Transgenderism

What is the issue?
Transgenderism has become a topic of much discussion in recent years. Transgender is a broad term that encompasses those who feel they were born with the wrong gender and therefore live as the opposite gender (also known as transsexualism) and those with intersex conditions. Intersex conditions are not common and result from a genetic or hormonal imbalance. In these cases, their anatomy may not fit with the typical definition of male or female but the person is born with this condition through no choice of their own. The person affected by an intersex condition, and their families, will require much support and guidance with the issues that they may face. The aim of this article is to focus on transsexualism, which is a facet of the pro-choice movement. The emphasis in the case of transsexualism is that the people involved are making an active choice with regard to their gender.

Gender Recognition Act
In 2004 the UK government set up the Gender Recognition Act; this was to enable adults (over 18) who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria (or the dissatisfaction with their birth gender) toapply for legal recognition of their ‘new gender’ with a gender recognition certificate. The terms for application were that they had a medical diagnosis and had lived as the opposite gender for two years. Decisions were made by a panel which then issued a new birth certificate with their new gender. Since passing the Act, only 5,635 people in the UK have been granted a Gender Recognition certificate, however there are many more people who identify as transsexual.

What are the concerns?
One major concern is the teaching of sex education in primary schools and in it the drive to promote transgenderism. There are several resources now available to schools that promote transgenderism to make it a social norm. Currently primary schools are not obliged to teach sex education in England and Wales and parents do have the right to inspect a school’s PSHE curriculum. However, as the trans movement gains momentum, so further publication of resources and teaching materials has increased. There has also been a call to change the law so that a medical diagnosis is no longer required to grant a gender recognition certificate, and to lower the legal age to 16. There has been a push to encourage children who feel they are in the ‘wrong body’ to embrace these feelings and undergo treatment to transition. Children can be referred to the Gender Identity Development service based at The Tavistock Centre in London, which offers assessment and access to hormone blocking treatment. The number of instances is only set to increase due to the rise in support groups such as Mermaids and GIRES (Gender Identity and Research Education Society) and the push to promote transgenderism in schools.

What does the Bible say?
The Bible states that ‘God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them’ (Genesis 1:27) – here we see a clear separation of the two sexes and the purpose being that male and female should unite and ‘be one flesh’ (Genesis 2:23-24). The relationship between a man and a woman in marriage is a representation of Christ’s relationship with His bride, the Church. The transgender movement shows disregard for how we have been created for we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made’ (Psalm 139:14). We live in tumultuous times with the possibility of over 20 options to classify a person’s gender, which continues to expand. We need to pray for this generation and the changing times that we live in – particularly for the children and the education that they receive, that they may be kept from the confusion around them.

Useful links
http://www.christian.org.uk/issue/transsexualism This link is to the Christian Institute webpage on transsexualism and is a very useful background source to the subject;

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/socialissues/sexuality Focus on the Family is a Christian based organisation in America that promotes the permanence of marriage, the importance of the family and the sanctity of life. Difficult issues are dealt with in a sensitive way;

http://admin.cmf.org.uk/pdf/cmffiles/59_gender_dysphoria.pdf This in-depth document, published on the Christian Medical Fellowship website, deals with issues around gender dysphoria (previously known as gender identity disorder).