by Danielle Johnson | Staff Writer
A few nights ago, I attended a forum about transgender people and the transition process, at which there were three speakers who have all had some sort of experience with the transgender community. One was a man who had gone through the transition process himself, one the mother of a transgender child, and one a gay woman who is a part of the clergy and advocates for transgender rights. Each of them spoke about their personal experiences with the transgender community, and how they, as believers, dealt with the repeated rejection from their own church communities because of who they or their loved ones, were as people.
As a Christian, I am called to love and serve everyone around me, because God created all humans as equals, and does not discriminate based on a person’s life choices. Many Christians advocate for racial equality and equality among the different cultures of people around the world and do a great job of preaching God’s intended equality for each and every race and cultural group.
Why, then, are so many Christians so quick to turn our backs on those who don’t fit the church’s norm of a heterosexual male or female?
Christians are taught to act like Jesus: to accept those who are rejected by others; to forgive those who sin against them; to treat everyone equally as children of God. In today’s society, issues with sexuality and gender continue to be a controversial topic of debate, as more and more people are becoming comfortable opening up about their true selves; a trend which I am personally overjoyed to see growing. However, this growing discussion has led to backlash from the Christian community, with members of the church saying that transgender or non-heterosexual people are going to hell for what they’ve done, or for what kind of person they’ve chosen to love.
Many Christians are choosing to reject fellow children of God who were created as equals to us and are treating them as if their choices have made them inferior to heterosexuals. We’re acting as if the sins of transgender people and non-heterosexuals are somehow much larger than the ones we’ve committed ourselves, despite all sins being equal in the eyes of God. Christians are treating them as if God created heterosexuals to be on a higher pedestal in His eyes; as if “normal” males and females are “better Christians” than those who are different than them. This is a practice of some Christians that I have never and will never be able to understand.
The church has turned sexuality and gender issues into the “poster sin,” as one of the forum speakers called it. Rather than treating all sins as equal, we’ve raised differences in sexuality and gender as if they are worse sins than the ones we’ve committed themselves. Who decided that this one sin should be the one to turn so many people against each other, and to cause so many people to run away from the church?
The Christian community needs to realize that, in turning our backs on transgender people, we’ve turned our backs on people that God has called us to love. These are people who come to the church to be accepted; to be loved, only to be pushed away and told that they are wrong for who they are. Many of us Christians need to shift our viewpoint on transgender people and re-focus on fulfilling God’s desire for us to love and accept those around us, no matter who they are as people. God accepts and loves each human being that He has created no matter who they are or what they do, so what other reason do Christians need to start doing the same?