Sunday, January 10, 2010

Transgenders in the News

Transgenders have been a topic not only here but in the national news as well. President Obama has appointed a transgender woman, Amanda Simpson, to be the Senior Technical Adviser to the Commerce Department. A transgender appointee, another reason for hope!

What is a transgender exactly? According to the American Psychological Association, transgender is
an umbrella term used to describe people whose gender identity (sense of themselves as male or female) or gender expression differs from that usually associated with their birth sex. Many transgender people live part-time or full-time as members of the other gender. Broadly speaking, anyone whose identity, appearance, or behavior falls outside of conventional gender norms can be described as transgender. However, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-atypical will identify as a transgender person.
Good old Wikipedia says that
transgender people may identify as heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual, or asexual; some may consider conventional sexual orientation labels inadequate or inapplicable to them.
And just to mix it all up a little more, I learned from gay panelists at various UN conferences last year that there is also such a thing as "gender non-conforming behavior." This refers to men or women who don't have "a gay or lesbian identity but who have characteristics which don't conform to gender stereotypes." As one panelist explained, a gender non-conforming man, for example, might enjoy wearing lipstick (but, I guess, he still considers himself a man?). The head spins. At least the rational one does.

Trying to ply the waters of LGBTI terminology is to become lost in an upside-down world where, if women can be men and men can be women, the sun must surely rise in the west and set in the east on occasion. It is the world of rebellious angels who refuse to accept life as God created it just as they refuse to accept God himself. This world where biology is re-defined and human sexuality is distorted is a world of miserable chaos.

Regardless of what the LGBTI and the various 'trans' communities may say, our gender is determined by our biology however problematic that may be to some souls, and, certainly there are such troubled souls who suffer with questions about their sexuality. They are people endlessly deserving of understanding and counsel. But neither they nor society as a whole is served when we have among us those who insist on re-defining the abnormal as normal.


  1. Following your logic, since it was normal in the 13th century to believe that the world was flat, we should have resisted the abnormal concept that the Earth was round. The point here is that scientific progress continually shatters our perceptions of what we believe to be true. Studies on gender identity disorders show that, indeed this phenomenon has been widespread for eons, but social norms have prevented its widespread acceptance. Sticking your head in the sand and choosing to ignore the reality does not make it any less real. I am a "normal" heterosexual, Christian male, but have been involved in reseach into gender dysphoria, and I understand the resistance of fundamentalist Christians to deal with this issue. Forget for the moment this seemingly single-minded focus on sexual "sins" by the Christian community at large, and let's deal with the most oft-heard complaint that "God doesn't make mistakes." True perhaps, but then what of babies born with birth defects, with no arms or legs, or with limited mental faculties? Ah, but those are just tests of our faith in God, that we can handle challenges thown our way. But cannot the same be true of those with gender identity issues? Cannot those also be tests from God? Tests of our ability to accept differences in others and to handle complex issues that arise when a family member struggles with these differences? Perhaps it's this fixation on matters that involve sexuality that makes this so much more difficult for Christians to accept. Perhaps the question should then be, are we so sexually repressed that we find so titillating the mere thought of some sort of sexual transgression, that we are willing to put aside rational thought so we can be the first to condemn such transgressions? What does this say about us as Christians? We can cite chapter and verse every passage in the Bible that speaks to sexual perversion, but do we ever stop to think how seldom sex is even mentioned in the Bible? I certainly respect your dedication to your faith, and fully support your right to blog about issues as you see fit, I just wanted to offer some food for thought.

  2. Thanks for your comment.

    You mention 'scientific progress.' How has scientific research---in, for example, biology or chemistry as opposed to pseudo-scientific research in the social sciences---shed any light on gender identity disorders? Even the American Psychiatric Association acknowledged that removing homosexuality from its list of mental disorders was politically motivated.

    You yourself go on to point out that it's social norms that have changed. I see no mention of science. And, as for social norms changing, that may be, but it doesn't mean they've changed for the better, nor does change in and of itself make something right.

    As for tests of ability to accept differences in others, yes, God is always calling us to extend charity to others no matter how imperfect they are. That applies to homosexuals, trans-sexuals and others in distress about their sexuality. As I said, troubled souls deserve our compassion. But compassion doesn't mean we have to condone behavior that is disordered or re-name the abnormal as normal.

    The sexual revolution of the 60s endorsed the sort of thinking you're advocating. The sexual revolution foisted on society the notion that there should be no limits on human sexuality, that anything goes, do whatever feels good, sexuality should be expressed not repressed. I would ask you to name one outcome of the sexual revolution that has been positive for society as a whole, one outcome that has enriched the common good or one outcome that has enhanced or elevated our humanity.

    Would you name the rise in the divorce rate, the breakdown and disruption of the traditional family and the effects that has on children? Would you name single motherhood, working mothers, absentee fathers, children being shuttled back and forth between households, abortion, partial-birth abortion, teen-age sex, teen-age pregnancy, pornography and the devastating effects it can have on marriages, the rise in STDs, Aids, adultery and sexual promiscuity both of which destroy relationships. If the 'social norms' change so that sexuality has no limits, what about polygamy, pedophilia, bestiality and child pornography?

    We don't put aside 'rational thought' to condemn transgressions. We use rational thought to condemn them. On the contrary, rational thought must be eradicated in order to embrace the wreckage left behind by the sexual revolution and these debased social norms that you seem to be suggesting are okay.