“It’s not that they can’t see the solution. They can’t see the problem.”
Last month, blogger Maria Guido posted a thought-provoking article on her blog at scarymommy.com titled, “Trans Woman Posts Selfie, Proves How Ridiculous This Bathroom Debate Is.” The main point of the article is that a transgender individual who appears as if they were the opposite of their biological sex would cause no angst by using the restroom that matched their gender-identity, because nothing would seem out of place due to their appearance. Accompanying the article is a photo of a male who looks like a female and who, no doubt, would not appear out of place in a women’s restroom. Referring to Target’s policy that employees and customers can use the bathroom that “corresponds to their gender identity,” Guido remarks that “There is nothing new here . . . transgender guests and employees have always been welcome to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity.” In other words, what we never knew was happening has not hurt us, so why make a big deal about it now? The author believes it is simply common sense that people ought to use the “bathroom of the gender with which they identify.”
This article was brought to my attention when a pastor friend of mine – a Bible-believing, godly man for whom I have great respect – posted it to Facebook with the comment, “An interesting alternate thought. I’m praying on this.” Given his penchant for thoughtful reflection on the things of God, I felt obliged to read with an open mind and an open heart. As I read the article, I found myself wondering whether it indeed made more sense for those who appeared to be women to use the women’s restroom, and those who appeared to be men to use the men’s restroom. “After all,” I wondered, “that’s probably happening now, and would not a masculine figure walking into the ladies’ room after my daughter deeply concern me, even if the figure was a biological female (which I wouldn’t know, of course)?” Many thoughts raced in my mind, and occupied me for quite some time. I wondered what the right solution was to this dilemma. Where should transgender people use the restroom? Then I realized, as if God had, by the power of His Spirit, opened my eyes to something I had been missing, that the answers are always maddeningly elusive when you are asking the wrong questions. I saw that this debate, which has intensified greatly since I first read Guido’s piece, is not a first-order dilemma – and this revelation changed everything. Let me explain what I mean.
Here is a historical example: When the Declaration of Independence was drafted during the second Continental Congress, the congress proclaimed independence from the tyranny of Great Britain. The inalienable rights of all men were asserted, the grievances against the king were enumerated, and it was declared “that these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved.”
Five years later, the Articles of Confederation were ratified, which served as the guiding document of the Revolutionary War, and as our first constitution. Seven years after that, the Constitution of the United States replaced the Articles with a more complete statement of how this new nation ought to have been governed.
The debate over what bathroom ought to be used by transgender people is only an argument because many have forgotten (or been made to believe) that it is a first-order dilemma. It implicitly concedes that transgenderism (and its cousin, homosexuality) is “normal” and, if it is normal, then the bathroom question is a logical one, and one that must be addressed with care and compassion toward this disenfranchised people-group. Herein lies the great lie – the great misdirection. Like a magician who uses his scantily-clad assistant to distract from what he is really doing, the LGBT movement has made the bathroom issue a spectacle in order to implicitly legitimize transgenderism as normal, and many of us have fallen for the ruse. When transgender activist Riki Wilchins wrote on the Attorney General’s press conference announcing a federal civil rights complaint against North Carolina over their “requiring public agencies to deny transgender persons access to multiple-occupancy bathrooms and changing facilities consistent with their gender identity,” Wilchins reportedly turned to his (Wilchins was born a man) daughter and said, “Remember this moment: Mommy’s about to be normal.”
Transgenderism and homosexuality are, however, not normal. We are male or female based on our biology, not on some idea of self-determinism. I can no more legitimately decide to be a female, than I can decide that I am Chinese, or blind, or a dragon. Were I to proclaim any of these things, and demand rights in accordance with my self-identification, the thought would be ludicrous. Dr. Paul R. McHugh, University Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who spent 40 years researching homosexuality, transgenderism, and gender ambiguity writes at length about his study into individuals who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery, and is convinced that treatment of “sexual dysphoria,” rather than acquiescence to it, is by far the more preferable response.
Even this last month, the American College of Pediatricians released a statement that “urges educators and legislators to reject all policies that condition children to accept as normal a life of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex. Facts – not ideology – determine reality.” Their full statement is worth reading, but some of their points are that:
Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait. “XY” and “XX” chromosomes are genetic markers, not a disorder.
No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender is a psychological concept, not an objective biological one.
A person thinking he or she is something they are not, at best, is a sign of confusion.
When an otherwise healthy biological boy believes he is a girl, or an otherwise healthy biological girl believes she is a boy, an objective psychological problem exists that lies in the mind not the body, and it should be treated as such.
People who identify as “feeling like the opposite sex” or “somewhere in between” do not comprise a third sex. They remain biological men or biological women.
Conditioning children into a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex amounts to child abuse.
Endorsing gender discordance as normal via public education and legal policies will confuse children and parents, leading more children to present to “gender clinics” where they will be given puberty-blocking drugs. This, in turn, virtually ensures that they will “choose” a lifetime of carcinogenic and otherwise toxic cross-sex hormones, and likely consider unnecessary surgical mutilation of their healthy body parts as young adults.
Professor Denny Burk summarizes the crux of the lie being masked by the bathroom controversy: “At the heart of the transgender revolution is the notion that psychological identity trumps bodily identity. In this way of thinking, a person is whatever they think themselves to be. If a girl perceives herself to be a boy, then she is one even if her biology says otherwise. If a boy perceives himself to be a girl, then he is one even if his biology says otherwise. Gender is self-determined, not determined by the sexual differences that the Creator has embedded into every cell of our bodies.” Burk writes about John, a man who, since boyhood, has felt a deep dissatisfaction with the fact that he has two legs instead of one. “The primary ethical question is whether a man in John’s position would be right to amputate an otherwise healthy limb,” he writes. “Would it be right for a doctor to remove his leg so that John can feel whole? If John feels himself to be a one-legged man inside a two-legged man’s body, why not encourage him to have his leg amputated? At a gut level, most people recoil at the suggestion. Nevertheless, this is the implication of the view that psychological identity trumps bodily identity.”
What, then, ought to be the Christian’s response to the bathroom issue?
- First, we must not feed into the lie that it is a first-order dilemma. We must not compromise the clarity of common-sense, nor of clear Biblical teaching, that biological males are the only kind of males, and biological females are the only type of females. There is no third gender, there is no cross-gender. “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).
- Second, we must realize that the gender separation of bathrooms has good purpose. Our daughters and our wives have a right to use restrooms and locker rooms in privacy, and allowing males to cross over into these private spaces opens up a floodgate to abuse that should make us shudder (not necessarily abuse by those who experience transgenderism, but by those who would nefariously use this opening to indulge their own lusts).
- Third, we must remember that, as fallen creatures, we all come short of the perfection God intends for us. All sin, regardless of its severity, is an affront to God. None of us are without sin, nor without the need of God’s redemption found in Jesus Christ. Though sexual immorality is being embraced by much of our culture, and though it is in clear opposition to the truth of God’s Word, all human beings are worthy of respect, and none is beyond the reach of the gospel. So, in our standing firm against the onslaught on the family, and on God’s design for human sexuality, we must also display compassion and love as we speak the truth.