The Transgender dilemma


transgender vlag

TheTransgender dilemma       

By MA Piet Guijt


  • Introduction
  • Social developments
  • Gender dysphoria
  • The number of transgender people
  • Stories of transgender people
  • When was it discovered?
  • What are the possible causes?
  • Possible solutions
  • The change (transformation) of the body
  • Comments on surgical procedure
  • Transition without surgical procedure
  • Changes in the mind?
  • Pastoral aspects
  • Conclusions


  1. Introduction

At the end of July 2017, both the Dutch Railway (NS) and the municipality of Amsterdam announced that from the end of December they will no longer address the customers by ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’, but that they will make the transition to the so-called gender neutral language use: ‘Dear passengers’ or Dear inhabitants, attendees, etc.. That is fitting to the social trend which has been going on for some time already, they said. In that way they would show respect to people who consider themselves to be neither men nor women (19, 30). The Hema (warehouse) has made clear that from the end of 2017, it will be selling gender neutral children’s clothing. And in America the debate about the so-called gender neutral toilets and shower rooms has been raging for a long time. Should it be permitted for men and women to use one another’s bathrooms and showers? Should the permission be based on the birth certificate or on whether someone considers him or herself a man or a woman? Some consider the permission a violation of privacy and safety, and the undermining of good citizenship and common decency, while others consider it as discrimination against homosexuals and transgender persons when it is not permitted (65).

In August 2017, the COC (Organization for the Integration of Homosexuality) made an appeal to stop the sex registration in passports and identity cards, or to allow that the X sign is added to M(ale) and F(emale). The Third Rutte cabinet, which took office last October, intends to limit the sex registration. It will not be surprising when it regards the desire of D66. The sex registration would be unnecessary and outdated, for the government promotes gender equality, does it not? (5)

Actually, Gert-Jan Segers of the Christian Union, finds it “interesting that they want to force a whole system to change, while the vast majority of the population clearly considers itself to be man or woman” (5). Additionally, there can be various practical reasons to register sexes, e.g. the call for certain population surveys. The Reformed Newspaper (9th August 2017) revealed in a commentary that our country has been hit by the ‘gender hysteria’. HP/De Tijd (29July 2017) speaks of an ‘uncontrolled political correctness’! It is striking that in that very same time, SIRE (Foundation Ideal Promotion) appeared with its campaign wherein it pleads for more masculine behavior amongst boys (19).

  1. Social developments

Before we discuss the tangible phenomenon of the transgender dysphoria, we shall take a look at the variety of views on the gender neutrality issue, for it can influence the transgender ‘dilemma’. On the one hand the view which is based on God’s creation order. God created man and woman and He established the marriage between a man and a woman as an image of Christ and His Church (Eph. 5:25-33). As a result of sin, a brokenness of creation has occurred, which has caused deviations from what God originally had intended. Of course people should not deny everything, but they should try to find a solution for it. Though it does not mean that the order of creation should be denied. Organizations such as COC, however, seize those deviations to condemn the creation order given by God, whereby man and woman are distinguished by a sexual orientation towards the opposite sex. People intend to abolish what God has defined normal, by making the deviant to become ordinary. The American Philosopher Judith Butler, finds a sex-based classification restrictive, and therefore pleads for a gender neutral use of language, by the removal of all references of male or female (40). Also in the Christian Gnosticism, people try to create an equality ideology and blur the distinction between man and woman (Androgyny) (15). One might say: “But when a Christian has been baptized and has been clothed with Christ, there is no difference between male and female, is there?” (Gal.3:27, 28). However, this does not mean that there are no longer social and natural differences between man and woman. This does not abrogate the creation order (15).

The German sociologist Gabriele Kuby warns in her book (82) for the advancement of the equality ideology in which it is assumed  that every sexual orientation is to be equally accepted by society. “The goal is to overcome ‘the compulsory heterosexuality’ and create a new man that has the freedom to choose and experience his sexual identity, regardless his biological sex. The difference between man and woman is considered a political and social construction, as an invention of the ‘oppressive heterosexual patriarchy’ (15, 64, 79, 80). In Canada a law (called Bill C-16) has been accepted, which is an implicit attack on the biology and the idea of an objective reality. Identity would be nothing more than subjectivity. “So, one can be a man one day and the other day a woman” (79, 80). In its deepest essence, it is about a fight against the Christian values and standards which are no longer tolerated” (15).

The latter has been confirmed by the news about for instance a baker who was fined heavily, because he refused to bake a cake with a certain inscription for a homosexual couple (78). The American Ministry of Justice gave North Carolina a period of one month to withdraw a law that prohibits transgender people to use a toilet or locker room of their chosen gender. North Carolina would be guilty of ‘a pattern of discrimination supported by the state, against transsexual people’ (66). The Madrid government had dragged a city bus with slogans against sex reassignment off the street. The bus has provoked furious protests of left-wing activists, labor unions and the council. The organization was faced with hundreds of threats (67).

Most Christians have difficulties with a gender neutral use of language. Even though there are all kinds of deviations towards the creation order caused by the fall of man, “we must not allow the exception to rule as a regulation or standard and should simply continue to maintain the distinction of man and woman. You do not solve the problems of transgender people, homosexuals, feminists, pedophiles or whatever, by adjusting the use of language to the experience of each group” (42). Bishop Punt rightly writes: “What disturbs me, is that some individual life tragedies are being used to impose an ideology on the entire society (75). The gender neutral use of language does not consider the concepts of the transgender him/herself. On the contrary, some transgender people want to be addressed as a man or a woman. “The biological fact remains that we are a man or a woman, even those who feel differently” (21).

The website called Xander is strongly against gender neutrality. “While 95% of the population is heterosexual, children are taught that sexuality is a choice, whereby heterosexuality is commonly far down the list”. “In the Western countries, ‘the biological subjectivism’ has been anchored in the [left (-wing) liberal] politically correct thinking. Only a very small fraction of the population suffers inherently from the psychological delusion which leads them to a psychological detachment from their biological reality, which makes them feel like ‘a man in a woman’s body’ or, in reverse. Nevertheless, according to this ideology, people are to regard such a disorder as normal and consider it a normal choice. To put it even more strongly, it is being promoted” (32).

However: “Two [Dutch] preachers who have undergone a sex change themselves, claim that the brokenness lies in the intolerance towards everything that deviates. It is has become urgent that a transgender theology provides people with a new perspective to interpret the message of the Bible differently”, according to these transgender people (14).

Finally, a totally different approach. Some people plead for a gender-neutral use of language, with a view to the labor market. It can cause a breakthrough regarding the traditional image of the roles of men and women, and therefore deliver a contribution to equal chances for everyone. The traditional use of language to describe professions, may form an obstacle for the access of women (63).

  1. Gender Dysphoria

It is very important to discern the ‘gender’ from the ‘sex’. The sex concerns the chromosomes, the sex organs and sex characteristics and the hormonal production. The gender is a broader concept, which not only regards the biological aspects of being a man or woman, but also refers to someone’s psychological, social and legal status (71). Gender dysphoria is a ‘disorder’ which causes discontent (feelings of discomfort) with one’s own gender and the linked (gender) role (71). Transgender people are people who experience this gender dysphoria, being a contradiction between their gender identity (man or woman) and their body, or: they do have a woman’s body, but feel like a man, or: they do have man’s body, but feel like a woman (37). They feel differently than their biological body indicates. If you ask a transgender what his/her main problem is about, he/she will say: “I do not feel at home in my own body”, “I am in the wrong body”. He/she hates his/her own body, particularly the sex organs, which he/she cannot accept as his/her own organs (17), and has a desire for the body of the opposite sex with the corresponding behavioral pattern.

In biological, genetic or medical view, however, there are no problems. Therefore, some conclude that there is mention of a psychological problem. Oftentimes, we hear that spirit and body do not fit together. Others deny it and point out that transgender people, apart from their gender dysphoria, may be spiritually healthy (7). It is about a gender identity problem. That actually does not say anything about the sexual orientation. Transgender people may be homosexual or heterosexual; their possible transition from man to woman or in reverse (by a hormonal treatment and operation), does not change anything about that (37).

The category of transgender people is part of a concept, which nowadays is frequently used, namely the LHBT (LGBT) group. It regards lesbian women (L), homosexual men (H or G [gay], bisexuals (B), who feel attracted by both sexes, and transgender people (T). Additionally, still other classifications are applied, such as LGBTQIA (Queer/ Questioning [doubting], intersexual people, asexual people) whereby each variation is a category.

Finally, we should clearly discern the mentioned categories from the so-called hermaphrodites. Those are people who are born with both male and female reproductive organs (testes + ovaries). At the birth of the child, a choice (often for a girl) will have to be made regarding the gender of the baby. Hermaphrodites are totally different from transgender people, for they simply feel like a man or a woman. Most of these people consider the disorder as a physical characteristic, and not as an identity problem (22).

  1. The number of transgender people

Partly because transgenderism is still a taboo, it is impossible to say exactly how many persons are transgender. That is partly because the group is so diverse (the extent in which it happens, can vary and it does not have to be a problem for everyone), and because not all transgender people go through a medical and legal sex change by which they can be registered (58). People always have to ask themselves what the data are referring to, e.g. only emotions, or factual transitions by surgical procedure. So, there are big differences between various estimations. We will mention some indications as an order of magnitude.

Dr. Louis Gooren (VU) estimated in 1988 that 1 out of 50,000 women and 1 out of 20,000 men is a transgender (1). A study in 2012 indicated that 1.1% of men and 0.8 % of women, indicated to be a transgender. A smaller group (0.4 to 0.8% of men and 0.1 to 0.3% of women) also says to be dissatisfied with their male or female body, and want hormones and/or an operation. This shows that not everyone who does not feel like a man or a woman for one hundred percent, also hates his/her body or desires to change that body (3, 31, 33, 34, 35). It is estimated that 0.6% men and 0.2% women of the entire Dutch population between 15 and 70 years, are transgender people. In 2016, it regarded 48,000 people (73). A research on gender identity in Belgium, has shown that 0.7 % of men and 0.6 % of women feel more like the opposite gender than their own gender at birth (incongruent gender identity). Applied to the Belgian population, we end up on 30,000 transgender people (58). As of 2007, the number of man-to-woman transitions would be 1 out of 12,900 and the number of woman-to-man transitions 1 per 33,800 (58).

In the period of 1995 to 2009, there were 900 individuals (of which 62% are transsexual women [who changed from man to ‘woman’] and 38% transsexual men) in the Netherlands, who have recorded their sex change (by surgical procedure) through the courts (77). That comes down to approximately 60 individuals a year. In the period of 2010-2015 the number had increased to approximately 100 individuals a year. On 1st July 2014 the law for transgender people was introduced, by which people who want to have a sex change, no longer have to meet certain medical requirements (such as a sex changing operation) and no longer have to go through the court. A declaration of an expert and a walk to the office of population register will be enough. In 2015, 770 people had their sex officially changed (either with or without surgical procedures). That is nearly ten times more than in the years before (44). The great number has partly to do with a certain catch-up (40).

All in all, as of the middle of 2017, 1960 people have been registered with a different gender from what has been written in their birth certificate (44).

Despite the margin of uncertainty, it appears to be about relatively small numbers. It is therefore odd to use a gender neutral language, while for most of the transgender people it is not necessary and the overwhelming majority of the people is ‘normal’.

  1. Stories of transgender people

In various Christian magazines (e.g. Visie [54,55,56], Nederlands Dagblad [11,24,25,33,68], Trouw [36], De Oogst, April 2005 [74] and in the EO television series ‘Love me gender’ (81), (Christian) transgender individuals are being interviewed about their lives, their fight against the fact that they live in a different body from what their emotion indicates. There is mention of a great need (e.g. rejection, shame, abandonment). For these people, what is at issue is not a consciously resisting against God’s Word and His creation order, but the question about how to solve the need. Thereby, the key question is what is (profoundly) their need and what is the cause?

We shall render some quotations. A transsexual man says: “From my early age I found it terrible to be a girl. I had my menstruation and got breasts. It was terrible. Then also the first depression started. The operation took away the profound discontent. I no longer have to put on a mask” (68). The transsexual woman Joke of 18 years says: “I was very young, at the age of 7, I already knew that there was something wrong with me …. I am still in tears when I watch those documentaries, because it is as real as I feel. That’s how I came to the terrible conclusion that I am a transgender … I still find it very difficult to accept it, but now I know that I cannot suppress it or hide it when it comes back again and again… I actually have no choice” (39). People often think of suicide (11, 62). In other cases the dysphoria is less serious and people can put things into perspective and can live with it (27).

Christian transgender people are asking themselves what God’s intention is for them, and whether the Bible provides a way for sex change. Besides, the desire for going into transition (meaning to allow ‘reconstruction’ or ‘modification’) is a struggle in itself. Am I permitted to allow such a transformation into a man or a woman to my body? (11). It comes together with questions like: What did God create me for? How did He create me? How does the church respond to it? Can I tell my story and will I be understood? (25, 62). Someone said: “If I had satisfied my desire to become a woman, God would have sent me to hell, I thought. On the other hand: if I would not have allowed myself to be transformed into a woman, things would not have turned out right for me either. I would have committed suicide” (25, 62).

  1. When was it discovered?

When someone experiences gender dysphoric feelings as a child, he/she will face at a very early age already a tension between the social expectations based on the sex role that he/she experiences outwardly and his/her own gender dysphoric emotions. This tension already arises far from the puberty, but many gender dysphoric children come out for their feelings only around their puberty (64). Most transgender persons already know at the age of four or five that they feel differently than the sex which was given to them at birth. “In my youth I already knew: there is something wrong” (11, 62). So, that is before their sexuality has been developed (24, 33). Mostly, people (some have been even been already married and have children) discover only later on, e.g. by watching a television broadcast or via the internet, or by reading a brochure, what is going on (11, 25, 68). Because today there is more transparency about the problem and it is no longer a taboo, people dare to come out earlier.

  1. What are the possible causes?

There is still uncertainty about the (possible) causes of gender dysphoria.

According to some researchers, no unambiguous cause has been found up to now, for the determination of atypical sex development. But there is a consensus about the multi-causality of the issue. Mentioned are factors such as family relationships (among others: broken families) and education (parental authority); lack of affection, attention and confirmation by the parents, traumatic events such as rape; strong rejection which may cause a person to be more successful in another sex; psycho-sexual disorders; no direction nor encouragement in typical sexual behavior, developmental psychological factors (8,43,62,72). In some cases, a difference between experience and the desired self-image can be attributed to psychological disorders: not their body (there is nothing wrong with that), but their self-image is the problem (7). It may even regard a ‘joke’ that got out of hand, like in the movie ‘The Danish girl’. Other people think that a person with gender dysphoria is fooling him-/herself in a tragic and self-destructive way (8), or that it might be some imagination (46). It may also be a curse from ancestors. Think of families where (nearly) everyone suffers from rheumatism.

Others (e.g. neurologists) point to a biological cause, namely a disturbed hormonal system during the critical stages in the development of a fetus in the womb (27, 64, 72). Genetically, the body is in agreement with the sex, but the emotion says something else. This is caused in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is a gland where our hormones are formed. These hormones are given to the hypothalamus, where it is determined how a person feels (man of woman) and behaves. The 6th to 8th week of the fetal development during a pregnancy, is a very delicate period for the hypothalamus.

When it comes into contact with the intended hormones only, it develops itself to the hypothalamus as it occurs with the ‘normal’ people of that specific sex.

However, it may occur that for some reason a female fetus comes into contact with testosterone, the male hormone. The opposite is also possible: when the testosterone seems to be insufficient for the fetus, a female hypothalamus will develop. This can cause the brains to develop more female brain while the gender of the fetus becomes male. The brains and sex organs are developing at a different time during pregnancy (39, 64). It is now known of certain medicines that they can seriously disturb the testosterone system in the fetus. When the mother takes these medicines during pregnancy, it may cause gender dysphoria to the child (57, 64).

Whatever the cause (whether during pregnancy or during the development), it is a result of the brokenness of creation after the fall (37), and it is something that is considered to be real, drastic and pressing by both the ones involved and experts (8). It must be noted, however, that very few people have an equally strong form of gender dysphoria. It can sometimes decrease and it is also possible for one to learn to live with it. It is also noted that everything is in motion in the area of sexual and gender identity through puberty (8),

  1. Possible solutions

Everyone seems to agree that it is a real (sometimes tragic) problem. There also seems to be a consensus that none of these solutions for this problem is really satisfactory. Indeed, no miracle cures have been found for gender dysphoria and the solutions that exist (changes or acceptance) are incomplete or controversial (7). There are objections attached to both keep on living with gender dysphoria and having a sex changing operation. Therefore it is important to consider that all opinions about transgender dysphoria have the character of a search for solving a problem (7). The big question is how the problem of the transgender can be solved. Thereby, the knowledge of the concrete cause is essential. Besides, every single ‘case’ is different. In the search for solutions, people can think in two directions. The change can occur to the body or to the inner man, which is the mind. That is a great dilemma! There are great differences in the approach of how to offer possible solutions (or possible false solutions). The theologian Douma does not reject any adjustment to the body, even though he calls it a huge mutilation. Though, some transgender people do not see it that way. They consider the physical adjustment as a removal of a cancerous tumor (1). But the ethicist Jochemsen does reject the surgical procedure and thinks that the focus must be on coaching, pastoral counseling and psychotherapy (56).

We shall first describe the solution of a change (transformation) of the body and then the solution of a change of the inner man.

  1. Change (transformation) of the body

The only hope for many people with gender dysphoria, is the so-called sex changing operation: 67% of the transgender people who apply for it, is eligible for an operation. For many of them, the hope for a happy life is identical to the change (transformation) of their body. They cannot imagine that they could ever be happy in an unchanged body. In that way people are cutting off possibilities in advance for solutions that could probably be hopeful, according to the ethicist Boer (7).

Professor J. Douma claims that people can only start the procedure for a physical ‘reparation’, which is a hormonal treatment and surgery (how defective it may be) when a. the transgender is in a great need; b. it concerns a psychiatric disorder for which there is no remedy; c. a surgical ‘sex’ change is beneficial (17), and therefore results in a weakening and relief from the gender dysphoria. Pastor C. van der Leest compares the surgical procedure which is being applied, with plastic surgery that is applied when someone is suffering from an esthetical flaw, e.g. jug ears or an oddly formed jaw. In that case, surgery is also applied to a healthy, well-functioning body, but with the intention to relieve one’s psychological suffering and to increase the joy of life. This is how surgery can be applied from his conviction, in order to make the body an even better match to one’s gender identity (37).

In practice, they (e.g. the gender team at the Vrije Universiteit) do not take it lightly. In the diagnostic phase, they examine properly whether a person is dealing with a gender identity disorder or a psychiatric disorder, whereby delusions about gender identity play a role (64). “Apart from a long and thorough psychological research (whether one is autistic or schizophrenic, etc..), the patients are put through tests and a brain scan to identify the so-called sexually dimorphic nucleus of the brains”(57). In addition, they examine whether other problems have an impact, and discuss the medical contra-indications, such as smoking and obesity. The diagnosis is discussed and advice is given about a possible medical or psychological treatment. A sex changing treatment will only take place when there is mention of a gender identity disorder and the whole gender team agrees that the person will be able to cope with the treatment and would benefit from it (64). Besides, there are different techniques of a surgical change such as the metoidioplasty and phalloplasty (81).

In the so-called ‘real life test’ phase, the person concerned is asked that, when it is not yet the case, he/she has to start to live in the ‘role’ of the desired sex, and must start taking hormones (64). And in this phase he/she has to tell ‘it’ to family relatives, friends and colleagues. Sometimes in this phase already, people refrain from further treatment when it is too difficult for the people around them. Sometimes people choose for a life as someone of the desired sex, but without undergoing a sex change operation (64).

Finally, the next phase, which is the surgical procedure of the sex organs (which is to be watched in an animated video [61]) and the secondary sexual characteristics (breast amputation or – enlargement). It involves several surgeries. A full sex changing treatment takes approximately four to five years (64).

  1. Comments on the surgical procedure

Cutting into a healthy body (e.g. a circumcision) has never been uncontroversial, nor among liberal thinkers (68). It must be considered that the biological sex will not be changed by a so-called sex changing operation. After all, the human genome and the hormonal production will not be changed (7). Only the external characteristics of the non-desired gender are being taken away. This solution can be enough for some transgender people because they can start to live in the desired gender role (with the behavior pattern that goes together with it). A surgical procedure does not always take away the problems surrounding the gender and identity just like that. Sometimes, it is a path full of challenges which may include medical complications and a lifelong hardships (difficulty to be socially accepted; difficulty with getting a job (44) or a relationship; loss of family relatives, friends; divorce; abandonment, etc.) (59). A transgender says: “I always ask myself: will I ever be happy? But I have learnt to live with the body I have” (27). People should not delude themselves by thinking that they will no longer be handicapped in the course of their lives (17). They should also take several pragmatic aspects into account. Think of the voice which cannot be changed, or that the size of their hands, the physiques, the way of walking and the body hair do not agree with the accepted gender (25, 27).

From some people who had undergone surgery we receive positive results, from others we receive less positive results. Likewise, we hear testimonies of people who through pastoral counseling have learnt to live with their gender dysphoria, and in just a few cases from people whose problem has appeared to be solved completely (7) or that afterwards it appeared that they had received a misdiagnosis (57).

Hence the recommendation: “Do not hurry with surgery. You can’t go back. It may be a temporary disorder” (8). And “It should be considered that an operation may provide a psychological relief, but physically it is a quick fix: it makes it impossible for one to have a normal sexual life and to have children” (7). The body often continues to fight against the surgeries and therefore one remains dependent on extra hormones for the rest of his/her life. Furthermore, the option of a sex changing therapy and the many stories about it, may push many people into a fish trap: “Perhaps you are also in a wrong body, you can be operated’; or that young people start to doubt about their own gender.

Consider also the above-mentioned social developments. “From the Christian point of view I would say: wait, be patient, look for alternatives, no premature surgery, and first of all: do this all in prayer and remain faithful towards the patient through thick and thin. Look for a solid way to achieve results through psychotherapy. If someone finally chooses to make the transition, then there comes a moment that the dissenting voices must be silent. Everything is better than abandonment, a decision which unfortunately, also Christians have made all too often”, according to ethicist Boer (8).

  1. Transition without surgical procedure

People can choose to change from gender without surgery of the genitals, e.g. because of medical risks. The only thing is, that one can have himself/herself registered as a (transsexual) man or a (transsexual) woman and that he/she starts to dress and behave like a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’. If necessary, one can give permission to make adjustments of secondary gender characteristics, e.g. when a transsexual man has big breasts. Of course certain limits are to be considered at swimming and doing other sports etc.. Also the above-mentioned pragmatic aspects such as one’s voice, body hair, etc. should be counted.

  1. Changes in the mind?

Although there are Christians who think that transgender people deserve to receive sympathy and compassion, of course due to their difficult situation, and find it admissible for them to have a physical change as above-mentioned (“The way you feel in the inside is the most important and you are allowed to change your body accordingly” [39]), other Christians find it unacceptable for anyone to cut in a healthy body (69). Because of the latter, representatives at a conference of Baptists in the US, have adopted a resolution in which they turn against the so-called sex changing surgeries and hormonal treatments, with an overwhelming majority. According to them, the sexual identity of any person is determined by his/her gender and not by his/her self-perception. God has created two distinct and mutually complementary sexes (51).

Others think that one should try to ‘fight the battle’ or to ‘carry his/her cross’ and therefore not to have surgery. Transgender people should also consider the possibility of having a partner and children, and they should ‘convert’ from their desire for another body and resist against their gender dysphoric thoughts and learn to accept their body (37). Van der Leest calls this attitude perilous, because the problem lies much deeper than a subjective feeling (37). However, it must be borne in mind that also a handicapped person or the one whom he/she is married to, has to bear a heavy cross (59).

Because there are (possible) objections to both an ongoing life with gender dysphoria and having a sex changing operation, it gives cause to the question whether an alternative can be offered from the Christian faith, in addition to what psychology and the medical technique are already offering (7).

Therefore the question is not whether a medical surgery should not be considered (even if it would be wrong and has been allowed in ignorance, for God forgives our errors if we acknowledge and confess them), but whether there is a better solution, namely a spiritual solution which goes deeper than a psychological approach. Besides, there can also be a spiritual cause. A lot of very strange things can happen in the reality which has been broken by the fall of man; things which (may) indicate demonic (deceptive) inspirations. Some examples: We can first of all think of people who think that they are Hitler or Napoleon. The Canadian father and ex-husband Stefoknee Wolscht, left his wife and seven children to start a ‘new’ life as a six-year old girl! (32, 38). The 22-year old Vinny Ohh from Los Angeles, thinks that he is an alien and has undergone more than one hundred (1) surgeries (which has cost many thousands of dollars) to bring his face and body in line with his perception of a sexless alien (9). Some people think that they are a dragon or vampire, and still others think that they are a cat (e.g. the Norwegian woman Nano) (28), and even think that they are dead (syndrome of Cotard) (62). They live in a world of deception and fantasy.

There are even people who have a physical identity disorder: they amputate perfectly healthy limbs because they identify them as handicapped (62). The psychiatrist Rianne Blom, who obtained a doctorate in compulsive thoughts, writes about a patient in the AMC, who told her that one of his legs does not belong to his body. He could precisely indicate the spot where he should be amputated and told her that he was suffering from a Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID) (4), i.e. the feeling that certain limbs do not belong to his body. In all of the cases mentioned, there is a self-identification which is totally in contrast to the reality (62). It is possible that there is some inspiration from the kingdom of darkness, which may have become possible, due to sins from ancestors. And could it be possible that for example the desire of the mother, with regard to the gender of the baby, might have had any influence on the fetus?

It is very remarkable that from the research of Rianne Blom, it seems that the people from whom the physical part being denounced, has been removed, afterwards have been experiencing a clearly better quality of life, and are more in harmony with themselves! (4). Also a part of the transgender people who have undergone a surgery, have experienced peace with the new situation. The question is whether this all is spiritually healthy and whether medical specialists have to be involved. Think of the surgeries that Vinny Ohh had undergone at his own request (9). We must consider to investigate to what degree we can compare the examples mentioned, but in any case, they make us think.

It is striking that some transgender people experience such a tension which causes them to get so depressed that eventually it becomes obvious for them that it is not an option to remain unchanged, because they collapse under the tension (37) and sometimes even commit suicide. The question arises whether or not there might be some demonic bondage, even if it had been transferred through genes. Then also the question arises whether it might be possible that, when it regards Christians who believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, these transgender people can be delivered, as well as people with homosexual feelings could possibly be delivered, even if it could entail a (sometimes heavy) spiritual warfare. We unfortunately live in a society where many people no longer believe in deliverance and restoration/healing because they have strayed from what God says in His Word or do not know it at all. When people are told about God’s great love for them and God’s plan with their lives, then it is possible that people can be delivered in Jesus’ Name and by the power of the Holy Spirit which could therefore lead them to live a normal and happy life. This will often be a process and therefore not always an instant solution. And it requires persistent prayer and faith in God’s Word, also from fellow-Christians. The truth makes free (Jn 8:32). Deliverance is better than e.g. ‘filling’ a psychiatric patient with ‘a large dose of medication’ in order to subdue the aggressive inclinations, for that is not a real solution. Similarly, e.g. visiting a prostitute is not a real solution for a sexual need, for the visitor should be delivered from unclean spirits, just like e.g. a pedophile, a pyromaniac and someone with anorexia or a borderline personality disorder, should be and can be delivered from their bondage in the Name of Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Of course we should pray for wisdom so that we know how to help people who are in need, and for revelation of what God’s will and solution is in that specific concrete situation. An example is Sy Rogers, who was struggling with homosexual feelings and decided to make the transition to become a woman, but through his faith in Jesus Christ became aware of God’s love and in that way cancelled his plan about a sex changing operation. He is now a normally functioning and happily married man and father (76).

  1. Pastoral aspects

But although studies have been written during the nineties, in which the need of transsexuals was acknowledged, there is still some rejection sometimes within Christian circles (11). That means that there will be a need of pastoral support. Just think about the married transgender people. Does the transgender person need to come out or not? In any case, the marriage will come to a crisis and it is therefore important to be open and honest (37). Of course it is important that the spouses bring their need to God in prayer and pray for wisdom. Not for the transgender person alone there are questions, but also for the church community. The awareness that there are transgender people in the church, can “question our Christian tradition on what it means to be the body of Christ together” (33).

We can surround our fellow brother and –sister with attention, compassion and love.

An important question is: what difference does one’s real identity make? Whether you’re a man or a woman? “To God we are not first of all man or woman, but we are human, a beloved creature of Him” (25, 62). To what degree does the transgender person find his/her identity in Christ? The most important thing is that a man is (has become) a child of God by faith in Jesus Christ. That’s where one finds his/her real identity!

In 2013, a national discussion and self-help group for Christian transgender people was established (49), which provides for a need. The self-help group ‘Transgender en geloof’ is part of Transvisie, a patients’ organization for transgender people, transsexuals, gender seekers and their fellowmen (26). There is also a magazine for partners of transgender people to “make clear that it all does ‘not need to be much of a problem’.  In that way relationships can be prevented from breakups. It doesn’t need to go wrong” (18).

Since November 2017 there has been a guide for churches on dealing with transgender people. A part of it is a plea for a church celebration after a sex change (29). On 6th August 2017 there was a so-called Trans Pride service, especially dedicated to transgender people, with the theme ‘A new name’. The central focus was Genesis 32, where Jacob is wrestling at Jabbok and then receives a new name from God (11,14,29,41). It should be noticed that this text (and also regarding the name change of e.g. Abraham and Paul, and what is meant in Revelation 2:17) is about something completely different from what happens in the process of the sex change.

  1. Conclusions

We have seen two lines: On the one hand a social disconnection of gender and individual, owing to the ideal of self-determination. That is the framework within which the transgender phenomenon is placed. We see a clear anti-Christian trend in the society which intends to make a rule out of the exceptions. It is striking that the COC and such organizations are the first in line to describe the divine creation order as outdated. In certain views it is understandable that people intend to restrict e.g. sex registration. However, they should consider that we as a society are moving further and further away from what and how God had intended these things. People forget that the brokenness of the creation is the result of the sins of human race, and they want to consider the deviant to be normal.

On the other hand, there is a great personal need of the transgender (both Christian and non-Christian), which we must take very seriously, because of the occurrence of a genetic deviation, namely the gender dysphoria, which is related to the brokenness of creation, and for which a solution must be found. We have mentioned and discussed some directions of solution (acceptance, reconstruction, [process of] deliverance). There is a great diversity of opinions about it. The direction for which people will choose for a solution, depends on the cause and seriousness of the problem, and on one’s life philosophy and belief. Everyone is free to decide which direction to choose, but it is important to consider the non-physical spiritual reality.

Finally, we note that, considering the increasing problems in the world, it becomes more and more necessary to proclaim the saving gospel of Jesus Christ! For that alone provides a true solution for the need with which humanity wrestles, including sexuality and gender.

M.A. Piet Guijt

Zoetermeer, November 2017

Translated by Ursula Moestapa

List of Literature

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  4. Rien van de Berg, Dwanggedachten bij vijf procent Nederlanders, Nederlands Dagblad, 17 oktober 2017
  5. Gerard Beverdam, Sekseregistratie mogelijk niet langer verplicht. Nederlands Dagblad, 18 juni 2015
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  8. Theo Boer, Wacht even bij verkeer lichaam. In: Nederlands Dagblad, 14 februari 2015
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  10. Hugo de Bruijne, Mannelijk noch vrouwelijk. Nederlands Dagblad, 17 juni 2017
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  43. Some boys admit that they feel excluded, because they are not competent in the field of sports. They do not feel to be in line with the expectations of their peers concerning gender-related conduct or activities; others are attracted to the same sex and do not want to be considered homosexual, and therefore see the sex change as the best solution. Some young girls that are diagnosed, claim that they want to be men because a woman is treated as an object of lust or because of the sex-obsessed society (62).

A boy was quick to grasp that he would only be accepted if he looked like a girl. It soon became a desire and he started to hate his own body (21).

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Sy Rogers. Bron:

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