Biola develops transgender policy as Cal Baptist lawsuit appears

For the first time in history, to honor the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a transgender flag was raised in Harvey Milk Plaza in November. | Courtesy of torbakhopper [Creative Commons]


Biola University is working to create a policy regarding transgender individuals, as current university literature on sexuality does not reference those who identify themselves as the opposite gender.

While the actual release date of the new policy is undetermined, the aim is to have it ready by fall 2013 for the online student handbook, said Danny Paschall, dean of students.

As Biola updates their policies on sexuality to include gender identity issues, California Baptist University, a fellow member of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, is currently being sued by a former transgender student for wrongful expulsion.

California Baptist University faces lawsuit

On Feb. 25, former CBU student Domaine Javier filed a lawsuit against the university for discriminatory expulsion, according to Paul Southwick of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP, Javier’s attorney.

“The reason for expulsion, as stated by Cal Baptist, was that my client committed fraud or concealment of identity because she checked ‘female’ for ‘gender’ on her application for admission,” Southwick said.

CBU and its lawyer, Theodore Stream of Gresham Savage in Riverside, could not be reached for comment on the lawsuit.

Although Javier identifies and lives as a female, she is biologically male. Prior to transferring to CBU in the fall of 2011, she appeared on an episode of MTV’s reality show “True Life” titled, “I’m Passing as Someone I’m Not.” CBU expelled Javier just before she began her first semester at the university after discovering her MTV appearance through a background check, according to The Press-Enterprise.

Regulations do not mention transgender individuals

The CBU Student Handbook requires that students respect the religious traditions, values and ethics of the university, although — unlike Biola — they do not require students to be professing Christians. A part of the university’s statement of faith, titled “The Christian and the Social Order,” further details the university’s values.

“In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose racism, every form of greed, selfishness, and vice, and all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography,” the University Baptist Faith and Message statement reads.

However, Southwick says that CBU’s statement does not address this particular issue.

“There is nothing in Cal Baptist’s policies addressing gender identity issues or transgender people, the only thing that is discussed is homosexuality,” Southwick said.

Since Javier views herself as a female and checked that as her gender on the application, Southwick insists that his client followed the rules and should be treated like any other student.

Prior case addresses Unruh Act in religious institutions

In 2009, precedent was set by Doe v. California Lutheran High School Association when California courts ruled that California Lutheran High School’s expulsion of two female students engaged in a homosexual relationship was not in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act. The ruling said that because the school was not a business enterprise, the Unruh Act did not apply. The Unruh Act forbids business establishments from discriminating against any person because of their actual or perceived sex, race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status or sexual orientation.

Despite this prior case, Southwick plans to argue that CBU acted in violation of the Unruh Civil Rights Act by expelling Javier for fraud.

Southwick asserted that the precedent set by the California Lutheran case does not apply since his client is not accused of being homosexual or engaging in homosexual conduct. Furthermore, it is not accurate to compare a high school with a college, he said.

“It’s a very different context than a university where adults are making their own decisions," Southwick said.

Biola admissions policies stricter than CBU

The Biola admissions department has dealt with misrepresentation on applications in the form of a student lying about alcohol use or submitting a fraudulent essay, but they have not encountered a student like Javier, according to Andre Stephens, senior director of undergraduate admissions. Stephens said that Biola’s stricter admissions policies, compared to CBU, might be a factor.

“We are a bit narrower on the students we accept, not just academically but spiritually, because we require that all students have a profession of Christian faith to attend,” Stephens said.

Although all 118 CCCU schools require faculty and staff to be professing Christians, Biola is one of 18 schools that requires students to be Christians as well, according to Stephens.

Your Turn.  Post a Comment

  1. Autumn Sandeen

    There seems to be an assumption that one can't be Christian and transgender at the same time. I'd argue that's a false assumption: there are transgender people of faith.

    In my mind, Isaiah 56:3-5; Matthew 19:12; Galatians 3:28; 1 Samuel 16:7; Acts 8:25-40; and Judges 4 are scriptures would seem to indicate that gender, gender expression, and genitalia variance are not things that prohibit one from being both Christian and transgender at the same time. March 14, 2013

  2. Lisa Salazar

    To begin with, I am a transsexual Christian who enjoys a deep and person relationship with Jesus Christ—He is the golden thread that has kept my life from unraveling. Though suicide has always been an option, He has kept me sober of mind and given me the ability to avoid self-destructive behaviors. I transitioned relatively late in life at the age of 58, I am now 62. Since coming to faith in Christ over 40 years ago, with the hope I would one day be "normal," I prayed and did everything I could to "retrain my mind" and to fight the moment by moment secret battle raging in my person. I was diagnosed with acute gender dysphoria in 1999 but it took me another 8 years to reconcile this with my faith. I was finally able to accept that being transgender was not something I chose for myself, and more importantly, I saw the increased medical understanding and the help it offered me as a gift from God and an answer to my prayers for peace over my sexuality. Today I am involved in worship at an affirming church in Vancouver, BC and have the privilege of corresponding with dozens of other transgender Christian men and women throughout the world who love Jesus. Sadly, the most common experience for many of them is rejection by their Christian families, friends and churches—which seems counter intuitive to how followers of Christ should behave. I pray Biola will bridge the gap between theology and medicine with an much more open understanding of human sexuality by adopting more inclusive policies for gender variant persons.

    One final note to the editors of Chimes, drop the past tense version of transgender. Transgender is both used as an adjective and a noun. Therefore, "transgendered" is not a correct use the word. Think of how we address and older person as a "senior" and not as a "seniored" or "oldered" person.

    Lisa Salazar—Author, Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good Life March 14, 2013

  3. NW Clerk

    I understand that real people struggle with the issue of gender identity (as Lisa has so kindly opened up about), and I don't want to denigrate anyone who is. I cannot imagine having difficulties in this area (although I surely have them in many other areas), and I can only empathize. Nevertheless, Christians believe that whether or not we engage in or refrain from certain behaviors (e.g., watching tv rather than reading, eating lunch at noon rather than 1, etc.) is something that is up to us, and as such we are responsible. The same direct control doesn't generally apply to things like our feelings or beliefs or impulses (although we can perhaps over time indirectly affect change in these areas); as such, we are not responsible for these.

    As an example, we don't hold an alcoholic responsible for desiring alcohol, but for getting drunk. Wanting is a mere temptation, but acting is to fall to the temptation. As Paul said in this regard, "No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it" (1 Cor 10:13). This passage applies to transgendered individuals (see Deut 22:5) as well as anyone else who struggles with sin (i.e., everyone). One cannot directly control (and hence are not responsible for) their feelings, beliefs, or impulses, but one can control (and are thus responsible for) their behaviors. Cross-dressing is a behavior, as is identifying oneself as the opposite gender. And these things we are responsible for. While the impulse may be persistent and near ubiquitous, it does not determine how we act--only we do.

    Look at Christ, the only one who was never overcome by temptation (although tempted plenty; Heb 4:15). He believed the truth of 1 Cor 10:13 (clearly enunciated by Paul after the fact), and His struggle came even to the point of blood (Lk 22:44, cf 28, Heb 2:18). As Peter exhorts us, "let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good" (1 Pet 4:19). And let us all internalize what James says: "each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death" (James 1:14-15).

    Christianity is a religion of self-denial (Mark 8:34-38). Not because humans are worthless or because matter is evil, but because we are trying to be like our God who exemplified self-giving love in Christ (Phil 2:5-11). If we ever hope to be in community with the triune God of love we must learn to be like 'them' in all things, loving Him and one another over self. Let's let Him worry about loving us, and let us worry about loving Him (Matt 6:25-33), even if that means suffering: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Rom 8:18). March 14, 2013

  4. Amy

    I have always held great respect for Biola because its leaders fiercely uphold Scripture and stand firm in their beliefs. I know those involved in updating Biola's Statement on Human Sexuality concerning transgender students will seek God's wisdom and peace. And we should pray for them as they do so.

    But we need to be careful when we start talking about gender expression in Scripture and whether or not we are held accountable for our beliefs, impulses and feelings. All our actions (not just our impulses) stem from our feelings and beliefs. We are certainly held accountable for our impulses (1 Chronicles 13:9-10). And in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks to our feelings. And in no way does he hint that we are off the hook. Anyone who is angry with his brother is subject to judgment (Matt 5:22) and anyone who looks at another with lust commits adultery in his or her heart (Matt 5:28). And desiring - more importantly, acting on the desire - to be the opposite of how God created you is not pleasing to God. It's saying he didn't do well when he created you. And who are we to say that to God?

    The issue of gender identity is so important. Some of the Scriptures mentioned in the first comment are in regard to eunuchs. There are no female eunuchs in the Bible. They are all male. And I don't see evidence of them desiring to be female. This does not speak to those who consider themselves transgender. Eunuchs were either born that way, made that way by men (usually servants) or who made themselves eunuchs to remove the temptations of sexuality in order to focus solely on the kingdom of God. It had nothing to do with wanting to identify with the opposite gender.

    There are strong Christians who struggle with homosexuality. But the Christians who struggle with it do their best not to act on it. Someone can struggle with identifying themselves as transgender and be a strong Christian. God will not hold someone at bay because of one struggle or another. But it is acting on the temptation that is the sin. It's all about how the individual handles it. And I'm aware (from heavy research on this subject) that Biola does not discriminate against Christian students who struggle with gender issues unless they intentionally violate the code of conduct. They offer their confidential help to the student and ultimately decide together whether Biola is the best fit for them. And they would do that with any student who had trouble following Biola's community standards for any reason.

    Biola understands that we're all sinners, and God allows us to fight different battles. I know Biola will do as it sees best regarding this issue. But the ultimate end we should seek to these temptations is God's glory, not our own.

    March 14, 2013

  5. Willow

    Like "Autumn Sandeen" shown above, I used to believe that one could be a professing, practising Christian (of course, please define "Christian" here, since everyone has a very different definition of that word) and being homosexual, pansexual, polyamorous, etc.

    I was part of a conservative/fundamentalist Baptist sect when I was a teenager, and became a Pentecostal during my high school junior year. But during my college year I "came out of closet" and for the subsequent decade or so remained very active in church (United Church of Christ, later The Episcopal Church). Then maybe a year ago I came to a realization that I cannot, with a good conscience, be a Christian and be a feminist lesbian.

    Using the Bible to defend homosexuality is about as much of a stretch as a criminal defence lawyer using obscure laws and case laws to defend murder suspects in court. The underlying attitude is that of "outsmarting" the Church, and ultimately, its god. I no longer find this to be honest or ethical.

    Yet, I am speaking this as someone who no longer sees the Bible as infallible or word of God. I view it as a product of helplessly and irredeemably corrupt religious institution that is steeped in sexism, classism, homophobia, and violence.

    My question to "Autumn" and others is why stay in church when a great majority of your religion will continue to harbor ill will towards you? Christianity does not own the world and you do not need it. You (hopefully) live in a country with religious freedom and secular government. Don't let Christians have power over you by playing their Bible games.

    But I also call people to respect Christianity and its traditions by not forcing foreign ideas and practices down its throats. It is not "hate" when Christians do not accept homosexuals as part of their church, any more than Orthodox Jews do not work on Saturdays or eat bacon cheeseburger. Orthodox Judaism does not allow intermarriage between a Jew and a non-Jew, either, but no one reacts hostile to that tradition as being hateful. Why not respect the differences and agree to disagree -- that's fundamental to a society that values liberty and civility.

    I do not understand any gay person wanting to attend Cal Bapt or Biola, at all. California has great public university systems, and several wonderful secular and non-Christian private colleges. March 14, 2013

  6. Jos Charles

    You all get that trans* issues are REALLY different than homosexuality, right? Like gender identity and sexuality are totally different things. One can be a straight transman or transwoman or non-binary person or a gay, lesbian, queer, etc, trans* person. You know, just like cis (non trans*) people. Please stop conflating our narratives into one convenient abject and pitiable figure--it's not only grossly inaccurate but patronizing. As a genderqueer graduate of Biola I hope and pray this policy will be as open and charitable as Christ was and is. March 15, 2013

  7. NW Clerk

    Amy: By ‘impulse’ I merely meant an ‘internal surge of spontaneous desire,’ not external actions or reflexes. Hence I take Uzzah’s case in 1 Chr 13:9-10 to be one not of impulse, but deliberate action. As for the cases of anger and lust, I don’t take an impulse towards these states to be anger or lust themselves, but merely their precursors. It is only when we choose these states over relevant other states that sin occurs. As James says, “desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin” (Jm 1:14), not desire itself. For more here, see discussions on concupiscence. Moreover, Amy, I think you agree with my central point when you say that: “God will not hold someone at bay because of one struggle or another. But it is acting on the temptation that is the sin.” This distinction is all that I was getting at.

    Willow: I am sorry to hear about your situation, although I recognize that you do not feel this way. I like what you said about how “respect[ing] the differences and agree to disagree… [is] fundamental to a society that values liberty and civility.” I concur. And I also agree with you on the issue of secular colleges, although I suspect it’s a bit simplistic. We all have areas shaded grey, and to reduce or change this grey to either black or white can be quite a long and difficult process. What you have said of your own life attests to this. As for the Bible, you say it is “a product of helplessly and irredeemably corrupt religious institution that is steeped in sexism, classism, homophobia, and violence.” Two things: what ‘institution’ are you referring to (the canon was long established before the Catholic church became an entity), and are you sure that your charges of sexism, et al. can stand up to critical scrutiny? Celcus made similar charges in the 2nd century from the perspective of a Greco-Roman intellectual, but was admirably answered by Origen. And this has occurred again and again. It’s a deep book, are you sure you’re doing it justice? And even if you are (and I think not), the case for resurrection and divinity of Jesus stands on history, not inspiration. Even if the book is corrupt, you must still decide what to do about Jesus.

    Jos: I am a licensed mental health counselor with degrees from a state school, who is familiar with these issues. I understand that there are a number of ways in which these things can be cashed out. While I agree that people need to be heard, I do not agree with the assumption that biological sex and gender identity are separable in humans and can be reclassified based upon choice or narrative. In classical Christian theology one’s soul is gendered as well as one’s body, and the body that develops is isomorphic with the already existing blueprint of the body in the soul. This says nothing about gender identity or sexual orientation, but it does give us a starting point: one cannot use a narrative to undermine a fact about oneself as they are unalterably anchored in one’s very substance. March 15, 2013

  8. Lisa Salazar

    NW Clerk, reducing gender identity to a behavior is akin to reducing being left handed to a behavior.

    Unfortunately, you are not alone in having this erroneous and simplistic understanding of a real medical condition.

    What prayer, fasting, memorization of scripture and everything else in your Bible tool kit could not do—cure my gender dysphoria—medical and surgical transition did. I have not experienced dysphoria since I began my transition in July of 2008.

    Imagine any other medical condition I could have suffered from since birth for which I had prayed all my life for God to fix, and imagine that now, for the first time in history doctors could treat with medications and surgery, would you tell me to not avail myself of this treatment but to rather rely on the grace God promised would be sufficient for me? That is how absurd your argument is to my ears.

    The reality is, whether you like it or not, that even God himself—in the person of Jesus—acknowledge that sexuality is not purely (male and female) binary when he spoke about those who are born eunuchs from their mother's womb. Interesting God (Jesus) encapsulated his comments with the caveat and challenge that not all would be able to receive his words.

    I pray that He allow you to wrap your brain around it, in the same way Philip (who had three daughter) obviously had by the time he met up with the Ethiopian eunuch.

    Have you ever wondered why the Holy Spirit may have prompted Luke to include the fact this person was a eunuch in this account in Acts? He could have simply said an "Ethiopian official" without any mention of this person's sexuality.

    I suspect the fact the person was a eunuch must have struck Philip as significant, especially in view of what Jesus had said about eunuchs and the fact that eunuchs were considered ceremoniously unclean. Yet, this person made this treacherous and dangerous journey to Jerusalem for the Passover, knowing that he/she would simply be an onlooker, forced to stand on the side lines.

    How did Philip know this person was a eunuch? The fact is that the bodies of persons who are born inter-sex (today's term) don't always mature with the expected male or female secondary sexual characteristics. Therefore, it is quite possible that this person presented in a very androgynous way, did not have facial hair or a deep voice. We don't know. But again, that fact this sexually other's sexuality is part of the biblical record is significant from the point of view of inclusion, which would be the hallmark of the church.

    No longer would people be excluded form full participation on the basis of being male, female, Greek, Jew, slave or free. Philip obviously had a paradigm shift by the time he was called to meet up with this person on that dusty road to share the gospel and baptize him as an equal member of the body of Christ. March 15, 2013

  9. John Kruckenberg

    I always love when people try to re-define what a eunuch was... March 15, 2013

  10. Bob Fritch

    As a Biola graduate, I find that this issue is disturbing but due to our times it would eventually come up. First of all, God does not create one to be homosexual or transgender for we see that in Genesis, we were created either male or feale. Anything other than that is a sin issue and a lie from the pit of hell.

    The Lord I serve is a God of healing and deliverance and if He so chooses can completely heal and deliver one from a homosexual or transgender lifestyle. If God so chooses not to do that does not mean He sanctions that lifestyle but rather He gives us the grace to not act on those urges and impulses so that we can be a testimony of His grace and power. There are Christians who are alcoholics who have not been delivered but by the power of God and His grace choose not to act upon the impulse to drink and the same can go for homosexual and transgender individuals.

    Whether they like it or not, the bible refers to homosexuality and transgender as sin, just as with adultery, lying, stealing, fornication, etc., and yes all forgivable by God, but He expects us to turn away from these sins.

    In regards to the issue of eunuchs in the bible, I am not sure whether they were ceremonially unclean or not, but if they are then why does Isaiah 56:4-5 say that God will bless the eunuchs who keep His Sabbath days holy and that He will give them a memorial and a name far greater than sons or daughters could give them?

    For greater understand of this whole issue I would refer you to Dr. Michal L Brown's book "A Queer Thing Happened to America". Dr Brown is a Messianic Jew with a doctorate in near eastern linguistics and has a full grasp on the meaning of the Hebrew texts.

    My sincere prayer is that all those who struggle with homosexuality and transgender issues would find freedom and deliverance in the power of the Spirit and in Christ Himself. March 16, 2013

  11. Former Student

    Although I would be so happy to see these barriers brought down at Biola, that's not the point I want to make ... Biola made the decision (perhaps about 15 years ago ???) that they would NOT require all faculty members to be professing Christians. This happened when they officially hired Menahem Pressler in the music department. He is Jewish, not Christian. I fully supported that decision when it happened because he is one of the top piano instructors in the world and Biola's students would benefit greatly from having him on the faculty. He had a great relationship with the school for many years before being hired for anything beyond annual recitals and masterclasses. i.e. I don't think whether or not students and faculty are required to be "professing Christians" is a suitable argument. Different people have different beliefs and my Christian background requires me to respect these differences. March 16, 2013

  12. Bob Fritch

    Dear Former Student, I think you have your facts mixed up about Menahem Pressler. According to his own website he has been on the faculty of Indiana University for the last 60 years, however, on the Biola conservatory for music website he is just listed as an "artist in residence" which is far different than being on the faculty. I would also find fault with your statement that for the last 15 years the faculty of Biola do not have to be professing Christians, where in fact, every faculty member every year has to sign a paper that they are in agreement with Biola's doctrinal statement otherwise they can no longer teach there. March 17, 2013

  13. Dee Omally

    The Domaine Javier expulsion, or rather the justification for it was "she lied about her sex". She was asked about her gender, not sex. Her gender is female, although it WAS male so she in fact committed no misrepresentation.

    Although the school is private, this is no license to discriminate. Domaine will be awarded damages, you all will see. March 17, 2013

  14. Linda

    Lisa Salazar: THANK YOU for having the courage to share your story and your insights. If God has taught us one thing in this life, it is to walk humbly before Him and others when speaking about something that we have not experienced personally. I, for one, intend to read your book and learn more about the transgender individuals in our community, and am going to pray that God will continue to cover you with His grace and peace as you courageously share your story with those of us in the church who need, desperately, to hear it. March 18, 2013

  15. Mike

    The issue was not that the university was trying to discriminate, exclude, or expel her because she was transgender... the issue was that she misrepresented information on her application by not disclosing her gender identity as transgender. Regardless of if she views herself as fully female, she still has the anatomy of a male, and that precise point was what the university was saying that she misrepresented on the application and was the reason she was expelled. It wasn't arguing with her right to view herself as a woman... the university was arguing that because she concealed information on her application and failed to inform them of her transgender status, this constituted a false or fraudulent claim, which is legitimate grounds for expulsion. Whether she viewed herself as a female is a moot point. If she actually possesses the genitalia of a man, it is fraudulent to claim one gender or another, she is transgender. The university would likewise expel any non-transgender person on the same grounds if it were discovered that they also had misrepresented or concealed key information on their application regarding any number of other important data, such as age, race, or nationality. What if I put down that I was a U.S. citizen when in fact I am a Canadian, or that I was 18, when in fact I am 35? I would be subject to expulsion on the exact same grounds, and treated the same way. This isn't about civil liberties, its about falsifying or concealing information on a form. March 18, 2013

  16. Willow

    It is amazing, that in this day and age, "sex" is something anyone considers to be a "key information." Does Cal Bapt application also ask, under oath, one's ancestry, whether one is left-handed, one's history of sexual encounters, whether one has had cancer, etc.? These are called "non-merit factors" in U.S. law. Title IX of U.S. Civil Rights Act prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools, just as other provisions of the Civil Rights Act prohibits racially-based discrimination. Does Cal Bapt expel students because they claimed to be white and then some busybodies who work for Cal Bapt's "intelligence department" found out that they had "one drip of Negro blood"?

    The bottom-line is, this is fundamentally ridiculous and doesn't belong in the 21st century.

    Does one's academic performances determined by their sex? No. And I hope Cal Bapt do not have separate curricula and course requirements for male students and female students.

    I once went to a Christian liberal arts college and left after two semesters in a total disgust because I found too many female students came to college to find their future husbands instead of getting education. March 18, 2013

  17. Willow

    "What if I put down that I was a U.S. citizen when in fact I am a Canadian"

    Only pertinent in a private college such as Biola or Cal Bapt if you are getting a federal financial aid. If you are paying 100 percent of tuitions it is entirely irrelevant.

    "or that I was 18, when in fact I am 35?"

    Only pertinent if you intend to participate in varsity athletics and if the team or sport has regulation age limits.

    March 18, 2013

  18. Autumn Sandeen

    Part 1.

    Amy: 1 Timothy 2:12 informs us that Paul didn't "permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet." The view is repeated in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35. So in the light of those scriptures, have you ever wondered about the overtly "unfeminine" behavior of Deborah (Judges 4)? Could Deborah have been what today we call a trans man?

    What about Esther’s eunuch and the part that slave played in her fulfilling her role in history?

    And too, what about the man who was seen carrying water at the Passover/the Last Supper (Matthew 26, Mark 13, & Luke 22)? Men didn't carry water in those times -- that chore was very strictly relegated to women and girls. So, what may that tell us about the man who was carrying the water?

    And what if, perchance, the Gospel According To Mary Magdalene 5:1-3 had a grain of truth to it? What would that say about the gender of Mary Magdalene?

    Well, the Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Susanna of Luke 8:1-3 certainly didn't act in the way Paul said women should act -- would it be unreasonable to say that one or more of these three's behavior might be because he or they were trans men?

    When I wrote that gender, gender expression, and genitalia variance are not things that prohibit one from being both Christian and transgender at the same time, it wasn't written in a vacuum of Biblical gender variance.

    I included 1 Samuel 16:7b in the list of scriptures of my first post in this comment thread. It reads "God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." And given Christ's comments on judging others from Matthew 7:1-5, these together seem to be a pointed commentary that can be applied to Christians judging whether or not the gender truths of gender variant children of God are gender truths God accepts as truth. Certainly there is enough scripture indicating God's acceptance of gender variant genitalia, as well as God and Christ's acceptance and utilization of people who didn't conform to societal sex and gender norms. April 2, 2013

  19. Autumn Sandeen

    Part 2.

    Amy: Lastly, let me leave you with this tidbit about intersex people -- people who would be included in the identification of eunuchs found in Matthew 19:12. John Boswell’s <em>Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality</em> (Appendix Two) has a translation of Peter Cantor‘s De vitio sodomitico — or On Sodomy (d. 1192 AD). Here’s the excerpt on "hermaphrodites" (or as we’d more appropriately identify these folk now: intersex people):

    <em>"The Lord formed man from the slime of the earth on the plan of Damascus, later fashioning woman from his rib in Eden. Thus in considering the formation of woman, lest any should believe they would be hermaphrodites, he stated, “Male and female created he them,” as if to say, “There will not be intercourse of men with men or women with women, but only of men with women and vice versa.” For this reason the church allows a hermaphrodite — that is, someone with the organs of both sexes, capable of either active or passive functions — to use the organ by which (s)he is most aroused or the one which (s)he is more susceptible.

    "If (s)he is more active [literally, "lustful], (s)he may wed as a man, but if (s)he is more passive, (s)he may marry as a woman. If; however, (s)he should fail with one organ, the use of the other can never be permitted, but (s)he must be perpetually celibate to avoid any similarity to the role inversion of sodomy, which is detested by God."</em>

    The sex and gender dichotomy is not as binary as we might think it is. To Quote Eric Vilain, chief of medical genetics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, "Sex should be easily definable, but it's not. Our gender identity -- our profound sense of being male or female -- is independent from our anatomy."

    God looks at the heart. We should trust that God will be the judge of those who identify as transgender and/or transsexual because he knows what in transgender/transsexual people's hearts. We, on the other hand, may judge transgender/transsexual people using standards that include prejudice or appearance when God apparently doesn't.

    <em>"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."</em> April 2, 2013

  20. Marie

    God made us in his image a since he's perfect there are no mistakes in any of our appearances. Transgender people need to accept themselves to way they were made and have faith that when God made you, your gender was chosen by him in his infinite wisdom. September 10, 2013

  21. Bethany Miller

    Jos Charles, I believe that you have worthwhile insights to share, but if you enter every discussion with a condescending tone ("You do know X right?"), which I've noticed is your tendency in most forums, people will miss what you have to say for the say that you're saying it. No, not everyone understands these issues on an in-depth level. And if you want them to, you would do much better to explain charitably than to talk down to everyone who is not as well-researched as you are. October 11, 2013

  22. Bethany Miller

    Typo: My comment should have said "for the WAY that you're saying it." October 11, 2013

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