A Question I Was Asked:

'Aren't Your Comments on 'Transexuality' Too Liberal?'

The Question (which I have partly edited):

"I was concerned to read some of the things you wrote in your article on transexuals who might want to become Christians (which is here)...Especially worrying as you state that you have never met a transsexual person.....I cannot agree with your assumptions regarding Paul's comments upon eunuchs.....'Transexuality' is totally psychological - No knife can fix that problem.....The Bible states that we become "New Creatures in Christ" when we are saved through faith, this indicates radical change. That said, one must be careful with transsexual people as to how they go about becoming the new creature...We should never leave people in their transsexual/GID state because their mind needs to be made whole... there is a need to progress to being the person God made them, rather than stay with the false identity they have assumed because of a 'faulty mind.'"

My Reply:

Thank you for your interesting response to my transexuality article of 3-4 years ago.

On the whole, and for a while, I thought that your comments were fair and interesting and I know that there are many facets to this subject, but I was somewhat alarmed when you stated two particular things:

1. "Transexuality is totally psychological - no knife can fix that problem ..."

Are you and I truly qualified to make that assumption? To be frank, most of the latest research suggests otherwise. Of course, as Christian teachers we cannot also be medical experts, however, we should not make such sweeping comments without at least looking up some of the relevant data; when one does that one finds that the evidence is apparently increasing that this problem is indeed more physical than psychological. Your sweeping generalisation here frankly does you no credit. Frankly, the comment appears to be made for a theological reason, but if you are going to do that, you need to be pretty sure of your theological foundation!
Sure, sin is sin and sinners will not inherit God's kingdom, but we are all well aware of that, which is why we try to help all such people, from all backgrounds, and without discrimination.

You also state,

2. "We should never leave people in their transsexual... state because their mind needs to be made whole..."

Now - hold on a moment - we should not be arrogant here! Were not the minds of those eunuchs who became believers also affected? And was this seen as a barrier to them accepting Christ? No, it was not. In Acts 8:26-40, the eunuch was not rejected because his sexuality had been altered by surgery, he was willingly accepted as a child of God! (by the way, some have suggested that men were only made eunuchs by force but this is simply untrue, some willingly undertook this path since it could be a means to secure employment). Of course, we all need to have more of the mind of Christ, but don't we all fall short in many, many ways?
For example, for a long while I counselled with a schizophrenic and there is no doubt in my mind that this person finally accepted Christ but that person's mind is always going to be partly affected by her former problems - becoming 'a new person' in Christ is important but it does not wipe away all emotional and mental scarring in this life. My impression is that you are expecting perfection, but full perfection of body and mind is not available to any of us during this life. Yes, for any transexuals who have not yet had surgery we can try to help them, but once surgery is completed and a man is - effectively - a woman, are you really saying that 'we should not leave them in that state' - but attempt to turn the clock back to an earlier stage in their lives? And are you also suggesting that we should follow this course even many years after a sex-change operation has taken place?

Yes, we should surely encourage such people to address the problems which their major life-change has caused (re: relationships with former spouses and children etc), but I still maintain that - while making it clear to such people that, ideally, sex change is very very undesirable (to put it mildly) - a wise Christian counsellor should look for early signs of genuine conversion and work with that, and be primarily concerned with that. Sure, all such people will have to make changes, but we have to be realistic here: if the eunuchs who became Christians in the early Church were accepted as such (that is: accepted as eunuchs who had undergone surgery in order to alter their sexual status), then surely the wise Christian counsellor of this early 21st century should also be realistic with some of these very unfortunate people. Presumably you are suggesting that the wise counsellor should refuse to work with such people at all until they revert back to their original sexual status (not only usually physically but - many would maintain - emotionally and mentally impossible). Where in Acts 8:26-40 does Philip say anything like, 'I would like to help you but since your sexual status has been altered by an operation, I cannot. Try to become a man again then I may be able to help!' On the contrary, the Holy Spirit specifically told Philip to help the eunuch(verse 29), who is very soon baptised (verses 36-38).
I disagree with your approach, moreover, I think the apostle Paul would agree with me, rather than with you.

I agree that (as far as I am aware) I have never met any such people but I do not agree that that fact invalidates my view, as you appear to briefly suggest; neither have I (as far as I am aware), met any murderers, but this does not seem to affect how I feel about them/would react to them/consider their spiritual status before God etc.

Of course, people who have had a sex change 'op' are certainly sinners in the sight of God, but that applies to all whom one might counsel. We all remain sinners in the sight of God. I do not doubt your sincerity but I see indications of perfectionism within your e mail.

Robin A. Brace, 2008.

The article in question is here.