The Point: “Transgender”: A Word that Defies Reality

Words make thought possible—for good and bad. For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

Over at Public Discourse, Andrew Walker recently made an interesting suggestion: Christian should, whenever possible, avoid using the term “transgender.”

Our worldview can accept the reality of gender dysphoria—that there are those who experience feelings of confusion about their gender. But we can’t accept that people can “trans-ition”—literally move from one gender to the other, which Walker rightly calls a “metaphysical impossibility.”

The very word “transgender” implies that our self is distinct and separable from our bodies. By using it, we implicitly accept that distinction.

And the new phenomenon of transgender “birthdays”—honoring the date someone “transitioned”—is, according to Walker, a kind of gnostic “pseudo-resurrection.”

All of this, then, is just not compatible with the Christian worldview and it’s “divinely-orchestrated binaries” like heaven and earth, day and night, male and female.

God created the world with words. But “transgender” is a word trying to re-create reality.

Resources

What’s in a Name? Why Christians Should Be Wary of the Word "Transgender"
  • Andrew Walker | Public Discourse | May 30, 2017

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • 1concerned_mom

    Let’s also encourage Christians to avoid using the term “gay” as well, since there is little that is gay about the active homosexual lifestyle once the veneer is peeled away. Rather, we should talk about persons with same sex attractions and or persons who have chosen (yes, sexual activity is a choice) to be active in the homosexual lifestyle.

    Christ separated the sin from the sinner and so should we.

    • Phoenix1977

      Really? Could you please refer to me where in the bible Jesus ever talkd about homosexuality? Because you will have a very hard time finding any comment by Jesus on the subject anywhere.

  • Phoenix1977

    Yes, because why would Christians use the same vocabulary as the rest of the world? So I take it we will soon have a dictionary “Christian – English”? Or, even better “Christian – Reality”?

    • Steve

      The world is trying to redefine reality to make it what certain groups want.
      In a materialistic or humanistic point of view, there is no higher order. Therefore reality is whatever they want it to be. Unfortunately truth is not on that side and they realize this. There is a push among leftists to try to force everyone to not only acknowledge alternate lifestyles, but to agree with them as well. Hence all of the discussion about mandatory usage of pronouns that people prefer. If liberals were truly Liberal (as in, tolerant and open to ideas) they would not be trying to force others to use certain language. It has a very Orwellian feel to it when language is twisted to achieve a goal.

      • Phoenix1977

        I’m not going to debate what the truth is because, once again, the frame of references decides the truth. And bottom line, we will never agree (or even move towards a compromise) in this area.
        Fact is the medical community decides on treatments for every problem, not the churches. So if the medical community decides gender reassignment surgery is the right therapy you can disagree with that but that doesn’t change anything. And if the medical community states a person suffering from gender dysphoria is called a transgender they are called transgender. And you can decide to refuse to use the word transgender, just as you can refuse to use the CORRECT pronounces with transgender people but that will not make any difference except pushing you toward a fringe postition in society Christians are already in anyway.
        Orthodox Christians still think they represent the dominant point of view in the world. But you don’t. You are no longer a majority and for the new majority your view points are not that relevant. So this new resistance by Christians, refusing to use the word “transgender” only affirms the view point of the new majority: that Christianity is outdated and completely out of touch with today’s world. In the past people tried to engage Christians and pull them into the 21st century. But more and more people no longer see the use for that and have no problem letting you be, even if that means you will lose touch with society entirely.

  • Joseph

    We can re-define words all day. I would be careful though — more people might adopt the new conservative tactic of putting anything they disagree with in quotation marks, and direct that against “Christians” who act contrary to the teachings of Jesus. There’s a lot of fodder there — not sure you want to open that Pandora’s box.

  • Just one of many voices

    I like the main point here, but alas, I think meanings of words are found not in the dictionary, but the person/people behind the dictionary.

    And since when did the world go by the same dictionary, heh? Golly, how many dictionaries would we have if we were to make one for every type of language?

    Okay dictionary doesn’t sound like a word now.

  • Unholy Impetuous Ritual Plague

    I definitely agree with this. By acknowledging that a person is transgender means that you are acknowledging their transitioning. To make it less confusing I call transgenders by their biological gender. At least online anyway since I never met anyone transgender.

    The transgender activism call it bigotry and hateful, I call it reality.