A shocking salvo in the culture war came on May 13, 2016, when the Obama administration told American schools to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of whatever sex they identify as. Though having no explicit legal force, there was nevertheless the threat that schools refusing to go along could lose federal funding, crippling them financially.
Many argue that such government-backed extortion will lead to non-transgendered deviants going into opposite-sex bathrooms with a mere claim of gender choice that cannot be questioned. A number of states have since filed lawsuits against the move.
This followed the passing of a North Carolina law in March against using a restroom not matching one’s biological gender. Obama’s administration promptly declared this a civil rights violation, with Attorney General Loretta Lynch absurdly and outrageously comparing bathrooms having men and women signs to racial segregation signs of decades ago! (Meanwhile, the media studiously overlooked the fact that public opposition to the North Carolina law was led by—you guessed it—a convicted homosexual sex offender.)
The transgender issue got a jolt a year ago with former Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner coming out as “Caitlyn” and starring in a TV reality show titled I Am Cait chronicling Jenner’s transition from a man to a woman. That seemed a cultural turning point—and oh, how far we’ve come since!
The range of what the public will accept, known as the window of discourse or Overton window, ever more frequently shifts. And what was before unthinkable is suddenly part of the public discourse and then embraced.
And here we are—only a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all laws banning homosexual marriage, when five unelected judges forced a major cultural change on the nation—in a place most Americans and most of the world couldn’t imagine we’d be not long ago.
What should we make of the current transgender push, and where is it leading? And what insight does the Bible offer about this issue and a society’s acceptance of it?
Reality check about a mental disorder
The media, news organizations and government push of the transgender agenda is promoted as simply a matter of human rights and fairness. But is that the real issue, or is something considerably different at work?
Dr. Paul McHugh, longtime chief psychiatrist at Johns Hopkins Hospital—which pioneered sex-change surgery until experience demonstrated it wasn’t beneficial—states in a Wall Street Journal editorial that “policy makers and the media are doing no favors either to the public or the transgendered by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”
Cutting through the confusion and misinformation regarding the issue, he describes those feeling themselves of the opposite sex to be suffering “a mental disorder in two respects.”
The first, he explains, “is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken—it does not correspond with physical reality.” And the second “is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes”—including, but not limited to, a dangerously high suicide rate (“Transgender Surgery Isn’t The Solution,” June 12, 2014, emphasis added throughout).
He describes the transgendered as suffering “a disorder of ‘assumption’ like those in other disorders familiar to psychiatrists,” with the assumption being that “the individual differs from what seems given in nature—namely one’s maleness or femaleness.” He compares it to other kinds of disordered assumptions such as “anorexia and bulimia nervosa, where the assumption that departs from physical reality is the belief by the dangerously thin that they are overweight.” And we don’t encourage these to lose more weight or get liposuction!
One thing that’s horrible about the widespread acceptance of transgender surgery, and advocating it for ever-younger people, is that “when children who reported transgender feelings were tracked without medical or surgical treatment at both Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings.”
In other words, 70 to 80 percent of those who at a young age inwardly believed themselves to be of the opposite sex saw those feelings vanish as they grew older!
Further, Johns Hopkins University’s tracking of those who underwent transgender surgery found that “their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery,” leading the institution to cease doing such procedures.
Dr. McHugh also cites a long-term study by Sweden’s Karolinska Institute that followed 324 patients who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery over years, sometimes decades.
“The study revealed that beginning about 10 years after having the surgery, the transgendered began to experience increasing mental difficulties. Most shockingly, their suicide mortality rose almost 20-fold above the comparable non-transgender population. This disturbing result has as yet no explanation but probably reflects the growing sense of isolation reported by the aging transgendered after surgery. The high suicide rate certainly challenges the surgery prescription” (ibid.).
Keep in mind that this horrific suicide rate was in Sweden, where transgendered persons have long been accepted in Swedish culture. And a recent report by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stated that more than 4 in 10 transgender Americans had attempted suicide. Obviously something is terribly wrong in their thinking!
Transgender advocates, so convinced of the rightness of their cause, have persuaded several liberal American states to pass laws banning psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor.” In other words, mental health professionals are forbidden by law from actually helping children afflicted with this disorder—they are only allowed to encourage them to remain in their conflicted state of mind!
This legal climate has led misguided physicians in some states to administer puberty-delaying hormones to gender-confused children to make later sex-change surgeries less traumatic.
But “given that close to 80% of such children would abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated,” explains Dr. McHugh, “these medical interventions come close to child abuse. A better way to help these children [is] with devoted parenting.”
“At the heart of the problem,” he concludes, “is confusion over the nature of the transgendered. ‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is a civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder” (ibid.).
In fact, gender is written into our very DNA. If you have XX chromosomes, you are female. If XY, you are male. Even if anatomy is surgically altered, the fundamental genetic identify remains.
But this particular disorder has become a tool of those promoting “anything goes” when it comes to sex and sexual practices. And so it has increasingly been presented to the public as something to embrace and celebrate.
Our Creator God, however, has a distinctly different view. In Isaiah 5:20 He warns us, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
In defiance of the Creator of human sexuality
Moreover, it appears that the ultimate goal of many activists is to eliminate the concept of gender altogether (see “When the Binary Burns”).
Of course, this goes directly against God who created mankind. His Word, the Bible, tells us right up front: “So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them . . . And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply . . .’” (Genesis 1:27-28).
Our Creator is the One who established human beings as being either male or female—with an important reason for doing so being that they can reproduce and multiply those who are made in His image (compare Genesis 5:1-3). Moreover, He designed human family and marriage to represent an ultimate spiritual relationship (see our free study guide Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension to learn more).
And God wants the male-female distinction to remain. In His inspired Word, He rebukes the blurring of gender lines, declaring: “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman’s garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5).
An “abomination” is something utterly reprehensible to God. Some have argued that mere transvestitism wouldn’t be loathsome to God—that this must be referring to a pagan worship practice. Yet there is no hint of this here, so it’s best that we take this instruction exactly as it’s stated. Still, there is a connection to paganism.
The beginning of the corruption
Idolatrous religion and many of the false philosophies we see today can be traced back to ancient Babylon and, even before that, to the lies of the serpent in the Garden of Eden—Satan (Revelation 12:9).
Satan misled Eve into eating the forbidden fruit, telling her she wouldn’t die as God said, and then Adam partook also (Genesis 3:1-6). They then became aware of their nakedness and sewed fig leaves to cover up (Genesis 3:7). God asked, “Who told you that you were naked?” (Genesis 3:10-11).
What had happened? When and how did the shame of nakedness enter? Realize that the passage is a very condensed account and much more is going on here than meets the eye. Considering the whole of pagan religion that began with Satan’s lies, his statement that Eve wouldn’t die and would be like God, and his being behind the shame of nakedness here, we get some indication of what was going on here and the implications.
It seems likely that here began the false concept of the dual nature of man as spiritual immortal soul imprisoned in corrupt material flesh (see our free study guide What Happens After Death? to better understand the truth about this). Satan wanted Adam and Eve to believe that their existence transcended their physical bodies, and that their bodies—especially the sexual organs of physical procreation—were in fact evil and something they should be ashamed of.
Satan, a former archangel in rebellion against God, hated these human beings God created to expand the divine family. He wanted to corrupt and destroy them. Moreover, as a spirit being Satan had no sexuality and no means of reproducing himself and may have been envious of these attributes bestowed on mankind.
This may be part of why Satan set about to discredit and corrupt sexuality. Yet he also may have been aiming to hinder human reproduction, with the desire of eradicating mankind. Later he would promote sexuality as an object of lust—and sexual fertility as pagan magical power. The corruption and destruction of the human race remains his goal.
The doctrine of the immortality of the soul and the baseness of the flesh was later part of the false religion of Babylon, the fountainhead of all idolatry. A powerful strain of this ideology, which developed into various forms, was gnosticism, which sought to transcend earthly reality and the corrupt physical existence through secret knowledge. The biblical writers Paul, John and Jude confronted those who were infiltrating the Church with such ideas.
Pagan dualism and gnosticism led to two extremes promoted by Satan—celibacy to the point of avoiding marriage on one hand and lustful abandon on the other. While some sought to deny the flesh through ascetism (Colossians 2:21), others indulged the flesh in every way, arguing that their real selves were spiritual and transcending the flesh, so fleshly debasement did not matter. It became “a license for immorality” (Jude 4, New International Version).
Babylonian worship even included gender bending as part of transcending fleshly limitations (see “Gender Blurring in Pagan Worship”).
Where to now?
Think about all this in the context of the culture war being waged in the present time. Satan still has his unwitting worshippers today—those who would follow him in his quest to debase and destroy mankind through the elimination of heterosexual marriage, family roles and the concept of gender altogether.
The lie in Eden and Babylon is still with us today—in merely another form. There are even those who deny their fleshly reality to be something else. And there are others who want to live entirely in an unreal world of gender fluidity or as neither male nor female.
Our society tells people to be true to themselves and everything will be okay. But true compassion for individuals who feel like their body is the wrong sex is not to alter every cultural norm and offer them harmful and permanent body mutilations to affirm their psychological condition. True compassion would be to help them overcome their disorder.
Healing and relief are what they need most. Our Creator God understands that we each have struggles, human failings, and hardships to overcome. We are born into a world that does not reflect His compassionate love, but instead Satan’s twisted and destructive hatred. God sent His Son to die for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8), and His promise of help for those who accept His calling extends to everybody.
Those who follow God are to be lights to those in need of that healing force. Our response to those who are transgender should be an extended hand of compassion and a heartfelt prayer for healing. Jesus explained to the self-righteous Pharisees, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Luke 5:31, New International Version 1984).
If you’ve supported this lie, God calls on you to repent. And He forgives. If you are one who actually struggles with gender identity, seek Him with your whole heart for the healing of your mind—and also seek out professional help from counselors who perceive this problem correctly.
The number of transgenders is relatively tiny, estimated at somewhere between 1.4 to 7.7 per 100,000 according to a U.S. Census Bureau study. But the number of those embracing and condoning this problem is increasing by leaps and bounds, as the culture pushes headlong away from God.
Where will the window of what’s acceptable shift to next? Things still unspeakable today may be the headlines of years soon ahead. Riki Wilchins, the transsexual activist quoted in the sidebar “When the Binary Burns,” sees the work of transgender advocates as important to the goal of eradicating the male-female structure of society, noting that they have “finally and perhaps unwittingly opened the gender Pandora’s Box, and over the next few years all sorts of unexpected non-binary things . . . are about to come popping out.”
May God through Jesus Christ “deliver us from this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4)—soon!