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How should Christians view gender-affirming care?

gender-affirming care

Jesus Christ commanded His followers to love other people, an instruction that extends to those who identify as transgender (Matthew 22:39). Obeying this command means caring for people as He did, which includes desiring their freedom from the enslavement of sin (John 8:36; Galatians 5:1). Since gender-affirming care amplifies the sin of transgenderism and intensifies the confusion of those who pursue it, Christians should oppose the practice (Deuteronomy 22:5; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:11–16). Simultaneously, and with equal zeal, Christians should love those who express uncertainty about their biological gender, aiming to promote Christlike holiness and physical wellness in their lives.

The term gender-affirming care refers to various treatments intended to change a person’s physical characteristics, including their biological sex, to match their perceived gender identity. Treatments may include medical interventions like surgically removing reproductive organs and adding prosthetic anatomical features. Additionally, interventions often involve taking prescription drugs to suppress testosterone and enhance estrogen in biological men, and to increase testosterone and suppress estrogen in biological women. Comprehensive treatment approaches may also include social, psychological, and behavioral therapy.

A Christian view of gender-affirming care begins with denying the two premises contained in the term itself. First, Christians must reject the idea of “affirming” a person’s subjective gender identity. The Bible teaches that God created two genders, male and female, and every individual is born as one or the other (Genesis 1:27). It also says that the blurring of genders, even if only on the outside of the body, is a significant transgression: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5). Transgenderism is sin because it eclipses the honor that God conferred upon human beings as His image bearers when He assigned them a biological gender (Genesis 1:26–28; Psalm 8:5; Hebrews 2:7). Thus, gender is a fixed attribute that can’t be intrinsically transformed and shouldn’t be externally disguised.

Second, the description of gender-affirming “care” is a fallacy. Embracing a person’s dissatisfaction or delusion with their biology isn’t loving because it’s harmful to their health. Physically, taking extreme measures to address subjective feelings, like surgically removing organs or taking hormone-manipulating medication, unnecessarily places a person’s body at risk. Emotionally, reputable studies show that transgender people develop increased suicidal ideation after body-altering surgery (see, accessed 6/10/24). Therefore, tolerating a person’s gender disorientation isn’t loving because it embraces mental and emotional confusion and delays physical wellness.

In the story of the adulterous woman, Jesus modeled how grace and truth can effectively address sexual sin (cf. John 1:14). When the Pharisees brought the guilty woman to Jesus, they emphasized that the law mandated she be stoned as a punishment. After Jesus responded, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (John 8:7, ESV), the Pharisees walked away, recognizing their own sinfulness. Then Jesus said to the woman, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more” (John 8:11, ESV). Jesus showed grace by saving the woman from being stoned while still upholding the truth by rebuking her sin. Christians can wisely mimic this approach by opposing gender-affirming care yet showing compassion for those who support and pursue it.

In opposing gender-affirming care, Christians must prepare themselves for a barrage of false accusations. For example, some advocates of gender-affirming care argue that Christians are rejecting “medically necessary” treatments. Another tactic some advocates use is linking gender-affirming care with other social issues like women’s rights, racial equality, and constitutional democracy, implying that those who oppose gender-affirming care are also against these values. Despite the lies that may circulate about them, Christians should stand against gender-affirming care because such treatments violate God’s moral standards and prolong the suffering of individuals questioning their gender identity.

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How should Christians view gender-affirming care?
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This page last updated: June 10, 2024