I had an article emailed to me yesterday from Focus on the Family that talks about the transgender (better known as gender dysphoria,” “gender confusion” or “gender identity disorder”) stuff that’s going on now with this Bruce Jenner guy that now thinks he’s and woman. Well, sorry Bruce, but God does not and cannot make mistakes… you’re still a man!
It’s quite disturbing and troubling that we live in a culture today that grills and persecutes families like the Duggar’s for being Christian and not perfect, yet celebrates strange and unusual behavior like those of Bruce Jenner.
This Focus on the Family article will give you, especially parents, a basis of talking points in the conversations you children are sure to bring up at some point and time.
May God bless you and have mercy on our nation, Amen.
Many were surprised when Bruce Jenner started appearing in public with long hair, wearing a dress and then announced his decision to “transition into a woman.” Jenner was an Olympic Decathlon gold medalist, a hero and role model for many in the ’70’s and ’80’s. Yet, now we learn that all along, he believed he was a woman. Photos of Jenner recently published in Vanity Fair magazine were even more shocking.
When confusing events like this are broadcast throughout the culture, Focus on the Family is asked a lot of questions. And we know parents get asked questions, too:
- Daddy, why does that man want to be a lady?
- Mom, what does “transgender” mean?
- Can a boy turn into a girl?
- Mommy, I’m a girl, but will I ever change into a boy?
Transgenderism — also called “gender dysphoria,” “gender confusion” or “gender identity disorder” — is tough enough for adults to understand. So when our children encounter these gender-confusing messages, what do we say? Most importantly, how do we help them develop a biblical, Christian perspective on this issue?
Focus on the Family wants to help parents navigate this topic, so here are some helpful guidelines and suggestions for addressing transgender issues with your children:
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Keep It Simple
Relax. As a parent, you are the authority in your child’s life; but you don’t have to be an expert on every issue — including this one. And even the “experts” really don’t understand this issue. A few years ago, a gay identified psychiatrist was asked about gender confusion and responded, “The truth is we actually don’t know what it is. Is it a mental disorder or does the cause of gender dysphoria lie somewhere else?”1
So don’t think you have to understand everything about transgenderism or tell your children everything you know. Here are a few simple truths to communicate:
- God made humans male and female.
- Individuals are born either male or female.
- Some people get hurt and confused, and they don’t like the way God made them.
- As a result, some people wish they were the opposite sex.
- Nobody can really change from one sex to the other.
Keep It a Dialogue
Use occasions such as this to connect with your children. Find out what they are learning, where they learned it and what they are thinking. Ask questions, such as:
- Where did you see that?
- Where did you hear that word?
- Why do you think God made both boys and girls?
- What do you think “transgender” means?
- Do you think a boy can really turn into a girl?
This isn’t an inquisition but an opportunity to get to know your child better. So keep your tone conversational and friendly.
Older children and teens may have more questions, so we have a list of helpful resources at the end of this article. You might want to read some of these additional resources first, then read and discuss them with an older child.
Keep It Truthful
If you don’t know the answer to a child’s question, say so. Then tell your child you’ll look for an answer. Let’s say your son asks, “Why does he want to be a lady?” The real answer, if we’re honest, is “I don’t know.” None of us know all of the pain and false beliefs in the lives and hearts of persons who struggle with transgender issues.
Nevertheless, Scripture is clear about certain things, and those are what you can communicate to your children: