Gender Confusion, Authority, and Irony

I appreciate how McQuilkin and Copan discuss transsexuality and gender change on pages 270-272 of An Introduction to Biblical Ethics:

“One of my (Paul’s) friends was teaching a philosophy class.  He showed a video clip of a man who wanted surgery to remove a leg because he felt like ‘a one-legged man trapped inside a tw0-legged man’s body.’  The professor asked the class if he should have his leg amputated.  The class though this ludicrous and that the problem was in the man’s mind.  Interestingly, they knew how the body ought to function, that it had a certain purpose or goal, and that this normal-sounding idea was not an idea socially constructed by human bipeds.  Then the professor asked, ‘So what do we do with a woman who claims she is a man trapped in side a woman’s body?’  The class was silent.”

“…By what authority would a sex-change be justified?  Typically it is one’s own feelings (‘I feel; therefore I am’).  So the man who ‘feels like a female’ is therefore justified in going through with the drastic operation.  The reality, however, is that any such operation is actually anti-creational; it produces a body incapable of procreation.  In other words, we cannot change the created order.  Our sexual identity is not up to us to decide.  In trying to find ourselves, we may actually lose ourselves.  Indeed, the fact that so many transvestites remain deeply unsatisfied with their sex-change operations should serve as a caution against such a procedure….”

The authors also point out a few ironies in the transsexual argument; I’ll summarize two of them here:

“A commonly accepted view in today’s society is that sexual identity is simply a social construct and not something given at birth.  But if this is the case, then why all the fuss about, say, women’s rights?  Why press this if there is nothing intrinsic or distinctive about being a woman?”

“Another cultural irony is this: we’re told we can readily change our sexual identity by having a sex-change operation; biology can be altered to fit one’s psychological frame of mind.  However, as we saw above, those struggling with same-sex attraction are told that they can’t ever change, that they were born gay: biology/genetics determines inner awareness of sexual identity.”

These are some helpful points to ponder as we find ourselves in a culture of gender fluidity.  I don’t have time/space to mention it now, but for the record McQuilkin and Copan do point out the truths of forgiveness, healing, and a positive Christian view of sexuality and gender in other parts of this helpful book, An Introduction to Biblical Ethics.

Shane Lems
Hammond, WI






One Reply to “Gender Confusion, Authority, and Irony”

  1. And what of the eunuchs mentioned in scripture? Their procreative ability was eliminated. Did God condemn the eunuchs for this? Then why do you condemn transsexuals on this basis? Furthermore, transvestites do not seek sex reassignment surgery. Your use of the word in this instance shows your ignorance of the various categories of people who struggle with their gender identity. I recommend you do some reading and study these people. It will eliminate your ignorance, thereby also reducing your fear and loathing of this community of people.


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