In recent years, the transgender movement has grown more prominent. In the past year alone, I’ve encountered more trans people in society than I have in my entire life up to this point. How do Christians respond to the transgender movement?
In the 1970s and 80s, young children would see Mr. Rogers on their televisions singing a song entitled “Everybody’s Fancy”:
Boys are boys from the beginning.
Girls are girls right from the start.
Your body is fancy and so is mine.
Today, those who produce children’s television have a far different worldview. In June, the popular preschool show “Blues Clues” featured a Pride Parade celebrating transgender families. Many no longer believe that boys and girls are boys and girls “from the beginning.” How quickly the world has changed!
Gender dysphoria is a psychological condition where a person feels as though his or her gender identity differs from his or her biological sex. Those in the transgender movement believe that the preferred treatment for gender dysphoria is not to realign a person’s feelings with his or her body, but to realign the body with that person’s feelings. Individuals are encouraged to adopt the behavior and dress of the preferred gender and possibly even undergo hormone therapy and gender reassignment surgery. They see a person’s gender as something constructed by culture and society, open to be changed whenever a person wants.
Being transgender, however, is not the same as being intersex, the rare condition where a person is born with both male and female chromosomes or human anatomy. In those cases, it is legitimately difficult to determine whether that person is male or female.
The challenge of responding to the transgender movement is that the church has to hold two things in tension. God’s people need to address the dangers that transgenderism poses to society and the church while at the same time addressing the suffering of those who declare themselves to be transgender.
The danger of the transgender movement rests in its desire to bring into doubt the Bible’s answers to basic questions about who we are, the nature and purpose of human sexuality, and the definition and role of the family. Especially teens and young adults are pressured by society and their peers to either adopt a worldview that runs contrary to Scripture or face rejection.
This is why Christians need to teach the truth of God’s Word boldly in the face of the false transgender worldview. People need to know that God created human beings in His own image, with a body and a soul. He made us male and female with the purpose of being united in marriage to form and raise families. As Mr. Rogers would say, our bodies truly are “fancy” in the way that God created them. Therefore, we are not free to reshape our bodies however it may please us. Doing so rejects our Creator’s goodness and despises His gift of both a body and soul. (See Genesis 1-2; Psalm 33:6-9; Romans 1:21; Matthew 10:28; Hebrews 11:3.)
We do not, however, wish to set aside the hurt and anguish of suffering individuals. Many in the transgender community experience profound depression and anxiety due to traumas suffered in the past. Forty-one percent of those who identify as trans commit suicide. Add to that the insult and injury they experience not only from society, but also from those who claim to be Christians. The individual wrestling with his or her own gender needs our mercy and compassion.
Ultimately, we know that at the root of transgenderism is sin. Yet transgenderism isn’t more damnable than other sins. The question is: Do people know that they are sinners needing a Savior? Christ Jesus offered Himself as “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Though all fall short, all “are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23-24). God justifies sinners personally through the proclamation of the Gospel, even those who struggle with confusions of their gender, bringing them to faith in Him by the working of the Holy Spirit. So we happily proclaim the truth of our redemption in Christ.
Not everyone will listen to God’s Word. Many will obstinately reject it. Yet we continue to proclaim the good news in love and compassion, rightly dividing law and gospel, so that those who hear may be saved.
This doesn’t mean that we softpedal the truth about sin. The world has changed—God’s Word has not. Yet as God’s people, we always strive to speak the truth in love. If trans people dismiss us by believing that we only hate them, our kindness can give them pause to question their own opinions.
Treat with loving care those who struggle with their gender. Look for opportunities to lead them to the Great Physician, who alone can provide rest for their souls.
 Fred Rogers. “Everybody’s Fancy,” The Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood Archive, http://www.neighborhoodarchive.com/music/songs/everybodys_fancy.html