Editors Note: I watched about ten minutes of Catilyn Jenners new reality show “I am Cait” to see how they would bring up the Christian view that her surgical procedure was rebellion against God, her mother represented this by asking about the Bible verse that said men shouldn’t wear women’s clothes (Deuteronomy 22:5). This is an absolutely ridiculous argument that I saw through at the age of twelve since the same chapter in the Bible says you can’t wear a cotton blend shirt.
I’m not surprised they portrayed Christians as out of touch idiotic people who can do nothing better than take one verse completely out of context. But there is a better answer. A blog post I wrote in early June after Caitlyn’s first interview kept coming to mind, so wanted to reshare it this morning with the hope we as Christians can present a better answer than Deuteronomy 22:5.
June 4, 2015
It’s been impossible this week to go on the internet (social media especially) without encountering reactions or thoughts on the recent Vanity Fair article and cover photo of Caitlyn Jenner.
I spent lots of time this week trying to look at Caitlyn’s change and new life from a Christian worldview. Not because I don’t view this as sinful (not accepting our God-given roles is sin) but in order to understand WHY she needed the change to take place.
One of the best articles I’ve read while wrestling with this issue is Alex Dukes “Caitlyn Jenner and Love in the Future Tense.” It gives some very important points on how we can speak the truth in love within the kind of conversations that are bound to come because of the growing transgender community
Two statements in his article were very meaningful to me. The first encouraged Christians to actually connect with those who either struggle with transgender issues, or are part of the transgender movement. “telling the truth in love means saying so not via juvenile online jabs but over a meal or the phone, not through clenched teeth but sad eyes. ”
The second statement was the one that haunted me though because I believe it goes deeper into the actual reason for transgender procedures.
You see in the end it’s about more than just feeling like a male or female.
Daniel Davis in a very insightful article points out Caitlyn’s claim to find her identity in being a woman goes directly against a foundational part of the transgender movement.
For years, a major aim of the sexual revolution has been to deconstruct gender differences as being “social constructs,” mere cultural projections of what maleness and femaleness are and mean. This critique evacuated gender of any physical meaning and reduced it to an existential feeling—a feeling of being male or female, regardless of one’s sexual biology.
In other words being male or female or just archaic ways of looking at a person that have nothing to do with the real world…so for Caitlyn to embrace being female (and be celebrated for it) is actually taking a step backwards. Or as Davis puts it;
To celebrate Jenner’s femininity is actually to commit a liberal heresy: to revert back to a form of gender essentialism.
Back to the statement that I can’t get past. Here is what Dukes says about Caitlyn’s change.
Telling the truth means telling the world what it just might already know: that no amount of surgical reconstructing or dexterous Photoshopping will re-make or beautify Bruce’s self-inflicted wounds on his way to becoming Caitlyn. But telling the truth in love means listening, really listening, when other Caitlyns tell you why their Bruces needed to go, why they always felt like impostors in their own skin until that skin was sovereignly rearranged and knit back together, fearfully and wonderfully made another way, their way. (emphasis added)
I personally believe Alex is onto something here because he moves past the physical part of the discussion (gender reassignment) and asks the deeper question. Why did Bruce need to go?
Caitlyn actually answers that question for us in recent interviews by saying as Bruce she wasn’t a very good parent.
““I have made a lot of mistakes raising the four Jenner kids,” she tells the magazine. “I had times not only dealing with my own issues but exes. It was very traumatic and there was a lot of turmoil in my life, and I wasn’t as close to my kids as I should have been.” . Editors note: There is an expletive towards the end of this article with one letter removed. I kept it in the footnotes as a source for my quotations.
This was echoed by her daughter Cassandra who states that when Caitlyn began the transition in the 1980’s that’s when they found a caring and loving parent, explaining that Caitlyn was a better parent when she “was moving towards his authentic self. She added, “I would happily have traded a distant father for a loving, involved mom.” (emphasis added)
Cassandra’s older brother Burt while celebrating the change says that he has high hopes, “Caitlyn is a better person than Bruce” .
Caitlyn herself enjoys talking about how she is a much better person than Bruce ever was:
”Even my son, actually, Burt said that to me one time. He goes, ‘To be honest with you, I think Caitlyn is a lot better person than Bruce,’“ Jenner said. ”And I really have to – I think he’s right, because Bruce always had to tell a lie, he was always living that lie, every day, he always had a secret from morning till night. Caitlyn doesn’t have any secrets.”
When the interviewer remarked on how cheap Bruce used to be, Jenner replied, “I know. What I told her: ‘Isn’t Caitlyn a much better friend?’ Bruce, he would never send a plane. No, no, no, what a jerk the guy was, OK, Caitlyn is like, ‘Send the plane. Mom, we’re sending a plane, we’re going to go pick you up and bring you down here.’”
She is always very excited about having a better relationship with her mother.
“We had a conversation the other day, we were talking about a lot of things, and, you know, she goes, ‘You know what, I think I can have a better relationship with Caitlyn than I can with Bruce,’ because we’ve always had a little tension in our relationship throughout the years,“ Jenner explained. ”And so when she ends the conversation, she goes, ‘OK, goodbye, Caitlyn.’ It was very funny, very cute.”
I’m not doubting that Caitlyn did have a real struggle in her life. However her own words prove that this transgender reassignment was about more than just becoming a woman.
It’s about escaping Bruce the absent parent, liar, and cheapskate.
It’s about running from the person that she is ashamed of.
And in that sense we are all Caitlyn’s whose Bruces need to go.
We each have that part of us that we hate. The sin-nature that reveals our brokenness and inability to live a life that’s honoring to God. The Apostle Paul, known as the greatest Missionary who ever lived, struggled with this problem.
Romans 7:18 For I know that nothing good dwells ain me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing
Romans 7:23 but I see in my members fanother law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?
I can echo the words of the Apostle Paul
- I’m stubborn
- I’m Lazy
- I only focus on my own desires, and not the desires of others
Thats why we can be thankful for Romans 8:1-2
Rom. 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.* 2 For the law of the Spirit of life ihas set you* free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.
Through the power of Christ our hearts are changed, and the Holy Spirit residing in us gives the ability to live a Holy life.
Most of us are like Caitlyn because we try to hide or remove our brokenness so others can’t see it. But the truth is for true hope to come we must openly confess our brokenness, and accept the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.
May God give us the grace to display a life that finds our identity in Christ before a culture filled with Caitlyns.
- “The future tense gave room for breath, room for thoughts and prayers and well-postulated arguments. But that time’s gone now, so somewhere—and likely sometime soon—you will be asked, “Did you see that Vanity Fair cover? What did you think?” Alex Duke