November 4 – Our Families: Gender Dysphoria

Spiritual Battle for Lives and Souls

Parents of students in the District of Columbia school district were informed by email on October 25 that students from grades three and beyond would be surveyed about their transgender and gender nonconformity status as part of their “social-emotional learning” environment. 

In England, the National Health Service has begun restricting gender transition treatment for minors, requiring decisions to be made by medical doctors and not therapists, and warning parents in the United Kingdom that transgenderism is often a “phase.” 

The world is a confused, fallen, and divided place. The most basic questions regarding identity and purpose – who I am and why I am here – have become difficult for some people to answer. 

The issue of child gender dysphoria is another great divider among people in the United States… and, indeed, across the globe. According to Mayo Clinic, gender dysphoria is “the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics.” Most people identify as “male” or “female.” These are sometimes called “binary” identities. While gender dysphoria is not classified as a mental illness, some people may develop mental health problems because of it. 

When it comes to children, the Boston Children’s Hospital says “children are typically diagnosed with gender dysphoria if they have experienced significant distress for at least six months” and “show a strong desire to be of the other gender or insistence that they are the other gender” or express a “strong preference for wearing the clothed typical of the opposite gender.” 

American culture and media have begun to promote the idea that gender non-conforming children have a strong sense of their “true” identity. Advocates of transgenderism in the U.S. encourage parents to accept children’s transgender identity by age three. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, the development and maturation of the prefrontal cortex of the brain occurs primarily during adolescence and is fully accomplished at the age of 25 years. The development of the prefrontal cortex is very important for complex behavioral performance, as this region of the brain helps accomplish executive brain functions—such as understanding the consequences of one’s actions. 

An article in Standing for Freedom, published in June 2022, traced the origin of the child transgender movements. The terms “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” were coined, the author says, in the 1960s by Dr. John Money. He was a psychologist and sexologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who built off the work of Dr. Alfred Kinsey, the “father of sex research,” including in the lives of prepubescent children. In the 1960s, Dr. Money encouraged the Canadian parents of twin boys to transition the older one and raise him as a girl after a botched circumcision. The doctor provided hormones for him and experimented with sexual behavioral “therapies” for both twins over the years in an attempt to encode a female identity into the elder brother. By age 15, the boy rejected the identity that had been assigned to him and reverted to his masculine identity. By the time they were middle-aged adults, each twin had committed suicide.

Despite this failed experiment, the movement has persisted. Doctors prescribe hormones to minors while hospitals and clinics perform what has been termed “gender-affirming” surgeries on them. Recent research published in the AMA Pediatrics Journal found the number of sex-change chest surgeries on transgender adolescents had increased by nearly 400 percent between 2016 and 2019. 

In early October, Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee, agreed to pause such surgeries on transgender youth after receiving negative attention and feedback from a number of commentators and politicians.

An article from Focus on the Family concludes, “The message our kids (and the world) really need to hear is that forming your spirit in deep relationship with God is the only way to  peace, salvation, and your true identity (emphasis theirs).” They say, “When we elevate people’s stories, feelings, preferences, and experiences above Scriptural truth, we have built a house of cards instead of a foundation for life. Those who create their own principles of sexuality are not models to follow. Only God’s perfectly designed plan, as communicated in His Word, should be the standard to which we aim.” 

The Bible clearly states, “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:27, 31). “Creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” (Romans  8:19-21). “God is not the author of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33). 

How then should we pray? 

  • For U.S. health officials as they navigate societal pressures regarding gender identity.
  • For members of Congress as they consider protections for children experiencing gender dysphoria.
  • For state legislatures that have passed or are debating legislation to prohibit gender transitioning interventions on minors.
  • For children and their parents to come to the Lord as a result of the struggle with confusing cultural messaging surrounding gender identity
  • For physicians and health professionals to prevent the irreversible harm being done to children who are unable to comprehend the long-term consequences of their choices.
  • That Americans would turn to God, His truth, and His love as the nation grapples with the confusion.
  • For believers to reflect God’s love and mercy as they stand up for the truth and biological reality.

See previous Pray 7 daily featured readings.

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