This is a guest post by Ethan Parrado. It comes in response to a post on The Gospel Coalition’s website by Pastor Kevin DeYoung titled “A Transgendered Thought Experiment.” I would encourage you to read it first or the post below won’t make sense.
The door to your office opens and Sarah walks in with tears in her eyes.
This has been happening a lot lately, to the point where it’s started to interrupt your daily cross polishing, but as a high school guidance counselor, you’re responsible for the well-being of these students. You hand Sarah some tissues and wait for her to get seated.
“Thanks,” she mumbles.
“You look like you’re having a tough day, Sarah.” You try to sound concerned. “How can I help?”
“Please, sir,” she sighs. “I’ve told you before, I’m transgender. I identify as a boy. Can’t you just call me Ben like I’ve asked?”
You give her a reassuring smile. “Sorry, kiddo. You may look like a boy, act like a boy, and feel like a boy, but as a devout Christian, I can’t even give you that courtesy. It’ll just reinforce this identity you’ve constructed. Now, what seems to be the problem?”
Sarah stares at you for a long time as more tears begin pooling in her eyes.
“I just can’t take it anymore.” She finally sobs, “Ever since I came out as transgender, my life has been a nightmare. My parents are threatening to disown me, my friends all think I’m a freak, and conservatives constantly accuse me of being a child molester or pervert. I don’t know what to do!”
At this point there’s a silence which seems to stretch on for days. A sea of thoughts flood your mind, or at least they try to, but your complete lack of empathy makes it difficult for them to enter. You consider telling Sarah that as a straight, white, cisgender male, you don’t know the first thing about discrimination.
Or that you’ve never actually met another transgender person aside from her.
Or that a degree in theology doesn’t qualify you to speak on the intricate complexities of human sexuality and gender identity.
Or that, since you and your colleagues have spent fruitless decades trying to “cure” LGBLT-oh-you-can’t-even-keep-track-of-the-letters-anymore people, maybe you’re the last person who should be giving advice to a scared, vulnerable teenager!
But then your Christian conditioning takes over.
“Look Sarah, the way I see things, these people are actually helping you.”
“What?” She asks, bewildered.
“They love you enough to tell you the truth, and the truth is you are crazy. You’re an abomination in the eyes of God. And probably a pervert, too.”
Sarah sits there with her mouth agape, thunderstruck. So you press on.
“The first thing you need to do is get your mind back in reality. You can start by joining a church — you know, those places that believe a Jewish woodworker was actually an all-powerful deity who came to Earth via a virgin birth. Reality. Next, you should set up regular sessions with a counselor. Not a licensed therapist, mind you, but a Christian counselor who will tell you how selfish and wrong you are.
“Finally, you should go back to all those people you mentioned and apologize. Your delusions have been a huge inconvenience to them, and it’s important that you admit they were right and ask for their forgiveness.”
Breathing heavily, Sarah rises from her chair and stumbles out of your office. As she leaves, you feel a deep sense of smug satisfaction. You have successfully defended your faith from a helpless, wounded teenager. Sure, Sarah’s despair will probably fester until she chooses to end her own life, but what’s important is that Christian principles have been maintained.
Blinded by your own self-righteousness, you don’t even bother to wonder: was this really love?
(Image via Shutterstock)