Mr. Simpson takes issue with Mr. Throness’ statement “how we were born is who we are meant to be.” (Dec. 6 Barrhead Leader) He states, “There are times when who we are at birth is not how we are meant to be…Jesus did not think that the way the blind man [John 9] was born was the way he was supposed to be. Jesus healed the blind man.” He goes on to affirm sex reassignment for transgender people by way of hormone therapy or surgery and states “As people of faith, we can love and accept the trans people in our lives without compromising our faith.”
On the first point, Mr. Simpson is correct. Since sin entered the world (see Genesis 3), we see brokenness everywhere, even before birth. Blindness, intersex conditions, etc. are all evidence of this. Mr. Simpson is also right in that there is no place for judging those who suffer with these things as though they are a punishment from God for a particular sin. As we can read in John 9:3, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”
At root, every single one of us is broken, physically, psychologically, and spiritually. The question is what the loving response is. This will depend on the specific brokenness, and it is not simple. There is a significant difference between someone who is intersexed (a biological condition where it may be difficult to determine what sex someone is at birth, apart from a DNA test) and someone who has gender dysphoria, which is a psychological condition. Just because our society lumps all these people together as “trans” does not mean that they should be treated the same way.
Where Mr. Simpson goes wrong is concluding that hormone therapy, surgery, etc. is the loving and Christian response for those struggling with transgenderism. As Dr. Paul McHugh says, “It is not obvious how this patient’s feeling that he is a woman trapped in a man’s body differs from the feeling of a patient with anorexia that she is obese despite her emaciated, gaunt state. We don’t do liposuction on anorexics. Why amputate the genitals of these poor men?”
We ought to treat a biological condition different from a psychological condition. And we ought to have the courage to recognize that a disorder needs treatment, not affirmation. The loving response is to pay heed to the reality that 43 per cent of transgendered individuals who proceed with surgery have attempted suicide (Grant et al., 2010).
The Association for Reformed Political Action policy report correctly distinguishes between gender dysphoria (the psychological condition that needs treatment) and gender fluidity (a social construct that normalizes gender dysphoria, and thereby impedes its diagnosis and treatment). “Advancing this type of political theory without evidence is self-serving for many politicians, not other-serving. It results in bad public policy to the detriment of others, particularly youth, who struggle with their gender identity. To leave gender dysphoria untreated is to leave struggling individuals without help and to ignore experienced researchers in this field.”
The politically correct answer may appear to be loving, but it is not the truth. As such it causes enormous harm to the very people it claims to help. We are not loving our neighbour as ourselves by promoting these things that will only cause harm. As people of faith we must love persons who struggle with their gender identity enough to stand up against harmful ideology and practices and witness to his truth.