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Celebrating gender confusion



Published: 17 January 2017 (GMT+10)

The rejection of God as Creator has tragic consequences, as shown by the January 2017 issue of National Geographic magazine.1 Some copies of the magazine featured Avery, a 9-year-old dressed in pink from head to toe. Avery is glad to not have to “pretend to be a boy”, as Avery is a biological male suffering from gender dysphoria.

Leave the kids out of it

How should Christians respond? First, we should be outraged that children are being used in this way. Regardless of whether one thinks it is right for Avery to be encouraged to dress in pink, no one should want a child plastered on a magazine as a front-lines warrior in the gender wars. This is an adult conversation and no nine-year-old is capable of weighing the very serious long-term consequences both individually and societally of redefining gender.

In fact, the NG issue overwhelmingly featured children, which is an odd decision if one wants to carefully weigh complex issues. A girl in Kenya is quoted as worrying about being seduced by men as she goes about her family chores (p. 36). A boy in Israel talks about how boys are stronger than girls (p. 45). Articles feature coming-of-age rituals in different places in the world for both boys and girls. But one is left wanting a more substantial conversation about the real issues involved. That’s a failure on the part of the NG editors, who made children the foundation of this magazine issue.

Civilized people are naturally repulsed by child soldiers, because we instinctively recognize children should be protected and not thrust into adult conflicts. Avery’s mom complains that she and Avery have received death threats. If anyone has actually made threats against Avery, that’s horrible. But who is ultimately to blame if not the people who put Avery on a national stage?

Confusing biology and psychology

One common tactic used in the magazine is to juxtapose people with biological/developmental anomalies such as complete androgen insensitivity (which causes genetic males to develop to appear female) and intersex individuals with ‘transgender’ individuals. Transgender individuals are normally completely healthy biological males or females without any of those biological conditions, but who feel as though they are the other sex. It is a category error to put these people in the same group. One can only conclude that the NG editors did this to confuse the readers into thinking that transgender folk suffer from an innate biological condition, which is not so (‘born that way’, as per the catch cry of the homosexual lobbyists some years ago).

Valuing ideology over the well-being of individuals

Transgender individuals have one of the highest attempted suicide rates of all groups; most estimate that more than 40 percent of transgender individuals will attempt suicide. While this is often blamed on discrimination, other groups that have experienced discrimination do not have suicide rates nearly this high, which would indicate there is more to the story.2

This fact, coupled with the statistic that most gender dysphoria in children will resolve itself when the child goes through puberty (73 to 98 percent3), makes it particularly troubling when prepubescent children are inappropriately encouraged in their dysphoria. This statistic is even acknowledged in NG (p. 68). If there is a strong chance that a gender-confused biological boy will grow up to be a happy biological man, shouldn’t everyone acknowledge that is better than surgery to remove healthy body parts, delaying normal biological processes, and ‘treatment’ with hormones that his male body is not equipped to handle? The emphasis on celebrating confused children rather than helping them to accept their biological gender is troubling. It really amounts to high level child abuse.

Anorexia is a similar psychological problem where a person has a false body image or mindset that he/she is fat and tries to get thin by self-starvation. Surely no one would suggest that a child experiencing anorexia should be given an operation or diet pills to help them lose weight, to get their body image conforming to their false mental image! No, the person needs their false thinking fixed, not his/her body. Why should it be any different for gender dysphoria?

Walt Heyer, who lived for eight years as a transgender woman, also speaks out against this trend of using children in the way NG has. He says:

“Why is the boy’s picture so disturbing to me? Because, like Avery Jackson, I was a cross-dressing boy at the age of nine. I can tell you that crossdressing a young boy is emotional and psychological child abuse and should be stopped, not celebrated on the cover of magazines.
… All too late I realized transgenderism was … a surgical masquerade to superficially project a change of gender. Like others who elect to live the transgender life, I painfully discovered it was only a temporary fix to deeper pain.”4

Heyer rightly speaks out against the use of impressionable children and the glorification of this lifestyle in such an influential publication.

The sad reality is that as programs are forced upon children in public schools, often under the guise of ‘inclusivity’ and ‘anti-bullying’ that more children will end up wondering about their gender, whereas they would never have questioned it otherwise. Modern science shows us just how plastic (malleable) our brains are. When we feed our thinking with crazy, ridiculous notions, especially at a young, impressionable age, it should not be surprising that more crazy thinking manifests itself. Children should be protected from such child abuse, and allowed to develop normally without such mind-bending ‘programs’. Indeed, the push for such programs following the acceptance of same-sex marriage in various jurisdictions looks like a deliberate attempt of the lobbyists for the radical sexual agenda to increase the number of people who are confused about their sexuality. That is, children have become pawns in a politico-sexual power struggle. This is evil.

Conversely, Scripture encourages parents to train up their children with constant exposure to Scripture and biblical principles such that they are part of the rhythm of life. Prayer, Bible study, and the good works that come out of a biblical faith have mental benefits and this contributes to spiritual peace (Philippians 4:6–9). This predates the science by 2,000 years!

Our response should be grounded in Creation

As Christians, we recognize that God created humanity male and female (Genesis 1:27). And the vast majority of people recognize themselves as men and women according to their biological sex. The fact that far less than 1% experience gender dysphoria should lead us to reject language such as someone being “assigned” the identity of male or female, as if the doctor flipped a coin before saying, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” at birth or when looking at an ultrasound. Rather, we recognize the God-given biological sex of an infant.

We also know that creation is fallen, and that affects people in all sorts of ways. Sometimes that means that there are anomalies in developmental processes which make a child’s gender less than clear. Sometimes that means that people suffer from mental illnesses where what they believe about themselves does not align with biological reality. When we realize this, we can react with appropriate compassion without compromising biblical truth.

Finally, our response should be grounded in the Gospel, which teaches that God reconciles people back to Himself through the shed blood of Christ. The ‘transgender’ person’s biggest problem is not that he or she is confused about how gender identity relates to biological sex, but that his or her rebellion against the Creator (which manifests itself in all sorts of ways, not only gender confusion), will result in eternal condemnation apart from finding forgiveness through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Scripture teaches that through the power of the Holy Spirit we can overcome the wayward tendencies that we all have to one degree or another, becoming ‘new creations’ in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

References and notes

  1. All references to National Geographic in this article come from the January 2017 issue. Return to text.
  2. Payne, D., The transgender suicide rate isn’t due to discrimination, The Federalist, 7 July 2016, thefederalist.com. Return to text.
  3. The Federalist Staff, 7 questions about transgender people, answered, The Federalist, 26 April 2016, thefederalist.com. Return to text.
  4. Heyer, W., The National Geographic transgender cover champions child abuse and junk science, The Federalist, 3 January 2017, thefederalist.com. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

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by Gary Bates, Lita Cosner
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Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
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Readers’ comments

T. R.
We have here the "perfect storm" recipe for extreme confusion. On the one hand, in our "hook up", "sex positive" culture, sexual acts together are as casual and meaningless as eating a hamburger together. Yet at the same time, casual and commitment-less sex is SO meaningful that it simultaneously becomes a person's primary source of identity. "I am a metrosexual, I am a heterosexual, I am a transsexual." Have these two ingredients existed at the same time ever in the past? This state of sex means nothing yet simultaneously sex means everything and my sexual behavior is my primary way to describe myself? No wonder we are in trouble!
Katy K.
Thank you so much for speaking out honestly on this subject. More and more honesty from the side of the truth needs to happen. Stay vocal, keep encouraging people, and showing the truth. Our society is headed for dystopia if things keep going in their current direction.
Wyman K.
Thank you Don and in response to:

Don Batten responds
Any 'wrath' in this article is directed at corrupt institutions that would harm children for political expediency, not at individuals who might suffer from gender dysphoria. There is ample biblical precedent for this.

But, even on a personal witnessing level, how will anyone ever be saved unless they are aware of their sin/fallen-ness and know that they can be forgiven by God? We are called to preach repentance. "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret" 2 Corinthians 7:10 (check the last two paragraphs of Lita's article).

At witness level sincerely brother Don, rebuke comes from the Holy Spirit as one reads and studies the Word that is by interpretation in the Sanctuary message is the Table of Shewbread that signifies "His Presence", this starts sanctification.
Our commission is to present His Word for conviction and not necessarily by open rebuke to an unbeliever. Man by his carnal nature opposes opposition, but love breaks open the door to hearing. Man is met by our Father turning His face away from the sinner that is intentional and hence reaps what he has sown at the hands of the enemy who they are deceived by and serve, their government delivers their sentence.
Exodus 14: [14] “The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”

At the corporate level we are offer other learning opportunities and facilities to teach.
Hosea 4: [6] My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,

This I pray unites us, for indignation towards the unbeliever is futile and only builds on their resistance to Jesus, their rebuke is in the form of consequences for sin from their prince given access to them as his subjects.
Don Batten
We are called to preach the Gospel, which entails revealing the sinfulness of the sinner before a holy God, so as to bring about the realization of the need for repetance and God's forgiveness (Luke 24:47). See, for example, the example of the Apostle Peter on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Of course this only happens by the conviction brought about by the action of the Holy Spirit. It is also done out of love for the unsaved sinner, not judgmentally.
Michael S.
Great articles! It's not new to read about the controversy with gender confusion but the suicide statistic and most cases resolved by puberty are new to me. Thank you for that. I have not suscribed with NG for sometime as I am very disappointed with them. They are supposed to be a reputable magazine and I am ok with secular magazine, but lately i find that their articles are not just secular but attacking the bible. I remember an article that was published about King David probably not really having a huge kingdom but just a small village. But what made me decide not to suscribe NG was an article that they published when they know that the information was wrong but what do they do? Instead of deleting the article, they published it anyway knowing that the information was wrong and in the next issue apologised for the error in a small print which I doubt many people read. Which by the time damages have already been done. I pray that God will always guard Creation magazine integrity always as a beacon for His name!!
D. F.
Great article
Margaret B.
I totally agree with this article and hope many people read and understand it. I believe that the subjects being introduced to Australian schools to supposedly help children know what gender they are will cause much more confusion! In my experience male and female covers a huge spectrum, so just because for example a male is less masculine or a female not so feminine in the world's eyes doesn't mean they are really the other gender.
Ron B.
Just keep this crud out of the schools. We spend too much time teaching me and you instead of 2+2. Let kids be kids. They can be whatever when they leave school.
David G.
I always wonder how a male can 'feel' that he should be female. How on earth could a male tell what it is 'like' to be female. What, indeed, does 'male' feel like? Part of the problem is the popular rigid stereotyping of male and female characteristics. Eg. a friend confided in me that her actor son thought he may be 'gay'. I suggested to her that as he came from a sporty family, that he needed his natural sensitivity as a normal male to be validated. That he liked the finer things in life did not mean he was 'gay' but that he brought greater emotional nuance to his thoughts, feelings and relationships than some other men.
Paul G.
Delusion is a firm conviction or belief despite superior evidence to the contrary.
As the author pointed out, anorexia is an eating disorder undertaken by those with body dysmorphia who believe they are overweight despite the superior evidence they are not. We would not DREAM of celebrating, or enabling, or encouraging this continued destructive behavior baed on such delusion.
And yet, for some reason, we are not as a society, willing to recognize the same thing with the body dysmorphia of gender. Instead of treating this facet of body dysmorphia, it is encourage, enabled, celebrated, and even forcibly thrust upon our culture and our youth.
The reason for this discrepancy would seem to be that the delusion about "gender identity" is not related just to physical characteristics, but to morals as well. Who are you to say what is right for "my body", who I can "marry", or who I can "love" - are the standard arguments. Rejection of God's definition of morality is what they seek. Moral failure is sin, and this world celebrates, encourages, enables, and promulgates moral, sexual, sin in increasingly more despicable, deviant, and disgusting forms, all to attempt to slap the Creator's face and deny His rule over us, His creation.
Those suffering from these delusions need our prayers and our help to find the love and esteem they lack, in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who purvey and promote this deviance need our strongest opposition and fervent prayers that God will overrule and prevent them from inflicting such harm on His "little ones".
David R.
This is a very good write up by CMI. I wish that all Cities and Governments would accept the basic fact that transgender citizens are not a special class of citizens with special rights; therefore, should not change well established Biblical Laws that our Country was founded on.
Lyle Z.
Nicely written! As expected for an article associated with Creation.com, the piece advocates and reinforces a response of Christ-like love while also equipping the reader with sound apologetics-oriented scientific and statistical facts. Moreover, Lite Costner's use of simile greatly increases the comprehensibility of her central point.
Juanita B.
I totally agree with what Lita has written. Makes perfect sense. I only wish I could be as succinct were I to explain it to someone.
Wyman K.
Hi Lita, much input and effort has been assigned this article and as a true bible believing Holy Spirit filled child of God I have to ask; can we be angry and upset at non believers? The Word is destined for the Holy Spirit convicted children of God. How can we fulfill the great commission of Jesus by being angry and upset at unbelievers?
How then can we love and pray these victims of deception into Truth? I fail to see even one rebuke from Jesus in His Word to an unbeliever not hearing His voice, especially a gentile.
James 1:[20] for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God.
Don Batten
Any 'wrath' in this article is directed at corrupt institutions that would harm children for political expediency, not at individuals who might suffer from gender dysphoria. There is ample biblical precedent for this.
But, even on a personal witnessing level, how will anyone ever be saved unless they are aware of their sin/fallen-ness and know that they can be forgiven by God? We are called to preach repentance. "For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret" 2 Corinthians 7:10 (check the last two paragraphs of Lita's article).

Mitch C.
When you consider that it is the same DNA that builds both a baby's brain and also its gender organs, it seems irrational to claim that a person can genuinely be born with both male anatomy and female self-identification (or vice versa). Genetically, we have either XX (female) or XY (male) chromosomes that inhabit every cell of our body, from head to toe.

It is much more reasonable to conclude that, when a person self-identifies as being of the opposite sex than his or her anatomy indicates, it is because that person has been deluded into believing something that is not true. We don't encourage a person who thinks he is a kangaroo or the king of Denmark to continue believing that deception, but we seek to make him realize that his thinking is contrary to fact--that it is mere fantasy, and not reality.

2 Thess 2:9-12 predicts a "wicked deception" and "strong delusion" that will accompany the coming of antichrist. Satan is the "god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4), who blinds the minds of unbelievers, seeking to turn them against God and the gospel. He uses many tricks to accomplish this deception, such as getting people alarmed about runaway, exponential population growth, so that they try to get culture to accept abortion and homosexuality as ways to curb population growth, but Satan's ultimate goal in this is to incite people to rebel against the living God.

Naturally, denial of Biblical creation is at the root of this delusion and rebellion, and so ministries such as CMI are key to uprooting and clearing away this deception. May the Lord continue to richly bless your efforts!
Don Batten
Just one thing: we need to maintain the perspective that we are all flawed and therefore liable to wayward thinking at times. As a Christian I am a 'work in progress'. I have not arrived yet and there is much work to be done (by the Holy Spirit). 'There, but for the grace of God go I.'
Robert M.
Exploitation of children is appearing in several forms. Here in New Brunswick just this past summer the principal of an Elementary School in Fredericton had students paint a rainbow on a crosswalk in front of the school to teach "diversity" and "inclusion"? I wrote to the school, school board and the youth advocate of the province expressing my concerns without any real results. May have to complain to human rights on the grounds that the rainbow does not represent either diversity or inclusion and is being degraded by this action discriminating against my religious belief's. Forest Hill Elementary School, Fredericton, NB, Canada is the school.
Jim R.
I love Lita's concise and incisive articles. She could be writer for any major conservative media group except I don't think there are any. :(

Keep up excellent work Lita!
Michael I.
Great article. I know the feedback rules but I'd like to share if I may. American Family Association's website has a petition against this magazine issue specifically. I know the issue is on the shelf already but my hope is that if we can send enough names of outraged individuals to NG they'll reconsider their position in furthering this misunderstood issue. This isn't a culture war fad to be tossed around. Children specifically will pay for this in the near future if it isn't stopped. God bless!
Gerald D.
I would like to ask for a clarification on the statement the Scripture predates the science by 2,000 years. I'm assuming there is a study that is being referenced there, but I don't necessarily see the footnote.

Further to the above comment, as Christians we oftentimes find ourselves as the contrarian viewpoint on many a topic (i.e. age of the earth, the supremacy of God, etc.). Gender issues is a particularly relevant one in this day and age. I really appreciate the article separating those who have a biological gender issue and those that have an internal psychological gender issue.

Those two groups required different treatments. I'd further venture to state that one's approach must be done from a perspective of love and not of pity or fanaticism. I've had to interact with people who self identify as gay. There is a need to discern the approach to take in personal relationships based on the situation without being manipulative, bombastic or disingenuous (i.e. hiding your true self). Above all else God loves these people too. I generally find I need to listen first to what the people are telling me. It is interesting to see what opportunities open up. At one point you will probably have to explain to the person you have these 'discussions' with the difference between listening and agreeing with them, this is sometimes assumed.

Remember at the end of the day you are condemning something that is a part of their lifestyle. This may not be the first thing that you will be able to discuss with them. Also, you will probably have to deal with the plank in your own eye, before you can deal with the speck in their eye.
Don Batten
"I would like to ask for a clarification on the statement the Scripture predates the science by 2,000 years. I'm assuming there is a study that is being referenced there, but I don't necessarily see the footnote."
I thought it rather self-evident that Scripture was completed nearly 2,000 years ago but knowledge of X and Y chromosomes, etc., date to the last 100 years at most. There is hardly need for a reference.
Anthony A.
Great article. I particularly liked the comparison with child soldiers. We are naturally bothered by 9 year old soldiers, we should also be bothered (outraged, really) at 9 year old soldiers of the culture war.

I also heard another good point on The Briefing with Al Mohler, I can't remember who it was that he quoted, but it was something to the effect that if a transgender was discovered 1000 years later in an archeological dig, they would be identified according to their birth gender. What a statement.
Peter D.
This article confirms what I've been thinking recently. Although there is a small number of unfortunate individuals born with a genetic abnormality, the vast number of 'gender confused' people are not born that way. Rather, they are 'made' by inappropriate non-gender specific upbringing. In my opinion, the majority have fully functional reproductive organs according to their birth gender. Being confused about, or denying their birth gender indicates to me a massive psychological problem.

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