What do you think of transgender persons? Six theses.

To-date, I’ve avoided discussing transgender[1] persons. Why? Because I prefer not to write on subjects about which I don’t have firm opinions.

But today, I feel compelled to write about transgender persons. Below, I’ll explain why.

I wish to speak calmly through a long essay, rather than through short bursts which quickly deteriorate into battles over who’s right, who’s wrong; who’s kind, who’s cruel; who’s smart, who’s not.

Anyone who publishes an opinion on gender issues – even if it is contra the status quo – can expect to pay a price.

In Malaysia, in 2014, the promotion of a judge of the Court of Appeal to the Federal bench didn’t materialize[2] after he, with two others, declared “unconstitutional!” an Islamic law which made it an offence to cross-dress.[3] I’ll recount it briefly.

Section 66 of the Negri Sembilan Syariah Criminal Enactment said:

“Any male person who, in any public place wears a woman’s attire or poses as a woman shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding one thousand ringgit or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.”

Three persons were accused of wearing women’s clothes and cosmetics in public, despite the biological fact that they were men.

The accused did not deny that they “cross-dressed.” Instead, they pleaded that they did so because they had a medical condition called “Gender Identity Disorder (GID).”

To make their case, they brought in three medical experts. Lawyer Syahredzan Johan has well-summarized the impact of their evidence:

… it was established that GID is not “curable” and is permanent. The reports also established that the female mannerisms of the three appellants was not something they chose, nor could they do anything about it. The Negri Sembilan government, in responding to the suit brought about by the three appellants, did not rebut the medical evidence that was presented. (link)

As I said in the first paragraph, to-date, I‘ve avoided discussing transgender issues.

But a fellow writer felt compelled to write about it. Her article has prompted me to attempt to answer the question “What do you think of transgender persons?” I’ll limit myself to six theses[4].

Thesis one: Transgenderism may be a medical condition.

In the case I just mentioned, the three transgender accused adopted the defence that their actions were prompted by a medical condition, a disorder.

The Cleveland Clinic, a well-respected professional institution, says transgenderism is not a disorder. It also says: “The desire to convey your gender in the way you feel most authentic is a normal aspect of human expression.” (link)

Some national health services[5] provide hormone therapy[6] to enable the bodies of transgender persons to produce masculine features (e.g. promote hair growth) or feminine features (e.g. block hair growth). They even provide “gender reassignment surgery” such as removing breasts.

Thesis two: There will be transgender persons in heaven.

Why? Because even if the medical opinion is wrong, even if “transgenderism” is not a medical condition but is a deliberate, wrong choice, many are guided by medical opinion. Transgender persons may have been advised by medical professionals that their “condition” is due to nature, and beyond their control to change.

Thesis three: Transgender persons can receive communion.

Why? Because Jesus accepts all who confess with their mouth that He is Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised Him from the dead[7].

After reviewing medical opinions, I’m uncertain whether cross-dressing is a sin to be avoided (or to be repented of). But I cannot reject any whom Jesus accepts. Transgender persons have dignity and must be treated with respect.[8]

Thesis four: Transgender treatments and surgery are okay.[9]

Why? Because people have hair transplants. Breast enhancements. Nose jobs. Fertility treatments. Why oppose breast removal if it helps some people “fit,” and helps them overcome depression and suicidal thoughts? (See note 5.)

Thesis five: The opinions of parents’ over-rule the opinions of children.

If a parent raises a child as a girl, and the girl then clamours to be a boy, the parent[10] has the right to deny the child’s “right” to hormonal treatments, etc. in order to “authentically express gender.”

Thesis six: “Males” who use their female bodies to bear children should not demand that people stop calling them “mother.”[11]

Calling the biological carrier of a child “mother” is a long-established social norm. It is also reflected in documentation and delivery of treatment by medical staff.[12] (Does a transgender parent calls his/her child ‘son’ or ‘daughter’?)

What’s your response to each of the six theses? What do you think of transgender persons?

[1] A transgender person identifies as male or female in a manner which does not match the sex he/she was assigned at birth. For example, one who is outwardly a man may have a woman’s body parts – may become pregnant, carry a child to full term, breast-feed the child.

[2] Snubbed by Najib, ex-judge Hishamudin Yunus now picked to fill judicial openings. Ida Lim. Malay Mail, 14 Sep 2018. (link)

[3] The decision was later overturned by the Federal Court, on a technicality. The Federal Court said “the three transgenders had used a wrong legal procedure to start their action.” (link)

[4] “Theses” are statements offered for purposes of debate, a la Luther’s 95 theses.

[5] The National Health Service in the UK says transgender persons suffer gender dysphoria, “a sense of unease that [arising from] a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. This sense of unease or dissatisfaction may be so intense it can lead to depression and anxiety and have a harmful impact on daily life.”

[6] The side effects of some therapies have not been established according to accepted norms. Sometimes doctors require patients to sign waivers before they agree to administer certain therapies.

[7] Romans 10:9

[8] Sadly, this is endemically not the case in Malaysia, where transgender persons are routinely abused. For a brief review, see “Malaysia among worst countries in world for transgenders-report,” Reuters Staff, Reuters, 25 Sept 2014. (link)

[9] Though risky in terms of potential adverse effects.

[10] Because the parent is emotionally, socially, and legally responsible for the child.

[11] I’m responding to the news article cited by my fellow-writer: “Transgender man who gave birth to his son criticizes medical staff for calling him ‘mother’ and claims that it’s ‘important’ to STOP automatically linking pregnancy with being a woman. Jessica Summers, Mail Oline, 22 Dec 2021.” (link)

[12] Think also of forms, procedures, training, textbooks, registers.

2 thoughts on “<strong>What do you think of transgender persons? Six theses.</strong>”

  1. Pingback: Straight: The Surprisingly Short History of Heterosexuality – Bangsar Lutheran Church

  2. Pingback: International Women’s Day 2023. Happy?! ….Or Confused? – Bangsar Lutheran Church

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