Focus on the Family

Transgenderism

by Focus on the Family Issue Analysts

Genesis 1: Casting God's Vision for the Sexes

As Christians, we know from the creation account in Genesis 1 that God creates by "calling forth" by His spoken word ("Let there be…"). We also learn that His creation and ordering of the world involved a series of "separations." These separations include heaven and earth, light and dark, day and night, morning and evening, clouds and seas, and water and dry land. Profoundly, the Hebrew concept of "separation" is rooted in the word kadosh, which – while often rendered as "holy" in English – here carries the sense of being "set apart" (separated) unto the Lord. Thus, in this series of separations, we see a consecrated and holy ordering, which at its essence reflects a "setting apart" unto the Creator God of the Universe.

Out of this paradigm, the creation account further delineates a distinct separateness for plants and then seasons, followed by all manner of living creatures found in the seas, on land and in the air. Finally, in the 26th verse, we see the pinnacle of God's creation – mankind – called forth into being. Specifically, in humans we see not only a separation from the animals, but also a separation of mankind into two sexes – male and female – wholly complementary, yet each uniquely and mysteriously bearing God's image – the imago Dei. It is in this bearing of God's image as male and female that we humans are called to make visible the invisible Creator God on this planet.

Thus, it is out of the diversity and distinctive separateness of male and female that we humans are called to not only represent God in the proper and ordered stewardship of His good and wonderful creation, but to come together in unity and be joined as "one flesh"1 in order to bring forth new life that will also somehow look like God and bear the imago Dei.

As it was from the beginning, so it is to this very day.

Transgenderism

In contrast to this divinely ordered vision for human gender and sexual expression, today we in the West are confronted by a spirit of "transgender" activism – flowing out of the gay rights movement – that says gender no longer matters, that the distinctives of male and female are merely social constructs and that the sexes are interchangeable. Ironically, while these activists argue that a homosexual orientation is fixed and immutable, they incoherently claim that gender is "fluid" and changeable. For example, Caitlin Ryan, a gay activist, clinical social worker and researcher at San Francisco State University recently said:

"I think the fluidity of gender is the next big wave in terms of adolescent development… Gender has become part of the defining way that youth organize themselves and rebel against adults."- Caitlin Ryan 2

In short, a profound deconstruction of gender is taking place within every arena of society that undermines the fundamental order established by God Himself – reflecting the very essence of who He is and who we were created to be. And when God's order is deconstructed and then necessarily redefined, the consequences for gender, sexuality, marriage, family and, ultimately, society are profound and far-reaching.

"Transgenderism" is an umbrella term that covers a legion of differnt feelings, thoughts, behaviors and identities, including: cross-dresser, transvestite, gender-bender, "two-spirit," gender-blender and gender-queer.  Some examples:


1Genesis 2:23-24; Matthew 19: 3 – 6; Mark 10: 6-9; Ephesians 5:28-32 New International Version.
2Associated Press"Youth Culture Testing the Boundaries of Gender Identity and Roles," The Advocate online, 4 October 2005, http://www.advocate.com/news_detail_ektid21307.asp, (7 October 2008).
3"Mistakes in God's Factory," 26 January 2007, Spiegel online, http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,druck-462516,00.html, (29 September 2008).
4Laura Clark, "Don't Say Mum and Dad... teachers told not to assume pupils have heterosexual parents," 30 January 2008, Mail online, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-511209/Dont-say-mum-dad--teachers-told-assume-pupils-heterosexual-parents.html# (29 September 2008); Safe to Learn: Embedding Anti-Bullying Work in Schools - Preventing and Responding to Homophobic bullying in schools, Teachernet Online Publications for Schools, September 2007, http://www.education.gov.uk/publications/eOrderingDownload/HOMOPHOBIC%20BULLYING.pdf (30 September 2008).
5Paul Brooks, "Principal Undergoing Sex Change," Times Herald-Record online, 25 August 2007, http://www.recordonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070825/NEWS/708250334 (30 September 2008).
6See, for instance, Pagan Kennedy, "Q & A with Norman Spack," The Boston Globe online, 30 March 2008, http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/03/30/qa_with_norman_spack/, (7 October 2008); or J. Michael Bailey, The Man Who Would Be Queen, (Washington DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2003), pp. 26-28.
7See, for example, Gender Public Advocacy Coalition's "2008 Genius Index," which noted a large increase in college campuses offering "gender neutral" housing and restrooms, and groups like "Safe2Pee," which map gender-neutral bathrooms around the world, http://www.safe2pee.org/new/, (30 September 2008).
8Associated Press, "Cross-Dressing Students Get 'Transvestite Toilet' at Thai School," Fox News online, 18 June 1008, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,368301,00.html, (26 September 2008).
9Sheila Marikar, "America's Next Transgender Top Model?" 22 August 2008, ABC News online, http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/Story?id=5629177&page=1, (30 September 2008).
10SB 777, Official California Legislative Information, 12 October 2007, http://leginfo.ca.gov/pub/07-08/bill/sen/sb_0751-0800/sb_777_bill_20071012_chaptered.pdf , (30 September 2008).
11Patricia Leagh Brown, "Supporting Boys or Girls When the Line Isn't Clear," New York Times online, 2 December, 2006, http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/02/us/02child.html, (3 October 2008).
12"California Transgender Student Allowed to Run For Prom King," Fox News online, 22 April, 2007, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,267543,00.html, (3 October 2008).

Cause for Concern (Transgenderism)

Recent years have seen a sea-change in attitudes about cultural acceptance of homosexuality.

by Focus on the Family Issue Analysts

For decades, gay activist leaders worked hard to keep those who called themselves "transgender" or "transsexual" as far out of the public eye as possible. By their own admission, the last thing they wanted was a bunch of "drag queens" and cross-dressers to scare away potential allies and ruin any hope for their community to achieve its political goals. So, the activists only portrayed homosexuals in favorable and non-threatening ways.

But, recent years have seen a sea-change in attitudes about cultural acceptance of homosexuality. Gay activists now believe that sufficient political gains have been won at the local, state and federal levels that they can turn their attention to adding the "T" – for Transgender – to the GLB (Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual) acronym that represents their community.

So today, at every level of government, we are seeing the "GLBT" community press hard to add the "transgender" category to existing laws. While the initial goal of gay activists was to add "sexual orientation" to laws and to normalize homosexuality and bisexuality across every arena of society, the goal now is to add "gender identity or expression" to laws and to normalize "transgenderism." Presently this is happening with the various forms of hate crimes and employment nondiscrimination laws at both the state and federal levels.

Of particular concern when it comes to the creation of protected class status for "sexual minorities" through hate crimes and employment nondiscrimination laws is the sobering reality that in increasingly secular societies, when "gay rights" collides with religious liberties, religious freedom nearly always loses. Recent events in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Sweden clearly demonstrate that the cultural battles over the normalization of homosexuality are a zero-sum game: Gains afforded to one group will necessarily come at the expense of another. Specifically, those who hold to a biblically orthodox view on homosexual or transgender behavior will increasingly find their voices marginalized and then eventually banned from the public arena.1


1See, as examples, Thomas M. Messner, "Executive Summary: Same-Sex Marriage and the Threat to Religious Liberty," 30 Octrober 2008, The Heritage Foundation, http://www.heritage.org/Research/Reports/2008/10/Same-Sex-Marriage-and-the-Threat-to-Religious-Liberty; Barbara Bradley Hagerty, "Gay Rights, Religious Liberties: A Three-Act Story," 16 June 2008, National Public Radio, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91486340; Chai R. Feldblum, "Moral Conflict and Liberty: Gay Rights and Religion," http://www.becketfund.org/files/4bce5.pdf;

Our Position (Transgenderism)

Focus on the Family is dedicated to defending the inherent honor, dignity, value and equality of the two sexes as created in God's image.

by Focus on the Family Issue Analysts

Focus on the Family's Values

Focus on the Family is dedicated to defending the inherent honor, dignity, value and equality of the two sexes as created in God's image – intentionally male and female – each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships.

Each of the two sexes is a glorious gift from God – meant to be offered back to Him either in complementary unity with the other in the context of marriage for procreation and mutual delight or in celibacy for undivided devotion to Christ.

Not only do male and female together reflect the image of God, but their coming together in a marriage relationship to bring forth new life is used in Scripture as the deepest and most intimate analogy of God's relationship with His people. Throughout both Testaments, God and His people are portrayed as husband and wife or as a bride and groom. The creation account found in Genesis lays out this gender-based, matrimonial picture and sets the stage for the final, eternal union of God and His people – of Christ and His bride – described in Revelation.

Gender matters. In recent years, a revisionist transgender theology has been put forth in some theological circles that violates God's clearly articulated and intentional design for the sexes – thereby distorting His image and His plan for sexuality, marriage, family and the just and proper ordering of society.

Focus on the Family's Position


Talking Points (Transgenderism)

by Focus on the Family Issue Analysts

Next Steps and Related Information

Additional resources and references for further study

Popular questions on this topic: