This entry is part 1 of 6 in the series: ‘Transgender’ (Roberts)
Here’s the first instalment of my summary of Vaughan Robert’s short book on this subject:-
Transgender is today’s big social, ethical and cultural issue. Stories of transitioning, debates about which public bathrooms to use, documentaries on transgender children, are impacting us on almost a daily basis.
How are Christians to respond:- not only to the issues, but also to the people involved, as we come into contact with them?
‘Transgender’ covers a range of experiences in which an individual’s sense of gender does not match their biological sex. For some individuals, this leads to a distressing and prolonged sense of disharmony called ‘gender dysphoria’.
Those experiencing gender dysphoria may say that this may go back to early childhood. However, we should note that for most children who experience confusion around gender this resolves completely during adolescence.
Studies suggest that gender dysphoria affects up to 1 in 10,000 males and 1 in 20,000 females. Some incongruence (not amounting to gender dysphoria) may affect around 1 in 250 people.
There is no consensus on what causes gender dysphoria. Some promote a biological approach, such as the brain-sex theory (according to which the brain is ‘wired’ in the opposite way to the rest of the body). Others stress the influence of nurture (i.e. psychosocial factors).
Formerly, many people would have responded to this issue with unquestioning rejection. Increasingly, however, people are responding with an uncritical acceptance.
As Christians, we should avoid unquestioning rejection, because all are made in God’s image and call forth our love and compassion. But we should equally avoid uncritical acceptance, because we cannot simply affirm all that the world affirms, but rather test everything by God’s word.
Transgender, by Vaughan Roberts. The Good Book Company, 2016.