In Part Three, we addressed why no one should ever be pressured to announce their personal pronouns. But should we use others’ personal pronouns when requested? That must be a question each of us be able to answer for ourselves, given that gender pronouns reference the objective and God-gifted reality of what it means to be male or female.
It is a very new and microscopic sliver of people in the world who have come to assert someone actually is the sex or gender they believe they are, rather than the one their body says they are. There is no new scientific conclusion requiring this belief. Yet, many are trying to force that belief on others with brutal rigidity. That is why the gender pronoun issue is such a contentious issue.
Choosing to use the pronouns others define for us is no small matter because these words relate to an objective, cross-cultural and natural reality of being either male or female. We must also remember what male and female are in the Judeo-Christian tradition. The first time we encounter the words male and female in scripture, it is not in reference to Adam or Eve precisely. It is mysteriously in reference to God and what would show forth His own image and likeness in creation.
Then God said, “Let us make [humanity] in our image, after our likeness…
So God created man in his own image,
in the image of God he created him;
male and female he created them.
And just like Satan got the first humans to doubt God’s very word in the garden, God’s enemy has vastly accelerated that attack today, having today’s culture question the very image and likeness of God in the world today in what it means to be male and female. As Christians, we must keep this truth in mind when navigating gender pronoun use. And Jesus, our model, never personally affirmed anyone in their sin, deceit, or confusion. He always addressed them after the manner He created them to be.
Yes, we are to be considerate of others who are confused about their gender, just as we are to be considerate of those who are confused about their physical ability. But there is still the truth of reality on both issues. Just as Jesus was equally full of both grace and truth, grace and truth must always be apart of our love of neighbor. Ignoring reality to make someone feel better about themselves is never truly loving. But as image bearers, every person deserves kindness, respect, and consideration, regardless of their story.
The meaning of words matters. Navigating this means walking the proper balance of being true to what it means to be male or female and our individual consideration of the person making the request. And this is what makes pronoun politics so problematic. It pressures us to say things we know are untrue. As Georg Orwell said, “the further a society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it.”
Maintaining Relationship is Important, But Not to Exclusion of Reality
Whether to use gender pronouns in new ways certainly depends on our relationship with the person making the request. Is it our adult child, sibling or a stranger in our English class? The nature of that relationship matters, but it certainly doesn’t require us to use new pronouns. We get to make that decision for ourselves.
The Difference Between Genuine Gender Dysphoria, Non-Binary and Trans
Another very important point is understanding the difference between clinical gender dysphoria and merely identifying as “non-binary” or simply “trans.” Each of these are very different things and command different responses.
- Gender dysphoria is an actual, diagnosable clinical condition, even though there are many different forms that differ dramatically in severity and nature. This is clinically similar to those are struggle with serious confusion about their physical ability, as we just noted.
- “Non-binary” is merely a personal identity that is highly transitory and loosely self-defined. It is certainly not an actual thing.
- Most important, we must understand that referring to one’s self as “trans” is a non-medical catch-all category that has become so elastic it can mean extremely different and conflicting things.
The National Center for Transgender Equality explains this fact, “Being transgender means different things to different people” adding, “there’s no one way to be transgender, and no one way for transgender people to look or feel about themselves.” This can include anything from severe gender dysphoria to simply not identifying as “the traditional male/female,” whatever that might mean. So do not be pressured by the claim that “being trans” is something that everyone should respect and honor. It is not. It is an infamously elastic term that trans activists admit “means different things to different people.”
So, if those leading this cultural revolution cannot agree on what their terms mean, they should certainly not place the burden of non-existent “clarity” on the rest of us. They cannot agree, but they demand the rest of us salute it all equally. That is a form of crazy-making and healthy people know not to be apart of it.
But be sure of this, no one gets to tell you “I am trans and you must call me this…”
That is not how civil society works. It flies in the face of reason, biological reality and fails to respect an individual’s right to conscience.
Photo from Shutterstock.