Gender Identity Issues

Here is an interesting video we are viewing in preparation for a training on Gender Identity issues at the Institute for the Study of Sexual Identity:

If you are curious about how we approach training, let me begin by saying we follow many of the leading mainstream LGBT researchers and theorists; they are the one’s doing the majority (by far) of the research. There are few Christians doing serious scholarship in this area, and to limit our understanding of gender identity, for instance, to just what is produced by Christian psychologists (or Christians from other disciplines), would put us at a severe disadvantage.

Some of the strengths of this video include exposing the viewer to the ways in which the word “transgender” functions as an umbrella term. We may say this all the time, but it can be helpful to “meet” various people who prefer different ways of describing themselves and their experiences, such as transman or female-to-male transsexual. There is also some interesting perspective offered on key terms, such as biological sex, gender role, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Just the discussion of the common ways people think of differences and the ways in which the folks in the video think of differences is informative. There are also some helpful suggestions on how to approach a person – how to talk with them in a way that would be respectful given how they experience themselves.

It would have been helpful to have additional information on developmental perspectives on gender identity, as well as information on some of the issues that lead people to seek counseling/therapy services. But that was not the purpose of the video; the video was meant to be introductory and essentially a primer.

You can imagine that there are many issues that arise for those interested in integration of a Christian worldview with the study of gender identity. I won’t be able to do them justice here, but there are important questions about the relationship between biological sex and gender identity, the nature of the Fall, and how best to respond to such concerns from either a mental health or pastoral care perspective.

6 Comments

  1. To me, it is perfectly simple. Gender identity does not always follow gonadal sex. In that case, the gender identity is far stronger, and the person will be unable to reach her or his full potential without transition. Therefore, transition is God’s Will.

    There is no Biblical authority to the contrary. There are Leviticus texts about men whose testes are damaged, but then there is the Ethiopian eunuch. “Male and female God created them”- ie, equal. That does not change the fact that God created me female too.

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Clare, and for sharing some of how you see the topic. I would be interested to read more about what it means to you to reach one’s full potential. That’s one of those interesting phrases that I’m sure caries a lot of meaning for you and perhaps for others as well.

    • I do not think that I have, though the journey has always been interesting so far, and I think I have faced life with courage. To read more, have a look at my blog!

      I am irritated with Christian hostility, though. I have found the Quakers, who are positively welcoming rather than grudgingly accepting. Why American Christians feel they need to persecute gay people beats me completely. I am glad you seem to be thinking about it.

  3. I imagine you have faced life with courage. That is a difficult thing to do. I did initially take a glance at your blog, and then with your invitation, I did read through several sections and looked at your art and poetry. Thank you for the suggestion. You seem to be an encouragement to many people who have found your blog.

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