Resources for understanding the transgender movement

transgender

(Carson Weitnauer) #1

Hi friends,

I know that many of us are working to develop a robustly Biblical understanding of sexuality and gender so that we can engage in conversations with insight, compassion, respect, and love.

One of the most polite voices I have heard on the subject is Ryan Anderson. I am starting in on his book When Harry Became Sally and have already found it helpful.

Here are two articles by him that you may be interested in:

One section that I found particularly helpful:

On the one hand, they claim that the real self is something other than the physical body, in a new form of Gnostic dualism, yet at the same time they embrace a materialist philosophy in which only the material world exists. They say that gender is purely a social construct, while asserting that a person can be “trapped” in the wrong gender. They say that there are no meaningful differences between man and woman, yet they rely on rigid sex stereotypes to argue that “gender identity” is real, while human embodiment is not. They claim that truth is whatever a person says it is, yet they believe there’s a real self to be discovered inside that person. They promote a radical expressive individualism in which people are free to do whatever they want and define the truth however they wish, yet they try ruthlessly to enforce acceptance of transgender ideology.


Is there contention between Homosexuals, Feminists and Transgender People?
Addressing transgenderism
(Melvin Greene) #2

Thanks for posting this, @CarsonWeitnauer. Ryan Anderson does a great job exposing the philosophical inconsistencies to the transgender movement. I have to admit that this is one subject that I find most vexing, because of it’s absurdity. I have no trouble with the person who struggles with this particular mental illness. They don’t chose to be this way. The people I have a problem with are those who are advocating that we are to embrace this as a legitimate behavior, and tie the hands of those who want to treat this to free the people suffering with gender dysphoria. We might as well as quit treating people who have schizophrenia, and let them define their reality.

I’m sorry, Carson, if I sound angry, but truthfully I am. This is what happens when a society rejects the only source of truth. Like G.K. Chesterton said, it’s not that they don’t believe in anything, but that they will believe everything.


(Jolene Laughlin) #3

Thanks for posting this, Carson. I’m going to have to look his book up. It’s heartbreaking to realize that this is being taught as reality to small children. I haven’t given a lot of deep thought to the contradictions inherent in this movement, but have been so frustrated by the fact that we are teaching people, beginning with young children, that we can define our own reality. It seems like a recipe for complete social, let alone personal, disaster.

I read an article about someone who identified as non-gender-binary (I think that was the term.) Such person’s pronoun of choice was “they” - and so there was no way of knowing what the person was. Not only was it annoying to have the plural pronoun “they” used to refer to a single person, I was startled by the sense of unrest and discombobulation that the lack of definition caused. I can only wonder what it is like to live that way.

In any case - thank you. Insight on this is much appreciated.


(David Kilborn) #4

I might have to buy that book now. I think one of the things that stood out to me was this:

If a man has an internal sense that he is a woman, is that just a variety of normal human functioning, or is it a psychopathology? Should we be concerned about the disconnection between feeling and reality, or only about the emotional distress or functional difficulties it may cause? What is the best way to help people with gender dysphoria manage their symptoms: by accepting their insistence that they are the opposite sex and supporting a surgical transition, or by encouraging them to recognize that their feelings are out of line with reality and learn how to identify with their bodies?

We live in a society that is going more and more in “do whatever you feel is right” while at the same time insisting science is the only thing to trust. There is a dichotomy there that so many that believe both don’t see.


(Jennifer Judson) #5

These articles are very informative, thanks Carson.

My co-worker and friend (female) is a very interesting individual. Her social network is as diverse as any person I’ve ever known. She’s active (as a friend and advocate) in the transgender community here in our city, as well as regionally and nationally. She is currently dating a transgender person (now male, previously female).

She is also one of the wisest and emotionally mature persons I’ve ever met. She is extremely intelligent as well as open to all people and all ideas. Her mother is Thai and a Buddhist, her Dad was from a Christian household but a non-Christian. The first half of her childhood was lived in Singapore in a diverse, international community. That has made her a seeker of diversity and a loving supporter of all. Including me. She is not a Christian, but a respecter of Christ and is able to distinguish between the human foibles of Christians and the true intent of the faithful when earnestly following Christ.

For me she’s a safe source in trying to understand facets of the world I hardly know about at all and have great confusion over–largely the LGBTQ community. Every time a letter of the alphabet gets added, she’s my go to person for finding out what it stands for. She calls them her “alphabet people.” She has great insights and I can inquire from someone who is not an angry activitist, but a loving advocate of many.

We’ve talked quite a bit about transgender issues. It’s through her I have come to understand how deeply they are in pain and how many commit suicide. Much of what she’s told me aligns with these articles. I was shocked that nearly every transgender person she knows had been a victim of a violent beating (and that’s a lot of people).

Several discussions started when the issue of transgender persons and public bathrooms was a news item every day. She pointed out that the potential scenario of a man dressed as a woman assaulting women and/or children in a Ladies room was largely hypothetical–there are basically no statistics to back this up. But with transgender women(?) using a Men’s room, the statistics bear out the great potential for hate crimes.

This post is not about bathrooms, or even how I feel about a facet of the world I have no frame of reference for, it’s about the sense of compassion it stirred in me for the pain these individuals suffer.

I’m grateful for these resources and I plan to get Ryan Anderson’s book. I feel a need for us all to remember that beyond the debates about human sexuality, in the church and society in general, are deeply hurting people who need what only Christ can give.

In one of the Sam Allberry links that I think you posted, he says that we all need intimacy (not talking about the sexual kind here) and that if people don’t find it in the church they will go elsewhere. That really touched me. I’ve been in plenty of discussions with Christians where it would not have been a safe place for a homosexual to be, let alone a transgender person.

How can we as the people of the church universal do a much better job of showing Christ’s love? How can we do it in a way that holds true to the sanctity of God’s plan for men and women? How can we stand against hate?


(Tim Ramey) #6

Jennifer, I so appreciate your post. I’m realizing more and more that, though we need to be prepared to give intelligent answers to questions, what the world really longs for is the love of Jesus. It’s not easy as we need the Holy Spirit to guide us. Your questions are excellent and are the keys to showing the real Jesus to a confused world. Thanks for such keen insight Jennifer.


(Anjeanette "AJ" Roberts) #7

Thanks for starting this topic, Carson! And thanks for the articles and book recommendation.

I end with a comment of my own, and it is linked to this article, which I think should enrich our thinking along the lines of some of the issues involved in this topic… although it is arguably a little off-target/topic. (https://spiritualfriendship.org/2018/01/04/whats-a-body-to-do-the-place-of-beauty-and-the-body-in-non-sexual-loves/)

These quotes from Ryan’s articles stood out to me…

"Sadly, just as “sex reassignment” fails to reassign sex biologically, it also fails to bring wholeness socially and psychologically. As I demonstrate in When Harry Became Sally, the medical evidence suggests that it does not adequately address the psychosocial difficulties faced by people who identify as transgender.

Even when the procedures are successful technically and cosmetically, and even in cultures that are relatively “trans-friendly,” transitioners still face poor outcomes."

“These results are tragic. And they directly contradict the most popular media narratives, as well as many of the snapshot studies that do not track people over time. As the Obama Centers for Medicare and Medicaid pointed out, “mortality from this patient population did not become apparent until after 10 years.””

My, comment: I wonder if part of our inability to address the transgender issues meaningfully is that we too often adopt a cultural importance of “sexuality” in our identities rather than emphasizing our identity in Christ… and that phrase “our primary identity is in Christ” as Christians is conveying something far deeper than a mere theological statement of our salvation and justification. The article link I shared really highlights one major area where we fail by over-emphasizing sexuality even in the church.

This over-emphasis also leads to more passive forms of sin, by wounding others in trying to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Quoting from the article I shared, “I am suggesting, though, that the assumptions we’ve made about intimacy, beauty, and the body, are false—harming all, confusing many. I am suggesting that it isn’t wrong to long for closeness, or to notice beauty, or to express an embodied affection. When submitted to the Lordship of Christ, these ways of relating are not sinful or unnatural, nor are they ever necessarily sexual; they can, should, and inevitably do play some part in our non-sexual relationships.”


(Anjeanette "AJ" Roberts) #8

Jennifer, thanks for your post. I love your friend (too) already! Please check out the link I shared in my reply to Carson’s post. Deanna Briody addresses one aspect of the tragedy of the lack of intimacy for anyone not called to marriage in the church. pax, AJ


(Simon Wenham) #9

Thanks Carson,

The Christian Medical Fellowship has some helpful resources on this, from a medical perspective:


Thanks,

Simon


(Jolene Laughlin) #10

I love this post. Thanks for sharing about your friend. Carson posted a link to an article written by a gay man. It’s very deep and profound. Your response here made me think of it and how the church in this situation responded. I can imagine the violence that a transgender woman (meaning a man transitioning to a woman - I do get confused on the wording here!) would face, especially going into a men’s restroom. :frowning:


(Jim) #11

Amazing wealth of information


(Melvin Greene) #13

Hi @trish53787!
Thanks for your kind words. I’m fighting some health issues, but I’m doing all right. God has indeed blessed me. I pray the Lord continues to bless you as well.