Call Me What You Will

A reflection by Lindsey

This is a post that I really don’t want to write. In some ways, it’s the post that I never thought I would be able to write. But the universe being the universe has ways of forcing my hand because certain things need to be said for the benefit of others.

The internet has exploded this week, dividing Christians along unfortunately all too predictable lines. The choice of a single word delineates sides: do you say Bruce or do you say Caitlyn? Concerns about appearance dominate both sides: either Caitlyn is stunning or Bruce has fallen more deeply into the hole of self-disfigurement than could have ever been realistically imagined. Sadly, this conversation is the conversation of the Church. And it’s manifestly voyeuristic, detached, and ugly on both sides.

Call me what you will: transgender, genderqueer, or gender non-conforming. At this point, I don’t care. I’m done, at least in the moment, trying to stake out a claim in the vocabulary war that regards people like me as territory to be won. I see messages on all sides arguing that people like me should have a place in the church, everyone with their own choice prescriptions about what I should or shouldn’t be doing with my body.

Call me what you will, because at this point, I’ve simply decided I’ll respond to any form of civil address. I live, breathe, work, and exist in a world that names me before I name myself. Salespeople ask me for my name, but it’s really only a pleasantry to ascertain my last name before assigning me a title. Each and every day, I go to work where people talk about me using a name, pronouns, and titles. I’ve grown numb to pronouns and titles, even though in my own sphere, I try to fight for three syllables of recognition that my preferences matter. I know asking my students to call me “Instructor” is a manufactured construct, but it’s the best I can do to find a workaround to a culture of politeness that threatens to rob me of my sanity.

Call me what you will, because at this point I’ve figured out that it’s possible to find my own safe spaces even if I know that you will never understand. I’ve learned that if I want to give my soul space to dance, then I cannot allow your opinion of me to rob me of my music. Trying to be the person God wants me to be demands my everything. Sometimes I just need to find that much more courage that God wasn’t joking when Christ promised to guide us through all things and remain with us always. I have never been down with conforming myself to social expectations because, quite frankly, my allegiances belong elsewhere. Occasionally country music gets it right:

You’ve got to sing like you don’t need the money
Love like you’ll never get hurt
You’ve got to dance like nobody’s watchin’
It’s gotta come from the heart if you want it to work.

Call me what you will because I know the fullness of my heart can never fit behind a restroom door. Whether I choose to be a superhero or a person capable of standing on my own two feet whenever I have to pee shouldn’t have to be your concern. Truth be told, I’ve had a long and enduring suspicion that your concern has never been about me in the first place.


If you were honestly concerned about me, perhaps you would take the time to ask questions and to listen. If you truly cared, maybe you would consider that your well-meaning “advice” does little more than prove to me that you aren’t willing to take the time to understand me and the challenges I actually face. If you wanted to show “Christian compassion,” then maybe you wouldn’t be quite so confident that you understand the full weight and implications of verses like Matthew 19 when it comes to people in my shoes.

No one wins my trust by an impressive display of their ideology. Celebrating that Caitlyn looks awesome tells me that maybe I should only come to you if I’m ready, willing, and able to pursue certain medical choices. Bemoaning the magnitude of Bruce’s disfigurement sets me on my guard that you might decry the disfigurement of my heart. My soul lives inside of my body. I’m much more interested in knowing whether you have the courage to see when my soul comes alive and the emotional intelligence to know when my soul is withering. Do you dare risk sharing your soul with me in friendship’s mysterious intimacy?

Call me what you will because that’s the best and most reliable way I can tell whether you know I exist. Call me what you will because you are telling me how you see me. Call me what you will because I have gotten so good at playing these games on my own territory.

Happiness looks good on people. Everyone who has figured out how to come alive in a body and share a soul with the world is beautiful. Fight for your friendships; true friends are few and far between. And maybe, just maybe, your soul will find a way to dance.

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The Beginning of Gender

A reflection by Lindsey

I’ve been trying to sort through my own questions about faith, sexuality, and gender for nearly two decades. It hasn’t been a smooth or glamorous journey. Along the way, I’ve been amazed by the number of Christians I’ve met who respond to my questions with various short answers to shut down conversation. I’ve lost track of people who have told me things like “There’s no such thing as a gay Christian” or “The opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality; it’s holiness.” Like any other culturally contentious conversation, the talking points have shifted over time. Tracking the conversations over the past several months, I’ve observed a Back-to-Genesis approach where conservative Christians say things like, “The scriptural view of human sexuality is that God formed man and woman in His image (Gen 1:27-28) and these two were to become one flesh (Gen 2:23-24).” The quote can fit into a single tweet if one takes out Scriptural citations. I’ve started to see a greater reliance on this particular argument as conservative Christians have started to grapple with questions about transgender people. My goal in writing this post is to provide food for thought that moves respectful conversation forward.

One benefit to looking towards Genesis 1 and 2 is that these chapters describe our relationship with God before sin entered the world. They contain the beginning of our collective story as being God’s beloved creation. We share our status as creation with plants, animals, the stars and moon in the sky, oceans, and the earth itself. It’s important to remember that Genesis 1 and 2 discuss only the beginning; if we want to discuss the ending of our collective story, we’re left to puzzle through many of the obscure pointers found in Revelation or the various teasers scattered throughout the New Testament. The Gospel of John opens by echoing Genesis 1 to establish Christ’s presence and work at creation. We gain new insights into creation when we consider Genesis 1 and 2 as the beginning of our redemption where Christ is the author and perfector of the rest of the story.

Genesis 1 and 2 tell us about the beginning of gender. In Genesis 1, we read humans are created in the image of God as male and female. Genesis 2 provides more context by describing the creation of Adam and Eve. The Genesis account of creation centers on two people, Adam and Eve, to whom God had said, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” As much as I do not wish to quibble with the text, it seems abundantly clear to me that two people could never fulfill this call by themselves. These commands are given to all of humanity where we all do our best to conform ourselves to God’s likeness as we do the difficult work set before us. Our God is a triune God and is therefore fundamentally relational and communal. If we are created in God’s image and likeness, then we are fundamentally relational and communal as well. One reason why the world was so good at creation is that no relationships were broken. Adam and Eve had a one-flesh relationship because Eve’s flesh was formed directly from Adam’s. Vulnerability existed without shame; Genesis 2 ends with “the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

Our lived experience of what God intended for us changed radically in Genesis 3. As wrongdoing entered into the world, so too did fear, shame, blame, and bloodshed. Relationships between creation, Eve, Adam, and God changed drastically. The relationship between man and woman was not the same: “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children. Your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”

These observations matter when we consider what Christ said when quoting these parts of Genesis. In Matthew 19, Jesus says to the Pharisees,

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

When his disciples ask more questions to try to understand, Jesus says,

“Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

It’s worth noting that Jesus is responding to a question about divorce. Jesus quotes Genesis when asked about people who are already married. Christ, who knows God’s creative intent, pulls from Genesis when discussing male and female while going beyond the creation narrative to discuss eunuchs. I believe any person commenting on sex and gender would do well to consider how eunuchs make valuable contributions to the human experience, even as we should acknowledge how eunuchs are not generally discussed in the Scripture. It’s worth mentioning that eunuchs are important figures in the books of Daniel and Acts.

When I think about the beginning of gender, I find it helpful to think about other facets of creation. Creation began as God said, “Let there be light.”  On the first day, God divided the light from darkness to create Day and Night. However, night does not lack light. On the fourth day, God created the sun and the moon. Day, night, light, and dark blend together. There is a seamlessness as all of time comes together. On the second day, God divided the waters to create dry land. But the land does not lack water. Not only does rain fall to nourish the plants that grow on the land, but also water collects to forms lakes and rivers. We also know water gathers under the land, making it possible for many people to access freshwater. Without the small proportion of water that is freshwater, life as we know it couldn’t exist. The water cycle gives people a way to conceptualize what is happening as water moves throughout the earth. Every photon and every water molecule serves as a marker for God’s amazing activity during creation.

When we are talking about the mystery of humanity, every person shows us something of the image of God. We can speak of Adam and Eve as prototypes of a sort for male and female, but these two people do not have a monopoly on the category. It would also be difficult to figure out the fullness of God’s intention for us as people simply by looking at the beginning of our collective story. We must consider the mystery of humanity through the words of Christ. Could it be that Christ knew that there would be people who blended male and female such that some would be eunuchs? Do we have space in our theological imagination to see seamlessness as human beings created in the image and likeness of God?

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Supporting Gender-Variant Kids, A Guide for Conservative Parents

A reflection by Lindsey

Like many people, I’ve been following news about the Alcorn family tragedy. Although this story has gone viral, I know that there are many similar stories that have never been told on a large scale. I’ve seen many journalists and bloggers taking up the story. In particular, I was struck by this tweet from Parker Molloy:

I have been navigating the “Can you be LGBT and Christian?” conversation for over 16 years. During that time, I have always held my faith as the principal informant of the choices I have made. There was even a season between 2003 and 2006 where I thought ex-gay ministries might be the best way forward to answer the question. I find ex-gay ministries to be exceptionally spiritually abusive and have written more about my experiences and my journey away from ex-gay ministries elsewhere on the blog. It’s been challenging and tricky for me to discern the “right” letter of the alphabet to describe myself. We constantly say LGBT people are first and foremost people. It’s a challenge to figure out how to be yourself amidst a lot of noise.

Navigating questions of gender identity can be challenging. Several months back, I wrote a post on affirming kids in a gendered world. Today, I’d like to reflect on some things I wish more conservative Christians would consider, especially if they find themselves parenting a gender-variant child.

Gender emerges naturally and organically as children express themselves. Kids love engaging with their world in their own ways. We don’t come out of the womb with an innate sense of “This is for a boy” and “That is for a girl.” We do have a sense of “I like this,” and “I enjoy that.” Not everything works for all people. I’d be hard-pressed to think of any kid I know with siblings where two of the siblings are exactly the same with their sense of understanding gender. Kids typically don’t behave in gender-variant ways because they are trying to send dismissive messages to their parents. Kids are simply being themselves and interacting with the world in a way that makes sense to them in a given moment. Go ahead and affirm your budding scientist, actor, reader, or artist. Deliver authentic praise when your children do something awesome. Wrap them up in hugs, tell them how much you love them, and let them know how glad you are that they are in your family. Telling a child to avoid something associated with the “wrong” gender is a kind of discipline. There’s a lot of that kind of discipline in society, which leads nicely into my next point.

Your family home should be the absolute safest place for your kids to be themselves. I understand that many conservative parents fear for their gender-variant child’s safety. Social gender norms exist. Being a person to push on those gender norms can invite all kinds of teasing, harassment, bullying, and abuse. How do you help your children if they are teased for being too short, having too many freckles, or being a big nerd? It’s okay to let your child experiment with self-presentation. I’ve learned that the envelope of what works socially is often far larger than adults think. Your child may just be the child who can totally rock a bow tie, a buzz cut, an eclectic dress-vest-boots combo, a ponytail, etc. It can be a good idea to help your child problem-solve various unwelcome attention from others. However, your kids shouldn’t have to problem-solve ways to be themselves to feel welcome in their own home. They might decide that certain clothes are for home-only or that it’s best to explore particular interests in specific ways. Sometimes, they might want to talk to a counselor or therapist to work through their questions in their own ways. That’s a good thing. It can be good for kids to talk with counselors and therapists about how they understand self-determination.

Becoming an adult means asking a whole bunch of questions about oneself. I’m a rare breed of adult who thinks teenagers are awesome. Teenagers are some of the coolest people on the face of the planet. They spend so much of their time trying to figure out how they want to relate to the world. They have a sense that they matter, they can contribute to the world at large, and they’re getting ready to try and do those things to make the world that much better. But, they are encountering so many possibilities at once that it’s hard to cut through the noise. Their bodies are working very hard to become adult bodies. Everything is changing. It takes a good bit for the dust to settle. I wish someone would have told me that between the ages of 10 and 25, I’d be juggling through different senses of myself and that juggling was perfectly normal. Sometimes, I think it would be better if more parents could affirm that their teenagers are asking perfectly normal questions while becoming adults. If a set of questions really freaks parents out, then perhaps it’s better for the parents to find a way to talk with other adults about how to approach the conversations in a way that can be respectful of their teens. Suffice it to say, parents don’t need to have the final word on the conversations all the time. Chances are excellent that the conversation will be on-going.

When gender-variant kids are asking difficult questions about gender, parents have a range of options to give their kids more space. Parents have so many ways to affirm their children as unique and special people created in the image of God. You cannot go wrong in telling your child, “I’m so glad God gave me you.” Sometimes it’s good to throw in “I love that you’re mine,” or “I love having you as my child.” You can affirm your relationship with your child without constantly referencing gender. Your child has so many interests that have nothing to do with gender and everything to do with providing a safe space to be real. Let your child participate in places where you see sparks behind your child’s eyes. If a child feels out of place in a single-sex environment, parents can often explore opportunities that don’t require gender segregation. And, coming back to the tweet that inspired this collection of thoughts, please consider giving gifts that don’t make a direct statement about what your child’s gender should be. One tradition I like is giving gift cards to favorite stores that have awesome Day After Christmas sales. Alternately, parents can always consider gifts like books, board games, theater or movie tickets, or any kind of amusement that would be appreciated by your child.

Gender is tricky, but you’ve honestly been figuring out your children since the moment they were born. Children are actively figuring themselves out along the way as well. Your child is a precious gift, given to you by God. Many children want to know that their parents love them unconditionally, see them as individuals, and know that they are entirely far too multi-faceted to be reduced to a single descriptor of “male” or “female.” Look for the spark behind your children’s eyes, and do what you can do so that their souls have space to dance.

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

Reflections on Transgender Day of Remembrance

A reflection by Lindsey

Today is the International Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a sobering day for me. I have experienced increased hostility in various (thankfully, former) workplaces after people started suspecting that I’m somewhere on the LGBT spectrum due to my self-expression. I’ve witnessed friends being harassed for their gender identities and expressions. I’ve listened to a significant number of them tell stories of being harassed, and I’ve watched more than one video documenting physical violence of transgender people. Transgender Day of Remembrance reminds me that many transgender people have not lived to tell the tale.

I chose to write a reflection for the Transgender Day of Remembrance because I wanted to reflect more deeply on issues of gender expression and gender identity. One way I’ve found helpful to think about gender identity is that it’s a profoundly mysterious part of a person that bubbles to the surface in forms of gender expression. From my experience, we as a society have different conventions for how we collapse various forms of gender expression into two binary options of male and female. Gender is treated as a basic part of polite discourse. I’ve been thinking a lot about how transgender and genderqueer people often face violence unless they clearly fit into either male or female categories, or pass. In LGBTQ circles, passing frequently refers to one’s ability to be perceived as a gender-normative straight person. Passing concerns how other people perceive you. One’s ability to pass can be critically important if one longs for strangers to use the proper personal gender pronoun immediately. For many transgender people, being able to pass acceptably in the vast majority of social situations can be seen as essential to survival.

In a reflection I wrote several months ago on affirming kids in a gendered world, I claimed:

Kids have natural ways of expressing themselves. Freedom to explore different hobbies and personal sense of style can go a long way in helping kids become comfortable in their own skin. Will the world come screeching to a halt if a 4-year-old wants a buzz cut, a 10-year-old wants to learn how to solder electronics, a 7-year-old wants long flowing locks, a 6-year-old wears a suit and tie, a 3-year-old brings a doll everywhere, a 12-year-old begs to take babysitting classes, or an 8-year-old wears a dress?

However, even as I wrote this reflection, I was painfully aware that society has ways of disciplining kids who push the envelope of gender too far through nothing more than their existence. I can’t think of any usual social situations where a 4-year-old girl with a buzz cut would be accepted as a “real” girl or an 8-year-old boy wearing a fabulous floral dress would be accepted as a “real” boy. I’ve seen far too many parents bitterly embarrassed by, for example, their little girl’s appearance after the child had “discovered” scissors or her older brother had put a big wad of gum in her hair. I’ve also seen far too many examples of young boys’ being shamed and ostracized because they were seen in dresses. To be sure, some children might have parents willing to model bold resiliency skills; however this kind of parent is incredibly rare. Many parents would rather their gender-variant child learn to “fit in.”

With that pressure to fit in, transgender and genderqueer children can face some awful trade-offs between simply being themselves and avoiding undue negative attention. Some transgender and genderqueer children learn to pass even though a small part of them dies a little bit when they make an active choice to turn away from the gender expression that comes to them naturally and turn towards more socially acceptable gender scripts. Concerns about being accepted socially can lead some people to feel like they have no other option but to edit, and perhaps to try and censor, how their gender identity bubbles to the surface. When some transgender and genderqueer children think about how they would like to share themselves with the world, the ever-important social need to pass can cause them to reject their first, second, third, and perhaps even tenth most natural forms of self-expression.

I think we all have an inherent sense of what works for us on an individual level when it comes to self-expression. If I say, “Button-down shirt and khakis” many people experience a reaction of things like: “That’s definitely me.” or “That’s the antithesis of who I am.” or “I really can’t be bothered to have an opinion.” That sense of me or not me matters. But when it comes to various gender scripts in society, that sense of me or not me gets amplified one thousand fold. When society consistently genders a person wrongly, that person can feel completely invisible and insignificant.

Consider a person who tells a male cheerleader that “he’s picked a great way to meet a lot of, *wink* ladies.” What is the cheerleader to do when presented with such an obviously gendered script? Does the cheerleader chuckle nervously and awkwardly while ignoring the comment? Does this person look the questioner in the eye in order to give a knowing nod and a smirk? Or perhaps redirect the conversation towards developing broad skills of athleticism and teamwork? Does the cheerleader strongly defend his participation on the squad because four of his female friends begged him to join the team in order to qualify for co-ed competitions? Or open up and share about a passion for encouraging others to be enthusiastic supports of a team even when that team performs poorly? Likely, the original comment has nothing to do with the cheerleader’s motivation for joining the squad and has much more to do with asking a male cheerleader to assert his masculinity.

Asking a male-appearing person to assert his masculinity relies on various social scripts to determine whether one is safely the “right” gender. These tests have a range of socially acceptable answers. Being able to pass these tests successfully requires matching the message from one’s physical body to the words that come from one’s mouth with a socially acceptable answer. For transgender and genderqueer individuals, trying to fit into acceptable social scripts can lead to deep dissonance. Every test opens up a chasm between the answers they would love to be able to give and the answer that they feel compelled to give in order to fit in with social expectations. It can feel impossible to give any answer with any degree of integrity.

On each Transgender Day of Remembrance, I can’t help but remember those who fell into the chasm. Many tests of a man’s masculinity or a woman’s femininity pull upon a vast collection of gender stereotypes. It’s all too common for interrogators to rely on sexism and misogyny, asking questions with distinct tones and postures to pressure a person into answering rightly… or else. Transgender Day of Remembrance is an attempt to highlight how demanding another person assert his or her gender clearly and properly can quickly escalate to violence. What is more, fear of transphobic violence often compels the urgency with which some transgender and genderqueer people seek ways to pass. Some people may even be crushed spiritually by trying to pass. Constantly conforming to other people’s gendered expectations can leave transgender and genderqueer people feeling adrift and out of touch with themselves. It’s far too easy to fall into despair if one feels like one has betrayed oneself.

And so, on the Transgender Day of Remembrance, I remember that we still have a long way to go if we want to create spaces for kids to be themselves in an incredibly gendered world.

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.

Theologically Gendered: Some Thoughts on How the Bible Bears Witness to Gender Minorities

A reflection by Lindsey

This week is Transgender Awareness Week. We make an intentional point of using the acronym “LGBT” throughout the blog. This post could be incredibly brave or needlessly foolhardy. I hope to bring some substantive questions to light by discussing some dominant narratives.

Before I get into my discussion, I’d like to say that I’ve pretty much spent my whole life on the “non-conforming” side of gender. Growing up, it wasn’t that big of deal. I’ve discovered ways to be comfortable in my own skin, even if some of those ways defy convention. Amidst an explosion of gender identity labels in LGBT circles, I don’t exactly know which words add value to my efforts in communicating my experiences more widely. There are some words that seem to fit better than others, but I have yet to discover any word other than “Lindsey” for which I am prepared to take on absolutely every commonly-held assertion about its meaning.

I’ve heard a lot of people assert that there’s no need to think critically about the experience of gender minorities. The dominant narrative goes something like, “In the beginning God created people male and female to be fruitful and multiply.” In this view, gender is understood principally in terms of reproductive sex. Since God has knit all people together in their mothers’ wombs where we are fearfully and wonderfully made, it’s absurd to suggest that God has made an error in something so important as one’s reproductive organs. Because genitals form in the womb as a part of the reproductive system, it seems fitting to gender a person at birth. In the rare cases of ambiguous genitals, doctors should do everything possible to ensure that the child has a reasonable chance at reproducing.

However, this “Back to Genesis” approach to gender identity overlooks a substantial Biblical witness about gender minorities. Even when Jesus affirms the Genesis narrative, he creates space for gender minorities:

And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?” He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”

The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

From where I sit, it’s clear that the Bible bears witness to the reality of gender minorities, but the Scriptures bear limited witness to how gender minorities should navigate present social realities.

For the sake of discussion, I’m going to talk about hair length because I view it as a culturally benign issue. I personally believe that hair style should be a nonissue in the 21st century. It’s socially acceptable for men and women to wear their hair at any length. I regard my hairstyle in much of the same way I regard my glasses. It’s a general part of my presentation to the world that I much prefer to keep static rather than dynamic. Recognizing 7th grade as an exception, my hairstyle has been the same since I was five years old. There are a lot of reasons my hairstyle suits me, and I’ll likely be wearing the same hairstyle for at least 20 years more.

But Christians can do strange things when their dominant views of gender get challenged. Some Christians go the route of talking with me about certain Scriptures addressing hair length. However, uncomfortable Christians will more frequently talk to me about the hazards of identifying with LGBT language and try to coach me back toward gender conforming behaviors. I don’t express myself the way that I do in an effort to attract attention. For me, my self-expression hinges upon having a desirable from-bed-to-door time in the morning, modestly covering my body, and staying thermally regulated. Social pressures to violate my own priorities can create intense discomfort. I hate feeling like I have to choose between other people being uncomfortable looking at my self-expression and me being completely detached from my own skin.

Many people on the transgender spectrum spend considerable time, energy, and effort trying to connect with their own bodies. Complete medical, legal, and social transition is often treated as the gold standard method for establishing this connection. However, I think that there’s some correlation between what’s socially acceptable relative to gender norms and when people feel like they have no choice but to transition completely. People socialized as men often confront narrower views of gender than people socialized as women. Nonetheless, if people push too hard against gender expectations, they are increasingly likely to experience violence. Anyone making the choice between beginning hormone replacement therapy and trying to survive increasingly hostile forms of violence needs to be treated with compassion. As we rapidly approach the Transgender Day of Remembrance, we ought to remember that far too many people have had to pay for their physical presentation with their lives. That level of violence is completely unacceptable and should be appalling to anyone claiming to follow Christ. For my part, I’m so grateful that growing up I had family and friends who robustly affirmed me as Lindsey where I was able to feel insulated from many of the social expectations around gender.

If we’re going to discuss gender thoughtfully as Christians, we should be mindful that Christ himself affirmed the presence of gender minorities. We would also do well to investigate ways where we needlessly use gender as a strong dividing line in society.

Comment Policy: Please remember that we, and all others commenting on this blog, are people. Practice kindness. Practice generosity. Practice asking questions. Practice showing love. Practice being human. If your comment is rude, it will be deleted. If you are constantly negative, argumentative, or bullish, you will not be able to comment anymore. We are the sole moderators of the combox.