The story of creation found in Genesis 1 tells of the beginning of biology-- fish made to live in the sea, birds made for the air, and cattle and every other creeping thing on the earth were brought into existence. The grand finale of it all was God creating a man, Adam, and then a woman, Eve, to populate the earth and live in dominion over it.
There were animals, and there were men and women. That’s how it began...but now, the lines are blurring.
What about men who want to be women? What about boys who want to be girls? What does that mean for other women and girls? (The opposite is true as well, for women or girls who want to be men.)
La Shawn Barber tackles this topic in her latest post “Don’t the girls’ feelings count?” and brings up valid concerns from their perspective.
“A man who believes he’s in the wrong body has disordered thinking,” Barber says. “He can seek help or not, and he retains the same civil rights as anyone else. We have serious problems, however, when such a person enlists the government to accommodate him in a way that infringes on the rights of others.”
She shares the recent news of “a school district in Illinois that decided to allow a boy pretending to be a girl to use girls’ restrooms and changing facilities-- under the threat of withdrawing federal funding. This is a violation and a fundamental shift for modesty, privacy, and safety—all for a boy who wants to be a girl.”
Should that student, the boy who wants to be a girl, be given the same rights as other girls? Should a transgender student be allowed in the girls’ bathrooms and locker rooms (or the boys’ bathroom if the roles are flipped)?
As a girl, I’m trying to put myself in the shoes of other girls at that school. What if a peer of mine (somebody I had known as a boy but was acting and functioning as a girl) came into the bathroom or locker room I was using? How would I react? Would I be uncomfortable? Scared? Indifferent? Threatened? Unaware?
I can imagine my feelings would be many. Gym locker rooms, for example, are uncomfortable places anyway, with many girls (my high school self included) feeling uneasy changing in front of others for all sorts of different reasons. Having a transgender student in the mix would understandably add to the unease of some students.
Barber shares more of the specifics of the Illinois agreement in her article, but it’s the larger implications of this scenario that she brings to light.
“What if the boy, depending on how he feels that day, changes in front of the [agreed-upon privacy] curtain? What about the girls, who now have no choice but to share private areas with this boy and any others who decide they’re “girls”? What options do the girls have if they’re uncomfortable when a boy enters a room where they change clothes?”
I can imagine girls would be uncomfortable and that there would be some confusion. I can imagine there being many questions among young students about what’s allowed and where the lines are drawn. I can imagine there would be arguments from the side arguing for equal rights for the transgender student as well as from the side fighting for the safety and rights of the other students.
This is new territory for us as humans and as Christians. We’ve understood gender to be established as male or female from birth, but now are faced with changing identities and genders.
What can we do in response? Are there options for us in scenarios like this, where transgender students in schools want freedoms and access to places that previously weren’t allowed to them?
Barber states one option (although readily admits it’s an impractical one)-- Christians can begin taking their children out of government-funded schools.
“The “gender confusion” lobby can’t indoctrinate Christian students in tax-supported schools to see this disorder as normal if there are no students in these schools to indoctrinate,” she says.
This decision (as well as ones that will surely follow) are made by district and federal officials and applied to whole districts, leaving parents and students unsure of what action they can take. There are many layers to controversial concerns like these and many differing opinions and perspectives at play.
As we navigate these new waters, let’s keep in mind that we as Christians are called to love our neighbors, no matter their identity or gender or lifestyle. Dr. Denny Burk gives 10 ways we can love our transgender neighbor, and regardless of our personal opinions of their choices, loving them like Jesus is an excellent place for us to start.
Publication date: December 10, 2015
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com.