Should Christains call transgender people by the pronoun of their choice?

Those who make the transition between genders often begin the transformation by changing their name and asking others to call them by a pronoun mathcing their newly chosen identity. This is a difficult issue for Christians who believe gender is a biological constant anatomically determined an unchanged by sexual, emotional or mental preferences. Some who advocate calling transgendered persons by the pronoun and name of choice have presented this as a matter of respect. We respect those who change their names by calling them the new name. If a man changes his name from “Tom” to “Zoltar the Great” most people respect his wishes despite their personal Those who make the transition between genders often begin the transformation by changing their name and asking others to call them by the pronoun of their choice. This is a difficult issue for Christians who believe gender is a biological constant anatomically determined regardless of sexual, emotional or mental preferences. Some who advocate calling transgendered by the pronoun and name of choice have presented this as a matter of respect. We respect those who change their names by calling them the new name. If a man changes his name from “Tom” to “Zoltar the Great” most people will respect his wishes, though they may think his choice of names is ridiculous. In many cases this is a matter of no consequence, and Christians can readily comply with the persons wishes on the matter. In some instances there are moral and theological issues with the name chosen. If Tom decides to change his name to Jehovah the Christian is going to refuse to address him by that title reserved only for the God of heaven.

What about honorifics? We respect someone’s preference to be called Doctor or Reverend instead of Mister or Missus. We do not reject as immoral the recent change in English grammar to use “they” as a generic pronoun instead of “he”. Should we not also respect someone’s request to be called Miss instead of Mister? The Bible presents God’s creative work as consisting of two distinct, unchangable genders. The willful rejection of ones biological sex by replacing he with she, or with the intentionally uncertain “xe” is a moral issue. In this case the choice of a pronoun reflects a rebellion against that which God created. This is a matter of acceding to a morality contrary to the Bible. The demand that we respect a person’s pronoun of choice is a demand we submit to their immoral worldview. Christians must not do so. We must submit to the Bible’s morality, even at the cost of offending someone we deeply love.

For obvious technological reasons the Bible does not address those who would surgically change their gender, but it does clearly address those who would attempt to make themselves appear to be a member of the opposite gender. The Bible unequivocally condemns such behavior. Ones gender is not a function of the mind, it is a product of biology. Despite what some today seem to suggest gender is deeper than ones external sex organs or ones perception of himself. The organs are attached to the body in such a way that changing their appearance does not their underlying functions. A transgender woman will never get pregnant and a transgender man can never father a child. The basic realities are unchanged by some creative cutting and pasting. God created maleness and femaleness. These are not arbitrary designations, but expressions of a reality defined by God and built into every person. The gender of a person is not liquid or malleable. It is fixed. In a bizarre, Dr. Moreau-esque fashion we are now able to reverse engineer biological parts to give the appearance of something else. No matter how much one changes his appearance or says to herself, “I am a man”, just like Dr. Moreau’s unfortunate experiments, the created order will win out. Self-deception will remain a lie even if all of society joins you in proclaiming a lie.

A lie repeated often enough and long enough may be believed by the majority of people, but it is still a lie. To treat gender as if it were multiple choice is to deny crucial aspects of God’s creation. To deny the binary nature of gender is to deny what it means to be an image bearer of God and to dishonor the person. It is not loving to help another live out self deception. The Christian should no more call a transgender person the pronoun of their choice than a doctor in a mental ward should call his patients by the name of the person they fantasize themselves to be. Calling a transgender person the pronoun of their choice does not show them respect. It disrespects them with the most callous disregard for their soul.

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