The Transgender Controversy, A Broken Heart, and a Faith I Am Having a Hard Time Recognizing
Yesterday I was posting some thoughts in a discussion group of which I am a part. I took a break from writing to have lunch and Debbie asked me what was wrong. What was wrong is that my heart was sad and breaking…not necessarily from anything being said, but rather from the division and animosity I see taking place among Jesus’ followers—a division and animosity that Jesus pleaded with us not to let happen.
Among the posts being made are those questioning the wisdom of [or outright criticizing] passage of Non-Discrimination Ordinances (NDOs) which include allowing transgender persons’ usage of bathrooms and other facilities according to their chosen gender identity. Other posts take Target stores to task for their policies supporting gender identity use of their restroom facilities. I deeply respect my friends making these posts and I also respect their deeply held convictions. I also understand that one of their deepest concerns is the safety of loved ones from perceived threat.
For the purpose of this post, I wish to humbly offer thoughts of my own for you to consider. You have my assurance these thoughts emanate from a sincere heart that is slowly breaking for a Christian faith I am having a hard time recognizing.
Again for the purpose of this essay I am going to accept all of the arguments and conclusions from my friends who believe that Non-Discrimination Ordinances (NDOs), as well as Target Store policies, are unwise and increase the possibilities of harm from predators. I simply will offer some alternative thoughts and again I welcome all of your discussions and thoughts…and even criticisms. And if by doing this I inadvertently wound anyone’s faith I sincerely apologize. My heart and conscience will break if I do not at least try to speak words that I hope may heal.
1] The arguments and conclusions of my friends generally stated are:
-- > Non-Discrimination Ordinances (NDOs) which include gender identity may allow criminals to pretend to be transgender in order to gain access to bathrooms [and I will add showers, locker rooms, saunas, etc] for evil purposes
-- > and that sexual assaults and rapes in women’s rooms would increase.
-- > and to try and prevent this we should err on the side of safety and patience
-- > in expressing this we do not promote hatred or bigotry or “phobias”
-- > after all we have rights also
In my accepting these arguments and conclusions, I also must offer to you my realization that “the numbers” simply do not support those conclusions. Citing just one small set of numbers:
-- >When looking at this statistically, over the 35 year history of NDOs protecting transgender people all over the world, only one case of a person abusing an NDO and committing sexual assault (in Canada) has ever been found, even by those most interested in demonizing transgender people.
Think about that for a moment.
Every NDO, every person, every bathroom, every day, every trip to a restroom, for 35 years, and it’s happened once in the entire world.
2] in accepting my friends’ conclusions I realize that while our “wives and children” will be “safe once again,” I also have sadness when I realize that in defeating NDOs harassment and violence WILL increase against transgender persons.
I played 4 sports competitively and was urged to walk on at KSU in football. I also golfed and played racquetball so I have used saunas and spent many hours in locker rooms, bathrooms, and showers. The conseqauences in defeating NDOs is not in “making life safe for regular folks.” It is that these laws usually also require that transgender persons use facilities that coincide with the gender identification on their birth certificates.
Because of this please consider this example:
-- > I am a transgender woman. I have taken hormone supplements, I have long hair, breasts, almost no testosterone levels, and have undergone surgery to have my male genitalia removed [however this example would still be valid even if I choose to keep my genitalia]. I ask a simple question: what bathroom should I use?
If you are adamant that I must use the facility of my birth certificate gender, if there are no NDOs, please hear me. I KNOW what will happen in male locker rooms, saunas, bathrooms, and showers. I will be harassed and beaten,
-- >Or please consider a second example of a transgender man with beard, cowboy hat, male features, and testosterone [but no male genitalia]. What bathroom should he use?
If you are adamant that he must use the facility of his birth certificate gender, if there are no NDOs, please hear me. I KNOW what will happen. He will certainly face harassment and probably at some point will be required to prove he “is who he says he is” but also who his birth certificate says he/she is. I KNOW this because there are documented cases where this has happened.
And then there will be increased harassment, threats, and possible violence from the husbands, boyfriends, male classmates, and fathers who are waiting outside and watched this “man” enter the women’s facility.
I KNOW these things will happen, not just from my own experience, but from the growing number of documented cases of harassment and violence against transgender persons, and also the alarming suicide rate in the transgender community.
-- > while defeating NDOs so as to not risk allowing criminals to pretend to be transgender in order to gain access to bathrooms for evil purposes…
-- > and in “erring on the side of safety” so that sexual assaults and rapes in women’s restrooms would not increase…
-- >and in making these areas safe for “normal folks” because after all we have rights also…
-- > my fear is that we will have successfully defended our own rights while limiting the rights of the transgender community and certainly continuing [and possibly increasing] harassment and violence already being documented against the transgender community.
The problem with this is that as Christians every NT writer, but especially Jesus and Paul, pleads with us not to do that. Jesus and Paul are clear that our rights [yours and mine] are submissive to those of others. We are to “look not just to our own selves but also to the interests of others” and the interests of others as more important than our own.
I could be wrong, but it seems to me that we as conservative Christians are far more vocal concerning our fears of what “might possibly” happen in bathrooms [and other facilities—even with only 1 documented case in 35 years] rather than the harassment, violence, and increased suicide rate already being documented within the transgender community. I humbly do not think this is what Jesus and Paul had in mind when they urged us to be submissive, to be meek, to put others’ needs ahead of our own, to treat others the way we would like to be treated, and to love our neighbors as ourselves [just to mention a very few references]
Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate? 2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.
3 “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.
4 God blesses those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 God blesses those who are humble,
for they will inherit the whole earth.
6 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they will be satisfied.
7 God blesses those who are merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 God blesses those whose hearts are pure,
for they will see God.
9 God blesses those who work for peace,
for they will be called the children of God.
10 God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.