The name Caitlyn has disappeared from the Social Security Website’s list of 1000 popular baby names. The once favored name fell 542 spots from 609 to 1151 over this past year. And, the drop is not an isolated incident. The three other most common spellings of the name (Caitlin, Katelynn and Kaitlynn) also disappeared from the list of popular girl names. The names fell from 652, 994, and 943 to spots 1060, 1054, and 1375 respectively. The seismic drop of the name Caitlyn is rather unprecedented.
Today, many Americans cannot help but associate the name ‘Caitlyn’ with Caitlyn Jenner who once identified as a man, Bruce Jenner. The former Olympic gold medal winner has been in the news quite often since 2015. He won the Arthur Ash Courage Award at the ESPYS, donned the cover of Glamour Magazine, and gave captivating interviews to Diane Sawyer. As he underwent sex change operations and switched his pronoun usage, he grabbed the attention of the American public.
Today, fifty-one percent of Americans approve of letting transgender men and women use their restroom of choice. Sixty-six percent of people who know a transgender person our sympathetic to the transgender cause. Yet only thirty percent of U.S. adult know a transgender person.
Acceptance of transgender ideals is growing as the stats show above. But, the appropriate secular response to the movement continues to be confusing and undefined. Many almost two-thirds of the country have not had to directly interact with the issue.
Because things are unsettle and contentious, parents are fleeing from the name that the transgender community champions. As one baby name expert told Time, “We just want to avoid controversy in picking names.”
Yet such avoidance is not a sign of hate. As Time suggests, the drop of the name Caitlyn was not spawned by “wave of homophobia.” I tend to agree.
I believe the name is controversial because the transgender movement is challenging many of the liberal norms that have been used to advance the sexual revolution over the last several years. Much of the homosexual marriage fight was propelled by the notion of biological identity. They claimed that men and women were born homosexuals and deserved the right to express the biological urges.
The transgender movement declares that gender and sexual expression are now divorced from biology. Humanity has the freedom to choose their gender apart from the biological reality. The immovable is now movable.
When feminist fought for equally rights, they were fighting for people with two X chromosomes. Now men can identify as a women and dominate the very sports that Title IX was created to protect. Though many liberals want to welcome transgender men and women into the sporting world, the invitation effectively excludes biological women from reaching the field.
Consequently, I believe many in our culture are confused. They do not know how to resolve these ideological difference of tolerance. As a result, the simply avoid the issue. Their refusal to call their kids Caitlyn is simply an outworking of their confusion.
Thankfully where there is much confusion, the gospel is clear. Christians do not have to fear the name Caitlyn or transgender people. They fit into the gospel narrative quite nicely just as does every other subgroup of humanity. Caitlyn Jenner is broken and hurting like everyone else. The solution for all brokenness found is Christ. As people repent of their sin and follow Jesus, they find hope. The void that they seek to fill with sex changes can be satisfied by Jesus’ work on the cross. Those in the transgender community can find meaning, hope, and relationship through Christ just like we have.
Christians can freely name their children Caitlyn or any of its variations. The name does not ultimately represent the transgender movement. It ultimately points to brokenness and hurt as does every name ranging from Ava to Zachary. The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus came to save the hurting. The message that we share with our children and with the world is that Jesus saves, liberates, and redeems people from every name, tribe, and sexual ethic. We have hope that make sense of the confusion.
So are you ready to consider the name Caitlyn again?