Feb 13, 2007

A response to the transgender community

by Jenni Thurman
** Note from the editor:

In the last issue we published Jenn-ifer Thurman’s article, “DNA speaks truth: gender cannot be redefined,” which was also posted on the Champion’s Web site. The author received an overwhelming response from the public—75 e-mails and counting. The author has contributed this article in order to address the questions and comments raised in the letters.

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In the beginning, God created male and female, but on rare occasions the question of an individual’s sex is not that simple. God loves transsexual and intersexual individuals; however, the question still remains – how should Christians respond to the transgender community?

Transsexuals are chromosomally and anatomically correct individuals who feel they are incapable of relating to their assigned sex.  According to an article the Reality Resources Web site by Dr. Neil E. Whitehead, a scientist who has worked with the United Nations, there is no scientific evidence to support that transsexuality is an effect of hormonal or genetic disorders.

"Like homosexuality, transsexuality appears to be the result of a complex interaction between biology, social environment and personal choice,” said Whitehead.

Genetic variances in chromosomes, such as Klinefelter and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, refer to intersex-ism and do not directly correlate with transsexual issues.

Despite the fact that transsexualism is not a result of genetic disorders, many transsexual individuals feel that Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) is necessary in order to match their sex with their perceived gender.

However, Dr. Paul McHugh, a University Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, chronicles the overwhelming negative response from transsexuals who undergo SRS in his article “Surgical Sex” published on the GodSpy Web site.

McHugh discovered that although most post-op transsexuals expressed contentment with their surgery, they still experienced the same difficulties at work and in relationships.

 “With these facts in hand I concluded that Hopkins was fundamentally cooperating with a mental illness. We psychiatrists, I thought, would do better to concentrate on trying to fix their minds and not their genitalia,” said McHugh.

Additionally, McHugh’s article discusses babies who are born intersexed and given surgery as infants to correct ambiguous genitalia. Dr. William G. Reiner conducted a study in which he examined the emotional state of intersexed adults who had SRS surgery as infants.

“Later on, most of those individuals who learned that they were actually genetic males wished to reconstitute their lives as males (some even asked for surgical reconstruction and male hormone replacement),” according to McHugh’s article.

As a result of such studies, McHugh and John Hopkins University have now stopped performing Sex Reassignment Surgery. Instead, McHugh advocates counseling and therapy for individuals who are born intersexed, as well as transsexuals.

“For children with birth defects the most rational approach at this moment is to correct promptly any of the major urological defects they face, but to postpone any decision about sexual identity until much later, while raising the child according to its genetic sex,” said McHugh.

“We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.”

Dr. Jerry Leach, a Christian and a former transsexual, also advocates therapy to cure Gender Identity Disorder, also known as gender dysphoria. Leach’s website, RealityResources.org, records his recovery from gender dysphoria – which Leach attributes to his relationship with God.

“The only way we (transsexuals) can truly survive is to cut our emotional umbilical cord to our mother and secure it to our Christ through submission to His Lordship. To survive is to submit; to live is to die,” said Leach.

While a cure for gender dysphoria is not grounded in scientific research, Christians, transsexuals and intersexual individuals can take comfort in knowing that God and the Bible will always offer comfort and healing.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 in the NIV version reads, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Transsexuals and intersexuals were made in the image of God and ought to be wholeheartedly accepted and loved by the Christian community.

The transgender community should be willing to entertain the idea that the solution to feelings of confusion or alienation may not lie in surgery or physical alterations, but rather in the healing power of Jesus Christ.

Contact Jennifer Thurman at jthurman@liberty.edu.
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