Transgenderism is one of the most contentious issues being debated today, affecting everything from beauty and fashion, to sports, education and the law. It’s ideology claims that each person has a ‘gender identity’ (an internal sense of gender) which may or may not align with their biological sex. The ‘real you’ is what you feel it to be on the inside.
Underlying this movement is a radical form of self-determination, with its roots in Gnosticism. Subjective feelings overriding objective, biological, genetic reality. Ultimately, it seeks to completely destroy the distinction between men and women that God in his wisdom has created.
Transgender people identify as something other than their birth sex. Many struggles deeply to accept their male or female bodies and choose to undergo medical alterations. They may say they are ‘trapped in the wrong body’.
In recent years transgender ideology has been embraced by the mainstream. Celebrities and much of the media are keen to promote it. Activists are pushing society towards accepting it unquestioningly and shutting down essential debate. This means that instead of providing transgender people with the support they need to help them embrace the bodies they were born with, society is compounding their confusion, with damaging consequences.
Dr Sharon James is a social policy analyst for The Christian Institute and the author of Gender Ideology: What Christians Need to Know, which as the title suggests is a handbook for the Church to get grips with this challenging ideology.
She spoke to Christian Today about why she is so worried about how the debate of gender identity is playing out and the implications for society, most especially children.
CT: You’re quite brave for putting these views out there as traditional views may not always receive a warm reception. How has the reception to your book been?
Sharon: I always like to speak positively and I’ve been encouraged by some very strong reviews on sites like the Gospel Coalition and 9Marks. I absolutely understand that there are people who disagree with me on this but, as I argue in the book, we should protect freedom of speech and allow people to have their genuinely held conscientious objections and opinions.
CT: What was it that prompted you to write this book?
Sharon: This issue has come upon us very quickly. Even 10 years ago, very few people might have heard of the term ‘transsexual’ or ‘transgender’, but today it’s one of the biggest social and moral debates in this country – and indeed internationally.
It somewhat caught Christians on the back foot because as Christians we rightly want to treat every human with dignity, because every human is created in God’s image and we’re to love our neighbour and treat everyone with kindness, respect and compassion.
But the question is: what do real respect and compassion and kindness look like? Does that mean we have to endorse everything that a person claims about themselves? And what if that claim is based on a lie?
Many people who are genuinely suffering gender confusion are actually victims of a false ideology, and we need to make a very clear distinction between trans activists who are promoting an ideology and people who are actually suffering from gender confusion, because those people may not themselves want to promote that ideology. Nonetheless, they are victims and to help them, we need to understand what gender ideology is.
CT: What do you think has made transgenderism so quickly become one of the biggest hot button issues of our day?
Sharon: There are a number of reasons, which I explain in greater detail in my book, but activists within international bodies are promoting this theory that we have a gender identity that is completely separate from our biological sex. Confusingly, different people mean different things by gender identity and it’s based on personal feelings.
But in most cases it seems unscientific – it’s unprovable and unfalsifiable – and yet it is with amazing speed being embedded in our legal system and promoted in schools. One indication of this is the number of storybooks promoting this idea and aimed at very young children that have been produced recently. For example, The Gender Fairy is a picture book that tells 4-years-old “only you know whether you’re a boy or a girl, no one can tell you”.
Multinational businesses are falling over themselves to appear progressive and there’s big money in it for pharmaceutical companies.
Read the full interview here.
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