It’s one thing for us to recognize that it is impossible for a man to become a woman or vice versa. But is it ever right to call a trans-identified person by their preferred gender pronouns (PGPs)? Could this be the compassionate, Christian approach? And what happens when you’re required to give your own PGP? Is it better to conform rather than to rock the boat?
Let’s tackle the second question first.
Recently a Christian father wrote to me, “My daughter has an internship with a college newspaper. They are filming a little commercial/ad thing for students, and they asked all of the people on the team including interns to introduce themselves and list their pronouns. So my daughter would say, “I’m Sally Smith, and my pronouns are she/her.” My daughter is asking me if this is the time to put her foot down, or does she just go along with it because those are her pronouns? Or is listing the pronouns a nod to believing in lies? I tend she should not list her pronouns, but curious your thoughts.”
I immediately wrote back, “I would not list mine for sure,” adding in jest, “or else I’d say my pronouns are He is Lord. They either accept this or they don’t.”
I continued, “I would not comply, and the school has no right to require it.”
The father fully agreed, being reinforced in his own convictions.
Really now, on what legal basis can any school or business or organization put you under pressure or penalize you for refusing to collaborate with social madness? Can they compel you to say your pronouns?
Recently, I was filling out a medical questionnaire before my annual physical.
One question asked if my sexual partner (in my case, only my wife of 47 years) was: “Female; Male; Transgender Female/Male-to-Female; Transgender Male/Female-to-Male; Other; Choose not to disclose.”
What is this doing on a medical form? Why even ask such a question, let alone give such a ridiculous set of choices?
This is cultural madness.
What, then, should a young person at school or an older person do if asked to give their name and PGP? I say they should just give their name and leave it there. And they should be prepared to take a stand – with national, Christian legal support if needed– if penalized for their actions.
What about using someone else’s PGPs?
The reality is that, for the most part, when speaking directly to someone, it’s rare that you have to use their pronouns.
But what if the need arose, especially with someone you met for the first time? Wouldn’t it be Christian to meet that person where they are and then help them find true wholeness from the inside out?
Many Christian leaders today would answer this in the affirmative, including former lesbian feminist professor Rosaria Butterfield – that is, for Butterfield, until recently. But now she has had a dramatic change of heart, writing an article titled, “Why I no longer use Transgender Pronouns—and Why You shouldn’t, either.”
In the article she states, “My use of transgendered pronouns was not a mistake; it was sin.
“Public sin requires public repentance, not course correction.
“I have publicly sinned on the issue of transgender pronouns, which I have carelessly used in books and articles.
“I have publicly sinned by advocating for the use of transgender pronouns in interviews and public Q&As.”
What motivated her to make these poor choices in the past?
Among “a bunch” of lame excuses she could give, she lists: “It was a carry-over from my gay activist days. I wanted to meet everyone where they were and do nothing to provoke insult.”
And why does she say that is a sin for her to use such pronouns today?
She lists 8 reasons, including: to use these pronouns is a violation of the 9th commandment (not to bear false witness against your neighbor, and referring to them as something they are not is false witness); it’s an encouragement for them to violate the 10th commandment (not to covet, here, meaning coveting an identity that is not theirs); it violates the order of creation and the calling on both male and female to bear God’s image; it discourages the ongoing sanctification of trans-identified Christians; it cheapens the reality of redemption through the cross; it fails to love our neighbor as ourself; it fails to offer genuine Christian hospitality, replacing it instead with “liberal communitarianism, identity politics, and ‘human flourishing’”; to use PGP’s has always been sinful and remains so even though times have changed.
After citing the testimony of ex-trans-person Laura Perry Smalts and addressing the considered viewpoints of Christian leaders like Preston Sprinkle and Mark Yarhouse, she concludes with: “We who have promoted this sin need to stand up and repent.
“May God forgive me.
“Would anyone like to join me.”
Having interacted extensively in the past with trans-identified Christians (in particular), and having dealt with the question on a more personal level with a trans-identified, non-Christian relative, I do understand the extreme sensitivities involved in this discussion.
I can honestly say, without judgment or condescension, that I fully understand why some Christians would argue for the use of PGP’s for the sake of compassionate outreach. I really do get it. Why risk hurting someone who has already been hurt many times? Why risk driving someone away who might be very fragile emotionally?
But at the end of the day, reality is reality and truth is truth, and to collaborate with someone’s deep, heartfelt confusion is to hurt them more than to help them.
Do you agree?
–Dr. Michael Brown is an author and social commentator.