jennifer hanigan

a pinch of this and a dollop of that

Dear Christianity Today: No. Just no.

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Christianity Today has published an article about transgender people, and now I have some words.

Let us begin with the title, “How the Transgender Narrative Perpetuates Stereotypes.” Yes, they are actually arguing that transgender people bear some responsibility for the continuation of unbiblical stereotypes about men and women.

Transgender people. The very people who are saying hey, gender seems far more complicated than we used to think and maybe we should rethink things. Perpetuating gender stereotypes.


I could go line-by-line and pick apart this article but I have homework to do, so I’m going to stick to two main points.

1. Anti-LGBTQ+ Christians cannot use complementarianism (the idea that men and women, by virtue of their physical sex, have different roles in family, church, and society) to support their claim that same-sex relationships are wrong, while simultaneously saying that transgender people would not feel conflict between their physical sex and their internal sense of self if they understood that your physical sex does not restrict you to certain sets of behaviors. Those two things cannot simultaneously be true!

2. Over and over the article references chromosomal sex as a binary thing. We are understanding now more than ever that it really is not. In actuality, people may have more than two sex-determining chromosomes (XXY, for instance). And in addition to that, we’re now finding out that chromosomes can be turned on and off, and their behavior changed, by other factors. Gender has, in fact, never been binary. It has never been simplistic. Very little about this world is!

Do the rigid gender roles promoted by both church and society cause conflict in people? Absolutely. I have known people who were secure in their understanding of their own gender, but who felt they did not fit into the space the world allowed for them based on that gender (actually, now that I think about it, I would fall into that category). But that is in no way the same thing as understanding that your sense of self and your physical body don’t match up the way they ought, the way others expect them to.

The Bible is silent on this issue, except to say that in the future, in our resurrected bodies, there will be no gender. Christians need to stop viewing things they don’t understand as things that need to be fought against. Now, as I am not transgender myself, I recommend reading these stories of transgender Christians in their own words.


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