This entry is part 2 of 6 in the series: ‘Transgender’ (Roberts)
One result of the Enlightenment was that reliance on revelation was replaced with reason as the authoritative source of knowledge. But our society has now largely lost its confidence in reason, and therefore has abandoned the concept of objective truth as applied to the ‘big questions’ of meaning and morality.
We live, accordingly, in an age of subjectivism, of individualism, of personal freedom. I am free: free to think and live as I want. Free to be me. No-one else – parent, church, or society – may impose their beliefs on me. I must be true to myself and express my unique identity.
If we are free to construct our own identity, then we are free to do this in the area of our sense of gender. The binary (male/female) understanding is outdated and restrictive. And, if you’re unhappy with the anatomy nature has given you, then modern medicine and surgery can help you to be what you want to be.
Whereas in 1994 the US Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders referred to cross-gender identification as a ‘disorder’, in 2013 it was describing it as ‘dysphoria’ (so that the emphasis falls, not on the condition itself, but on the distress associated with it).
Approaches to ‘correct’ a person’s gender identity are increasingly seen as inappropriate. We now treat the body, rather than the mind.
Some voices from within the medical and psychiatric communities do express concern that surgical intervention in such cases is to collaborate with, rather than treat, a mental disorder. Generally, however, those who question the current consensus are likely to be accused of the latest thought crime: ‘transphobia’.
The debate is about more than psychological and medical arguments. It is about a clash of world views. Today’s ‘gospel’ proclaims the right of everyone to define themselves as they wish. Today’s ‘heretic’s are those who deny them this right.
The Christian response must not merely be: ‘Do this! Don’t do that!’. We must tell the Bible’s story of oppression, liberation and freedom; a story in which not self, but God, is the hero.
Transgender, by Vaughan Roberts. The Good Book Company, 2016.