What if I’m Questioning my Gender Identity?
- If you are questioning your gender identity, you are not alone. It is not unusual to question your gender in early adolescence to have it become settled as you mature.
- Many people who experience gender confusion wonder why their feelings are as they are. Studies are not conclusive on this matter. It seems that both biological and societal aspects can have an influence in this area, and the mix varies in each individual.
- Terminology is important when we discuss gender identification. Here is a brief accounting of key terms. It should be understood that nuances and uses of these terms vary. Furthermore, the meaning of the terms can change over time. Below each term is linked to its definition as defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary or The Free Dictionary by Farlex.
- Transgender or Trans*
- Gender Dysphoria
- Gender roles
- Two popular terms that are important to understand are binary and non-binary. As it concerns the gender conversation, binary is a standpoint that recognizes two genders. Non-binary is a term that describes the opinion that gender is on a spectrum. Binary viewpoints are framed in the following: transgender, transsexual and transitioning. Non-binary viewpoints are framed in the terms: transgender and genderqueer. Note that transgender is framed in both binary and non-binary. Transgender is a broad concept and very unique to the person using the term.
What does God think of your struggle with gender? While we hesitate to assume we understand God’s mind completely, we look to his Word for guidance. Repeatedly we see Jesus engaging with the brokenness of this world. His harshest comments and judgment were for the proud and self-righteous. His grace abounded toward the humble. In addition, we see Christ looking beyond the otherwise glaring broken circumstances and seeing a soul. God loves you. He sees you for more than your gender. Jesus empowered people to live overcoming lives despite the brokenness. The Scriptures teach that God created us male and female. We believe, by God’s grace, a peace is possible for the gender questioning individual. A peace that rests in God’s gift of gender assigned at birth and manifested in our biology.
- What can you do? Living with gender dysphoria is challenging for many. Often, individuals prefer a different reality. Below are a few points to keep in mind as you navigate this challenge:
- Resist the temptation to isolate and deal with your struggle alone. Find an ‘anchor group’ you can be open with.
- Be wise about where you seek counsel and support. Remember that everyone addressing LGBTQ is doing so through a worldview lens.
- Remember, you are not defined by your experience. Resist the urge to overly identify yourself by your struggle with gender. God wants you to identify yourself with respect to Him (ideally as a son or daughter) and not by your experience.
- God loves you. Many people with gender confusion have come to a peaceful acceptance of their gender experience and have lived fully flourishing lives.
We do not believe that transitioning is consistent with God’s Word. However, for those considering the treatment, transitioning from one gender to another is a very ambitious physiological undertaking. Interested persons should get ample counsel from doctors so that they understand the many physiological and emotional impacts.
A great many voices speak into the issues surrounding LGBTQ. Each one attempts to make sense of experience in light of truth as they see it. Apostolic Christian Counseling and Family Services is no different. We engage this topic believing that God is the Creator, and each human has been created in his image and for his glory. We understand the Bible to be God’s Word and our source of truth. We believe in the historic Christian view of marriage as the covenanted union between one man and one woman. We believe each of us has been touched by the brokenness of this world, and yet, God works in our broken circumstances to align our hearts to his.
For Further Information
Embodied: Transgender Identities, the Church, and What the Bible Has to Say
Author: Preston Sprinkle
In this 288-page book, the author provides a compassionate, biblical, thought-provoking, and accessible guide for Christians who want help navigating issues related to the transgender conversation. The author draws on Scripture, as well as real-life stories of individuals struggling with gender dysphoria, to help you understand the complexities and emotions of this highly relevant topic. This book fills the great need for Christians to speak into the confusing and emotionally charged questions surrounding the transgender conversation.
Emerging Gender Identities: Understanding the Diverse Experiences of Today’s Youth
Authors: Mark Yarhouse and Julia Sadusky
In this 256-page book, the authors offer a measured Christian response to the diverse gender identities that are being embraced by an increasing number of adolescents. They provide an honest, scientifically informed, compassionate, and nuanced approach for all readers who care about or work with gender-diverse youth: pastors, church leaders, parents, family members, youth workers, and counselors. They help readers distinguish between current mental health concerns, such as gender dysphoria, and the emerging gender identities that some young people turn to for a sense of identity and community.
Understanding Gender Dysphoria: Navigating Transgender Issues in a Changing Culture
Author: Mark Yarhouse PsyD
In this 191-page book, the author offers a Christian perspective on transgender issues that doesn’t settle for simplistic answers and appreciates the psychological and theological complexity. The result is a book that engages the latest research while remaining pastorally sensitive to the experiences of each person. The author calls Christians to come alongside those on the margins and stand with them as they resolve their questions and concerns about gender identity.