Friday, May 27, 2016

Is Transgenderism Wrong? (Part 2)

Last week, I wrote an article on the issue of transgenderism. My purpose there was to go over the biblical case against it. This week, I want to expand on it by looking at some of the key elements of this debate from a different angle.


First, to the issue of safety. I admit, it is important. Transgenderism is creating a dangerous insecurity. Every woman and parent has an absolute right to feel threatened by the possibility of a man abusing this new “right” to be in a women’s bathroom or locker room. But that is not the main issue. If it were mitigated with unisex single-use bathrooms, that would not fix the problem. And we are being set up to believe that it would. We risk being deceived into thinking we have won if a man in a woman’s dress is not permitted to be in a bathroom with women. The problem is that he is in the dress at all. We are being conditioned to accept another new normal. That is what we really need to resist. And if we can’t do that, what will we stand against? What purpose do we serve? At some point, we have to say enough is enough. I hope we have reached it.

Second, I want to mention something about boycotts. I think boycotts are worthless. I have never met one I liked. For one thing, they hardly ever come with any conviction. For another, they leave us too open to charges of hypocrisy when we are willing to do business with others having similarly heinous priorities (though, again, that is not really a reason not to do them, since we do have to take a stand somewhere). But worst of all, they generally seem to generate the opposite of their intent. The problem is that they create publicity, and as we all know, there isn’t any bad publicity. When a boycott starts, it tends to bring out more of the business’s supporters than its opponents. I think the best approach is silence. If you don’t want to support a business, then don’t. Don’t go into the stores, don’t order anything online, don’t invest. That is up to your conscience. But there is little purpose in broadcasting it.
Finally, there’s the issue of harm. Many people have the attitude that if something does not harm anybody else, then it should not be condemned. Well, that doesn’t hold up. For one thing, nothing we do occurs in a vacuum. Harm does not have to be physical. It can also be mental, emotional, and societal. The breaking down of a nation’s mores is incredibly unhealthy. Along with that, though, is the idea of self-harm. We have a responsibility to keep people safe from themselves, at least to an extent.
Transgenderism is a clear example of a place where this has to go into effect. People who suffer from it are deeply confused, deceiving themselves into believing they are something they are not. The ultimate step for someone so deceived is medical, using hormone treatments and genital surgery to make themselves more like the opposite sex. It is self-mutilation without justified cause. And there is also no chance of success.
As a man, I can say it is utterly impossible for any woman to fully understand my experience, or in other words, to experience life as I do. Any rational woman could say the same in the opposite case. A man cannot have his penis removed and suddenly understand what it is to be a woman. He was not satisfied with what he was born to be, but he will discover he has not become something else. He has just become something less. That is why, more likely than anything else, the suicide rate among post-operative transsexuals is 20 times higher than average.
Looking to Belong
People are not looking at the right problem. What is sought is not to become a woman, but to achieve a sense of belonging. For whatever reason, always resulting from experience, a person feels out of place in his own skin. He becomes convinced it was a mistake of birth, but only because life proves in some way disappointing. He feels he would be better off as part of another community. It has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with displacement. A lack of contentment leads to suffering. That is true for every single person on earth, because that is what it means to covet. Transgenderism is only one form among many.
Which leads us back to the Bible, or at least, to biblical principle. We all have desires that conflict with the will of God. They are so much a part of us that they feel natural. But that does not make them right or good, and it does not mean we should pursue them to whatever end. If we look closely enough at them, we will see them for the destructive selfishness they really are. Of course, that does not always make it easier to resist them. The point, however, is that we ought to try. They are burdens to be borne and overcome through faithfulness to the Creator, not given into as though they are a birthright or blessing. Life isn’t about making yourself feel better. It is about doing what is right, according to the Lord who determines right.

That isn’t always easy. I know it. I have my own burdens, if gender dysphoria is not one of them. I am not saying I am perfect, either. All I mean to ask people to do, is try. Try to see how your desire, rather than your gender, is the problem. Try to recognize the good in what God has already made you to be. And try to follow His leading, rather than being dragged along by your confusion.

Knowing What to Celebrate

It seems like so much to ask, and it so often seems to be asked flippantly. Christians can often appear uncaring, and to lack understanding. But that is not the issue. We understand. We do not condone. So often we are told to be tolerant, when really we are being told to celebrate sin. How can we do that, though, when we know our Lord had to die for it? That goes too far. We must resist, and we must point out fatal flaws, so people can find the Savior instead of tricking themselves into thinking they don’t need one. And from there, we have to help each other grow. There can be compassion on those flaws, but they need to be seen as just that: flaws. People don’t need to be celebrated. They need to be forgiven. While Christ’s Church is present on this earth, we will proclaim the value of forgiveness over the deception of celebration.

 Hopefully more and more people will see that value so they can find the only joy worth having. Fulfillment is available, but not through surgery and a change of wardrobe. It comes through reconciliation with the great God who created you with purpose, though that purpose is so often marred by our pride. But He loves you so much that He took on the punishment for your sins so you could be saved from them. Don’t cling to them, then. Come to Him, cling to Him, and let Him transform you. Only the change He offers can truly make us who we are meant to be.

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