The American College of Pediatricians recently (3/21/2016) released a statement addressing the current landscape of gender identity and the affect it has on children. The 8 points brought up in the statement are as follows (the whole statement, which is not very long, can be read here):
1. Human sexuality is an objective biological binary trait: “XY” and “XX” are genetic markers of health – not genetic markers of a disorder.
2. No one is born with a gender. Everyone is born with a biological sex. Gender (an awareness and sense of oneself as male or female) is a sociological and psychological concept; not an objective biological one.
3. A person’s belief that he or she is something they are not is, at best, a sign of confused thinking.
4. Puberty is not a disease and puberty-blocking hormones can be dangerous.
5. According to the DSM-V, as many as 98% of gender confused boys and 88% of gender confused girls eventually accept their biological sex after naturally passing through puberty.
6. Children who use puberty blockers to impersonate the opposite sex will require cross-sex hormones in late adolescence. Cross-sex hormones (testosterone and estrogen) are associated with dangerous health risks including but not limited to high blood pressure, blood clots, stroke and cancer.
7. Rates of suicide are twenty times greater among adults who use cross-sex hormones and undergo sex reassignment surgery, even in Sweden which is among the most LGBQT – affirming countries.
8. Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.
A few things worth noting here:
The statement minces no words. It states that conditioning children into impersonating the opposite sex is “child abuse.” For those of us who pastor, counsel, teach, parent, or influence minors in some way we should take heed to lovingly, compassionately, and with an open ear, shepherd them to accept the biological sex that was assigned to them.
Additionally, it is worth noting that the statement is strictly scientific and research based. Nowhere is a religious text (Bible, Koran, etc.) or a deity (God, Jesus, Allah, etc.) mentioned. Nonetheless, this is a classic example of modern science “catching up to” the Bible. While those of us in pastoral roles have theological convictions that charge our views on gender roles, this statement does not make reference to them. That said, it complements and validates what God has revealed in Scripture and what Christians have believed for two millennia.
On a cultural note, this statement has and will continue to be met with backlash. Those who accept it will be criticized, maligned, and called bigots by the ever-growing movement to normalize gender ideology. Those that drafted it will be accused of dishonest scholarship and science. Such is the day in which we live. The epistemological, philosophical, and theological views that are held by people who support this statement will be used as a reason for discrediting the statement. To which it must be acknowledged that it is impossible to remove bias from one’s view on such matters. Those that disagree with it are guilty of the same things of which they accuse others. Our worldview affects the way we work despite our best efforts to be objective. It is, again, worth mentioning that this statement has not appealed to religion as its authority in any way.
I hope putting this information before you will help strengthen and challenge you to stand firm on God’s created order of making humans in His image both male and female. Yet, simultaneously, my prayer is that you would be compassionate, loving, and helpful to those that may struggle with confusion on this matter. May the Church be a bastion of grace as well as truth and prove a place of safety for broken, damaged, confused, sin saturated, and suffering people.