I am taking on quite a controversial topic but after watching I Am Jazz, I felt compelled to write. In a town hall meeting a woman called Jazz who is a teenager in the process of transitioning from male to female (and self identifies as female) a “freak”.
Let me just stop right there a minute. I personally believe that no one should call someone, especially a child, a freak regardless of who they are or what they stand for. Calling someone a freak is disrespectful and attacks their personhood. If someone has an issue with someone else’s choices or beliefs, it is OK to express that you disagree with them but do so in a way that you address the specific issue, not attack the other’s personhood.
I personally believe that it is possible to have gender identity issues. If it is possible for someone to truly feel they should be an amputee ( such as in body integrity identity disorder) then it is surely possible for someone to feel that the gender they feel like and the gender their physical body displays does not line up. However, I also believe that God creates us wonderfully and is incapable of making mistakes, including putting someone in the wrong body.
You may wonder how these two assertions- that gender identity disorder is real and God is incapable of mistakenly putting someone in the wrong body- line up. My answer is that you can sincerely feel a certain way, and yet your feelings not reflect fact. People feel and think many things that are not accurate. Some people believe that life is hopeless and they should commit suicide. Some people feel they are fat when they are underweight. And some people truly feel they were born the wrong gender. However, we do not help people who feel they should die kill themselves, we do not provide those who are underweight with diets and weight loss surgeries, so to me it does not make a lot of sense that we would do hormone treatments and gender reassignment surgeries for those with gender identity issues.
I believe that gender identity issues are real and need treatment. However, I believe this treatment should focus on the psychological distress, confusion, and insecurity these people feel, working on helping them become more comfortable with who they are, letting go of the stereotypes of what a man or woman is supposed to be like and rather learning to be happy in their body and with who they are as a person.
Ultimately, my goal though this is to share that I feel all people-transgender community included-should be treated with respect, that I believe gender identity disorder is real, and to share that I personally feel that their are other ways to handle gender identity issues than surgery and hormone therapy.
In closing, God tells us we are all fearfully and wonderfully made and that we are to love are neighbor as ourself. This should be our guide for how we discuss this very important and timely issue of gender identity.