A well-known pastor and his wife recently made some transgender remarks that indicate they may not understand much about the issue.
It started off as what seemed like a fairly innocent conversation at the The Conservative Political Action Conference. But things went downhill when the son of the late Jerry Falwell and his wife ventured into unusual territory with some transgender remarks.
The focus of the banter turned to the couple’s grandchild, who happens to be named Reagan. Donald Trump, Jr., then joked he’d lobbied for the name “Trump,” to which the couple responded that it wasn’t “the most feminine name.”
But then there was this: the proud grandmother clarified the grandchild was a little girl and wouldn’t be allowed to forget it:
“She’s our granddaughter, and we’re raising her as a girl. We’re not letting her have a choice. God makes the choice of what the babies are gonna be. And God decided she was a girl.”
The proud grandfather they “wouldn’t even have to ‘raise’ the child as a girl” as long as they put a baby doll in her hand. He added that his boys always had guns in their hands.
Remember the Geico commercial where the older woman is trying to allude to Facebook by having friends’ photos on her living room wall and thinks that unfriending someone is as easy as removing a photo?
A friend points out, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works!”
That’s the quote that popped in my head when I read the story.
Dolls and guns don’t change gender identity.
There are boys who grew up with dolls who are still men and still identify as men. There are women who grew up around guns — as law enforcement officers or members of our military, they may still use guns regularly — yet also still identify as women.
Having a little boy not grow up in a blue room or a little girl not grow up in a pink room doesn’t change who they think they are.
Gender identity isn’t something you just “decide” on one day. You know it when you feel it.
And no matter how hard they try to raise a little girl who’ll identify as female, when she comes of age, she and she alone will know what her gender identity is. The odds are, of course, that she’ll consider herself female, and from their perspective, all will be right with at least that little sliver of their world.
But if she doesn’t identify with her biological gender, there’s nothing “forcing” her to accept them will accomplish other than alienating her from them.
Even a guy like me, who was born a boy, raised as a boy and identifies as a man, understands that much. And there are plenty of things about gender identity that I don’t understand. For that matter, there are probably plenty of things about it that I’ll never fully grasp.
Does that give me the right to make insensitive remarks about it?
I hope that most members of the faith community will take a moment to think about how they respond to such issues. Dealing with gender identity issues can’t be easy, especially with the typical reaction to such questions among the general society.
I hope faith leaders would show compassion when met with real people facing such questions.
I hope they’d treat those people with the same respect and Christ-like love they’d project towards everyone else.