What does the Bible say about transgender people?

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What does the Bible say about transgenderism?

June 1, 2023 -

Transgender flag in front of the sun © By nito /stock.adobe.com

Transgender flag in front of the sun © By nito /stock.adobe.com

Transgender flag in front of the sun © By nito /stock.adobe.com

Our culture is confused about sexuality. For many, we permit—if not celebrate—nearly all forms of sexual expression. Currently, transgenderism presents a thoroughly unique movement. But what does the Bible say about transgender people?

In February 2022, swimmer Lia Thomas won the women’s 500-yard freestyle in the national championship, becoming the first transgender athlete to win a Division I championship of any sport. Thomas was born biologically male.

An Oregon mother tried to adopt a child but was rejected for her biblical beliefs about sexuality, including transgenderism. Her lawsuit reads, “Oregon’s policy amounts to an ideological litmus test. Those with ‘correct’ views on sexual ethics may adopt; those with religious views may not.”

In the last decade at the main gender clinic in the UK, the number of teenage girls transitioning from female to male has increased by 5,000 percent. The surge in girls deciding they’re boys with no history of gender distress paved the way for a new theory: “late-onset gender dysphoria” or “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.”

In addition, according to a recent survey by the Washington Post, “Many [trans people] have been harassed or verbally abused. . . . A quarter have been physically attacked, and about 1 in 5 have been fired or lost out on a promotion because of their gender identity.”

In the midst of a cultural upheaval under modern gender ideology, parents feel bewildered, therapists and physicians don’t seem trustworthy, and those with gender dysphoria (including trans people) feel stigmatized and rejected by the church.

We must adhere to a biblical conviction in every area, not just in truth and theological principles (orthodoxy), but also in the way of love, kindness, and self-sacrifice (orthopraxy). While we want to cover a biblical understanding of sex and gender, we can’t lose sight of the individual humans created in God’s image who may be suffering from a myriad of confusing, deep-seated hurts. We’ll emphasize this point throughout.

Dr. Preston Sprinkle is a biblical scholar specializing in sexuality and the author of Embodied. In it, he talks about Alan, his friend who struggled with his gender identity, and how Alan accepted and understood his biblical masculinity despite persistent confusion about his gender. Sprinkle writes, “Love, not logic, changed Alan’s heart. People are rarely argued into the kingdom.”

While right theology and doctrine are essential, without love, we are “noisy gongs,” “clanging cymbals,” and “nothing” (1 Corinthians 13:1–3).

Content

What does the evidence say about gender dysphoria and transgender people?

We’ll use the word sex to refer to the person’s biological sex, i.e., the sex they were born to.

Gender refers to how a person lives and presents themselves as either masculine or feminine.

In the past, these terms were used interchangeably.

Not so today.

What are transgenderism and gender dysphoria?

Transgender, or trans, is an umbrella term. Most trans people have “gender dysphoria” (previously “gender identity disorder”), which refers to psychological distress accompanied by a strong conviction that they don’t belong in their bodies’ sex. In that world, some people use “cisgender” to refer to non-trans people. People with gender dysphoria experience intense discomfort and distress feeling like they’re the wrong sex. We’ll later argue that gender identity disorder is a better term, helping lead to better treatment for people experiencing distress.

For many, gender dysphoria is long-term, hounding, and horrific. One described their bout with the distress as a “creepy serum . . . injected all over my body to create an odd, numb yet painful feeling coursing through my blood vessels and seeping into my flesh. My torso and limbs feel like static, and not from pins and needles. My stomach is always uneasy and my whole body is slightly tensed up.”

Justin Sabia-Tanis, a transgender Christian author, asks cis-gender Christians to empathize: “Imagine waking up in the morning and having to wear the clothes you associate with the opposite sex.”

We must understand the plight of trans people with gender dysphoria at the outset, sympathizing with what amounts to an intense psychological discomfort. Body dysmorphia is both a symptom and a broad category for feeling extreme discomfort about one’s body. For example, anorexia nervosa includes body dysmorphia, because people with anorexia have an irrational fear of their body becoming fat, which causes distress. Gender dysphoria includes body dysmorphia. The question we’ll raise and answer later is how to treat gender dysphoria, and whether we should consider it a disorder.

Some trans people identify as “genderqueer,” which means they don’t identify as the opposite sex. Instead, they reject the idea that sex and gender are “binary” and claim they’re somewhere between male and female on a gender spectrum. Some even want to exist outside the spectrum.

A 2023 Washington Post survey found that far more young trans people identify as “nonbinary” or “gender nonconforming” instead of the opposite sex of the one they were given at birth. The same article states that “less than a third have used hormone treatments or puberty blockers, and about 1 in 6 have undergone gender-affirming surgery or other surgical treatment to change their physical appearance.”

This emphasizes the flexibility of the term trans, and it signals a move by young people away from the classic “transsexual” version of transgenderism. However, this paper will nevertheless focus on male-to-female and female-to-male transgenderism. For more insight into gender-queerness and gender nonconformity, read “Is gender binary?” in our forthcoming book, Biblical Insight into Tough Questions: Vol. 12.

Many people with gender dysphoria believe their distress means they are, in reality, the opposite sex they were born into. Thus, they change their gender to counter the distress of living in the “wrong” body.

This act is called “transitioning.”

What is transitioning?

First, a word of warning: because we’re discussing sex and gender, some graphic medical terms will be used out of necessity.

Trans people who transition will present as the opposite gender by “socially transitioning,” which includes changing their clothing and hair and using the opposite sex’s pronouns, or “they/them” for genderqueer people. The next step is taking hormones, testosterone or estrogen, to shift to more masculine or feminine traits. This will change their voice, hair growth, muscle mass, fat distribution, and even their personality temperament. After this, many go on to change their bodies through Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS).

According to Johns Hopkins, clinics can offer hormone replacement therapy, vaginal construction/vaginoplasty, facial feminization surgery, and breast augmentation for male-to-female transitions. For female-to-male transitions, they can perform hormone replacement therapy, chest masculinization, facial masculinization surgery, and penile construction/phalloplasty.

Penile construction, vaginal construction, double mastectomies, and breast augmentations are highly invasive, wildly expensive, and don’t replicate functioning male or female anatomy—just look-alikes. However, all these procedures can carry life-altering side effects. Even puberty blockers and hormone treatment, the least invasive procedures, can cause urinary tract infections, increase heart problems, decrease bone density (causing joint pain), and can lead to sexual dysfunction and infertility later in life.

Trans children can access “puberty suppressants” and hormone treatment, and teens can access all of these procedures. We’ll discuss adolescents transitioning in more depth later.

So, what have we learned so far?

If someone identifies as “trans,” they may mean different things. A trans person may identify and present as the opposite sex, changing their gender. Others might consider themselves genderqueer, neither identifying as a man nor a woman. Young people will often be confused, bouncing between identities and queer feelings at a rapid pace. Many, but not all, trans people experience gender dysphoria—intense psychological distress from their biological sex. To escape that pain, they will turn to change their gender identity.

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Where does transgenderism come from?

The path of a trans person is not easy. While the LGBTQ+ community may praise and support them, they nonetheless will face intense hardships. Many of them face what they perceive as workplace harassment and discrimination.

Most trans people cannot afford expensive sex reassignment surgery, but even those who can may not convincingly present as the opposite sex. Gender dysphoria may remain or flair up later in life after transitioning. As we’ll see later, transitioning, even by secular standards, is a therapeutically dubious way to treat gender dysphoria.

In our opinion, gender dysphoria seems to be a kind of disorder that causes mental distress and needs psychological intervention. If gender dysphoria is better construed as a disorder, it further suggests that transitioning wouldn’t necessarily be the best treatment, even from a secular therapeutic standpoint. Let’s consider why we believe gender identity disorder should still exist.

Trans people have high “comorbidity” with other mental illnesses

In the previous edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (aka, the DSM, the psychologist’s “Bible”), gender dysphoria was classified as a disorder. Trans people often face high rates of other mental illnesses. Typically, mental disorders are “comorbid” with other mental illnesses, meaning multiple mental health issues often exist in the same person. For example, people with anxiety are at higher risk of depression.

The fact that trans people face such a higher risk for other mental illnesses suggests that transgenderism has roots in a mental disorder. The previous edition of the DSM-4, the 4th edition, included “gender identity disorder” for anyone who wanted to change their sex. In the 5th edition, they replaced it with “gender dysphoria,” which means that not everyone who wants to transition has a mental disorder. According to this new standard, trans people should only be diagnosed with gender dysphoria if they experience intense distress from their “gender incongruence.” Whereas before, the feeling of gender incongruence was considered a disorder in and of itself.

However, the high rate of mental health issues in trans people suggests the desire to transition stems from a disorder. This would also provide a clearer path to treatment.

So, what do trans people experience much more frequently?

Three pathologies—depression, anxiety, and self-harm—are two to three times higher in trans people than in the general population. It’s even higher for young trans people. In addition, autism, dissociative disorders, schizophrenia, and eating disorders run higher among trans people. At least a quarter of young girls who claim to be trans also have autism.

In addition, the risk factors for suicide, suicidal ideation, and substance abuse are much higher than in the general population.

Paul R. Eddy summarizes, “ADHD, autism, affective and anxiety disorders, depression, and schizophrenia occur at significantly higher-than-usual rates among transgender people.”

Unfortunately, the countless other issues trans people deal with can confound studies. For example, studying trans people for their rates of self-harm raises a question: Are trans people self-harming because they’re trans or because they have higher rates of depression? These confounding effects aren’t always mentioned in the literature. Media outlets frequently reverberate studies’ success without mentioning their limitations.

With that said, let’s consider some theories about the origins of transgenderism and gender dysphoria.

The trans-brain theory (the nature argument)

Neuroscientists debate whether the human brain is “sexed.” Some scientists believe that trans people have a condition where a female-like brain is in a male body or a male-like brain is in a female body. Brains have a remarkable amount of “neuroplasticity,” meaning that our experiences and behavior can change their structure. While some evidence of brain differences between men and women exists, whether this is the root cause of gender dysphoria is heavily disputed.

One Christian author in support of transgenderism felt confident that this science would prove this theory true. Perhaps, but as of now, the theory doesn’t get off the ground. Even if we humans were “male and female-brained,” there’s no solid evidence that it would be the origin of gender dysphoria.

The psychological trans theory (the nurture argument)

Some believe transgenderism arises from nurture rather than nature. People with gender dysphoria are more likely to experience abuse as children than the general population. In addition, some psychological, subjective reasons may prompt dysphoria or a desire to transition rooted in something apart from gender dysphoria.

Dr. Susan Bradley told Dr. Deborah Soh of teen girls transitioning to males, “Some of these girls, before transitioning, have been sexually abused or threatened. They feel that they’re unable to protect themselves as females and that’s another spur to say, ‘I would be better off as a male.’”

A girl in middle school with autism might not fit in with her peers and prefer the company of boys. When puberty hits, she experiences distress that universally accompanies this change for young girls. She might then opt for a route that both makes her popular and diminishes the effects of female puberty with testosterone or hormone blockers.

Indeed, evidence points to some trans tendencies as a social contagion. Social contagion is when psychological disorders spread through popularity and because of culture. However, few modern studies are conducted on the social contagion of transgenderism because the results might not fit the narrative of trans ideology.

Autogynephilia, for male-to-female trans people

Though lesser-known (and disfavored by trans ideology), autogynephilia is a psychological theory that explains some male-to-female transitions. Autogynephilia refers to an erotic, sexual attraction of men to themselves as females.

Each case is different

The question of the essence of transgenderism and gender dysphoria is important for several reasons, but these various theories do little to affect our biblical reasoning. Several factors will likely play a role in any given person’s gender dysphoria. When talking with transgender people, we should ask them why they believe they experience distress or why they’ve transitioned. They might not know themselves.

Most will just affirm that they “are” the opposite sex and that the “incongruence” of their self-understanding and their bodies is the source of their distress.

Affirming is not the answer

These issues are clearly complex. Unfortunately, because of transgender ideology, many have opted for a simple—though severely flawed—solution that washes over these depths: Just affirm the person’s transition. Therapeutically, this is quite counterintuitive at its base level.

Therapists don’t usually (if ever) affirm people’s body dysmorphia. Imagine a psychologist “affirming” an anorexic woman, telling her that she’s indeed quite obese and should cut back on calories despite her objective state of starvation.

Someone with body dysmorphia obssesses about their bodily appearance. They notice miniscule flaws in their body, often even inventing them. They may avoid pictures, spend hours on cosmetics, or endlessly diet when they’re underweight. Imagine a therapist “affirming” their “flaws,” pointing out newly forming wrinkles.

Imagine a therapist affirming someone’s irrational fear of elevators, or a therapist spinning up a story about how the FBI monitors a paranoid schizophrenic.

So why do therapists affirm trans people’s identity? Why is it illegal to do otherwise in some places? To understand that, we need to consider “transgender ideology.”

What is transgender ideology?

By its proponents, transgender ideology is called trans activism, LGBTQ+ allyship, and other such names. The ideology comes attached to a worldview called “expressive individualism.” The view says people should not only accept other people’s internal beliefs about themselves as paramount but must also celebrate them.

The ideology of transgenderism is the assumption that anyone with gender dysphoria or who wants to transition for almost any reason ought to transition. This is called affirmative care. Anyone impeding that process oppresses the trans’ person’s true self. Anyone promoting caution or claiming on religious grounds that transitioning is not the best choice is labeled “transphobic” then shut out, condemned, and put aside.

Transgender ideology stifles helpful research, even for secular, transgender-affirming specialists. Dr. Kenneth Zucker led the Child Youth and Family Gender Identity Clinic in Canada, a clinic that specialized in treating gender dysphoric kids. He headed up the DSM-5 gender dysphoria entry. Despite falling out of the public’s graces, he remains one of the world’s research and treatment experts.

In 2015, Dr. Zucker was unceremoniously fired for false allegations made by trans activists. His real crime? Helping kids with gender dysphoria, first and foremost, feel comfortable in their own bodies before considering transition as an option.

Dr. Zucker believes that kids who socially transition will be reinforced into that new gender and that gender dysphoria usually arises from nurture rather than nature. Activists called his therapy “conversion” and “reparative,” which is illegal in Canada. Effectively exiling a world-class scientist to satiate an activist mob was an appalling sight, even to the secular, scientific world. He sued the hospital for libel and won more than half a million dollars in a settlement in 2018. The hospital admitted wrongdoing and apologized “without reservation.”

Under the threat of transgender ideology, even the world’s leading expert in gender dysphoria isn’t safe.

While it sounds like trans ideology has won in our most significant institutions, we’re hopeful. It appears that a new wave of opposition to trans ideology has been coalescing in the past couple of years, especially in the area of children and teens. We’ll discuss that more later.

Because scientific research into transgenderism is under pressure from activism and ideological forces, we must review the evidence carefully. Science strives to be objective, but it is a human endeavor involving promotions, grants, tenures, money, and reputation.

Take this example of a subtle but commonplace twisting of the evidence. “Reduction in Mental Health Treatment Utilization Among Transgender Individuals After Gender-Affirming Surgeries: A Total Population Study” was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 2015. It was widely circulated in the media for concluding that “the longitudinal association between gender-affirming surgery and reduced likelihood of mental health treatment lends support to the decision to provide gender-affirming surgeries to transgender individuals who seek them.”

In other words, it was a long-term study that showed trans-affirming practices improved people’s mental health.

It was large and longitudinal—finally! A good, conclusive study.

However, upon closer inspection of the data, the numbers yielded “no advantage of surgery.” Fortunately, the authors and the American Journal of Psychiatry acknowledged the error. Unfortunately, the original study remains up on their site without an indication of the correction, and the damage was already done.

News organizations beholden to trans-ideology wouldn’t dare post about the correction. To this day, trans-affirming sites loudly proclaim at the top of Google’s results this since-corrected research: “New Study Shows Transgender People Who Receive Gender-Affirming Surgery Are Significantly Less Likely To Experience Psychological Distress Or Suicidal Ideation.”

Such is the case with many studies. Faulty research is taken at face value and creates the appearance of “consensus” with little to no basis in fact.

Based on the still tenuous evidence, the major institutions of health and psychology in the West nearly all recommend some version of “affirmative therapy.” This refers to the assumption that anyone who wants to transition should be supported in that endeavor. According to this theory, if someone expresses distress from incongruence in their gender and sex, they should transition. Beyond just recommending affirmative therapy, therapists or physicians could lose their licenses for refusing to do so. “Conversion therapy” is illegal in many places, and what counts as “conversion therapy” can be twisted and abused by LGBTQ+ activists.

This ideological pressure trickles down and corrupts the physicians and counselors who could otherwise help people with gender dysphoria.

Take one example among countless misleading statements by institutional professionals. The American Psychological Association’s “Gender Dysphoria Diagnosis” outlines the diagnoses for gender dysphoria according to the DSM-5. In the article, they write that trans people may have other psychiatric disorders “just like any other part of the population,” strongly implying gender dysphoric people have psychoses comparable to the rest of the general population (though even the DSM-5 admits otherwise). This softening language obscures the truth.

Nearly every institution, at every level, promotes trans ideology and shuts down skeptics of affirmative care.

The evidence about trans issues remains scant, especially as it relates to minors. Many problems plague studies, often to no fault of the researchers. For example, to this day, transgender people are relatively rare (0.5 percent of US adults), so massive studies are more difficult (although good studies are done on this size of population all the time). Many studies involve self-reported surveys, which can be subject to bias. Not many long-term studies exist either since funding for these studies has only recently begun to surge.

But transgender ideology tries to control the debate regardless, fixed on affirming a worldview assumption: People will be happier when everyone affirms their preferences and feelings as their ultimate reality. Any studies showing how trans people experience greater distress than the general population are buried under the heading of “discrimination” or chalked up to their being victims of oppression.

This prevents discussion about the well-being of people with gender dysphoria because it assumes affirmation is always the best treatment.

At the end of the day, transgender ideology clouds the discussion, forces opposition away, squashes resistance, deceives people about the “science,” and aims to push transgenderism past commonsense objections by taking hold of institutions, particularly in the case of teens and confused young people.

What does the available evidence say about transitioning?

What kind of transition? Puberty blockers for kids? Hormone therapy? Double mastectomies for females-to-males? Socially transitioning? A combination? What about therapy? The questions vary, and so do the answers.

Most studies are small and don’t follow up long-term. Lately, no studies will use control groups because it’s deemed “unethical” not to affirm their transition (another adverse effect of transgender ideology).

For each of the thousands of studies, challenges present themselves. We can’t go through them all. If  you’re interested in diving deeper, especially into the papers studying children, go to the “Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine.

Evidence should help institutions make policies, but the evidence about treating gender dysphoria with blanket affirmation is not yet clear and untangled enough to claim a “consensus.”

In full disclosure, it does seem that for adults, presenting as a different gender and transitioning in some way leads to self-reported higher life satisfaction. But even that self-reported satisfaction conclusion is contested in the wider literature.

Yet even if the evidence shows that trans people statistically have a better self-reported quality of life, transgender ideology still rests on postmodern assumptions. Postmodernism claims that interpretation and experience trump all “external” truth notions. Someone’s internal self-understanding is de facto the final say on the matter. According to postmodernism, anyone claiming something contradictory is an oppressor.

The evidence alone simply cannot answer whether it’s ethically good for anyone to transition; it cannot because the scientific research rests on ideological assumptions. The evidence is important and useful, but life satisfaction cannot be the end-all ethical goal.

So, the question remains, what does the Bible say about the ideology of transgenderism?

First, let’s take a closer look at transitioning gender-confused children.

Evidence about transgenderism in children and teens

Despite the lack of conclusive evidence about transitioning’s effectiveness, transgender ideology presses on all sides that the “science” affirms affirmative care. Trans activists pressure parents to reinforce their child’s transition. Often, they push change through to parents with a frightening verbal weapon: the threat of suicide.

“Experts” will pose this dilemma: “Would you rather have a dead daughter or a son?” Because suicidality is higher among teens with gender dysphoria, they incorrectly insist that transitioning will lower that suicidality. That said, the suicidality of gender-questioning kids is highly exaggerated. The often-quoted study that says 48 percent of trans kids attempt suicide has deep methodological problems.

Puberty suppressors

For prepubescent kids, or kids going through puberty who question their gender (often as young as twelve), therapists will now push them toward puberty suppressors, which will supposedly “buy them time” to make sure they’re trans.

Therapists make this disastrous recommendation despite the fact that “no high-quality, long-term studies on the psychological impacts of suppressing normal puberty exist. When studies include controls, they show no significant benefits from blockers and highlight a risk of permanent negative impacts on cognitive function, and worsening body image (particularly in females).”

The UK did a systematic review of its evidence and found that hormone blockers to suppress puberty in the (supposedly) trans kids did not ease their gender dysphoria.

A study suggests that medical reassignment in adolescents with gender dysphoria doesn’t help their lives overall. If they did well before the transition, they tended to do well afterward. If they were doing poorly before, they did poorly after. This suggests that gender transitioning doesn’t necessarily address the root problem of dysphoria.

In other words, evidence shows that puberty suppressors provide no significant benefits and plenty of drawbacks.

Several broad reviews of the evidence from the US, Sweden, Finland, and the UK signal low-quality evidence for the effectiveness of cross-sex hormone treatment. The review of these studies, along with others, prompted England and Sweden in 2022 to signal “the intention to stop transitioning youth as routine medical practice.” Tavistock, the largest youth gender clinic in the world, was shut down due to a scathing audit of their pernicious practices.

These new revelations and actions could be a catalyst against trans ideology’s corruption harming hundreds of thousands of teens every year (the UCLA report as many as three hundred thousand trans youth). Some US States, sixteen as of writing, have started making gender affirming transitions for underage kids illegal.

What is rapid-onset gender dysphoria?

Evidence shows that if parents, friends, teachers, physicians, and therapists all encourage impressionable children to transition, they will do so.

A new study of over 1,600 cases of children leads credence to the “rapid-onset gender dysphoria” hypothesis. It concludes, “Youth with a history of mental health issues were especially likely to take steps to socially and medically transition.” Nine out of ten parents of these children were progressive, LGBTQ+-affirming parents.

In other words, the rise in children “coming out” as trans is not because children are finally free to express their true selves in our progressive societies but because of social contagion and other mental health issues leading to the switch.

Of course, if the children aren’t supported in transitioning and are given support and help for their general well-being, the evidence suggests that most will stop insisting that they’re trans.

Kids will get easy support and access to help to transition online. They may receive a deceitful or midsguided  message from trans people who hide the difficulties of transitioning and only promote the happiness they feel. Influencers will undermine parents and authority figures, and they will train your kids on the right words to say to get the hormone supplements they crave.

YouTube, Tumblr, social media, and other sites will strongly reinforce trans ideology.

While rapid-onset gender dysphoria is not a clinical diagnosis at this time, and trans ideology rejects the theory, mounting evidence seems to confirm the phenomenon. Rather than showing an improvement in quality of life after transition among kids, the Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine reports a “deterioration in children’s mental health and intrafamilial bonds following gender-transition.”

Hormone treatment does not help children. It does not decrease suicide; it leads to “irreversible damage,” as defended by Abigail Shrier. In reviewing her book Irreversible Damage, I wrote:

Girls often face emotional turmoil, discomfort from puberty, body image distress, and social anxiety in their teen years. Social media makes this far worse; depression and anxiety afflict a greater number of teens every year.

When girls are isolated and feel lost in the turmoil of middle school and high school, they might cling to anything that promises an escape.

Activist elementary, middle, and high school teachers celebrate and spur LGBTQ sexuality. TV shows, movies, social media, teachers, therapists, politicians, and the internet seem to shower transgenderism with praise. With so many teen girls looking for acceptance and respite, is it any wonder that they turn to questioning their sexuality and gender?

Our culture makes it easy for girls’ bodily discomfort and shame to suggest another belief: “I’m not a female.”

In other words, the secular evidence seems compelling that for late-onset gender dysphoric kids, not transitioning is the best option. Other mental health issues like autism or a need to impress their peers probably play a significant role in why they want to transition.

What about kids with genuine gender dysphoria?

Some kids have expressed “consistent, persistent, and insistent” distress because of their gender. These cases are different than so-called “late-onset” cases and need more special attention.

Why adolescents fall into gender dysphoria is not simple, but there are many explanations that trans ideology rejects out of hand, which might provide some good answers.

For example, the rate of mental disorders in the mothers of children with gender dysphoria is much higher than usual. Perhaps the mental illness of a child’s mother interferes with the child’s healthy development. That’s not the only possible reason, of course, but those avenues of research are completely a priori rejected by trans ideology.

We would want a biblically based, well-trained psychologist to intervene here. There are different legitimate theories as to the source of gender dysphoria in kids. Each child is unique, and professional input will help immensely.

Even among gender dysphoric children, according to a landmark (albeit disputed) study, 80 percent of children who wanted to transition grew out of their desire by adulthood. In most of those followed in the study, homosexual attraction arose later in life. (For more, see Dr. Jim Denison’s “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?”)

All this evidence can make one’s head spin. You won’t see the studies that challenge the mainstream narrative in the media—thanks to the ubiquitous and powerful trans ideology. Outside of the assumptions of trans ideology, there is no real consensus among medical experts. Remember, many therapists and physicians either live in fear of transgender ideology or stand to profit from helping teens transition.

Parents, don’t cede your authority over your children to trans ideology.

Of course, children should be consulted and heard, but parental wisdom must win the day. Adolescents cannot give informed consent to irreversible hormone treatments and surgeries. Countless heart-breaking stories from “detransitioners” show the detrimental effects of “irreversible” transitioning. Detransitioners refer to people who’ve gone through trans transitions and reverted back to the gender of their biological sex.

As a case in point, Chloe Cole was prescribed puberty blockers and androgen when she was twelve and was recommended for a double mastectomy when she was fifteen. Her breasts were removed, a decision she deeply regrets. She “de-transitioned” at seventeen. She was diagnosed with autism later in life. Cole experienced a urinary tract infection and joint pain from weakened bone density. Cole will never be able to breastfeed and might experience sexual dysfunction.

She filed a lawsuit against her treatment clinic in February 2023. With more detransitioners cropping up and starting to sue medical providers, we can expect a wave of opposition against teen transitioning. Detransitioners seem to be relatively rare, although many of these studies show limitations. This is likely, at least in part, because of overwhelming social pressure to stick to one’s transitioned self.

Take Ritchie Herron, who started transitioning from an early age and eventually had vaginoplasty at thirty years old, a surgery that reconstructed his male genitalia into an approximation of female genitalia. When he looked in the mirror after the surgery, he immediately felt a wave of regret. Since that day, he began living as a male and became a detransitioner.

It’s no wonder more and more young people with gender dysphoria are simply calling themselves genderqueer.

If parents pressure their feminine boys to identify as female or their masculine girls as male, the parents reveal their modern, sexualized assumptions (or maybe even a pathology).

Under normal psychological prediction, a boy may try out a dress once or twice as play experimentation, then move on. Such actions do not indicate gender incongruence, nor should they raise alarm among parents. But, painful, deep-seated gender dysphoria among children is real, if rare.

For parents with gender-questioning children

For parents with children questioning their gender or under gender distress, seek biblical, psychological help. True gender dysphoria is difficult for your child to live with. The evidence does not necessarily show that affirming their transition as adolescents helps in the long run, especially if they’re wanting to change gender out of the blue.

This makes common sense. Giving in to gender dysphoria, if one views it as a disorder, won’t necessarily help. For anorexia patients, therapists don’t affirm their incorrect view of their bodies. Nor should we for gender dysphoric teens.

If you lovingly direct them toward a grace-filled biblical view, which we will review later, their distress may or may not persist. But there is no good reason to think it will persist more than if they were to transition, and it certainly doesn’t seem to decrease their suicidality.

Studies might show that lack of parental approval leads to a risk of things like depression, but parental love and approval do not need to be affirming or extend to acquiring medical sex changes for children.

Abigail Shrier documents the horror stories of teens, sometimes even younger, being shuffled into transitioning and regretting it later in their lives. She focuses on the concerning explosion of transitions among teen girls, specifically. Shrier recommends a few steps to parents that we summarize in our review of her book Irreversible Damage:

  • “Don’t get your children a smartphone.
  • Don’t relinquish your authority as a parent.
  • Don’t support gender ideology in your child’s education.
  • Reintroduce privacy into the home.
  • Stop pathologizing girlhood.
  • Don’t be afraid to admit: it’s wonderful to be a girl.”

We don’t want to necessarily vilify all parents, teachers, physicians, and therapists who believe transitioning helps children. They are often duped and pressured by trans ideology and the threat of their child’s suicide.

That said, medical and psychological community leaders are either pushing this ideology, which rests on postmodern assumptions, or, just as damning, staying silent about the irreversible damage they know the trans “treatment” does to children.

Biological differences between men and women exist

Let’s state something obvious: biological distinctions between sexes exist.

  • Humans have different genetic chromosomes, either XX or XY.
  • Humans have two types of gametes, either eggs or sperm.
  • Men produce more testosterone, while women produce more estrogen (although both produce both).

Biological sex split all humans into male or female, categorically speaking. Humans are “dimorphic,” which means the human species needs one female and one male to produce offspring. This is a statement of fact, and it’s important to keep in mind as we continue.

Sexes are physically different and split between two: men and women. Dr. Deborah Soh, a neuroscientist and sexologist (and not a Christian), defends this point elaborately in her book The End of Gender.

While a nature versus nurture debate rages on about whether men and women are different in surface-level things (like personality), there are very basic facts about biological differences that serve as identifying the sex of someone.

What about intersex people?

Sadly, intersex people often get dragged into this debate in an attempt to undermine binary sexuality. Intersex people “have reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t fit into an exclusively male or female (binary) sex classification.”

At the outset, we must note that most intersex people view their condition as a sex disorder and fully identify as a male or female. While as many as 1.7 percent of the US population is intersex, we can’t fail to distinguish the kinds of intersex conditions. Many of them don’t even know they have an intersex condition until they’re much older. As many as 99 percent of people with intersex conditions are “unambiguously male or female.”

For those incredibly rare cases of people who have both male and female anatomy and cannot be distinguished one way or the other by biological factors, Dr. Sprinkle stays consistent and writes that they are indeed both biologically male and female. They can decide to be one or the other and have corrective surgery or live with the identity as both male and female simultaneously.

While we cannot dismiss the tiny fraction of people who have sincerely contradictory biological markers, we can safely say it shouldn’t be used as a foundational argument for everyone else. Indeed, even the most sex-ambiguous intersex people still lack or combine the two sexes—reinforcing our point. These conditions (like other biological disorders) are a result of the fallen world.

God will beautifully redeem intersex people’s sexuality, but whole-cloth shifting our understanding because of an incredibly rare sex-disorder condition makes no sense. God’s kingdom will welcome all kinds of people.

One pastor says that the eunuchs in Matthew 19:12 and Acts 9 show that “all people, including the sexual ‘other,’ are part of the Family of God.” He uses this point to further transgender ideology, but all believers should accept this idea. Christ opens the doors to his kingdom to same-sex-attracted people, people who struggle with heterosexual lust, physical eunuchs, single-for-life people, and those with intersex.

This leads perfectly into our biblical discussion.

How should Christians respond to transgenderism?

“And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him” (Acts 8:34–38).

This passage demonstrates the wonderful inclusiveness of the gospel, the good news for every nation. While eunuchs were considered “other” and weren’t allowed to “enter the assembly of the Lᴏʀᴅ” (Deuteronomy 23:1), God makes his inclusion of the Ethiopian eunuch into the kingdom as a message: the good news is for everyone.

This says nothing about affirming transgenderism, but it does remind us of our duty to present the gospel to all people and restrict none from being baptized into Jesus’ family if they’ve repented and are determined to follow him.

Christians are called to a higher identity

Dr. Sprinkle writes, “We need to first understand who we are (ontology) before we know what it means to become who God wants us to be (discipleship). Ontology is integral to discipleship, because discipleship means living as we were designed to live—living as divine images.”

Everyone who becomes a disciple of Jesus must throw off their old identity and become a “new creation.” Biblically speaking, nearly all calls to obedience are preceded by a reminder of our identity. As Paul writes in Galatians, “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those that by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? . . . For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 4:8–9; 5:1)

The Bible uses several powerful examples: We were slaves, now we’re free. We were in darkness, now we’re in the light. We were in the flesh, now we’re in the Spirit. We were outcasts, now we’re adopted children of God, co-heirs with Christ.

How does this work practically?

Consider depression. We know some practical tips to combat depression, like exercising and completing small tasks, but there can be more to it. For Christians, medicine, therapy, science, and the Bible exist cohesively with issues like this. Depression goes against God’s will by considering oneself unworthy, shameful, worthless, incapable, and caught in the ruts of doing nothing.

It usually doesn’t help to respond to anyone struggling to live faithfully in their God-given identity with “Just pick up your cross!” Someone struggling with depression entails a complex lack of trust in their identity as a beloved child of God. Platitudes won’t help.

Nor will platitudes help people with gender dysphoria or transgender people beyond their transition.

Nevertheless, Christians must look to their identity in all areas of life to understand their sanctification (messy and imperfect as it is).

Biblical identity for men and women

The Bible is most concerned with the discipleship of people, regardless of sex. The call to “make disciples of all nations” is addressed to all of Jesus’ followers, many of whom were women.

For Paul, our identity rests most firmly in Christ than our sex: “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” (Galatians 3:27–29, emphasis added).

Christian brothers and sisters are co-heirs with Christ, equal before God.

That said, the Bible repeatedly affirms our sexual identity as grounded in our bodies. While transgender ideology argues that our preference for gender should rule our identity, according to the Bible, God’s creation of physical differences between men and women plays the defining role in determining our sex.

When God created humanity, he made them male and female (Genesis 1:27). They were to shepherd creation, tending and ruling on behalf of their creator. God told them to have sex, procreate, and fill the earth—to “multiply” (v. 28).

Biologically speaking, humanity is “dimorphic.” As we discussed, gametes (eggs or sperm) biologically determine our sex. For humans to properly image God, men and women must exist. This is reflected in Adam’s looking at all the pairs of animals and longing for a partner of his own. Adam’s maleness and Eve’s femininity were integral parts of their being. They were “both naked and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:25). Exposure of their male and female bodies did not bring them discomfort.

What a beautiful and unimaginable thing for any person, especially someone with gender dysphoria, to hope for—a complete lack of shame about our bodies.

In Genesis, man and woman were created to be images of God with the potential to procreate (Genesis 1:27–28). This means that Adam and Eve’s sexual identities were grounded in their biology. Sexual union in marriage means to “become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Sex is grounded in our bodies, not our self-perception. The rest of Scripture reiterates this truth (e.g., Mark 10:6–9).

As far as Genesis is concerned, Adam and Eve did not have children before they were banished from the paradisal Eden. Presumably, if they lived longer in the Garden, they would have fulfilled God’s command to procreate. This is important to note: They did not procreate in the Garden, but their potential to procreate was nevertheless essential to their identity. After the Fall, the biological inability to procreate would count as part of the brokenness of creation (this includes intersex conditions). Many of the Bible’s heroines were unable to conceive before the Lord favored them. Hannah prayed one of the most beautiful prayers after giving birth to the Prophet Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1–10).

Paul will later say that singleness is a godly path to take in life, or, as Jesus put it, “Eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:12). Churches must come around and support people who choose singleness. Some Christians choose abstinence because of their persistent homosexual attractions, while others simply want to pursue the ministry with all their attention.

To say gender expression can change means that sexuality must exist on a spectrum is a category error, like asking, “How much does green weigh?” Sprinkle writes, “Sex isn’t a spiritual category. It’s a biological one. All the immaterial aspects of personhood are important . . . . But these don’t determine a person’s sex.”

We’ve so far established that, in an ideal world envisioned and spoken into reality by Yawheh in Genesis, men and women complemented each other to act as God’s full image. Humanity is physically split between two sexes, and that’s important in the creation story.

Biblical sexuality precludes transgenderism

The biblical authors consistently affirm that each human is either male or female. How do we know which we are? By looking at reality as the source of truth, not the internal feelings of a person.

Underneath transgenderism is the assumption that our internal state, our soul or mind, should override the identity of our body. While Jesus says to his weary disciples, “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41), the word flesh deals with a spiritual reality grounded in the body.

The fact that the New Testament describes the physical, literal “flesh” as a spiritual reality should give dualists pause. Our bodies are extremely interconnected with who we are.

In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul says that sexual relations with a prostitute mean you’re bound to them as one flesh—a ludicrous outcome, but that’s the point. Our bodies matter. It’s not as though our disembodied spirit will float to heaven one day when we die. On the contrary, Paul says God will raise us from the dead in a bodily fashion as Christ was. The abrupt introduction of resurrection talk in 1 Corinthians 6:14 makes perfect sense, as one commentator writes, “God’s claim means that the body of the believer—or better, the body of the believers—and bodies of the believers—do not belong to the believer(s). They belong to the power of God, which raises them from the dead and which already works to transform them in the present.”

Paul says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20). Sprinkle points out that Paul actually interchanges “you” and “body” several times throughout this passage. While the “you” is plural and the “body” refers to the church of Corinth, it also applies to individuals. Paul’s point from earlier about fornication with prostitutes continues; the sexual sin impacts the body of Christ and the person’s individual body.

Your sexual identity is grounded in your physical body. Spirituality is not separate from our bodies; what we do as embodied people is spiritual.

We should not deny the reality of the feelings themselves either. But, as with other disorders and brokenness, we must ask, “Do feelings, even strong, deep feelings, determine truth?” Or does the embodied identity bestowed by God determine truth?

What does the Bible say about transgender people?

Let’s take stock of what we’ve established so far.

From the beginning, God created man and woman to complement each other (setting aside the egalitarian and complementarian debate). This complement included sex for the mutual, selfless giving of pleasure to one’s married partner and for procreation—to bring life into our marriages and literally bring life into the world. When affirmed in the Bible, the identity of men and women refers to how God bodily created them.

Romans 1:26–27 says, “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

This condemnation of homosexuality roots itself in its “unnatural” relations. Paul uses uncomfortable words to modern ears: shameful, perversion, and indecency. Uncomfortable though it may be, Paul condemns sexuality outside of anything between a man and woman as “unnatural.” God gave people over to their “shameful lusts” because they don’t glorify God.

Who does God consider men and women here to be?

Who they were bodily.

Other passages make this line of reasoning as well. Deuteronomy 22:5 is relevant here: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lᴏʀᴅ your God.”

Some commentators believe that this law prohibited the religious practice of married people switching clothing in a Canaanite fertility ritual. Other commentators maintain that it refers to something amounting to modern cross-dressing, while others say it “can scarcely refer to [cross-dressing].” Regardless, Brown notes, “It emphasizes that gender-distinctions are part of the created order and must not be obliterated,” in addition to referring to and prohibiting ancient “magical ceremonies.”

The authors of the New Interpreter’s Bible Commentary write that this is part of regulating “sexual boundaries.” The command prohibits “cross-dressing as a forbidden crossing of one of the foremost distinctions established at creation.” The “context of the ruling shows that it was concerned to uphold what were perceived to be given boundaries of the natural order, rather than being a further ruling to outlaw acts of apostasy from the Lᴏʀᴅ God. . . .  Formal gender distinctions marked one of the formative structural boundaries of life. Such boundaries were not to be blurred or willfully crossed.”

As we’ve already observed, what those gender expressions are will vary from culture to culture. It’s worth noting that no punitive, civil punishments were given for this sin. It was nevertheless a grave sin in God’s eyes, an “abomination.”

In the New Testament, some believe 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 broadly shows that Paul wants women to be “distinct” even as they fully participate in worship alongside men, as equals before God. But this passage is so rife with tangled, complex interpretations it would take us too far afield. This commentary will suffice for now: Paul is arguing that “men and women are different, that women and men are dependent on each other, and that in the Lord there is both a mutuality and a distinctiveness that results both from creation and from redemption.”

For more on women in ministry leadership and a discussion of gender roles, read “Should women be pastors? Or church leaders, deacons, or teachers?” by Dr. Jim Denison.

Genesis established God’s good and perfect will for humans to be either male or female, which was grounded in their bodies. Later biblical authors called anything outside of this plan “unnatural” and sinful. The Bible doesn’t force people into gender stereotypes or make ridiculous claims like “men must wear pants and women must wear dresses.” We can distinguish between people’s sex without such strict rules.

In fact, the Bible gives room for people to uniquely express their gifts, talents, and personalities, all submitted to the Holy Spirit. The Bible opens the way for singleness as a beautiful choice of life that honors God. Jesus gives dignity to people of all shapes and sizes, with all kinds of unique qualities and quirks, but he also requires submission of all those things under his feet.

Where God draws the line, for our own good, is at deceiving ourselves or others about which sex we are. That said, we must carefully examine the ideas of biblical masculinity and femininity.

Don’t add to Scripture: What are biblical femininity and masculinity?

God makes us each unique in personality and interests. Christians have sometimes erroneously enforced what our culture values as “masculine” or “feminine.” Following this to its conclusion will make gender dysphoria worse.

Entrenching and enforcing perceptions of masculinity and femininity can drive people into the idea that our actions make our identity when, in truth, God has named us as male or female.

There’s nothing wrong with the stereotypes of masculinity or femininity, either. To bash traditional masculinity or femininity as superior or inferior in and of themselves can lead to confusion.

However, discouraging women from working in STEM and men from taking care of their children entirely misses the point and isn’t supported by the Bible. If we lead women or men away from their Spirit-given gifts, we might even find ourselves opposing the Holy Spirit’s purposes for someone’s life.

Men and women have more in common than differences, and churches should be wary when reinforcing gender stereotypes as more or less biblical. Nearly all commands from Scripture are for all disciples, male or female. Paul did not describe male fruit of Spirit and female fruit of the Spirit. It is the exception to specifically address men and women in the Bible, not the rule. Of course, specific people are always male or female, and that’s based on their sex.

By the same token, we should not actively discourage traditional femininity or masculinity either. Dr. Soh writes, “Whether a trait is deemed ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ is culturally defined, but whether a person gravitates toward traits that are considered masculine or feminine is driven by biology.”

Some evidence shows that equal societies increase gender personality differences; they do not diminish them as the prevailing secular creed would have us believe. For example, all things being equal, men tend to be more interested in things and women more interested in people.

Wholesale repression of traditional masculinity or femininity isn’t sustainable. At the same time, legalistically forcing every person into those molds will also backfire. Enforcing strict black-and-white values of femininity and masculinity that alienate effeminate men and masculine women is not the way of Christ.

The bottom line is that each person will live out their sexuality in unique ways. We should not punish those unique paths taken up by brothers and sisters in Christ as long as they don’t go against biblical principles.

Let’s keep our convictions biblical.

Intense distress that arises from the male body that a man might feel or intense distress arising from the female body that a woman feels categorically does not say anything about whether they are a man or woman.

The way they want to present themselves, the way they desire to gender themselves, says nothing about their state of being, according to the Bible.

Every trans person is unique, and we must love them

Darkness, tragedy, and complexity of all kinds make transgenderism impossible to simplify. Our review of the current scientific evidence shows us that. How to love each person best cannot be encapsulated in one article (even one this long)—that’s what biblical community and the guidance of the Holy Spirit are for.

The Fall’s brokenness makes life cracked and difficult. Walking with someone struggling with this, whether a child or an adult, will be incredibly difficult and might not show a reward.

It starts with love, with the overpowering love of Jesus to wash away our sins and make us a “new creation.”

The church must be a place of truth. Chris Legg, pastor and LPC therapist, concludes in an article about the church and mental illness,

In today’s culture, there are very few places where truth is celebrated, much less studied and spoken into our lives. One of those few places is the local church.

Make sure you find a church that clearly teaches submission to God’s word and there you will find truth that can serve as a trustworthy foundation, even when our own brains are lying to us. When we are confused in our depression, anxiety, or delusions, we can hold fast to these truths. Mental illness is tough enough to navigate without a compass that points to true north.

By the same token, truth without love is like a “clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1). The Lord can work through a donkey or Jonah, but following Jesus requires compassion, empathy, and love, not only truth.

Sprinkle writes, “And—I can’t emphasize this point enough—if you are a Christian in leadership, or any Christian mentoring or parenting someone who’s trans, we must give trans people space to wrestle with the ethical aspects of transitioning. A top-down, heavy-handed, compassionless approach that gives no room for personal wrestling—‘Thus sayeth me and the Lord!’—will most likely push people toward transitioning and away from us . . . . Discipleship is a long process. God doesn’t demand overnight sanctification, and we’re all thankful that he doesn’t.”

Transgender ideology does not give gender dysphoric people good answers for their lives. It leads to dead ends in dark confusion, but “God is not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33).

Should Christians use trans people’s preferred pronouns?

We must navigate this question with care. On one hand, some argue that using female pronouns to refer to a biological (and as biblically defined) male is tantamount to lying and approval of their sin. On the other hand, transgender people might not consider it that way.

If your trans friend or acquaintance knows you’re a Christian, they may already suspect your beliefs on transgenderism. Using their preferred pronouns might build enough of a bridge to open up a discussion about Jesus. It seems unlikely that refusing to use their pronouns will help communicate the message of truth.

According to theologian Gregory Coles, who interviewed several transgender people, “None of my interviewees were inclined to interpret a cisgender Christian’s pronoun hospitality as an automatic indication that this Christian agreed with everything about the way in which the trans person expressed their gender.” Coles argues that to communicate, we need common ground in language. The way to refer to someone is a matter of communication and respect for them. Calling them by the wrong pronoun on purpose (called “deadnaming” by those who support trans ideology) might cause their gender dysphoria to flair up, creating an awkward, painful discomfort in the moment. (Sprinkle makes the necessary point in our culture ruled by transgender ideology: “Using the pronouns a person identifies with should be a matter of common courtesy, not a legal demand.”)

Regardless, the basic root of this idea is in Jesus’ teaching, “Whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them” (Matthew 7:12).

I tend to lean toward using the preferred pronouns of adult trans people as a matter of love and mutual respect. If a relationship deepens and they start to consider following Jesus, at that time, speaking the truth about gender identity will become important.

However, Christians should follow their conviction in the matter. Maybe, if you’re close enough to the person, you can quickly pull them aside and lovingly tell them you will use their pronouns but that you don’t mean to approve their decision to express a different gender. This will show both common courtesy and conviction.

If you hold a firm, thoughtful conviction that Christians shouldn’t call people by their trans pronouns because words matter, follow that conviction. One could make a strong case from this verse that we shouldn’t call transgender Christians by their trans pronouns because it leads them to stumble: “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:9–10).

While pronoun use is not an issue of orthodoxy, whether a Christian affirms transgender ideology is a more serious matter.

So far, we’ve talked about adults. If a teen or child demands their parents use their trans pronouns, that’s an entirely different matter. If you are a parent, you are in authority over your children, and, in that relationship, using their pronouns will almost certainly amount to providing a “stumbling block.” As we already mentioned, take loving, drastic measures if needed to rescue them from transgender ideology or to help them grapple with gender dysphoria.

From a pastoral perspective, we recommend treating a trans person as you would an unmarried couple living together. If that would bar them from membership, apply the principle to the trans person living by a gender other than their sex. We could go into much more, but we’ll limit our discussion for this paper.

Conclusion

God created man and woman to represent him on earth, to bear his image. Their differences and ability to become “one flesh” through matrimony and sexual intercourse help reflect God’s unity of three persons in the Trinity. To the biblical authors, our embodied nature grounds facts about our sexuality and identity as men and women.

  • Christians must show overwhelming compassion to everyone who struggles with their body and sexuality, either from anorexia, same-sex attraction, gender dysphoria, or people who are just confused about their place in the world.
  • Parents should love their children regardless of their actions. If your child starts questioning their gender, do your best to restrict sources of positive reinforcement of transitioning.
  • Churches must do their best to learn to love trans people without affirming gender transition. Leaders mustn’t add to Scripture by reinforcing biblical or feminine stereotypes as doctrinal.
  • In the culture, Christians should always speak the truth in love, but particularly, we must stand against trans ideology’s maleficent manipulation of young people.

We would all do well to remember: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4).

For Christians with gender dysphoria, hope beautiful and sweet awaits you in your new Christlike bodies: no more distress from sex, but fully healed in Jesus’ power.

No more tears, no more discomfort, no more questioning, and no more pain.

Would you share that good news today?

Works consulted

For further trans research

Commentaries consulted:

  • The Expositor’s Bible Commentary
  • The New Interpreter’s Bible
  • The New International Biblical Commentary
  • Tyndale Commentary
  • International Critical Commentary

Ideas change culture:


If you want to know more about God’s design for sexuality, check out our book, Sacred Sexuality: Reclaiming God’s Design. The book arms believers with the knowledge and wisdom needed to confront the challenges of a post-Christian culture with the unchanging truth of the Bible.

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