The last decade has seen an enormous surge in young people seeking gender identity services, with an increase of over 1,400% for boys and 5,300% for girls. Every day we read new stories about RSE education, social transitioning at school and self-identification. But although it might feel like headlines around transgender people and gender ideology are fairly recent, the philosophy behind it - that our bodies don't matter, and what really matters is how we feel inside - has been around for thousands of years.
The Bible tells us a different story about our bodies, our feelings, and our identity, one which explains any distress now and offers life and hope for the future.
Our vision is to see a society which celebrates people's God-given identities as men and women, and one in which young people in particular can flourish and are safeguarded from an ideology which actively encourages them to question whether they are in the wrong body (even if they had never thought about it before) and to pursue changes which have potentially life-changing physical, emotional and mental consequences.
In a world which is questioning – perhaps more than ever before – from where we get our identity, particularly in the area of gender, the Bible proclaims a better story for humanity.
It declares that we all – male, female, intersex, transgender, and whatever else – are made “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), created as a unique person with absolute worth, value and dignity, and that this is an unparalleled status within creation.
It declares that we can all find our identity primarily in Jesus, rather than in bodies and gender identities, for in Him there is “neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, male nor female…” (Galatians 3:28).
But it also declares that God, as our wise and kind creator, who made a world which was “good”, created our bodies and the sex-binary as good things. God lays out his good design for humanity in verse 27: “God created mankind in his own image…male and female he created them.” In Chapter 2, which focuses in more detail about the creation of man, we read how the two sexes are complimentary: “it is not good for man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18), and woman is created from man’s rib (Genesis 2:21).
And it also declares that in every area, including the area of sex and gender, we now live in a fallen and broken world as a result of human sin. It should not be surprising to us that some people experience distress in this area of life, just like others do in other areas.
People who identify as transgender believe that their internal sense of gender (what they believe they are) does not align with their biological sex (what their body reveals they are). Transgender ideology declares that what really matters is your internal sense of gender, not your biological sex: in short, it says, if you feel like you are a woman, then you really are a woman, regardless of what your biological sex is.
This is a highly controversial ideology, eliciting a number of concerns, including:
- biological males gaining access to female-only spaces (such as women-only shelters), and the possibility of predatory men abusing that
- biological males seeking to take part in (and dominate) female sport
- the experience of biological women being eroded; in some cases, the language of ‘women’ has been replaced by ‘people who menstruate’ in an effort to make it ‘more inclusive’ to transgender people
- the confusion this brings to young people who may already feel distress at how their bodies are changing during puberty, or around their sexuality
When someone is questioning their gender, transgender ideology adopts an affirming approach and declares that to not do so is actively harmful. This means that some see asking questions or believing that a child is merely going through a phase as harmful. Some have reported parents who counsel their child that they are not transgender to social services, labelling it ‘Conversion Therapy’.
Many transgender people are encouraged to transition, making life-altering, permanent changes to their bodies, as they have been told that this is the solution. These changes can result in infertility, loss of sexual function, bone issues and even pauses in some brain development if taken too early.
It is important to remember that every transgender person’s experience is different; and the difference between understanding the spiritual significance of transgenderism and understanding an individual’s lived experience is stark.
We must bridge this gap by building relationships with those who live and think differently to us. As Christians, we are called to be like Jesus, and to speak and become love in a broken and hurting world, especially to the most marginalised within society. Holding both truth and grace in tandem is often hard, but we can ask for God’s help and wisdom as we seek to follow the way of Jesus and help them to be the people He created them to be.
There is more to read from CARE's perspective
Here are a range of resources to help you dig deeper as you learn about transgender people and gender ideology.
by Andrew Bunt
Is the gospel really good news for everyone? Andrew Bunt from Living Out reflects on his own experience of gender discomfort and explains the Bible's better story for those who are experiencing gender dysphoria or believe that they might be transgender.Read Article
In this shocking article, a teenage girl exposes her school's indoctrination and lack of safeguarding around RSE materials.Read article
by Julie Maxwell
What do they teach in schools these days? Dr Julie Maxwell from Lovewise explains some of the key concepts and messages that children are taught.Read article
The gender debate contains lots of different terms we might be unfamiliar with: our glossary takes you through all the key words you need to know.Read Article
by Peter Ladd
Feel there is something wrong with trans ideology but not sure what it is? In this long-read, CARE's Head of Content Peter Ladd provides a Biblical overview of sex and gender and explores how we can use Scripture to answer the key questions presented by gender ideology today.Read article
We believe that when we pray, God listens. This resource gives you seven groups of people you can pray for as you intercede around gender ideology.Pray with us
What are the big headlines you need to know in the gender debate? If you don't have time to pore through all the news headlines and the longer comment pieces, don't worry...we've done it for you already!Read article
Unclear quite where the political parties stand on the transgender debate? Not sure how we got here? And what is actually going on in Scotland? Our short guide to what is going on in politics will tell you all you need to know...Read article
Want to learn more about gender ideology and the transgender debate and unsure where to begin? This helpful guide takes you through a range of the key books, pamphlets and policy reports from the last few years.Read article
UK Ministers acted lawfully in blocking controversial Scottish Government gender legislation, a court has ruled.Read article
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