Every single person, including those who struggle deeply with who they are, are made in the image and likeness of God. However much someone can be mistaken in their self-understanding, whatever they’ve done to add to their own confusion, they’re still infinitely valuable and worthy of the fullest expressions of our love and care. This includes every person within the growing population of people who identify as transgender.
Because of this, it is important to say, definitively, that radical transgender ideology is destructive, harmful, and disconnected from reality.
We are told, of course, that anything less than fully embracing radical transgender ideology is actually what is harmful. We frequently hear, for example, that people who identify as transgender are the most vulnerable group in the world and that critiquing transgender ideology is committing violent discrimination.
But how true are these claims? In October, Madison Smith, with the UK Critic, wrote about the claim that those who identify as transgender are the most “marginalized, abused, and vulnerable group in the world.” After reviewing the data, Smith concluded, “… even though we’ve seen a sharp rise in the number of people who identify as transgender in the last few years, a trans person hasn’t been murdered in the U.K. for nearly three years.” Furthermore, “there are no reports ever of a trans person in Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland being murdered.”
Journalist Anna Slatz elaborates further: “According to Human Rights Campaign’s running list of trans deaths [in the U.S.], only two [are] being investigated as potential hate crimes.” Despite this, the group categorizes all 44 of the deaths as hate crimes, “even when they had nothing to do with being transgender at all.”
Any death is tragic because every human being has inherent value. Any act of violence against transgender people, including an act committed against someone for being transgender, is unacceptable. But that’s precisely the point Smith and Slatz are making: the reports of widespread trans-phobic violence simply don’t add up.
Instead, the claim is used as a bludgeon to silence anyone who criticizes transgender ideology, the view that one’s inner sense of self is so definitive that people must change their bodies to accommodate their dysphoria. Assumed by those who advance this ideology is that anything less than encouraging people to embrace gender confusion is violence against them.
The awful truth and tragic irony are that, in reality, it is the current practices of transgender treatment in medicine that causes harm. In his book When Harry Became Sally, Ryan T. Anderson argues that between 80% and 90% of children who say they are transgender eventually abandon those feelings by late adolescence. However, many adolescents are immediately encouraged by the cultural voices and even trusted adults to do real, irreversible damage to their minds and bodies.
This is why Christians must remember that love for our neighbors, especially the most vulnerable ones, demands telling the truth. As more and more stories of de-transitioners emerge, we hear from people who regret the invasive procedures of so-called “gender transition.” They report long-term physical side effects from testosterone injections and surgical mutilations, as well as mental side effects such as anxiety, depression and suicidal intention. Even if many in the larger culture wish that these people did not exist, they do, and their inherent dignity and value demand that they be heard.
For the love of God and these neighbors, Christians must have the courage to speak the truth, even about this very difficult and socially risky issue. We do so not because we want to be right, but because the Gospel is a message of hope. It’s a message that says we need not be victims of bad ideas, and our minds need not be captive to destructive ideologies which tell us our bodies are secondary, malleable or irrelevant. The Gospel offers what we need: forgiveness, holiness, a new identity and a clean start.
The swelling numbers of young people identifying as LGBT should tell us that captivity to great confusion is a culture-wide phenomenon today. At the same time, we must never lose sight that the victims of the bad ideas are individuals, often children. They must know what Christ has to offer them.
Consider the late Sy Rogers, who, after beginning what was at the time avant-garde hormone therapy through Johns Hopkins medicine, de-transitioned and found new life in Christ. He died two years ago, a married father and grandfather, faithfully walking out the Christian ethic of sexuality, even as he called LGBT people to a new encounter with the God who made them and loves them.
That message of the possibilities of grace, grounded in steadfast truth and Christ’s love, is needed now more than ever, especially as people deal with the fallout of destructive trans-narratives around us. For the sake of God and neighbor, we, of all people, must not live by lies.”
Originally published at BreakPoint.
John Stonestreet serves as president of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He’s a sought-after author and speaker on areas of faith and culture, theology, worldview, education and apologetics.
Kasey Leander is a Fellow with the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA). Prior to his time at OCCA, Kasey earned an undergraduate degree in history and PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics) from Taylor University. While at Taylor, Kasey served in various ministry roles on campus and was active in student government. He has also worked briefly in politics, serving as an intern in the US Senate in Washington, DC.