Fighting the Wrong War
I think all parties agree that biological sex is determined by our chromosomally dictated external body morphology, so the real question confronting us is this – What is gender?
The UCSF Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Resource Center defines gender as:
“A social construct used to classify a person as a man, woman, or some other identity. Fundamentally different from the sex one is assigned at birth; a set of social, psychological and emotional traits, often influenced by societal expectations.”
If this statement is true, then I feel the transgender community has been deceived by the culture. If gender is truly a social construct then the dissonance they experience between their inner gender and outer biology is not really an internal struggle at all, but rather a conflict between their biology and cultural gender stereotypes. They have been cruelly enlisted to fight a proxy war over social constructs within their own souls and the battlefield ends up being littered with emotional and physical casualties.
I think the transgender community would be better served by fighting for a better cultural understanding of gender rather than battling for societal acceptance of physical transitioning. It seems to me that once you transition you have lost the war and surrendered to the societal dictates of what it means to be male or female.
What is the authentic self? Is it physical or spiritual? While those outside the Church define it by how culture sees them, Christians must ask: “How does God see me?”
St. Paul made it clear that outward appearances such as ethnicity, sex and social standing are irrelevant to God, so maybe we need to stop defining our image bearing by physical differences and do some real soul searching. The problem is that our culture, rather than allowing us to be our authentic selves, steals our identity by forcing us to choose from a culturally approved list of sexual categories.
You cannot lump transgender people together because they all have unique stories. I think this is a very important point because in this day and age of identity politics the individual is often drowned out by the shouts of the mob and their unique voices become auto-tuned to conform to the elevator music standards of political correctness.
Sadly, our unique image bearing has been dumbed down to color, ethnicity, gender and sexual preference, none of which describes the genius of who we truly are. While these categories may be important components of our personal journeys, they do not define us. The reason this is important is because when our identities become slogans we no longer have conversations between unique individuals but rather shouting matches between ideologies. Name calling and yelling is the default mode of interaction between movements, but polite dialogue and civil debate should be the norm when two image bearers meet.
Ironically, our culture, which seems to value individuality, ends up homogenizing its citizens in identity group blenders. We are fooled into believing that identity politics will help us find out who we truly are, when in reality it only steals our identity. Instead of articulating those things that make us unique we are encouraged to chant slogans, instead of engaging in dialogue with other interesting human beings we are encouraged to lecture at them, and instead of ruminating on our own lives we are encouraged to spit at others.
Identity politics co-opts our personal biographies and uses them as infomercials for somebody else’s political product, and the more we are forced to watch them the more we believe the lie. If you insist on draping yourself in somebody else’s flag no one will ever see your true colors. You may want the world to see you as a rebel with a cause, but Jesus sees you as a sheep without a shepherd. In the first instance, you will be a dime a dozen but in the second you will be that rare lost coin that keeps old ladies up at night.
Warning! If you seek family by becoming a poster child for an organization you will end up becoming the intellectual property of those who market the ideology, and if you ever decide to break ranks you will quickly be tossed aside as a cultural orphan, such as those who publicly regret their decision to transition. The beauty of the gospel is that Jesus has already visited the orphanage and adopted you as his child. You no longer need to try and find intimacy in a political commune where a village raises a child, but rather can be adopted as a child of God where you are personally loved by your Abba Father.
Our individuality is found in Christ where there is no democrat or republican, black or white, male or female, conservative or liberal. God created you as a unique image bearer so don’t let culture make you a victim of identity theft.
Extract from the excellent article “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria only diagnoses the fearsome power of social media” by Dr. Erik Strandness. He is a physician and Christian apologist who has practiced neonatal medicine for more than 20 years. Posted on patheos.com – Evangelical, February 22, 2021