Transgender People in Christianity

Serious and MATURE conversations about Christianity
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Transgender People in Christianity

Post by Pengwertle » December 24th, 2017, 6:32 pm

I remembered recently about this website. I joined in 2011, then was an active user until 2014. I was raised Christian and kept that faith until after that time. I'll be upfront about this, I'm transgender and bisexual. Though nothing can change that, I'm posting here in good faith (ha ha) and I honestly want to understand the positions people hold on this stuff better. Apologies if I break any rules, I don't mean to and can't seem to find them anywhere on the site :(

I think there's two questions I want to ask to start off. Going by topics from previous years, it seems that a common argument from many users is that trans people are going against God's plan for them by changing their bodies. In light of that, my first question is when does changing your body become a sin? I think everyone will agree that giving a diabetic person insulin, giving someone born without a limb prosthetics, and using medication to treat depression are all good. But what differentiates this from using hormone treatments to improve mental health? What about intersex people?

The second question is about denominations that accept transgender people. Here is a list of denominations that allow trans clergy on Wikipedia, though some denominations still accept trans people to a lesser degree:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian ... der_clergy
My question here is pretty simple, how do y'all feel about this?

I don't plan on debating this or anything, since I don't think a nonreligious person can really understand these topics, but I want to do my best to learn about others' beliefs.
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by Eliter » December 24th, 2017, 7:59 pm

I am not a real religious person. I break many social rules, but I believe myself to have a faith (though it fades and God calls me back at times).

I think there are many options that come about in life. I think God convicts as all in different areas in our lives some people are called into being pastors, some people are called into being a part of a church (as a regular joe). If you're not where you're supposed to be, it is a disobedience to God.

I know that this leaves a grey area for Christianity as a whole. The thing is, not everyone's walk with God is the same. Not everyone is at the same pace in all areas of their life, and God is working in different areas.

I remember a hearing a scripture: "my sheep hear my voice". I have no idea what God is telling these people in their life, because I am not a human proxy--God speaks to everyone in their own life, so they can walk their own walk.

I think any denomination that is lead by God (the real one) will accept anyone, but the body (body of Christ) will not follow the agenda that does not comply with God, because God's sheep hear His voice. Ya see, people come to God unclean, and it is God who cleans them, as long as they are willing to turn from the wicked ways and follow him. They focus is more on God, and when you focus on God, you drift away from the crap in the world that the world offers.

Hopefully that answers your question. To me, it's not about what a horrible person you LOOK like, what it LOOKS like on the outside, what KIND of sins you commit, the focus is on God, not the BS you get from the drama.

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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by Crosser » December 24th, 2017, 11:03 pm

I'm going to give a brief reply, so read my response with grace. :)

When someone claims to struggle with transgenderism, the basic view comes down to that the mind doesn't seem to fit the body. As a result, many who struggle with such a circumstance seem to try to mutilate perfectly working body parts in order to match the mind. However, I would argue that we should gently pursue changing the mind in order to fit perfectly functioning body parts.

It's a difficult situation though, no doubt.
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by shadowsbane » December 26th, 2017, 9:49 am

Pengwertle wrote:...my first question is when does changing your body become a sin?
Tackling your first question first: you bring up several examples where we would not consider it a sin, so let’s a look a little bit more at that.
Pengwertle wrote:I think everyone will agree that giving a diabetic person insulin, giving someone born without a limb prosthetics, and using medication to treat depression are all good.
I believe that God created the world in perfection and the way it was intended. We see this in that God calls everything “good” in the first several chapters of Genesis. Much of what we experience today is outside of that perfect creation because mankind rebelled against God and thus brought sin and the curse onto the earth. Diabetes, depression, and feelings that fall contrary to what we read in Scripture to be God’s design are all products of this fall. Being part of a broken world does not make something sinful, but it doesn’t make it right or good either. I think we can all agree that catching the flu isn't a sin issue, however I'm certain we can all also agree that it's not good, in the sense that it's not what God had in mind for us. That kind brokenness of this world can and very often does lead to sin. A diabetic isn’t sinning because they have high blood sugar – but they might be sinning if they fail to steward their body well and watch their food intake. A depressed person isn’t sinning because the chemistry in their brain is off. But they might be sinning if they fail to follow the commands of God to seek joy in Him alone.

Treatments that we use for these issues attempt to bring someone back to what God’s design is. Exogenous insulin does what the pancreas can’t because of the fall. Anti-depressants attempt to restore chemical balance in the brain brought by the fall.
Pengwertle wrote:But what differentiates this from using hormone treatments to improve mental health? What about intersex people?
I would argue that hormones in someone with transgender feelings is not attempting to bring them closer to what God intended but take them further away from it. That is the sin. Saying that YOU know better who you are than God does. It would be like a depressed person saying “I’m just depressed, I’m not going to care anymore, I’m just going to die”. Instead of fighting for what God intended – balanced brain chemicals – they give into feelings that God’s original design did not intend. So transgender feelings can lead a person closer to or further away from God. A person can give into those feelings and run away from God’s original design or they can fight. Is it a fight? Yes, it is.

The fight is less about you, though, than you probably think. The fight is about whether you will join the Psalmist in loving the law of God. If you will see God as glorious and good instead of a kill-joy. Every sin, every struggle that everyone reading this forum has comes down to this: Do we trust that God’s design is good for us? If we do we will fight to stay within that design. If we don’t – well that is sin.
Pengwertle wrote:The second question is about denominations that accept transgender people. Here is a list of denominations that allow trans clergy on Wikipedia, though some denominations still accept trans people to a lesser degree:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian ... der_clergy
My question here is pretty simple, how do y'all feel about this?
To your question about clergy/church leadership, I would treat transgender feelings the same way I treat any other feeling. Paul’s letters clearly outline that church leadership should be above reproach and not openly engaging in sin. So if a pastor struggles with transgenderism but chooses to be open about that and fight the temptation to engage in sinful activities then I see it as no different then a pastor who struggles with same-sex attraction but chooses to be open about it and fight against temptation to engage in sinful activities.

To expand the question a bit, let's talk about "acceptance" as a more general topic. Whether we're talking about pastors, deacons, or regular church members, there is a difference between accepting a person and accepting a person's sin. Using the example of a person who deals with same-sex attraction, the church should accept that person. What they should not do is accept a sinful lifestyle and allow that person (or any person who deals with any other sin issue) to wallow in sin without correction. I won't get into what the "solution" for each sin issue is, but my church has had homosexual visitors who have asked if we'd accept them.

The answer is, it depends on what you mean by "accept". We have one member who is also part of my small group who deals with same-sex attraction. That member has chosen a life of celibacy, and through writing and discussion raises awareness of the issue of homosexuality and how the church as a whole has dealt with it poorly. It's a fantastic challenge to the church body to engage with those issues instead of ignoring them. This member adds great value and perspective to our lives through their fight against not only sin, but our tendency to shy away from that sin issue. But if someone wanted to become a member while they were living with a same-sex partner, it wouldn't happen. Our partner covenant wouldn't allow that. It also doesn't allow for a member who is living/sleeping with an opposite-sex partner out of wedlock either.

So the TL;DR on the issue of acceptance, whether it's for clergy or church members, comes down to what you mean by acceptance, and whether the person in question is fighting for holiness or living in sin. And that goes for homosexuality, transgenderism, heterosexual sexuality outside of wedlock, alcoholism, drug abuse, anger, stealing....

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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by The Doctor » December 26th, 2017, 11:41 am

I want to start off by saying, no, you most certainly have not broken any rules. If you are still worried about that, you can always check here for them, but as respectful as you are, I highly doubt you would break them anyways.

Now, on to the questions. I believe that Crosser is exactly right in his response for your first question. But I don't think it paints the whole picture, nor is it quite the type of answer that you seem to be looking for. Shadowsbane is also correct, but I still want to elaborate a few points. However, in order for me to more fully explain why, at least in my eyes, there is a difference between the items you listed and the transgender life, I first need to explain why we as Christians believe it to be sinful.

Nowhere in the Bible is even the thought of someone being transgender mentioned. The closest things that are mentioned are homosexuality and cross dressing. For homosexuality, the verse sometimes considered the most definitive on the matter is Romans 1:26-27. There are 2 things to note here. The first is that nowhere in this verse is there anything suggesting this only applies to straight people (as some people apparently claim), meaning that all homosexual acts are being condemned. The second is that the sin is referred to ascontrary to nature.More on that in a moment.

Transvestism, or cross dressing, is mentioned in the Bible even less. The most direct mention is Deuteronomy 22:5, where it is explicitly stated as being an abomination. Now, in actuality this command likely had the connotation of doing so with intent to act as the opposite sex, but if anything, that makes it apply all the more here.

But why would it be said as being an abomination before the Lord? Well, that comes back to the whole contrary to nature thing. Enter the story of creation. When God made existence as we know it, He created a man and a woman. These two would be one, and it became what was natural. So, anything that went against that was just the same as shaking ones fist at God, because it is contrary to the reality He made, and therefore sinful in nature. Thus, it became an abomination before God

We can then take these principles and apply it to the issue of one being transgender. If we go against God's plan, which included being created with 1, specific gender, we are doing wrong in His eyes.

At this point in time, we come back to your original question, what is the difference.

All of your examples relate back to the fall of humanity. When humanity fell, everything fell with us. Because we brought sin into the world, it spread, similar to the molding of one loaf causing other mold in a basket of bread. We see that effect today in the sin that still prevails. We made life infinitely harder for ourselves, Genesis 3:17-18 is evidence of this.

There lies the difference. If all of this strife that we are attempting to correct is because of the fall, then we are in facttrying to get back to what we should be.God made us to be whole, and there is no problem with trying to rid ourselves of the ailments sin introduced. In fact, the Bible advocates for medicine at some points, as seen in 1 Timothy 5:23.

In other words, all 3 of the first examples you gave were of us, as humans, trying to get closer to God's original plan for us, whereas the introduction of hormones for transgender people is us getting further. The mindset comes from the fall, but once we act on that we perform the sin. Yes, you may improve mental health in one way, but to rebel against God is far more detrimental.

But by no means is the one with such a mindset doomed to a life of anguish. The other option would be to fall into God's grace and follow His will. No matter what anyone does, He still accepts them, as seen in 1 Corinthians 6:11. I mean, Paul murdered Christians all the time before he was converted. After, he spent all his time working for the sake of others with joy.

As for your second question, shadowsbane answered it beautifully. Though, I will say, I believe that the church should accepteveryone,but affirmno onein their sin. In other words, take everyone in, but work with people to bring them closer to God. After all, it's significantly harder to talk with someone about repenting if you have turned them away from church already.

Hope this helps :)
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by Sabalanor » January 2nd, 2018, 2:06 pm

Not taking a side here, but just want to bring up a counter-argument I haven't seen anyone really think about or address. Biology. There are references about diabetes and depression being ok to medicate because it is bringing you closer to God's original design. However, there are genetic and hormonal mutations that happen that technically can explain some things. Please don't take me as to say it is all based on genetics or mutations or defects. This is to say that there is some basis in science to say that possibly some transgender stuff is not as clear cut as some people assume, which is a poor way to say what I mean...but ultimately, due to the fall which allows imperfection in pretty much all ways...could transgender or intersex not also be about getting closer to God's original design as well?

i.e. There are people who genetically have the XY chromosomes but hormones in the fetus were off and therefore altered the physical development of the baby to be expressed as XX or vice versa. So their body might look female, but genetically they are male. I can't find the name for this right now, but have read studies that have looked at this (this also might be more about intersex, but still applies for argument sake).

I also think it is a bit edgy to try to say we have clear cut answers on medicating for a, b, and c reasons but definitely not d because we are interpreting the scripture a certain way. But that is my personal belief there, and trying to wrestle with that.

I say all this to point out that no matter what we should accept and love all in the name of Christ.
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by shadowsbane » January 3rd, 2018, 9:28 pm

Sabalanor wrote:i.e. There are people who genetically have the XY chromosomes but hormones in the fetus were off and therefore altered the physical development of the baby to be expressed as XX or vice versa. So their body might look female, but genetically they are male. I can't find the name for this right now, but have read studies that have looked at this (this also might be more about intersex, but still applies for argument sake).
There are people who have a diagnosible condition underlying their gender identity struggle, and that absolutely should be treated in the most appropriate manner for that person. Each situation is different. But there is a huge difference between a hormonal imbalance during development and a person who simply feels for whatever reason that they want to subvert creation and eschew their actual, real gender.
Sabalanor wrote:I also think it is a bit edgy to try to say we have clear cut answers on medicating for a, b, and c reasons but definitely not d because we are interpreting the scripture a certain way. But that is my personal belief there, and trying to wrestle with that.
There are many, many examples of both miraculous healing in the Bible as well as practical medicine (Isaiah 38:21 and 1 Timothy 5:23 come to mind). Clearly sickness and disease are a corruption of God's creation, else there would not be so much focus on healing the sick through medicine, miracles, and prayer. That's not my interpretation; if you disagree with that, you are simply wrong. So we have plenty of Biblical precedent for the idea of medicine being a valid part of the effort to bring healing to the sick, bringing God's creation closer to the state of "goodness" that it belongs in.

There are also multiple passages in the Bible discussing things like cross-dressing, same-sex relations, specific commands to different genders, and the fact that God created man and woman, specifically and separately.

Medication for things like diabetes, kidney disease, leukemia, hypertension, and on and on are pretty straightforward. Those are sicknesses to be healed. Now, that's not to say that you should rely solely on medicine, because there is a lot to be said for being a good steward of your body. Through medication and lifestyle change, the idea is to heal the sickness and bring a person closer to the image of "good" we were created with.

Treatment of transgendersim should be pretty much the same. If there is a medical issue like a hormonal imbalance, it should be treated physically, psychologically, and spiritually in a way that brings that person closer to God's intent for His creation. If you are talking about a person born with XY genes who feels like they want to/should be a woman or vice versa, there is still something there to be treated, but the treatment is not to pervert and subvert God's creation by helping that person become something other than what God created them to be.

That's not edgy; it's just the truth.
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by Maverick » January 4th, 2018, 11:58 am

Help me understand how we know which treatment is correct. How do we make the call that given anatomy is correct, and the mind is disordered? When God designs us, what defines us as who we are? Mind, spirit, body? All of them together? What if those things disagree?
(I realize that is a bunch of questions in a row, feel free to break it down for me! Thanks!)
For most of us, it's pretty straightforward. We grew up feeling like a male gender or female gender and our anatomy agreed. What if we grew up feeling like we should be the opposite gender. That's a lot of conflict right?
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by NeoJabez » January 4th, 2018, 9:21 pm

Maverick, I'm just shooting in the dark here but...

Whatever organs you have define your gender, so if your mind disagrees, obviously it is the mind that should get the treatment.

Even if you surgically remove or change organs, you will always have the DNA of your original gender. This means it's the mind, or the perception that is not in sync, not the body.

This is an ultimate truth, regardless of how a person feels or wants.
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Re: Transgender People in Christianity

Post by Maverick » January 4th, 2018, 11:33 pm

NeoJabez wrote:Maverick, I'm just shooting in the dark here but...

Whatever organs you have define your gender, so if your mind disagrees, obviously it is the mind that should get the treatment.

Even if you surgically remove or change organs, you will always have the DNA of your original gender. This means it's the mind, or the perception that is not in sync, not the body.

This is an ultimate truth, regardless of how a person feels or wants.
Organs do not define gender. Organs define sex.
This is from the American Psychological Association.

Sex is assigned at birth, refers to one’s biological status as either male or female, and is associated primarily with physical attributes such as chromosomes, hormone prevalence, and external and internal anatomy. Gender refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for boys and men or girls and women. These influence the ways that people act, interact, and feel about themselves. While aspects of biological sex are similar across different cultures, aspects of gender may differ.

So, what I am hearing you say, is that you can't change your sex. Is this correct?

But gender is different, it is all the other stuff outside of your sex.

With these definitions do you see my questions in a new way? (It's fine if you don't) God creates someone with a gender that does not agree with their sex. How do we know which way to go?

Thanks for responses. This is what community is for, discussing hard topics in love and grace. I don't know where I am at in all of this. But these are questions that are on my heart.
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