The past week, the news cycle and social media have been abuzz with Transgender discussions. Because of President Obama’s new bathroom guidelines, we all may have to live with the reality of men being allowed to use female restrooms, locker-rooms, and dressing rooms. Quite naturally, many conservative Christians (self included) are greatly troubled by the transgender movement.
In attempt to help people like me embrace the pending changes, many on the cultural left are appealing to religious themes. So how do we respond to the claim that God is pro-transgender? Let’s take a look at how to refute three popular pro-transgender arguments.
Jesus Was Transgender
According to this argument based on a ‘literal’ meaning of scripture, Jesus was born with a set of XX chromosomes. Because Jesus did not have a biological father, God had to transform hm into a man. And he was not the first transgender person. Eve, the first woman, went through a similar experience. She was taken from Adam. She had XY DNA but was transformed into a woman. As Suzanne DeWitt Hall concludes, “If Jesus and Eve were walking around today…they’d have to swap restrooms.”
No. Jesus was born as a man. He was fully human down to his chromosomes (Heb. 2:17). If he was not a biological man, he could not save us from our sins (Rom 8:3).
Moreover, the lack of a human father does not necessity that Jesus lacked a Y chromosome. Jesus’s humanity was ultimately based on God’s plan and not on his mother’s biology (Luke 1:35). And, Jesus clearly taught that God created the two genders (Matt. 19:4). Because God created the XX and the XY chromosome packages, we can be certain that Jesus had XY chromosomes. God never goes against himself. Neither Jesus nor Eve evolved according to some half-hearted, miraculous process governed by the modern view of sexuality. Eve was created as a woman with XX chromosomes and declared good (Gen 1:26:31). And, Jesus is the perfect son of God and is beloved by his heavenly father (Matt 3:17). God did not have to transform anything.
But not all people are created male and female. Every year, thousands of people are born with both male and female genitalia. The presence of these intersex humans challenges the very concept of our binary understanding of sex. And when intersex children are born, the child or the child’s parents get to pick the child’s gender. To be consistent with nature and our loving God, Christians must admit that they don’t fully grasp the diversity of found in God’s creation. We must be willing to expand our views of sex and gender. Or so the argument goes.
It is true that intersex persons do exist. And it is true that people have assigned intersex children a gender. But intersex persons do not represent a new gender. And, they do not disprove the existence of two genders.
Intersex is rather a perversion of gender caused by the fall. When genetic testing is done, intersex persons have either and XX or and XY chromosome set. In short, their genitals are different and may not correspond perfectly to their gender. But those deemed to be intersex are still biologically either male of female. Gender expands beyong genatilial but never exceeds the realm of nature. Instead of assigning intersex children a gender or categorizing them as another gender, we should work with doctors and scientist to determine their God given identity.
Once we discover their idenity, we should use medicine to help them live out their God given gender. When a child is born with a cleft palate the loving response is to use modern medicine to help them return to health. The same principle should apply to intersex children. We should seek to help them overcome the effects of the fall as best as possible.
The existence of intersex people does not disprove the biblical view of gender.
It Feels Right
But what about feelings? Christians are encouraged to let men use the girl’s bathrooms and to let women shower in the men’s locker-room because we should want everyone to feel loved and validated. As Bruce Jenner famously said, “My brain is much more female than it is male. That’s what my soul is.” For Bruce to be fully himself, he needs the freedom to be a woman. And he needs culture to treat him as a woman. If people deny him access to women’s restrooms, people are attacking his very humanity and happiness. Surely Christians do not want to stand opposed to love?
I do not deny Bruce Jenner’s or any other transgender person’s feelings. I’m sure they are very real. And, I don’t deny that their expression of gender brings them happiness.
But for the Christian, one’s true humanity and happiness are found in Jesus. Happiness is never found in following one’s mental inclinations (Prov. 12:15). True happiness in found obeying Jesus. To be fully human, we believe one must be like Jesus. And to be like Jesus, we have stop listening to what our hearts say. We have to follow God as Jesus did. Notice what Jesus says in Matthew 16:24. “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” To love people, we must encourage them to escape from the recesses of their minds and embrace Jesus. We must encourage them to deny their transgender identity that leads them away from their creator.