Last week a major secular news outlet had a podcast discussing the topic, "Why are Christian Republicans so anti-trans?" They lumped Christians/Evangelicals/Republicans all in the same general category as if all conservative Christian/Evangelicals are Republicans. I'm not going to spend much time trying to untie that knot so for the purpose of this blog let's just use the term Conservatives.
For those of you who've followed me for any length time, you know I've been an advocate for years for Christians to be more kind and understanding of LGBTQ people while still holding to the Bible's historical position on marriage and sex. Dispite my concerns expressed in the rest of this blog, my position has not changed. Just because others are hateful of us, Christians do not have that option. But that doesn't mean we have to remain silent when biblical commands, or common sense dictates otherwise. We are called to be both wise and wary.
The following are general characterizations of conservatives in mainstream media center around this question:
Why are conservatives so opposed to transgender people and their "rights"?
Observation #1: Let's admit right up front that there are lots of Christians" who are opposed to transgender people. But not all are. I for one am not. I personally have met with dozens of trans people who knew they were trans for decades. These are not confused teenage girls trying to stand out and be cool. Nevertheless, even for these truly trans people are Christians obligated to support every "right" being demanded? let's start with a question of our own. Just what rights did transgender people have 10 years ago that conservatives are now trying to "take away". Answer: None.
The truth is that the trans community including straight liberals who support transgender rights, began demanding rights like using bathrooms of the opposite biological sex just 7, or 8 years ago. It isn't like up until then transpeople had no place to go to the bathroom. But they began demanding a right from the rest of us that they now claim we're trying to take away. Actually the right they want taken away from everyone else in order to get their "rights" is privacy.
I've spoken with many trans people and some do feel uncomfortable using bathrooms, or showers of a sex they don't identify with, but they've gotten used to it over the years. It's not traumatic for them. But I read stories all the time of straight girls and women in locker rooms undressing in front of biological males and feeling incredibly violated. What about their rights?
Observation #2: The trans and affirming community is lobbying for the right for minor children (under age 18) to transition without the permission of their parents. Just last month Minnesota passed a law making it a "trans-refugee state". In simple terms a minor child can cross the Minnesota State line from another state, allowing the Minnesota court to take "emerging custody" of the child and make whatever decision about transitioning including surgery and hormone treatment without the child's parents consent, or even knowledge!
"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord" -Colossians 3:20
Now get this; In Minnesota if you are under the age of 18 you still are required to obtain your parent's permission to get your ears pierced! So whose rights are being take away in Minnesota and other states who have passed similar laws? Parents. Since when does a child's right supersede a parents unless there's outright abuse or neglect? Ah! they have a solution to fix that "problem" The law says that failure to allow a minor child to transition is "abuse." A parent is deemed abusive for not giving a minor what they want! Truly, has America lost its mind?
"Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right." -Ephesians 6:1
Observation #3: Conservatives are taking away the "rights" of trans-athletes to compete with the gender they identify with. Biological males can now compete against biological females. Frankly, this should be an issue on which even atheists should agree with Evangelicals and conservatives. The whole notion that a transgender man competes against a biological women defies common sense or fairness. Again, whose "rights" are actually being taken away?
In summary: Whenever you hear the word "rights" it's important to explore where that idea of a right came from, does the group claiming that right actually have the right to claim it? And whose rights are truly being denied if their demand for rights are granted? There were times like when African-Americans were denied the right to vote that the Constutution clearly gave them. They had a legal and moral right to claim their rights. But I'm unaware of any constitutional right that is being violated that the trans-affirming community is claiming. But I'm guessing that legislation is being written as I speak.
Christians should always be champions of the weak and vulnerable unless it undermines a biblical command, the authority of parents, or the authority of the church. So, if you meet with someone who is advocating for trans rights, listen, ask questions, try to understand. Then answer softly and wisely. "A kind answer turns away wrath." But whatever you do, do not stay silent.
"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone."