As homosexuality rapidly gained acceptance over the last 20 years, many have been pointing to transgender rights as the next big step once homosexuality was established. Though the conversation on transgenderism has been working its way to the surface of our social consciousness for years, it’s now a mainstream issue following the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner headlines and with states deciding what to do about restrooms and locker rooms for people who identify as the opposite gender.
As with homosexuality, many in society have rushed straight into supporting transgenderism in the name of love and acceptance, yet just as with homosexuality they haven’t stopped to ask the necessary questions. Those who stand for transgender rights have made three big assumptions, but before accepting those premises as true, the only logical thing to do is weigh those assumptions on their own merits by the facts and research available. These three assumptions are:
1. The confusion is physical, not mental
The key assertion made by transgender people is that their gender is different from their anatomy. They argue that they can be one sex mentally while simultaneously being the other physically. Maybe that dichotomy does exist. It’s clear there is some disconnect between the physical and the mental. But nobody has ever answered why we automatically assume that the mind is right and the anatomy is wrong. Aren’t the odds just as good that the misplacement is psychological and not physical? Or, wouldn’t at least some percentage of them fall into that category? That’s the logical fallacy known as begging the question, as the assumption begs the question as to whether or not the original assumption has any factual grounds. When we answer the question begged by that assumption, the assumption begins to fall apart.
For many years, it was treated as a mental disorder. Lots of people have believed themselves to be something other than they are, and for nearly every single one of those cases it’s chalked up as a mental problem rather than a physical one. So why is it different when a man says he’s a woman or a woman says she’s a man? The facts say that this basic assumption is flawed, as studies have shown that those who have gender reassignment surgeries aren’t suddenly fixed. In fact, they are far more likely to have increased struggles with mental illness, which is exactly what would happen if the opposing assumption is true, that the misidentification is mental rather than physical. People aren’t born in the wrong body. They’re born in the right body with a mental disconnect. The solutions are psychological, not physical.
2. The depression is external, not internal
It’s widely known that those who identify as transgender suffer an exponentially higher rate of mental illness when compared to their peers, as studies have found them to be ten times more likely to attempt suicide. Of course, rather than examining those suffering the depression, those who promote the transgender lifestyle generally assume that the depression comes from the environment, from feeling pressured to “live a lie” by knowing who you are deep down but feeling anxiety about “coming out” due to what others might think. “If a person is not being seen for who they are it can be very distressing,” said researcher Sari L. Reisner.
So they see the depression problem, and they automatically jump to the assumption that it must be because people aren’t accepting enough. Again, they beg the question, leaving no explanation as to why that assumption is correct. The first question that should be asked is, “Is transgenderism healthy?” That question is skipped, as though it were a foregone conclusion. But, as noted above, if it’s normal and healthy, then those who have received treatment, surgeries, and medication should be normal, well-adjusted people. Yet those are the people whose depression and suicide rates continue to climb.
What if society is doing a great disservice to these people by refusing to ask whether or not the condition itself is healthy? What’s more loving – to encourage someone to embrace something that might kill them, or to explore the nature of the problem first before offering solutions?
3. God was wrong
Obviously a large number of those who stand for transgenderism either don’t believe the God of the Bible exists or don’t believe anything He says on the matter is relevant whatsoever, but that doesn’t change the fact that those who identify as transgender are His creation. As Jesus quotes in Matthew 19:4, from the beginning God has made us male and female. It’s not wrong to have doubts and struggles, as there are those who have fought with their gender identity while still striving to surrender it to the Lord, but to completely give up the argument and assume that doubt or conflicting feelings automatically means you’re in the wrong body is to say that God made a mistake. God doesn’t make mistakes.
God does not put men in women’s bodies nor women in men’s bodies. Instead, as the studies are showing, these issues come from more deeply-rooted psychological challenges. Therefore God isn’t the source of the problem, but rather the solution. He offers peace, forgiveness, and grace for everything we face in this life, and as the issue of transgenderism continues to take the center stage, we in the church have to realize that God loves these people too and that they need exactly what we need – a discipleship relationship with their Savior and Father. Rather than fighting them, let’s try and show them the truth and love of the Gospel that can give them the hope they need in their struggles.
By Jack Wilkie
Jack Wilkie is the author of “Failure: What Christian Parents Need to Know About American Education.”