Editor’s Note: Rooted takes an orthodox biblical position on gender, believing that God created man male and female and that gender is binary. We believe that identity is not something that mankind personally crafts or determines but that God gives to people by grace. We also believe that all people, regardless of their struggles and choices are made in the image of God, full of dignity and worthy of respect.
In the past few weeks, Elliot/Ellen Page (the actor/actress) has come out as trans-male and Harry Stiles did a gender-bending photoshoot with Variety. Both of these stories have gained significant attention. Transgenderism continues to gain momentum, and Christians need to seriously consider both their posture and their beliefs about biblical sexuality. When you are dealing with this issue with students in your church, it is absolutely crucial for us to view this as a pastoral concern, not a battleline to draw in the culture wars.
Youth workers have commented about the number of students who have recently self-identified as transgendered. If you are a youth worker without a plan for ministry to students questioning their gender, don’t put it off any longer. I understand this is a super chaotic ministry season and we have all needed to significantly restructure or rebuild our ministries from the ground up, but make this a priority. Putting this discussion off until you “need to” will only make it more difficult for you to care for these beloved students and parents with full grace and full truth.
Due to the high-risk nature of writing online about ministry to transgendered students, there is disappointingly little guidance available. But here are a couple of resources that have helped me and my ministry team develop a posture of truth and love towards students who struggle with their gender identity.
I may not agree with every single interpretation and application in these resources, but the following have been helpful. As you continue to learn and seek God’s wisdom, remember that students who experience gender dysphoria have the same foundational need as every other student in your ministry: the grace of God, poured out through faith in Jesus Christ.
- Free PDF book: TransFormed: A brief biblical and pastoral introduction to understanding transgender in a changing culture (by the Evangelical Alliance in the UK). This ebook presents a biblical and pastoral crashcourse on gender dysphoria while offering basic recommendations for how to minister to those who struggle.
- YouTube: Transgender and the Gospel: A Conversation with Heather Skriba (Preston Sprinkle’s channel. He is a generally very helpful thinker in this area.) Here is the YouTube description: Heather Skriba has experienced gender dysphoria most of her life and transitioned from female to male a few years ago. But after encountering Jesus, she heard God telling her that she was “daddy’s girl” and that God desired her to live as the female He created her to be. Filled with compassion, truth, and authenticity, Heather Skriba helps us understand her transgender experience, gender dysphoria, and what role the church can play in helping people who are wrestling with their gender identity and sexuality.