How can I share God’s truth with my child who tells me they’re not sure if their gender is who they really are? I don’t want to sound judgmental or insensitive.
It seems like gender identity issues are trending right now. It is rare to pass a week without reading a blog post, listening to a news broadcast or watching an episode from the new TV season that doesn’t highlight the question of gender. It’s no wonder that more and more people think they need to think about their own gender identity.
What exactly does it mean to question your identity? Simply, you think that your biological body and thinking are mismatched (e.g., you have a male body, but think you are a female). Clearly, feeling this way can cause great anxiety. My hope is that all questioning individuals know how to reach out and find help.
Here are some thoughts to follow if you receive a call for help. The most critical step is to avoid labeling the person questioning as “one of those people.” The truth is that everyone is a child of God — including those who may be questioning. We are either a son or a daughter of the Lord and deserve being referred to as such. Everyone is part of humanity and belongs to God. The challenge is to see everyone — no matter their struggle — as God does.
Everyone is part of humanity and belongs to God. The challenge is to see everyone — no matter their struggle — as God does.
Recognize that this person has likely been influenced more by the culture than by their faith. They may believe that their happiness depends on how they create themselves. Ease their anxiety by letting them know that God is the Creator and we are the creatures. With great charity, share that God intends for them to discover — not create — their talents and giftedness.
Finally, live a life that follows God’s plan for human sexuality and love. Humbly accept that you have probably missed the mark on obeying God’s commands — especially the Sixth and the Ninth. One of the most beautiful ways to help someone who is questioning is to admit that you also struggle to become the person God created you to be. Acknowledge the value and reward that come from fighting through the difficulty. Assure them that holiness and true joy are worth the struggle. Let them know you are in the fight with them, and will help them discover their God-given identity.
By Alice Heinzen