I had some remarkable interaction on Twitter this past Tuesday night. Not only was it eye-opening, it also provided a window into the mass confusion that is affecting our society.
Things began with a tweet I posted Sunday night (Father's Day) saying, "If Bruce Jenner is really a woman, how come his family celebrated Father's Day with 'her'? How can you be a female father?"
In response, a young lady name Andi wrote, "ur stupid as heck!"
Thinking this could be a teachable moment, I tweeted back, "Thanks for the kind words! :) So, I'm 'stupid' to think that a woman can't be a father?"
She replied, "yes basically."
I wrote back, "Then words no longer have meaning, & gender is whatever I imagine it to be at any given moment. If that's being smart, have at it."
Her reply? Just one word: "yikes." She also asked me to "please respect her [Jenner's] identity/pronouns."
So, I'm "stupid" for having a problem with calling someone a female father and for thinking that it's contradictory for a woman to be a dad and for having an issue with news coverage about Bruce Jenner's family celebrating Father's Day with "her."
In reply to Andi's "yikes," I wrote, "Ha. My feelings exactly to your posts. And what do you tell people with species dysphoria? Do I refer to them as dogs (or) cats?"
She responded with a link to a transgender website, End Trans* Hate, where the blogger, Phoebe Stone, was refuting common arguments against transgender identity, including, "Argument #4: Having 'Gender Dysphoria' is equivalent to having 'Species Dysphoria.'"
The transactivist blogger came to this conclusion: "I can accept someone with this condition for who they are. I have no issues with people like this, nor do I think they are wrong for being who they are inside. It is just in my opinion that this is definitely in the realm of mental issues, more so than having Gender Dysphoria (GD) which the brain itself is physically the other gender. As rare as it is for SD, there is no scientific data saying their brain is, for example, half human/half dog. It's not possible for someone with SD to have a cross-species brain in the same way someone with GD has a cross-sexed brain."
I do appreciate Stone's consistency in saying, "If a man identifies as a woman, I accept him (her) as such, and if another man identifies as a dog, I accept him as such," although Stone's caveat regarding brain structure can easily be challenged. (I'll come back to that in a moment.)
But this simply confirms what we (and others) have been saying for years: Reality is not whatever you perceive it to be (a position that trans advocates deny, with statements like, "PHYSICAL GENDER doesn't have anything to do with MENTAL GENDER"), and to affirm whatever a person perceives to be true is to hurt them rather than help them.
As I warned a few weeks back, if you're celebrating "Caitlyn Jenner," be careful what you wish for.
To be consistent, you'll have to affirm people with species dysphoria as well as those with body identity integrity disorder, as LGBT activist Dan Savage recently did, stating that if people want to amputate one of their own limbs to give them peace of mind, it's their body and we have no right to tell them not to.
As to Phoebe Stone's caveat that a man can have a woman's brain but he cannot have a brain that is half-dog and half-human, three important points are missed.
First, there is no conclusive scientific evidence that trans-identified children have brains that are the opposite of their biological sex. Scientific study of this issue is really in its infancy.
Second, researchers speak of the brain's plasticity, meaning that it can undergo changes based on experience and focus and other factors. So, just as London taxi drivers were found to have a larger navigation part of their brains after mastering the city's complex map, so also a man who is fixated on being a woman could easily develop certain feminine characteristics, but they are the result of the fixation not the cause of it.
Third, the person with species dysphoria is just as convinced that he is a wolf (or part wolf) as the man with gender dysphoria is convinced that he is a woman, and if there is some kind of emotional or mental (or even spiritual) disorder that needs to be addressed in both cases, then there is little difference between the two in terms of actual brain issues.
And this leads to a very important (and honest) question for all transactivists: What is the test to determine whether the person is delusional or whether they are genuinely transgender, meaning genuinely the opposite of their biological sex? Is there hard evidence that Bruce Jenner is either biologically or genetically a woman? Or is there hard evidence that, all his life, he had a female brain in a male body? Or perhaps no such test is needed, since, if a man is convinced he is transgender then he is transgender? Can you see the danger of such an approach?
I'm all for ending "trans hate" and for calling for compassion for those who identify as transgender, and I've often told congregations where I preach to get ready for trans individuals to come into their services (for example, what appears to be a man wearing a dress, yet carrying a Bible and saying Amen to the sermon).
I urge these Christians to pray for hearts of love and grace, to take that trans person out to lunch, and to welcome them to their church with open arms while helping them find wholeness and freedom in Jesus. (If kids in the church ask about the individual, I would tell the children, "Let's pray for him. He's confused about some things." You may call that transphobic; I call it being transcompassionate and transtruthful.)
The good (and surprising) news is that I posted some links for Andi (two of which I linked in this article), and she took the time to read them, saying she had not heard some of these perspectives, before sending me more links that supported her viewpoint, which was clearly unchanged.
But at least we had some civil interaction, once we got past the "stupid" and "yikes" exchanges. And it reminded me that, no matter how much blindness there is in today's society, truth will triumph in the end (2 Cor. 13:8) and there's always hope that people's positions will eventually change when confronted with the truth, especially when mixed with prayer.
Michael Brown is the author of 25 books, including Can You Be Gay and Christian? and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show "The Line of Fire." He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.
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