Last week I address three of the most common myths held by Christians about LGBTQ people. Here are a few more.
Myth #4 LGBTQ people are a danger to children
Pedophilia and same-sex attraction are two completely, unrelated conditions. There are LGBTQ people who are also pedophiles, however there is no scientific evidence that that gay people are more likely to desire sex with children than straight people. The Catholic Church in investigating sexual abuse of children by priests, found the vast majority of abusive priests were straight. The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that "90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends and the vast majority are wed to women." Nevertheless, the myth that gay people are child molesters is still believed by many Christians and leads to incredibly hostility towards LGBTQ people who want to protect children as much as anyone.
Myth #5 Transgender people are just delusional
Again that is only partly true. But first just a reminder of what the term "transgender" means. Sex is biology. Gender is pschology.- how we think of ourselves emotionally, including sexually. Our sex is scientifically provable. With the extremely rare exception of inter-sex people all humans are either male of female. However, another person's gender is not "provable" because it's a psychological condition. And "gender-fluid" means that a person can think of themselves psychologically as a woman one day, and as a man the other day, what is referred to as being "non-binary," and trans people can grow out of it over time. It's impossible for you and I to tell another person they are not what they think they are. For them it's their reality, true, or not. Having said that, I am totally against a biological male referring to themselves as a woman. God has determined what a man and woman are and humans do not have the right to change what God has decreed.
However, the trend to self-identify as transgender, or gender-fluid, or having gender-dysphoria is growing so fast, especially among teenage girls, the phenomenon has been called Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria (ROGD). There are all kinds of theories about why this is happening from "it's become cool" to kids wanting to emulate movie stars and musicians who proudly say they are "non-binary" or not straight. Have they talked themselves into this condition? Is it delusional? Will some of them grow out of it? In the opinion of even secular mental health professionals, yes, it very well could be, which is why transitioning is so potentially dangerous.
The craziness of this trend masks the rare but very real mental condition of being transgender. I've sat with 50 and 70 year olds, men and women, who knew they were different even as children, long before they ever heard the term transgender. Of the four older adults I've met with, none have "come out" yet, why? In their words, "If I ever came out to my family and friends in my church, my life would be over." That makes me sad beyond words.
So please don't confuse the very real, painful confusing condition some truly trans people have, or put them in the same "basket" with trans male athletes who are competing with women and forcing their way into women's lockers rooms and bathrooms. There is a vast difference between a minority of loud, demanding opportunists, and the majority of silent and scared trans people who just want to live a quiet life. A final thought; most of the "trans-rights movement", is fueled by straight liberals not by trans people themselves.
Myth #6 Trying to understand LGBTQ people is a "slippery-slope" for the church
I hear this myth all the time. And like many myths, it can be true, but does not have to be true. I've been meeting with LGBTQ people for 6-8 years and my theology has not changed, but my empathy has. I am more sympathetic to their journey and the difficulty they have trying to find their place in the church, but I haven't changed what I believe God says about marriage and sex of gender. And neither should you.
For most straight Christians this is still an awkward moment in church history. And it is easy to see the "loud and proud" Christians who are same-sex attracted and assume "they" all are loud and proud. The truth is most are silent and scared of us! Long before an LGQTB person comes out they've spent hundreds of hours on "Christian" website which prepare them to be rejected by their family and the other Christians. And unfortunately although some are accepted and loved by some family and friends, others live up to the predictions and reinforce the idea that there's very little future for them in most churches. So they leave, not because they want to, but because they do not feel welcome.
Preston Sprinkle just released a new book, "Does the Bible Support Same-Sex Marriage?" If you aspire to become a thoughtful-leader in your family and church, get informed. Don't be afraid of the slippery slope idea. Preston's book will build up your confidence in the Bible and mature you as a follower of Jesus in a world changing at the speed of light. Be the light. Don't be afraid of the darkness.