As parents our lives are full. They are full of the joys and happiness that come with having four lovely, healthy children. They are full of the exhaustion and frustration that come with having four lively children too. They are also full of certain fears and worries about the future, as to the issues our children will face as they grow up. Transgenderism is one of those issues they will certainly be unable to ignore and therefore as parents we cannot ignore preparing our children for the real world either. However, perhaps more importantly, as Christians we cannot ignore the opportunities this broken, hurting, rebellious world offers us either, to apply the comfort of the gospel. The most important thing I need, as a parent is to daily be reminded of the gospel’s power to transform every heart; my own, my children’s, and everyone else’s.
However when it comes to transgenderism, and especially when it comes to transgenderism and our children, there are some other important things to remember as well.
- Talk about transgenderism with your children. This might seem like stating the obvious, but today the obvious is not as easy as it might seem. The current cultural climate has successfully muzzled most voices from speaking out against transgenderism. It is simply assumed in many cultural narratives today that transgenderism is actually quite normal. While I’ve tried to unpack some of the more sensitive issues relating to what we say and how we say it in the book, I think the most important point actually is simply this: as parents we must be talking to our children about these huge cultural shaping trends. Without a doubt, if we are not informing their hearts and minds other people will be.
- Talk about the people, not just the politics of it. Another great danger is that as Christians we simply try and argue our points. The aim of any Christian should not be to win the argument. We are not simply concerned with scoring points in a debate. The aim of every Christian should be to win people to see the glory, forgiveness, beauty and truth of the Lord Jesus. Therefore when we talk with our children help them to see the value in every person.
- Talk about transgenderism as a Christian, not an expert. In other words, don’t worry if you do not have an answer to every question your child asks. If you don’t know, say so, and then make the effort to find an answer. A key point to remember here is that even the experts are divided. In some cases science itself seems to have been influenced more by the opinions of certain groups than by the observable facts on the ground.
- Talk about God and this fallen, wilful and frustrated world. Transgenderism itself is certainly not an unforgivable sin. Neither does it put an individual beyond the reach of our glorious saviour. Everyone of us has a heart that is turned in on itself and equally in need of rescue. The simple fact that I am writing this today, as a Christian, is evidence that God’s sovereign grace, is able to deliver, forgive and transform any life. But the context of God’s activity is this broken, fallen and frustrated world. Transgenderism is another clear example of our need for God to intervene.
- Talk about Jesus who is full of both grace and truth. While transgenderism is not an unforgivable sin, when Jesus deals with our sin, He not only takes our punishment but promises to remake us in His image. It is so important to help our children see that while Jesus loves everyone, that does not mean that He simply affirms us in all our choices. Every sinner who comes to Jesus for rescue at the same time gives over control of their lives to Him. Whether we struggle with issues of deep personal self–acceptance or greed and the need to gossip about others, Jesus will change us all in some way by his love and righteousness.
- Talk to God with your children about ways in which He might use you as a family to bring the power of the gospel to bear on everyone’s life, including those living with transgenderism. Our families are wonderful gifts from God. They ultimately belong to Him. One of the greatest cries of our hearts, and especially those within the transgender community is for a sense of belonging. Pray to your loving Heavenly Father, as a family, with your children, about the all the questions and concerns that you have. Pray for other people and the questions and concerns they have about themselves too. Our loving God is able to cope, even when we are not. Our children deserve to see that in the end everything depends upon Him and His everlasting love.