“ I don’t believe it. I don’t understand it. What are you talking about? Is this serious? It’s mad “. Trying to explain to your 85-year-old parents just what transgender, Queer theory, multiple pronouns, men giving birth and ‘sex assigned at birth’ – it can be quite difficult! Being a great fan of expository preaching – preaching through a book systematically – I rarely did ‘topical’ sermons (sermons on one topic), but on one of the few occasions I did it was to explain to my congregation what was going on in our society about transgender issues – and what the Bible had to say about it. What astonished me was how astonished they were at what was going on in our own city – and how many non-Christians came and were deeply grateful for what they heard.
There are Christians who wonder what all the fuss is about – surely this is just a very minority passing trend – that we need not be concerned about? That is perhaps what it should be, but in reality, it is much more than that. Others, like Carl Trueman in this excellent First Things article – https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2021/01/joe-bidens-transgender-fictions warn that “transgender ideology is going to change everything”.
We need to be clear about what we are talking about. We do not question the fact that a small minority of people suffer from an affliction known as Gender Identity Disorder (GID). The vast majority of these are younger people who, if they are not given chemical or surgical treatments, grow out of it. Some however remain transgender all their lives. That is not the primary issue we are concerned with here. Appropriate treatment, compassion and care should be shown to all such.
What we are concerned about is the 4,000% growth in teenage girls who are now saying they are Trans and undergoing radical treatment which does them enormous harm – and the promotion of this by the political, educational and media establishments in most of the Western world. For example, almost the first act the new President Biden did was to promote trans and in effect abolish women’s sport and women’s safe spaces. It is no exaggeration to say that his executive order is the biggest blow to the feminist movement throughout its existence. In Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has managed to find time in the midst of the pandemic to reassure her followers that she is a full-on supporter of the trans ideology – and in Victoria the trans ideology has so become state orthodoxy that anyone daring to question it will be found guilty of blasphemy against the unholy State. You can convert from being a girl to a boy, but dare to suggest that you think there might be other alternatives to such a conversion, and you are liable to be prosecuted for heresy (under Dan Andrews new anti-conversion law). How do we understand all this? Why is it more important than just a little craziness?
To help understand I would highly recommend three books. Vaughan Robert’s ‘Transgender’ is a good pastoral, theological introduction. When Harry Became Sally is an outstanding summary of the evidence. And then I have just finished reading Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing our Daughters by Abigail Shrier. It is an incredible book – The Economist named it as one of its books of the year and the trans activists have been calling for it to be banned, with some success. It is not too much of an exaggeration to say that all Hell has been let loose against Shrier – because the one subject which you cannot question is the transgender ideology. Shrier’s basic argument – not writing from a Christian perspective – is that the current transgender craze is a cultlike ideology which is causing immense harm, especially amongst teenage girls. If I had my way, I would insist that every Christian leader, teacher, medic, politician, journalist and social worker read ‘Irreversible Damage’ before the damage to our society becomes irreversible. If you are in Victoria you might have to order it in a brown paper bag or have it smuggled across the border!
I have over 150 highlighted quotes from it. Here are a few to give you a flavour…
“To understand how some of the brightest, most capable young women of this era could fall victim to a transgender craze, we should begin by noting that adolescent girls today are in a lot of pain. In America, Britain, and Canada, teenagers are in the midst of what academic psychologist Jonathan Haidt has called a “mental health crisis”—evincing record levels of anxiety and depression” It is fascinating that 90% of the teenage girls ‘transitioning ‘are from white middle-class homes. It is also fascinating and disturbing the role that social media, ‘influencers’ and schools play.
“ “bullying” is used as an excuse for a thorough indoctrination in gender ideology and the insistence that transgender students must be “affirmed” or suffer a steep psychological toll.” Notice how Dan Andrews claims that Margaret Court’s biblical views on sex and sexuality ‘costs lives. Apart from the lack of self-awareness of a man whose actual failed policies on Covid cost lives, accusing others; what rankles is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Margaret Court or her views have cost anyone’s lives. In fact, it is the promotion of the transgender ideology which is ruining lives.
“If “women” can no longer be defined according to physical characteristics or biology, how are we to define them? Prominent transgender author Andrea Long Chu has an answer: “Female is a ‘universal existential condition’ defined by submitting to someone else’s desires.” If you are a feminist, then this must be one of the most degrading definitions of being a woman yet. We have moved to a world where many of our elites cannot actually define what a woman is – because they do not accept it has anything to do with biological sex. As JK Rowling put it: “If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased.”
Shrier lets one detranisitioner tell her story:
“The gender ideology world she inhabited was a “cult,” she insists, because “when you’re inside, you believe non-reality and you disbelieve reality. It literally got to a point where if I was in a queer space,” she said, “I would look at someone, and I couldn’t tell if they were male or female until they told me because I had trained myself to think that way. I would look at somebody and be like, ‘I don’t even know what their sex or gender is because I haven’t asked them their pronouns yet.’ I was so brainwashed.”
Towards the end Shrier makes this damming comment.
“All the institutions we’ve built to keep young people from making irreparable mistakes have failed them. The universities, the schools, the doctors, the therapists, and even the churches have been won over by a dogged ideology that claims to speak for a more important class of victim.”
It is essential that Christians understand what is going on and that the Church takes its stand in defence of humanity against what has now become a dangerous cult, infecting almost every area of society. We do so because we care for our fellow human beings. In addition, we are concerned for the glory of God – he created us male and female and saw that humanity was ‘very good’. The devil has always been seeking to deconstruct the apex of God’s creation. We must also protect our own children. As regards this latter, Shrier suggests seven things.
- Don’t Get Your Kid a Smartphone
- Don’t Relinquish Your Authority as the Parent
- Don’t Support Gender Ideology in Your Child’s Education
- Reintroduce Privacy into the Home
- Consider Big Steps to Separate Your Daughter from Harm
- Stop Pathologizing Girlhood
- Don’t Be Afraid to Admit: It’s Wonderful to Be a Girl
To which I as a Christian can only say a hearty ‘Amen’ to all. I would also add 8. ‘bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”!
To finish let me add that some of those previously involved in transgender treatment are now beginning to warn about the way this cultlike trend is going. For example, Dr David Bell from the Tavistock institute in this BBC report:
At a personal and ministry level I have been involved in this issue over the past 30 years – long before it became a fashionable fad. This is not about theory, ideology or politics. It is about human beings made in the image of God. It is our story. Next week, God willing, I will share some of those stories.