The Point: The Problem of Pronouns

He wants you to call him her. What do you do? For the Colson Center, I’m John Stonestreet.

So a friend announces that he or she was born in the wrong body, and is asking you to call him or her by the opposite gender’s pronouns. How do you respond?

Over at The Stream, Tom Gilson writes it’s important not to unnecessarily offend that friend, but at the same time, the idea that God created us male and female is a core conviction. We serve a Savior Who calls Himself “the Truth.” We can’t tell a lie.

Gilson suggests an answer along these lines: I understand that you have convictions about yourself, which is why you’re asking me to call you by a different pronoun. But I have convictions, too. And for me to go along with your request would violate those convictions, and therefore my identity. So how can we work this out together?

A little kindness, a little care, a little gentleness can go a long way. So remember, truth and love are not in conflict. No matter what happens, speak the truth and remember that the person you’re speaking with is made in the image of God.

Resources


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.

  • Phoenix1977

    “So how can we work this out together?”
    Quite simply, you can’t. And it’s quite possible this will end your friendship. Because, what will you do when your friend starts dressing like the gender he/she identifies with? Or undergoes surgery to adjust his/her body to his/her gender?
    In Canada and most European countries refusing to use the correct gender pronouns (meaning the pronouns of the gender a person identifies with) is considered rude, to say the least, and, in some cases, punishable by law. And it’s quite likely that will be a battle in the near future the LGBT community will have to fight. And all because religious conservatives believe their believes and convictions are the most important ones.

    • Ynot NOW

      You are right that it might be impossible to “work this out together”. Unless both parties are willing to remain friends in spite of disagreement. Only then can they begin to understand each other.

      • Phoenix1977

        “Unless both parties are willing to remain friends in spite of disagreement.”
        If the disagreement is about something so essential it’s virtually impossible to work it out. For example, an old classmate / friend of mine never asks how things are with my boyfriend, simply because he says a homosexual relationship is not worth asking about because it’s not a true relationship. We didn’t manage to salvage that friendship, trust me.

    • fred2

      Frankly, I don’t buy transgenderism because it violates our understanding of genetics. Bruce Jenner in a dress is still is a guy according to his male DNA. That is genetic reality. It’s no different than my DNA identifies me as a Black man. So I’d be defying scientific evidence to call myself a White guy.

      • Phoenix1977

        There are quite a few examples of phenotypes that do not correspond with the genotype, like, for example, Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome where the cells are “immune” to testosterone, causing the fetus to develop in the female line, despite the fact the fetus is genetically male.

  • jason taylor

    Everyone believes their beliefs and convictions are the most important ones, Phoenix. That’s why they are beliefs and convictions.

    • gladys1071

      All kinds of evil and atrocities have been commited in the name of beliefs/convictions. I will go against my belief or convictions to help another person (depending on the circumstances of course) and or to defend another.

      I think their needs to be a healthy balance of convictions/belief and relationships with other people. In my opinion people should come first.

      • Gina Dalfonzo

        That would be a belief and a conviction, would it not? 🙂

        • gladys1071

          I am not sure to be honest. I just think relationship is more important.

          • jason taylor

            Michael Corleone also thinks relationship is more important.

          • gladys1071

            I don’t know what you mean by this?

          • jason taylor

            What I am trying to convey is that you cannot define evils and atrocities without having beliefs and convictions. What I “mean by this” is that it is just as easy to abuse relationships as to abuse beliefs and convictions, as witness Michael Corleone, so saying relationship is more important then belief and conviction is meaningless.

          • gladys1071

            i never said conviction is meaningless, i said we need a healthy balance of conviction/belief and relationship.

          • jason taylor

            In any event where did you get the idea that something causing evils and atrocities is somehow an objection to it? For the matter of that, where did you get the idea that somehow you can define an evil or an atrocity?

          • gladys1071

            i am sorry i don’t know what you are trying to convey?

        • gladys1071

          I guess what i am trying to say is the relationship is more important to me than any religious belief/conviction.

  • jason taylor

    This reminds me of a scene in Waverley where their was a feast and no one knew who was a Whig and who was a Jacobite so they could not use the word Pretender for Bonnie Prince Charlie, nor could they use the word Prince. Instead they used the word Chevalier as whether he was a Prince or a Pretender it was agreed that he was a nobleman of some kind.