Do I use the different pronouns with people who identify as Transgender?

(Victoria White) #1

Hey RZIM Connect! Great to be here and greetings from Toronto, Canada! :slightly_smiling_face:

I recently got a position to volunteer at a place that requires us to use transgender pronouns if someone asks them to be used. As a Christian, I go by what God has made, male and female, but in this situation I’m a bit stuck as to what to do here.


(SeanO) #2

@Victoria_White Thank you for that very thought provoking question. Below are two articles that I think will help you process and think through this question carefully. I personally think that this is an issue of conscience - we must not violate our conscience.

In I Corinthians 8, Paul says that the Corinthians can eat meat sacrificed to idols because the so called ‘gods’ do not really exist. It is just meat. But, if it violates their conscience and they believe it is wrong, then it is a problem. He goes on to say that Christians who have the freedom to eat meat sacrificed to idols should not do so in front of brothers or sisters whose conscience would be violated by their actions.

So, with the issue of what we call others, I think this also is a matter of conscience. It would be better to lose a job than to violate our conscience. We should do everything in love and always be kind and respectful to the unbelievers around us - but we must not participate in behaviors we feel violate truth or purity.

Paul also said to become all things to all men that we might by some means save some, so perhaps you could look at it from the other angle. By calling them by their preferred pronoun, you may be able to build a genuine relationship and share the love of Christ with them in an intentional way.

The Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you prayerfully consider this matter and may Christ open the eyes and hearts of those you work with who are struggling with gender identity to the truth, love and beauty of Christ.

“If people we meet in the transgendered community are convinced that Christians are hate-filled bigots, homophobic and transphobic, do we need to take our stand immediately on the issue of gender-neutral pronouns, or is that a secondary issue on which we can be flexible, so that we have more opportunity to share the gospel? Can different Christians honor God by taking different stances? These are just a few of the issues that we need to think through, because the worldview and ideological clash in our society is not—barring a miracle of awakening and revival—going to get better before it gets worse. But whatever our answer, it must be based on speaking truth out of love for God and love for our neighbor.”

(Albert Schmidt) #3

Hi Victoria.
Tough topic! Very tough! I hope you find wisdom in dealing with it in a good way.
If I was in your situation, I would reject to use transgender pronouns, if the company or institution forced me to do so. I would consider this a violation of my basic right to speak and think freely. If the employer would still insist, I would leave. This is a very short version of my opinion, I would take as long as it takes to explain my point respectfully in a conversation with the supervisors and to work this out. After all, it’s a great opportunity to get people thinking.
I also want to say, if there was a person I really care about that asked me to use a different pronoun, I would probably do so, but not without making my opinion about it clear and making sure he/she knows it’s out of love, not out of confirmation. But if someone tried to force it upon me in general, no way. There are lot’s of places who are greatful for new volunteers :wink:

(Victoria White) #4

Here is a short video from Russell Moore. He gives a good response :slight_smile:

(Kathleen) #5

Hi, @Victoria_White,
That’s a great question with which to wrestle, so thanks for bringing it up. I agree with a number of things that have already been said. Namely,

  1. That it’s an issue of conscience.
  2. That there’s a difference between between being forced to use the pronouns in a employment setting, being forced to use the pronouns in a volunteer setting, and using them out of choice.
  3. That relationships need to be forged in love and humility.

I hear you when you say that you feel a bit stuck in the current situation. I would say that if your conscience is bound to recognise biological sex in spite of another’s desire to be recognised otherwise, then I would not volunteer at that place. As an organisation, they have the legal right to set policies for volunteers, and, as a volunteer, you have the choice to abide by those policies (enabling you to volunteer there) or to not abide by them (meaning, you don’t volunteer there). To agree to the polices and then to subvert them would be, in my opinion, unhelpful for everyone involved.

However, I recognise that I don’t have a number of specifics on your situation, like…

  • what the mission of the organisation is
  • who runs the organisation (government, non-profit, religiously-affliated charity, etc.)
  • if you would actually run into that issue as a volunteer

With those details, I would then ask you, ‘Is this a hill you want to die on?’ I, for one, use preferred pronouns when I’m referring to and speaking with my transgender friends, and, in most situations, it’s not a hill I’m willing to ‘die on’. :slight_smile:

PS, I thought the Russell Moore response was solid. Thanks for posting that!

(Tiago de Carvalho) #6


I’ve found the following,

(Desiree Lanzino) #7

Hello, @Victoria_White!

I very much appreciate your question. I have wrestled with this issue and similar ones in the past year and feel that God has given me one answer in response to my questioning him about this: love them.

We may think that calling such persons by a pronoun that does not agree with their birth-assigned gender is unloving because it is unbiblical, but they will see us as unloving if we don’t. And how likely are they to then listen to anything we have to say after that?

I see you as a missionary that God has placed on a mission field. Imagine that you speak a different language from the people around you. First you need to be able to speak their language. Then you need to develop a relationship with them. They need to see you as someone who is caring and trustworthy. If we want to reach people for Christ, I think that is the best order in which it will happen.

If someone wants to be called by a different pronoun, there is a reason and it usually isn’t flippant. I have had extraordinary experiences interacting with and listening to the stories of persons who are LGBTQ. I am even learning the lingo. God has given me a love for these people who need Jesus. They cannot and will not see the truth of who they are until they come to know the truth of who he is.

Christians need to be out in the world to reach the world. I am grateful that God has placed you in a setting where there are hurting people. I pray you feel His presence as you are there and that you know if He has placed you there, He has prepared the way and has equipped you to be there. And I pray that God gives you opportunities to speak his truth in love.