with women behind them in the picture, see frightening women as an achievement, get aroused at hearing women urinate in the stall next to them, or steal used menstrual products for fetishist reasons.
Of course, men who want to do this would argue for their own inclusion into the ladies’ restroom.
To be honest, I am not quite sure what an AGP needs, as opposed to wants.
1c) Understand that most of the assertions that trans activists make are not backed up by real evidence.
Trans therapy is largely experimental. There is little evidence that you can be born into the wrong body/ that a person can biologically change sex/ surgical transition is safe/ hormone therapy is safe/ that transitioning alleviates body dysphoria/ That body dysphoria exists at all? (Could a combination of Sensory perception overload and OCD cause the same symptoms?)/ that people are being diagnosed correctly/ that it’s less harmful to transition people than to give them talk therapy. There is no evidence that they actually are the sex they identify as.
In conclusion: While understanding the issues, prayerfully ask God about the wisest and kindest response
In today’s activism, trans people are told that those who see them as their birth sex hate them, want them dead, and contribute to violence against them. In such a world, is it wise to tell a trans-identified male: “You are not a woman – you are a man”? Even if this is literally true, the trans person may hear: “I hate you, and want you dead.” Your words are true, but they hear a violent lie.
If, on the other hand, you call them “she”, you will encourage them in living a lie, turning themselves into livelong medical patients to try and fit into a mold they will never fit.
What is the wisest response to people who believe a lie/ something which is only true by redefining the relevant words?
The answer definitely starts with remembering that your enemy is not the trans person standing before you, (Ephesians 6:12) but the lies of trans activism, and the liar behind it (John 8:44).
 Trans activism ironically places questions about motivation in the category of “gay conversion therapy.” This is the opposite of the truth – GCT tries to modify people to fit an ideal -heterosexuality-, and often medically suppressed the sexual desires of the gay person. It is transitioning, not talk therapy about accepting your body, which tries to modify trans people to fit into an ideal.
 These things are usually admitted in groups where you need to register to enter, and which would therefore not be accessible to my readers if I tried linking to it.
 Redefining the relevant words:
Anything in the world can be true by redefining words. I used to be a great golf player – if you redefine “golf player” to mean “teacher of a biblical understanding which is not sexist.” Seven is more than nine – if you redefine seven to mean “twelve”.