How Should Christians Respond to the Transgender ?

In June, Christianity Today published an article by Mark Yarhouse, a professor of psychology at Regent University in Virginia, on “gender dysphoria.” Gender dysphoria is the APA’s current description of the condition whereby someone perceives one’s “gender” to be other than one’s birth or biological sex. The previous designation in the APA’s diagnostic manual (and in my view still preferable) is “gender identity disorder” (GID).

Yarhouse contends:

1. Church members should address a man who thinks he is a woman by her chosen female name and use feminine pronouns, and a woman who thinks she is a man by her chosen male name and use masculine pronouns.

2. The church should not “treat as synonymous management of gender dysphoria and faithfulness” to Christ. The church should allow those with transgender desires “to identify with aspects of the opposite sex, as a way to manage extreme discomfort.”

3. For the most part, the church should give up on the “culture war” battle on this and other issues. “The church is called to rise above [culture] wars and present a witness to redemption.”

Yarhouse refers to three different lenses for interpreting the issue: Integrity (Yarhouse cites me as a proponent; go here for an online discussion), Disability, and Diversity (full affirmation of transgenderism). Although Yarhouse states that he believes “there are strengths in all three lenses,” he clearly operates with a descending scale with Disability at the top and Diversity at the bottom: “Because I am a psychologist…, I see value in a disability lens.”

Yarhouse doesn’t dump the Integrity lens entirely. “Even as Christians affirm the disability lens, we should also let the integrity lens inform our pastoral care.” He rather sees the disability lens as embracing the Integrity lens but going beyond it and even correcting it, at least at two points. First, “the disability lens also makes room for supportive care and interventions that allow for cross-gender identification in a way the integrity lens does not” (it is this allowance that is the main problem in my view). Second, it “rejects the teaching that gender identity conflicts are the result of willful disobedience or sinful choice.”

This last claim is curious. I for one do not view the mere experience of gender dysphoria as necessarily resulting from active efforts to rebel against God. My approach is not far from Yarhouse on this score: “A person may have choices to make in response to the condition, and those choices have moral and ethical dimensions. But the person is not culpable for having the condition as such.” Where I would qualify Yarhouse is in noting a more complex interplay of nature, nurture, environment, and choices. Incremental choices made in response to impulses may strengthen the same impulses.

Another problem with his “Disability” view is that for the most part people don’t associate a disability with sinful conduct. When people think of disabilities they typically think of such things as physical impairments of mobility, hearing, or sight; intellectual disability or other learning impairments; or health impairments like asthma, epilepsy, or attention deficit disorder. Such non-moral disabilities can be accommodated in all sorts of ways without violating any divine standards.

Even depression and anxiety (cited as parallels to gender dysphoria by Yarhouse) are not as directly or severely related to the desire to sin as a desire to pursue a gender identity at odds with one’s biological sex (and in what sense do we accommodate to depression and anxiety?). My concern is that Yarhouse’s use of the disability label might have the unintended effect of accommodating sinful choices.

Yarhouse further argues that “it is an act of respect, even if we disagree, to let the person determine what they want to be called.” He adds that “redemption is not found by measuring how well a person’s gender identity aligns with their biological sex, but by drawing them to the person and work of Jesus Christ, and to the power of the Holy Spirit to transform us into his image.” While I believe Yarhouse’s advice is well intentioned, I respectfully disagree.

First, is this not rather distant from the biblical language on these matters? Cross-dressing is called an “abomination” to God in Deut 22:5. Paul includes “soft men” (malakoi) in the offender list in 1 Cor 6:9-10, which in context designates men who attempt to become women (through dress, mannerisms, makeup, and sometimes castration), often to attract male sex partners. The fact that Paul includes such persons among those who “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” suggests that acting on a desire to become the opposite sex can in fact affect one’s redemption.

Further, what will be the effect of encouraging church members to address persons with GID as the sex that they are not? What will be the result of requiring them to accept whatever manner of transgender display of appearance offenders deem essential to their well-being? For some it will mean silencing a conscience correctly informed by Scripture and science. For others it will further confusion about sex and gender already promoted in the world, undermining the church’s resistance to the bonds of sin.

I have no doubt that Yarhouse is aiming for the redemption of those with gender dysphoria. Yet it may be instructive to reflect on Paul’s concern in 1 Corinthians 5 not only for the sexual offender but also for the offender’s impact on the local church: “a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough” (v. 6). Although Yarhouse refers obliquely to wise counsel from church leaders, he allows the offender to call the shots. Paul rather recommends temporary remedial discipline for the persistently impenitent in order to minimize the harm done both to the offender and to the church (vv. 4-5, 9-13). The church’s complicity in sexual delusion benefits no one, least of all the offender.

How far should Christians following Yarhouse’s suggestions go? For example, can a man who feels that he is a woman use the church’s restroom for females? Can he expect the church to respect his choice of romantic partner, whether a woman (in a pretend lesbian relationship) or a man (in an actual homosexual relationship)? Can he even compel the pastor’s performance of his marriage ceremony to either sex, claiming that otherwise he will feel estranged from the church? And what if the offender has children distressed and confused by his wrong choices? Denise Schick, director of Help 4 Families Ministry, writes courageously about the added stresses put on her adolescent development by a father obsessed with becoming a woman:

As an adolescent, I had to be careful about how I dressed. I always had to ask myself how he would react to my outfit. Would it make him so envious that he’d “borrow” it (without my consent, of course)? I began to hate my body. It was a constant reminder of what my father wanted to become. When I began to wear makeup, I had to block out the images I had of him applying makeup or eye shadow or lipstick. He was destroying my desire to become a woman.

In allowing those with transgender desires “to identify with aspects of the opposite sex,” even at a church service, won’t the church be contributing to the distress and confusion of their children?

Yarhouse would certainly prefer that persons with gender dysphoria make peace with their biological sex. He thinks counseling should be directed to “how best to manage gender dysphoria in light of the integrity lens” and advising persons with GID to explore their other-sex desires “in the least invasive way possible.” I have no doubt that his desire is to be loving to persons experiencing this distress. Yet it is possible to be sensitive, gentle, and loving without forcing the church to act as if the lie is the truth.

Lastly, should the church abandon the “culture wars”? Should we stop combatting society’s efforts to persuade vulnerable children in the schools that one’s perceived “gender” need not correlate with one’s biological sex? Is it wrong to try to prevent the state from punishing believers who can’t support a transsexual agenda? Is it a societal good to require schools and businesses to permit males who think they are females to use female restrooms? I submit that the church still has a role to play in terms of being salt and light for the culture at large in matters of sexual ethics.

Robert A. J. Gagnon, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics.


Robert Wenman: Some truths on gender change.

Here is some truth on changing gender from someone who knows.I pursued gender transition fully convinced to be a woman in a man’s body despite being a fully matured 6ft. 2in. male with large extremities and no contributory physical medical conditions.
I was initially euphoric having completed the two year true life test, successful sex reassignment surgery and having full legal rights as a female. Many of my then associates had complimented me on my courage.
I had perceived living a new life happily ever having completed my gender journey however happiness and harmony was not to be. I began acknowledging severe emotional difficulties trying to assimilate in society as a woman. Life’s everyday routines once taken for granted became consistent struggles filled with fears and anxieties. I feared using a public restroom avoiding the call of nature as much as possible. I sensed people were staring at me when shopping, walking down a street or in a mall. My heart would pound with fear when encountering groups of young people and I dreaded being addressed as sir on the telephone. I sensed many of my then co workers were laughing at me behind my back, reluctantly cooperating only because of mandated human rights policies. These fears only intensified as I found myself constantly pining for acceptance and affirmation while any critical look or disparaging remark could leave me distressed for days. I eventually fell into a very deep clinical depression requiring antidepressant medication and was questioning how I could go on living life in such a sad state.
This was not supposed to be as I had believed my gender transition to female would bring happiness and harmony. I had blamed a perceived bigoted and hateful society for my issues however in reality my battles were internal as a spiritual war was raging within my conscience and soul. God’s Holy Spirit of Truth was convicting and chastening me in order to bring me to repentance and to the cross of Jesus Christ for forgiveness and redemption.My fears and anxieties were the byproducts of living in bondage to sin and not in truth. I had attempted to remanufacture and usurp my very creation via hormones,surgery and legal proclamation. Additionally I caused harm to my family, friends,associates and a society forced to cooperate with something factually untrue
The Lord granted me grace, mercy and forgiveness, by simply believing on his Son the Lord Jesus Christ as the propitiation for all my sins. I am now a child of God having returned to living in truth in my true birth male identity. I can once again use a public restroom,go shopping, walk down a street or in a mall, talk on the telephone and no longer need antidepressant medication.The Lord Jesus Christ has freed me from the spirit of bondage to fear. I am now thankful for who I am and for the many blessings in my life.
Rom 8: 15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear;but ye have received the Spirit of adoption,whereby we cry, Abba, Father (16) The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,that we are the children of God:

Posted with permission of the author.


Transgender is: ‘a Mental Disorder’: Psychiatrist

Johns Hopkins Psychiatrist: Transgender is ‘Mental Disorder;’ Sex Change ‘Biologically Impossible’

By Michael W. Chapman | June 2, 2015 | 1:34 PM EDT

Dr. Paul R. McHugh. (Photo:

Johns Hopkins Medicine)

( —  Dr. Paul R. McHugh, the former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital and its current Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry, said that transgenderism is a “mental disorder” that merits treatment, that sex change is “biologically impossible,” and that people who promote sexual reassignment surgery are collaborating with and promoting a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh, the author of six books and at least 125 peer-reviewed medical articles, made his remarks in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal, where he explained that transgender surgery is not the solution for people who suffer a “disorder of ‘assumption’” – the notion that their maleness or femaleness is different than what nature assigned to them biologically.

He also reported on a new study showing that the suicide rate among transgendered people who had reassignment surgery is 20 times higher than the suicide rate among non-transgender people. Dr. McHugh further noted studies from Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic of children who had expressed transgender feelings but for whom, over time, 70%-80% “spontaneously lost those feelings.”

While the Obama administration, Hollywood, and major media such as Time magazine promote transgenderism as normal, said Dr. McHugh, these “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.”

Time magazine, June 9, 2014,

cover story,  The Transgender Tipping Point:

America’s Next Civil Rights Frontier. (Photo: AP)

“This intensely felt sense of being transgendered constitutes a mental disorder in two respects. The first is that the idea of sex misalignment is simply mistaken – it does not correspond with physical reality. The second is that it can lead to grim psychological outcomes.”

The transgendered person’s disorder, said Dr. McHugh, is in the person’s “assumption” that they are different than the physical reality of their body, their maleness or femaleness, as assigned by nature. It is a disorder similar to a “dangerously thin” person suffering anorexia who looks in the mirror and thinks they are “overweight,” said McHugh.

This assumption, that one’s gender is only in the mind regardless of anatomical reality, has led some transgendered people to push for social acceptance and affirmation of their own subjective “personal truth,” said Dr. McHugh. As a result, some states – California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts – have passed laws barring psychiatrists, “even with parental permission, from striving to restore natural gender feelings to a transgender minor,” he said.

The pro-transgender advocates do not want to know, said McHugh, that studies show between 70% and 80% of children who express transgender feelings “spontaneously lose those feelings” over time. Also, for those who had sexual reassignment surgery, most said they were “satisfied” with the operation “but their subsequent psycho-social adjustments were no better than those who didn’t have the surgery.”

Pro-transgender activists. The

Obama administration announced

in May that Medicare will

now cover transgender surgical

procedures. (AP)

“And so at Hopkins we stopped doing sex-reassignment surgery, since producing a ‘satisfied’ but still troubled patient seemed an inadequate reason for surgically amputating normal organs,” said Dr. McHugh.

The former Johns Hopkins chief of psychiatry also warned against enabling or encouraging certain subgroups of the transgendered, such as young people “susceptible to suggestion from ‘everything is normal’ sex education,” and the schools’ “diversity counselors” who, like “cult leaders,” may “encourage these young people to distance themselves from their families and offer advice on rebutting arguments against having transgender surgery.”

Dr. McHugh also reported that there are “misguided doctors” who, working with very young children who seem to imitate the opposite sex, will administer “puberty-delaying hormones to render later sex-change surgeries less onerous – even though the drugs stunt the children’s growth and risk causing sterility.”

Such action comes “close to child abuse,” said Dr. McHugh, given that close to 80% of those kids will “abandon their confusion and grow naturally into adult life if untreated ….”

“’Sex change’ is biologically impossible,” said McHugh. “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 civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.”

Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman
Michael W. Chapman

Prof. R. A. J. Gagnon on the Bruce Jenner phenomen

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The face of the new anti-somatic Gnosticism: The sick national conspiracy to pretend that Bruce Jenner is a woman because he is mentally confused, has surgically mutilated his male body, and received plastic reconstruction surgery to give him a not entirely successful appearance as a woman, to the fanfare of the twisted leftwing elite and with the financial windfall of a reality TV show. For that he gets an award for “courage”: “Shortly after the cover reveal, ESPN announced that Caitlyn, a former Olympian, will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the EPSY Awards in July.” The man needs help; instead he gets validation for his neurosis. This is not love. This is functional hate.

Continue to respect the stamp of masculine gender that the Creator bestowed on Jenner by using a masculine pronoun of Jenner and his parents’ chosen masculine name for him. “Transgender” is a misnomer.

As if to underscore the complaint and rebellion, “sex reassignment surgery” (SRS)—a benign name for what others might designate intentional mutilation or butchering—is major, painful, and expensive surgery whose results are incomplete at best. One has to go far in an effort to overturn God’s design and even then it is never complete. Typically SRS involves the surgical removal of perfectly healthy internal genitals (testes or ovaries/uterus) and radical alteration of perfectly healthy external genitalia. For male-to-female (MF) transsexuals this involves “vaginoplasty”: gutting the insides of the penis, creating a “vaginal” cavity, and constructing a “clitoris” from the head of the penis…. For MF transsexuals “transformation” also entails painful electrolysis of facial hair and sometimes also electrolysis of body hair, facial plastic surgery, voice surgery, breast implants, and silicone injections in the hips and buttocks.

The superficial character of these attempts at physical reassignment is obvious from the fact that the chromosomal inheritance doesn’t change. Functioning internal genitalia consistent with the new sex cannot be created. The “reassigned” body does not respond by producing its own other-sex hormones (whether testosterone or estrogen). Hormone treatment, through patch, pill, or injection, is lifelong. Fertility is destroyed. For MF transsexuals the new “vagina” must be regularly dilated through the use of dildo-like plastic rods. And even after very expensive and complete procedures most transsexuals still don’t quite look, sound, and act like members of the sex to which they were allegedly reassigned.

Jenner appears to fit the profile of an “autogynephilic transsexual” to a “t.” Autogynephilic transsexuals are, as the name suggests, erotically aroused by the thought or image of themselves as women (auto for “self,” gyne for “woman,” and philic for “loving”; i.e., loving oneself as a woman). They tend to be attracted to women and men, sometimes to one or the other or, if asexual, to neither. Chiefly, however, they are sexually excited by the image of themselves as females with vaginas. As adolescent boys they found sexual gratification through secretly wearing women’s lingerie, looking in a mirror, and masturbating to that image. Since autogynephilic transsexuals as boys engaged in male sports and had male friends, they were not perceived by others to be particularly feminine boys. Typically they have been married to a woman before becoming an overt transsexual, find employment in ‘masculine occupations’ (technology, science, etc.), don’t come out publicly as women until their late thirties or beyond, and have a more difficult time than “homosexual transsexuals” in passing themselves off as women.

Essentially autogynephilic transsexuals are misdirected heterosexuals who have transferred the woman of their desires from outside themselves to within themselves; in short, they are men who are heterosexually oriented to the woman inside them. Anne Lawrence refers to them as “men trapped in men’s bodies” rather than “women trapped in men’s bodies.” For obvious reasons it is not unusual for autogynephilic transsexuals to hide from others the fact that they get sexual thrills from thinking of themselves as a woman.

See further my article, “Transsexuality and Ordination” at…/TranssexualityOrdination.pdf

If you want more of this, vote Democratic.

Here she is, Caitlyn Jenner. Bruce Jenner proudly debuted as the woman who she was all along, as she graces the July 2015 issue of Vanity Fair. “Every day you always had a secret. From morning til night. Caitlyn doesn’t have any secrets,” she said in b-roll video of the photo shoot. “[As] soon as th…



Transgender and Christian: How Caitlyn Jenner challenges the Church

Bruce Jenner told Diane Sawyer in an interview that he was now a woman.

On April 24, all-American sporting superstar Bruce Jenner, who won gold for the decathlon in Montreal in 1972, announced that he was transsexual and that for all intents and purposes, “I’m a woman”.

On Monday she revealed that her new name was Caitlyn. The shock was seismic: Jenner is not only a sporting hero but also features in the reality TV series Keeping up with the Kardashians, as until recently she was married to Kris and stepfather to her children.

What really perplexed evangelicals however, was that she was both a Christian and a Republican – neither of which really seemed to fit with her new identity. She said in her interview with Diane Sawyer: “I would sit in church and always wonder, ‘In God’s eyes, how does he see me?'”

Jenner’s revelations made headlines because of who she is. But there are more and more people, and not just in the US, who identify themselves as transsexuals – generally used for people who transition from one sex to another – or transgendered, whose sense of their gender differs from their physical sex. In a sign of how what was once rare is now becoming mainstream, a few days ago the vicar of Lancaster Priory, Rev Chris Newlands, proposed that the General Synod of the Church of England debate a new service to mark people’s transition to a different gender.

For some Christians, helping people to transition from one gender to another is a compassionate response to a deeply-felt need. Others are profoundly uncomfortable about the theological implications of such interventions. So what are the issues, and how should Christians approach them?

The questions arise when someone suffers from a condition known as “gender dysphoria” – simply put, when a person suffers because their physical gender is at odds with what they believe is their real gender. The NHS describes it as “a condition where a person experiences discomfort or distress because there is a mismatch between their biological sex and gender identity”. So someone might have male genitalia and may even be married and father children – as Jenner did – but still feel that they’re really a woman, and vice versa.

In some cases, the person’s conviction is so deeply rooted that surgery and hormone treatment are judged to be justified in order to transform their appearance as far as possible to fit their chosen gender. In these cases, medical professionals believe that it helps them lead fuller and happier lives. Others choose to live as far as possible according to their felt ‘real’ identity without surgery.

The causes of gender dysphoria are debated. For many years it was believed to be purely psychological in origin. However, more recent studies appear to show that it may have a physiological basis and may be caused by the development of gender identity before birth, with the hormones that control the body and the brain not working in harmony during the development of the foetus in the womb. So hormones might determine that a child has male reproductive organs but a ‘female’ brain.

Treatments for the condition span the full range from counselling to full-scale gender reassignment surgery. People who don’t choose that or aren’t suitable candidates might have speech therapy, hair removal or hormone therapy. If they do want to make a full transition they’d be expected to live in their chosen gender identity for at least a year beforehand. The rigorous process of assessment generally seems to ‘work’: according to the NHS, after surgery most transsexuals are happy with their new sex and feel comfortable with their gender identity. One review of studies carried out over a 20-year period found that 96 per cent of people who had gender reassignment surgery were satisfied (though a 2011 Swedish survey found “considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population”).

However, many evangelical Christians have serious theological doubts about the procedures, and about the increasing normalisation of the ‘transgendered’ identity.

They argue that gender is fixed at birth and just can’t be changed. So leading US conservative commentator Russell Moore says in connection with Jenner: “We should stand for God’s good design, including around what Jesus says has been true ‘from the beginning’ – that we are created male and female, not as self-willed designations but as part of God’s creative act”.

An Evangelical Alliance report in 2000, Transexuality, says: “We affirm God’s love and concern for all humanity, but believe that God creates human beings as either male or female. Authentic change from a person’s given sex is not possible and an ongoing transsexual lifestyle is incompatible with God’s will as revealed in Scripture and in creation. We would oppose recourse to gender reassignment surgery as a normal valid option for people suffering from gender dysphoria on a biblical basis.”

It called for the medical profession to investigate the “root psychological, social, spiritual and physical causes of transsexuality”. While it recommends “gentleness and restraint”, it says that transsexual people need to “reorientate their lifestyle in accordance with biblical principles and orthodox Church teaching”.

One of the report’s authors, EA head of public affairs Dr Don Horrocks, spoke to Christian Today. He’s clear that this is still the formal position of the Alliance and is sceptical of the view that gender dysphoria has a biological basis.

“We would describe it as a psychological condition that ?usually involves someone rejecting themselves in some way. It’s an overwhelming psychological belief that they will feel better and be more able to accept themselves if they were of the opposite sex.”

The causes are complex, he believes, and may include a genetic predisposition. However, he says we should look for explanations in terms of a combination of factors, notably genetic and environmental, together with life experiences, early sexual experiences and environmental factors.

“We object fundamentally to the premise of treating psychological conditions with surgery,” he says.

He believes there is a serious theological problem with accepting that people can change their gender.

“We live in an age where people think they can construct their own identity and demand that the rest of the world goes along with it,” he says. Transgender Christians “construct a mythology” that they are “really, for example, a man trapped in a woman’s body” as a result of an accident of birth. So their ‘real’ identity is what their mind tells them rather than their body – and so the brain is privileged over the body.

Racer Dan Gurney shares the Winner’s Circle with Bruce Jenner (R), now Caitlyn Jenner, at the 1982 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, California.

“This is contrary to the Judeo-Christian belief that sexuality is a given, to be blessed and welcomed,” he says. It’s akin to the ancient heresy of Gnosticism, in which the body is effectively despised and what really counts is mind or spirit.

For Horrocks, the key to understanding sexuality is in the Genesis creation stories, where “humanity is created unambiguously binary: gender is not constructed, it’s given”. So the Christian’s approach should be about accepting ourselves as God created us. “How can it be right to disfigure our bodies and do radical and invasive things to them, and spend a lifetime on hormone therapy and other treatments?”

Horrocks believes that gender dysphoric people can be helped through holistic psychotherapy if motivated. He’s adamant that the Church should never reject them but welcome them as they would anyone else, and recounts stories of how he’s helped churches integrate transgendered people into their congregations. “They need to be accepted as they are, though ultimately wise Christian pastoral care would be seeking to help people come to accept themselves as God created them. We can’t expect it to happen overnight. You might have to spend years of showing love and pastoral support, but we hope and pray that the underlying causes of unhappiness and rejection can be addressed pastorally through the restorative power of God.”

Horrocks presents a clear and passionate case against seeing a change of gender as anything like a positive step. However, the EA’s position is not without its critics. The Church of England, for instance, has coped with priests who have ‘transitioned’; the first, Carol Stone – who died last year – in 2000.

Another transgender priest is Rev Rachel Mann. Unsurprisingly, she’s critical of the idea that “someone like me is essentially delusional”. “The Bible is not interested in biology, and modern biology is much more complex than just male and female,” she tells Christian Today.

She is comfortable with her gender as a woman. However, perhaps more surprisingly, she’s wary of the idea that surgery can simply ‘cure’ people with gender dysphoria. “Most medical professionals involved in this area acknowledge that they aren’t seeking to provide cures, but options to enable different situations become more liveable,” she says. These can literally be life-saving: it’s dangerous to be trans, even in our enlightened society. But “receiving support to transition will not take away a person’s problems”, though it might make them feel more at ease with who they are.

She speaks of being in what she calls the “broken middle”. “In a profound sense, I am absolutely a woman. But it would be absurd if I didn’t recognise that part of my history is that I was raised as a boy. I’ve lived most of my life as a woman, but there is still a brokenness there, an absence. For a Christian that’s really important, because there’s something holy about brokenness.”

She’s also aware of the advantages possessed by people like Caitlyn Jenner, who is acceptable because she conforms to the stereotypical image of what a woman looks like. Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair in a glamorous pose looking every inch a woman. But not everyone who transitions from male to female can do that. “All of us, trans and non-trans, carry around stereotypes of what a woman is and what a man is,” Mann says.

That’s a point also made by Horrocks, who says that many transgendered people struggle to fit in to their new identify because they simply don’t look the part. For Mann, however, “that can lead to profound questions about what we mean by gender in the first place”. She adds: “I hope we reach the point where someone who’s transitioned doesn’t have to look like a woman.”

There’s no doubt that there is a fundamental divide between Horrocks and Mann and the schools of thought they represent. For Horrocks and many in the wider evangelical world, gender dysphoria is a psychological aberration which needs to be corrected, not encouraged and expressed. It is a caricature of their position to say that it rests on a single proof-text (“Male and female he created them”, Genesis 1:27), but they do claim that the ‘binary’ character of the early chapters of Genesis is not just descriptive, but normative.

For others – including most medical professionals – gender is not prescribed. It is negotiable, and a change of gender – whether aided by surgery or not – to alleviate the extreme mental distress suffered by those with gender dysphoria is entirely appropriate.

The extent of this distress shouldn’t be underestimated. Very few people would actually choose to be transgendered. People with gender dysphoria have higher rates of depression and face bullying, rejection and intimidation. A 2007 study found that 34 per cent had considered suicide – far higher than the general population. It poses an enormous strain on relationships and many marriages just don’t survive the revelation that a spouse feels that s/he is in the wrong body. Christian transgendered people can find themselves rejected by the Church, as well, which adds another weight to what can be an unbearable load.

When all the arguments have been heard – and there is more to say on both sides – there are three things that might cautiously be said. The first is that with all due respect to Horrocks, there doesn’t seem to be a knock-down argument against people seeking to change their gender. In her PhD thesis Changing Sex?: transexuality and Christian theology, Helen Savage writes rather waspishly: “Although such an appeal to biblical truth is complicated by the stark reality that the Bible has nothing whatsoever to say about transsexuality, this does not seem to persuade the Evangelical Alliance and allied groups that they should, perhaps, be a little more tentative in their interpretation of biblical material.”

While the appeal to the ‘binary’ nature of Genesis 1-3 is fair enough, it could very easily be argued that these stories were simply never intended to address such issues and are based on general observed realities; using them to address such a complex question is not really appropriate. Neither does it seem entirely convincing to argue that surgery is never appropriate to treat a psychological condition; someone with a facial disfigurement, for instance, is a prime candidate.

However, it’s also surely right to be concerned about the way changing patterns of sexual relations and sexual identity are becoming normalised and given a validity that owes little if anything to Christian theology or tradition (like polyamory and group marriages). Having said that, though, it may not be wise to make gender dysphoria a test case. It isn’t about libertarianism or self-indulgence, but often about life and death.

Second, Horrocks is surely right to warn against the dangers of believing we have a technological ‘fix’ for everything. There’s something very powerful about believing we can change the world to suit ourselves, but it won’t always be true. Caitlyn Jenner can celebrate her new identity, but most are less fortunately placed. If we lose the sense of our identity as a gift, we’re arguably losing something very precious. Some transgender people might say that the gift is the ultimate poisoned chalice, and that they don’t want it; others might come to a measure of acceptance, particularly if they are in a social context where they’re met with love and understanding. It would be good to think that a church could be that place.

Third, non-transgendered people have to recognise our own difficulties. We’re conditioned to react to people as male or female from the very start of our lives. There’s a whole set of assumptions and expectations that goes along with that and people who don’t fit those pre-set categories throw us completely off-balance. The danger is that we blame them for it. But it’s not their fault if we feel uncomfortable; we need to learn to deal with it.

Both those who believe that gender reassignment therapy can be right and those who believe it’s always wrong agree that transgendered people should be treated with absolute love and compassion. Like everyone else, they are made in the image of God – and for whatever reason, they have a particularly hard road to walk. Theological responses might be widely different; pastoral responses might look surprisingly similar.



“Sex Change” Surgery: What Bruce Jenner, Diane Sawyer, and You Should Know

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The dark and troubling history of the contemporary transgender movement, with its enthusiastic approval of gender-reassignment surgery, has left a trail of misery in its wake.

Bruce Jenner and Diane Sawyer could benefit from a history lesson. I know, because I suffered through “sex change” surgery and lived as a woman for eight years. The surgery fixed nothing—it only masked and exacerbated deeper psychological problems.

The beginnings of the transgender movement have gotten lost today in the push for transgender rights, acceptance, and tolerance. If more people were aware of the dark and troubled history of sex-reassignment surgery, perhaps we wouldn’t be so quick to push people toward it.

The setting for the first transgender surgeries (mostly male-to-female) was in university-based clinics, starting in the 1950s and progressing through the 1960s and the 1970s. When the researchers tallied the results and found no objective proof that it was successful—and, in fact, evidence that it was harmful—the universities stopped offering sex-reassignment surgery.

Since then, private surgeons have stepped in to take their place. Without any scrutiny or accountability for their results, their practices have grown, leaving shame, regret, and suicide in their wake.

The Founding Fathers of the Transgender Movement

The transgender movement began as the brainchild of three men who shared a common bond: all three were pedophilia activists.

The story starts with the infamous Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a biologist and sexologist whose legacy endures today. Kinsey believed that all sex acts were legitimate—including pedophilia, bestiality, sadomasochism, incest, adultery, prostitution, and group sex. He authorized despicable experiments on infants and toddlers to gather information to justify his view that children of any age enjoyed having sex. Kinsey advocated the normalization of pedophilia and lobbied against laws that would protect innocent children and punish sexual predators.

Transsexualism was added to Kinsey’s repertoire when he was presented with the case of an effeminate boy who wanted to become a girl. Kinsey consulted an acquaintance of his, an endocrinologist by the name of Dr. Harry Benjamin. Transvestites, men who dressed as women, were well-known. Kinsey and Benjamin saw this as an opportunity to change a transvestite physically, way beyond dress and make-up. Kinsey and Benjamin became professional collaborators in the first case of what Benjamin would later call “transsexualism.”

Benjamin asked several psychiatric doctors to evaluate the boy for possible surgical procedures to feminize his appearance. They couldn’t come to a consensus on the appropriateness of feminizing surgery. That didn’t stop Benjamin. On his own, he began offering female hormone therapy to the boy. The boy went to Germany for partial surgery, and Benjamin lost all contact with him, making any long-term follow-up impossible.

The Tragic Story of the Reimer Twins

The third co-founder of today’s transgender movement was psychologist Dr. John Money, a dedicated disciple of Kinsey and a member of a transsexual research team headed by Benjamin.

Money’s first transgender case came in 1967 when he was asked by a Canadian couple, the Reimers, to repair a botched circumcision on their two-year-old son, David. Without any medical justification, Money launched into an experiment to make a name for himself and advance his theories about gender, no matter what the consequences to the child. Money told the distraught parents that the best way to assure David’s happiness was to surgically change his genitalia from male to female and raise him as a girl. As many parents do, the Reimers followed their doctor’s orders, and David was replaced with Brenda. Money assured the parents that Brenda would adapt to being a girl and that she would never know the difference. He told them that they should keep it a secret, so they did—at least for a while.

Activist doctors like Dr. Money always look brilliant at first, especially if they control the information that the media report. Money played a skilled game of “catch me if you can,” reporting the success of the boy’s gender change to the medical and scientific community and building his reputation as a leading expert in the emerging field of gender change. It would be decades before the truth was revealed. In reality, David Reimer’s “adaptation” to being a girl was completely different from the glowing reports concocted by Money for journal articles. By age twelve, David was severely depressed and refused to return to see Money. In desperation, his parents broke their secrecy, and told him the truth of the gender reassignment. At age fourteen, David chose to undo the gender change and live as a boy.

In 2000, at the age of thirty-five, David and his twin brother finally exposed the sexual abuse Dr. Money had inflicted on them in the privacy of his office. The boys told how Dr. Money took naked photos of them when they were just seven years old. But pictures were not enough for Money. The pedophilic doctor also forced the boys to engage in incestuous sexual activities with each other.

The consequences of Money’s abuse were tragic for both boys. In 2003, only three years after going public about their tortured past, David’s twin brother, Brian, died from a self-inflicted overdose. A short while later, David also committed suicide. Money had finally been exposed as a fraud, but that didn’t help the grieving parents whose twin boys were now dead.

The exposure of Money’s fraudulent research results and tendencies came too late for people suffering from gender issues, too. Using surgery had become well-established by then, and no one cared that one of its founders was discredited.

Results from Johns Hopkins: Surgery Gives No Relief

Dr. Money became the co-founder of one of the first university-based gender clinics in the United States at Johns Hopkins University, where gender reassignment surgery was performed. After the clinic had been in operation for several years, Dr. Paul McHugh, the director of psychiatry and behavioral science at Hopkins, wanted more than Money’s assurances of success immediately following surgery. McHugh wanted more evidence. Long-term, were patients any better off after surgery?

McHugh assigned the task of evaluating outcomes to Dr. Jon Meyer, the chairman of the Hopkins gender clinic. Meyer selected fifty subjects from those treated at the Hopkins clinic, both those who had undergone gender reassignment surgery and those who had not had surgery. The results of this study completely refuted Money’s claims about the positive outcomes of sex-change surgery. The objective report showed no medical necessity for surgery.

On August 10, 1979, Dr. Meyer announced his results: “To say this type of surgery cures psychiatric disturbance is incorrect. We now have objective evidence that there is no real difference in the transsexual’s adjustments to life in terms of job, educational attainment, marital adjustment and social stability.”  He later told The New York Times: “My personal feeling is that the surgery is not a proper treatment for a psychiatric disorder, and it’s clear to me these patients have severe psychological problems that don’t go away following surgery.”

Less than six months later, the Johns Hopkins gender clinic closed. Other university-affiliated gender clinics across the country followed suit, completely ceasing to perform gender reassignment surgery. No success was reported anywhere.

Results from Benjamin’s Colleague: Too Many Suicides

It was not just the Hopkins clinic reporting lack of outcomes from surgery. Around the same time, serious questions about the effectiveness of gender change came from Dr. Harry Benjamin’s partner, endocrinologist Charles Ihlenfeld.

Ihlenfeld worked with Benjamin for six years and administered sex hormones to 500 transsexuals. Ihlenfeld shocked Benjamin by publicly announcing that 80 percent of the people who want to change their gender shouldn’t do it. Ihlenfeld said: “There is too much unhappiness among people who have had the surgery…Too many end in suicide.” Ihlenfeld stopped administering hormones to patients experiencing gender dysphoria and switched specialties from endocrinology to psychiatry so he could offer such patients the kind of help he thought they really needed.

In the wake of the Hopkins study, the closure of the flagship Hopkins clinic, and the warning sounded by Ihlenfeld, advocates of sex change surgery needed a new strategy. Benjamin and Money looked to their friend, Paul Walker, PhD, a homosexual and transgender activist they knew shared their passion to provide hormones and surgery. A committee was formed to draft standards of care for transgenders that furthered their agenda, with Paul Walker at the helm. The committee included a psychiatrist, a pedophilia activist, two plastic surgeons, and a urologist, all of whom would financially benefit from keeping gender reassignment surgery available for anyone who wanted it. The “Harry Benjamin International Standards of Care” were published in 1979 and gave fresh life to gender surgery.

My Experience with Dr. Walker

I myself suffered greatly to come to terms with my gender. In 1981, I sought out Dr. Walker to ask him, the man who wrote the standards of care, for help. Walker said I was suffering from gender dysphoria. A mere two years after both the Hopkins study and the public statements of Ihlenfeld drew attention to the increased suicide risk associated with gender change, Walker, even though he was completely aware of both reports, signed my approval letter for hormones and surgery.

Under his guidance, I underwent gender reassignment surgery and lived for eight years as Laura Jensen, female. Eventually, I gathered the courage to admit that the surgery had fixed nothing—it only masked and exacerbated deeper psychological problems.The deception and lack of transparency I experienced in the 1980s still surround gender change surgery today. For the sake of others who struggle with gender dysphoria, I cannot remain silent.

It is intellectually dishonest to ignore the facts that surgery never has been a medically necessary procedure for treating gender dysphoria and that taking cross-gender hormones can be harmful.  Modern transgender activists, the descendants of Kinsey, Benjamin, and John Money, keep alive the practice of medically unnecessary gender-change surgery by controlling the flow of published information and by squelching research and personal stories that tell of the regret, unhappiness, and suicide experienced by those who undergo such surgery. Negative outcomes are only acknowledged as a way to blame society for its transphobia.

Transgender clients who regret having taken this path are often full of shame and remorse. Those who regret their decision have few places to turn in a world of pro-transgender activism. For me, it took years to muster the courage to stand up and speak out about the regret.

I only wish Dr. Paul Walker had been required to tell me about both reports when I consulted him: the Hopkins study showing surgery did not alleviate severe psychological problems, and Ihlenfeld’s observation of the continuing transgender unhappiness and high incidence of suicide after hormones and surgery. This information might not have stopped me from making that disastrous decision—but at least I would have known the dangers and pain that lay ahead.

Walt Heyer is an author and public speaker with a passion to help others who regret gender change. Through his website,, and his blog,, Heyer raises public awareness about the incidence of regret and the tragic consequences suffered as a result. Heyer’s story can be read in novel form in Kid Dakota and The Secret at Grandma’s House and in his autobiography, A Transgender’s Faith. Heyer’s other books include Paper Genders and Gender, Lies and Suicide.

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Bruce Jenner’s ‘coming out’!

Bruce Jenner’s transgender ‘coming out’: He’s not alone, but is it in the genes?

| April 23, 2015 |


“Transgender.” Just a few years ago, one hardly ever heard or saw that word in the news media. Now, hardly a week goes by without encountering at least one mainstream news story on this peculiar subject.

In early 2015, stories about the gender transition of Bruce Jenner, the 65-year-old former Olympian, were all over the news. Most of these stories focused on salacious rumors about Jenner’s transition, paparazzi photographs showing his painted fingernails or signs of breast growth beneath his shirt, or concerns within the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community about the “spectacle” of it all.

It did indeed seem like an out-of-control media spectacle in the days leading up to Jenner’s highly anticipated public “coming out” TV extravaganza, marked by appearances on Good Morning America and capped by a two-hour interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC’s 20/20 on April 24, 2015. ABC has released teasing promo blurbs of the interview suggesting that Jenner would reveal bruce-jenner-dress-star-calls-cops-paps-snap-photos-03personal info about “the journey, the decisions, the future”; the Kardashian clan was reported to be worried about how Jenner’s comments might affect the reality-TV family’s reputation; and the first photo secretly obtained of Jenner wearing a dress was pasted across the Internet.

One thing I did not see in any of these breathless stories about Jenner was a serious, scientific discussion about the possible causes of transgenderism, including genetic influences.

As a 55-year-old individual who has struggled with my gender identity for more than 40 years—still without completely resolving the struggle or conflict—I have long been curious about the causes of transgenderism. My curiosity stands in contrast to most of my transgender friends—many of whom have fully transitioned (unlike myself). They generally show no interest in what caused them to be the way they are, and they tell me that I should stop worrying about causes and simply accept it and be happy about it. But I can’t do that.JESSICA-AL-041515

Perhaps it is my background in science that makes me need to ask, “Why do I have these feminine feelings? Why do I like to wear women’s clothes? Why do I sometimes live as a woman, and why do I sometimes want to become fully female?”

Media incuriosity or fear?

With the increasing media attention being given to the T in LGBT, one would think such answers would be fairly easy to find these days. But that would be an incorrect assumption. Like my transgender friends, almost all media reports on this matter simply acknowledge how wonderful it is for transgender people to express themselves, and how wrong it is for transgender people to be discriminated against. I agree with those sentiments. But where is the scientific curiosity about the gender identity issue?

As with homosexuality, media reports about transgenderism almost never ask “Why?” Why are some people homosexual or transgendered? Might it be related in some way to certain experiences while growing up? Is it something in their genes? If so, what exactly? It is considered politically incorrect—a sign of intolerance and bigotry—to ask such questions. That’s what I have been told by a number of people who work in both journalism and science. And whenever I have raised such questions in LGBT online discussion boards, I have been shot down with angry comments, such as “There is no such research!” “Stop asking those stupid questions!” “Who cares anyway?” “What are you, a troll bigot?”

Geez! That kind of ignorant, willingly blind attitude drives me crazy! (Also driving me crazy is the way the media lumps together all forms of transgenderism as a single, monolithic issue. News flash: “Transgender” can mean a wide variety of things. For example, a transvestite and a transsexual are both transgender, but they are very different. One enjoys dressing like a woman but considers himself male; the other actually wants to be a woman and considers himself female. And there are some people, like me, who are caught somewhere between the two—not exactly sure which one best applies to us.)

Personally, I tend to agree with Lady Gaga that LGBT people were “born this way.” I suspect that certain gene mutations or other congenital factors (such as certain unusual conditions in the womb) result in tendencies toward various types of transgenderism or homosexuality. Nevertheless, I still want to know what the latest science says about this matter. But reports of such science are rarely encountered in the mass media, such as television or newspapers.

Every now and then, however, one does hear or see stories about scientific findings regarding LGBT issues. The best chance of finding these stories is through the use of carefully targeted Internet searches.

Gay and transgender genes?

In 2014, several media outlets carried reports of an interesting study of 409 pairs of homosexual brothers. (This study was formally published in the May 2015 issue of Psychological Medicine.) The researchers found evidence that sexual orientation in men is influenced by certain single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) on chromosome 8 and the X chromosome. This study was described by New Scientist in November 2014 as “the strongest evidence yet that gay people are born gay.”

But even New Scientist, though it properly covered the research findings, felt the need to editorialize: “Ultimately, what causes homosexuality doesn’t matter as much as the fact that homosexual people exist, and have always existed, in every society on earth. In the words of the activists: some people are gay. Get over it.

Is it necessary to add such aggressive, activist, off-putting commentary to a science story? I think not. I also think it is wrong for an allegedly scientific publication to proclaim that a scientific finding on any subject “doesn’t matter.”

Regarding my personal interest in LGBT matters, Rolling Stone ran a brief, although welcomed, article in July 2014 titled “The Science of Transgender: Understanding The Causes of Being Transgender.” Writer Sabrina Rubin Erdely noted:

…a growing body of research is pointing to biological origins. The 2008 discovery by Australian researchers of a genetic variation in transgender women—their receptor gene for the sex hormone testosterone was longer, making it less efficient at communicating signals—set off speculation that insufficient uptake of male hormones in utero contributed to a “more feminised brain.” And the brains of trans people do look different. Recent Spanish imaging studies have shown that the white matter of untreated trans men look much like those of biological males, and that the patterns of trans women’s white matter fell about halfway between those of biological male and female control groups.

Erdely also noted that the role of genetics in shaping transgender identity remains very much unknown, noting, “a recent survey of identical twins found that only in 20 percent of cases did both twins turn out transgender, despite having identical DNA.”

Such media reports are refreshing, because they at least indicate to the public that science is trying to figure out a subject that is usually discussed in only political or social terms. Even if the science is currently too complex for even scientists to understand—with unknown interactions of genetic and environmental influences—it is important that writers in the media honestly convey that information to the public. Why keep it a secret? Any kind of information based on scientific evidence is always good to share.

LGBT objections

Unfortunately, some people in the LGBT community object to studies that investigate the genetic roots of gender or sexual identity. Perhaps that is why these kinds of studies get so little coverage in the mainstream media—and maybe also why there are so few such studies to begin with. Look at some of the seemingly fearful, who-cares-about-science comments in reaction to a November 2014 Huffington Post story about the Psychological Medicine gay brothers study:

  • “On the question of whether being gay is a choice or not, does it matter? Do people really need to validate their actions and lives in the eyes of others?”
  • “Born this way – now leave em alone.”
  •  “So, are there genes that cause heterosexuality? I find this entire inquiry strange: Why not look for genes that affect sexuality, instead of homosexuality? It’s like white people trying to explain black people by looking for a gene that made them different/black. (implying that one would be normal and everything else is deviation from the norm.)”
  • “But…so what? Why does it matter why a person is gay or not? What possible use could this info have other than something that I shudder to contemplate?”

Such public comments are disheartening. Scientific knowledge should always matter—to everyone. And it should never be feared—for any reason. To quote renowned psychologist and author Steven Pinker in The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature quoting Chekhov, “Man will become better when you show him what he is like.”

We need much more scientific research into the causes—genetic and otherwise—of homosexual and transgender behaviors, as well as all other forms of human behavior and sexuality. Why? Because knowledge about human behavior and sexuality is essential to understanding what being human is all about. And investigating what it means to be human is one of the noblest quests of science. Then, after the science, we need honest media reports about this research—free from political agendas, advocacy, or fear mongering.

In a story about the Psychological Medicine gay brothers study in February 2014, The Guardian included insightful comments by Qazi Rahman, a psychologist at King’s College London:

“This is not controversial or surprising and is nothing people should worry about. All human psychological traits are heritable, that is, they have a genetic component,” he said. “Genetic factors explain 30 to 40% of the variation between people’s sexual orientation. However, we don’t know where these genetic factors are located in the genome. So we need to do ‘gene finding’ studies, like this one by Sanders, Bailey and others, to have a better idea where potential genes for sexual orientation may lie.”

Rahman rejected the idea that genetics research could be used to discriminate against people on the basis of their sexual orientation. “I don’t see how genetics would contribute more to the persecution, discrimination and stigmatisation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people any more than social, cultural or learning explanations. Historically, the persecution and awful treatment of LGBT groups has been because politicians, religious leaders and societies have viewed sexual orientation as ‘choice’ or due to poor upbringing.”

I would go a bit further, by offering my own version of FDR’s famous proclamation: “…let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear of science itself.”

A. J. Smuskiewicz is a freelance writer specializing in science and medicine, including issues of human sexuality and gender. He can be contacted at:


Here’s What Parents Of Transgender Kids Need To Know

Walt Heyer



First, do not panic. Studies are showing that kids are not born with this disorder. A2014 study shows no specific chromosome aberration associated with MtF (male to female) transsexualism. A 2013 study looking for molecular mutations in the genes involved in sexual differentiation found none. Your child was not born in the wrong body.

Transgender Children Typically Need Treatment for Other Disorders

Studies indicate that two-thirds of transgenders suffer from multiple disorders at the same time, or comorbidity. The top three disorders evidenced in transgenders are depression (33 percent), specific phobia (20 percent) and adjustment disorder (15 percent). A child who states a desire to identify as the opposite sex has a two-thirds chance of having a co-existing disorder.

Without effective psychiatric intervention or sound psychotherapy for the underlying depression, the risk of suicide will remain high.

Let’s look at the one at the top of the list: depression. Depression is a leading cause of suicide. A survey of over 6,000 transgenders revealed that 41 percent reported having attempted suicide at some time in their lives. Without effective psychiatric intervention or sound psychotherapy for the underlying depression, the risk of suicide will remain high. As a parent, it is important to look for depression and treat it if it is present.

Your child needs psychiatric or psychological help, not a change of wardrobe or hairstyle. Anyone working with a transgender needs to look for, and treat, comorbid disorders. Biologically, it is impossible for a doctor to change a boy into a girl, no matter how much surgery is performed or how many hormones are administered. I know; they tried it on me.

I came into this world a boy. Starting in early childhood, I frequently cross-dressed as a girl. I thought I was born in the wrong body. A nationally-prominent PhD diagnosed me as a transgender with gender dysphoria. Eventually, I underwent the full recommended hormone therapy and the gender reassignment surgery and became the female Laura Jensen. I lived and worked successfully as a female transgender in San Francisco for several years until I was diagnosed with my own comorbid disorder.

With proper diagnosis and treatment with psychotherapy, I found the sanity and healing gender change could not provide. Trangenderism was my outward expression of an undiagnosed comorbid disorder, and gender-change surgery was never necessary. I detransitioned and returned to my male gender, like so many others do who regret changing genders.

What Causes the Comorbid Disorders that Exist in So Many Transgenders?

After receiving hundreds of emails over the last several years, it became evident to me that comorbid disorders develop in childhood. Some of the stresses people with gender dysphoria have reported are:

  • An unstable unsafe home environment, real or perceived
  • Separation from a parent by death or other events
  • Serious illness among the family or child
  • Domestic violence in the home
  • Neglect, perceived or real
  • Sexual, physical, or verbal abuse
  • A strong opposition disorder from social norms

The key for parents to helping young transgenders is to work with a professional to identify the cause of the stress the child faces and correctly diagnose any comorbid disorder that exists concurrently with the gender dysphoria. Parents are in the best position to identify the cause of the stress the child faces.

A caution about the choice of medical professional: parents need to find medical professionals who are not advocates for gender change, and who will look beyond the surface of gender dysphoria symptoms for the comorbid disorders, fetishes, phobias, and adjustment disorders common among the transgender population. Only then can an effective treatment plan be devised that truly targets the child’s needs.

As a child transgender myself, I can tell you I needed help. I did not need to dress as a girl at home and at school, with all the stress that would have brought. There is no doubt in my mind that if I would have been encouraged to go off to school dressed up as a female it would have escalated my anxiety and deepened my depression and my desire to commit suicide.

Ignoring the possibility of comorbidity and giving kids the freedom to change gender is, I suggest, killing too many of them.

I understand some parents might dismiss the idea of comorbid disorders. They might feel strongly that they need to allow their child the freedom to change genders or experiment with gender. They may think that will help reduce the child’s depression because the child seems happier under these conditions. I know—I seemed happier, too, after my gender change, until the novelty wore off and it no longer provided a distraction from my troubles. Happiness turned to despair when the surgery didn’t work as treatment and my despair led to attempted suicide. Ignoring the possibility of comorbidity and giving kids the freedom to change gender is, I suggest, killing too many of them.

My web site,, has many real-life examples of the results of changing genders taken from the headlines and from the letters I receive on a steady basis from gender change regretters.

I can suggest two books to help you as parents better understand your transgender child: my research book, “Paper Genders,” and a novel by C.J. James titled “Kid Dakota and the Secret at Grandma’s House.”

Walt Heyer is an accomplished author and public speaker with a passion for mentoring individuals whose lives have been torn apart by unnecessary gender-change surgery.
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Gym Declares Itself Unfit By Allowing Transgender Man Into Ladies Locker Room

March 9, 2015|9:19 am
  • Michael Brown
    Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University and has served as a professor at a number of seminaries. He is the author of 25 books and hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire.

I would love to go a month – or even a week – without having to address this, but the cycle of social madness continues unabated, all centered on the “T” of LGBT, namely, transgender.

To repeat what I have said many times before, I have compassion for those who struggle with their gender identity, and we should do whatever we can to help them find wholeness from the inside out (in other words, working to help them be at home in their bodies without having to undergo radical surgery and be on hormones for life).

At the same time, we cannot impose the struggles of an extremely tiny minority (estimated at 3 per 1,000 people) on society as a whole.

Yet that is exactly what happened at a Planet Fitness gym in Midland, Michigan.

The basic story is not disputed. A woman named Yvette Cormier was in the locker room when a man, dressed as a woman, entered the locker room. This shocked Cormier, who reported it to the front desk and was told that the person in question was allowed to be in that locker room, since he identified as a woman.

According to local ABC News, “Cormier, who had been a Planet Fitness member for two months, said she went to the front desk immediately. The man at the desk told her that Planet Fitness policy is ‘whatever gender you feel you are, that’s the locker room you’re allowed to go in,’ she said.

“And then he said, ‘We’ve had lots of complaints about him but we told him to go change in a stall,'” Cormier said.

“He said, ‘if you’re uncomfortable with that you can wait until he’s done in there,'” she said. “I stood back and said, ‘How about he waits until I’m done in the women’s locker room. Or get a unisex bathroom.’ He asked if I would like to talk to the manager and I said, ‘I’m calling corporate.'”

When she persisted in voicing her complaint (which, according to Planet Fitness, she did inappropriately), her membership was revoked, since she was in violation of the company’s “Judgment Free Zone” policy. (If I wanted to make something up, I would not make up something this absurd.)

Now the transgender individual has identified himself as Carlotta Sklodowska, and he states that Planet Fitness told him, “You can use the locker room that corresponds with how you are dressed.”

Sklodowska did understand, of course, why Cormier would think he was not a woman. As explained in The Daily Mail without a hint of irony, “She added that she understood why Cormier would see her body structure as masculine, because many people tell her she looks like a man.”

Could it be that many people tell “her” that “she looks like a man” because she is a man?

Again, I mean no harm to this individual, who may be a very gentle soul and who surely suffers enough rejection already. I’m simply drawing attention to what seems obvious: Carlotta Sklodowska is a biological male, and as such, his presence in a women’s locker room, however innocent, is rightly considered inappropriate.

Cormier, for her part, claimed that “she wasn’t complaining because the person was transsexual, but because she thought there was a man in the women’s room.

“‘This is very unprofessional,’ she said. ‘This is very scary.'”

To be sure, we have no idea at this point whether the way she presented her complaint was appropriate, but we do know that Planet Fitness is sticking with its policy.

According to an official statement, “Planet Fitness is committed to creating a non-intimidating, welcoming environment for our members,” apparently failing to ask if the presence of an obviously biological male in the ladies’ locker room might be intimidating and non-welcoming to all their female customers.

The statement continued: “Our gender identity non-discrimination policy states that members and guests may use all gym facilities based on their sincere self-reported gender identity.”

In other words, there is no test that is given (or can be given), no way to see if the person might be a heterosexual male voyeur (or worse) dressed up as a woman (this has happened in other states and venues), no method to determine whether the individual might be suffering some kind of mental disorder (as some former transsexuals now argue).

Not a chance. Instead, in whatever way the person self reports and self identifies, that’s how they are treated, to the point of sharing a locker room with people of the opposite sex.

And while in most cases, it would be assumed that a biological male who identifies as a female would want to disrobe and shower privately, that doesn’t mean that the discomfort experienced by the other females would be any less acute, nor does it mean that some “transgender women” would have any problem displaying their male genitalia around other women. (For an infamous example of this, see here.)

Cormier subsequently went back to the gym and reported that every woman in the locker room she talked to about this was “appalled.”

But rather than Planet Fitness revisiting their policy, which is what was getting people upset, they blamed her for making people upset by talking about this.

Since the gym claims to take the concerns of its members seriously, I would encourage all of you who are members of Planet Fitness to speak to your local gym about this, asking them to inform their corporate offices, politely requesting that they only allow biological males to use the men’s locker room and biological females to use the women’s locker room.

Should they feel it is crucial that they accommodate self-identified transgender members, they can build additional changing rooms for them.

Until then, they have an obligation to limit men’s rooms to men and women’s rooms to women. This is not “transphobic.” This is basic common sense and fundamental social sanity.

If they can’t do something this simple, they don’t deserve your membership.

Michael Brown holds a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Literatures from New York University. He is the author of 25 books, including Can You Be Gay and Christian, and he hosts the nationally syndicated, daily talk radio show, the Line of Fire. Follow him at AskDrBrown on Facebook or @drmichaellbrown on Twitter.

The girl in the tuxedo

The Girl in the Tuxedo: Two Variations on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

by Jean Lloyd

within Culture, Marriage
Feb 05, 2015 07:00 am

I came across a photo the other day of a fifteen-year-old girl dressed in a tuxedo, complete with red bow tie and tails, standing in front of a Christmas tree. She was heading for her high school’s Christmas dance, and her parents had taken pictures beforehand.

Why the tux? She had recently heard of a “gender bending” prom at a nearby school, one where all the girls had worn tuxes along with their dates. She was immediately drawn to the idea. However, at her school, she was the only one in on the twist. In the photo, she is attempting to look cool and smug, but her eyes betray sadness. The sexual identity struggles and confusion that had been quietly welling up within her since middle school were finally emerging for all to see.

The photo is from many years ago. I know because I am the girl in the picture. As I think back to that night, I can’t help but wonder how that girl’s life—my life—would have been different if the dance had taken place in 2015 instead of 1985.

I can’t help imagining the scenario that teenagers struggling with their sexuality face today . . .

2015: The Girl in the Tuxedo Goes to the Dance

After the pictures at home are taken, it’s time to head to the dance. Once she arrives, the girl in the tuxedo attracts attention for her bold choice to subvert gender stereotypes through her choice of attire. Members of her high school’s LGBTQ-Straight Alliance applaud her. Later, when she opens up about the confusion she’s been wrestling with surrounding her feelings toward other girls and her own identity, the “Q” (for “Questioning”) component of such clubs is happy to welcome her and inform her about gay sex and identity.

If she resists embracing a lesbian identity, she is encouraged to come out of denial and accept herself for who she is. If she seeks counseling, her therapist hews to a strict, professionally mandated protocol to affirm and validate her identity as homosexual. The counselor tells her that being lesbian is an unchangeable and good part of who she is, even though the girl is experiencing significant distress over the intense emotional and physical draw she feels toward other girls and women.

While she is in therapy, if she mentions wishing to resist these attractions and wonders whether she might develop heterosexually—or at least not identify as gay—it is considered unethical for the counselor to discuss this possibility with her. In some states, such as California and New Jersey, it is even against the law.

If she speaks of her religion and says there are faith convictions at stake that matter deeply to her, the therapist tries to help her overcome her “homophobic” values and free her from the “false consciousness” and oppression to which she is clearly subject.

And if she finally discusses the still unrevealed secret of sexual abuse—the fifty-year-old uncle and the summer six years ago? Exploring its possible connection with her same-sex attraction is forbidden. Any such discussion or treatment must still affirm her same-sex orientation and disassociate the abuse from her sexual development. She is, after all, only fifteen, and must be protected from dangerous ideas that might depress her further and chip away at her fragile self-esteem.

Through social and therapeutic efforts, our fifteen-year-old’s same-sex attractions are reified as central to her very being and personhood. Alleviating her distress about them and encouraging her to accept herself as lesbian is the only option presented to her. She may even be told that she was “born this way,” evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

Since she wore the tux to the dance and is seeking a more masculine gender expression, a discussion of possible transgenderism is in order. If she is interested or agrees, a conversation about public restrooms and her right to privilege her “inner sense of gender” may be needed. With her consent, her therapist is legally permitted and professionally encouraged to help her begin socially transitioning from female to male. Eventual sex reassignment surgery is an option, depending on insurance coverage and personal resources.

Now there is no therapeutic imperative to help her accept herself as she is because she was “born this way,” as there would be regarding her same-sex attraction. For biological sex is not sacrosanct, as inner sensibilities or attractions are (faith or moral sensibilities excepted, of course). The subjective trumps the objective.

In 2015, sexual orientation redirection efforts are precluded from discussion, even if she explicitly asks for them. However, if she senses she is transgender, her right to redirection must be honored. If she wishes, she can quickly begin the process of “transitioning” to become a male. This path will involve intensive gender re-socialization, hormone therapy, and if she wants, irreversible amputative and reconstructive surgeries. This is an arduous and painful journey, with many risks and harms, irremediable loss and regret among them. But it is considered worth these risks and pain. She is, after all, only fifteen, and it would be unfair at such an age to limit the horizon of her possible identity paths and the options available to her.

All except one option, that is.

Should she one day desire children—as a lifestyle choice—they can be obtained through adoption or third-party reproduction. Whether the child ever has another social parent is up to her. It’s her child, after all.

And at long last, she—become he—will have what she wanted. Or, if not exactlywhat she wanted, at least what those initial counselors, affirmations, and “freedoms” had left open to her younger self, in flagrant disregard of the long-term possibilities and options they had foreclosed.

1985: The Girl in the Tuxedo Begins a Journey

I was that fifteen-year-old girl in the tuxedo, but my experience was very different from the one promoted by the social values of 2015. What ensued thereafter was a long and sometimes arduous and painful journey of becoming, working out my sexual identity from the cauldron of confusion that surrounded my development.

I have written a little about this journey, wherein I embraced and then renounced an active lesbian life to follow the God who made me and called me by name into His love. I began to trust the One who knew the truth of my identity more than I did, who wrote His image into my being and body as female, and who designed sexuality and set boundaries upon it for my good. I spent well over a decade as a celibate single person. During this time, I felt a wholeness in body, a growing wholeness in my soul, and a greater peace than I could ever have imagined at the age of fifteen. This was more than enough transformation for me, and I was deeply content. However, fifteen years after my tuxedo debut, to my utter surprise, a flicker of heterosexual desire emerged. As I approached forty, I certainly never dreamed I would marry. But now, as I write, I struggle to finish because my youngest child is tugging at my arm. My beloved husband, my children’s father, will soon be home from work.

How grateful I am that the photograph is from 1985, not 2015.

Jean Lloyd, PhD, is a teacher and a happily married mother of two young children.