There has obviously been a lot of talk and debate about the debut of Caitlyn Jenner, formally known as Bruce Jenner. I have seen a lot of opinions and the issue kind of hit a nerve for me. For the past couple of months the issue of transgenderism has come up a lot for me. I live in a city that is very liberal, I work in an environment that is very liberal so the issue has been thrown at me. I can be the first to admit that I am not as educated as I would like to be about the terms: cisgender, transgender, and the other ones that I can’t eve name. The whole idea of not identifying with the gender you were born with is completely mind bolgging to me! However, I realize that this is an issue that millions of people face everyday.
In some of the responses to Bruce Jenner’s transformation there has been a lot of praise for him. (Yes, I refer to him as a him. We can get to that later). He has been called heroic, brave, and courageous. I have also seen the negative responses to him as well: mentally challenged, schizophrenic, disgusting, and a shame. Ouch. Of course, which so much publicity and conversation about Bruce Jenner it forced to me think about how I feel about it. And I realize I have a lot of questions such as:
When did he decide he was a “woman”? What makes a male decide that he is more a woman, and what makes a woman decide that she is more of a male? Is there really a “female brain” vs a “male brain”? Does being a different gender mean you are going to think different, feel differently about people? About life? What does it take for a man to become a woman? Is it just the physical things such as surgery, removal of genitalia and having boobs? Is this what makes a woman?
As you can see I’m very confused about the issue because what I know is this: when you are born, you are born with a penis or a vagina that makes you a woman or man. Women bodies end up forming one way due to hormones, men bodies form another way. So when I hear that someone says they are “born in the wrong body”, what does that mean? Can your soul have a gender? That concept is beyond anything that I can comprehend. I thought that we have souls inside our bodies, which are either male or female. I would like to think that no matter what body I was in I would still see the world for what it is , I would still have the same emotions. But again this is coming from the perspective or someone that has never suffered identity issues and would not want to take away from the complexity of that.
So I am not here to say whether Bruce Jenner or anyone that suffers from identity issues are wrong or right. I am here to discuss how I feel about the issue and how it affects me. And as usual when it comes to any issue I always think about how would I feel if it were my son. In this case: How would I feel if my son came to me and said “Mom, I feel like I was born in the wrong body. I feel I am a girl”
After initial shock, and just thinking he is kidding, here is how I think the conversation would go:
“But my son, I love you. I have always loved you. I carried you, I gave you life. You are my son. My son. You’re not a girl, you’re a boy. But that doesn’t matter to me. I love you.”
And that’s about it. You see, I would be confused, shocked, and there would probably be some more to the conversation after that. But the overall message that I would hope my son would get is that I love him and I will always love him. I will be grateful that he trusted so much in my love for him that he would tell me, instead of hiding. Unfortunately, there are a lot of kids in the world who self harm, or commit suicide because they are so ashamed to be who they are, or who they feel they are. I would never want my son to feel that way.
And I can’t help but be reminded we serve a God who instructed us above all else: to love.
So to you Bruce Jenner, Caitlyn Jenner. It is my belief that no man can be a woman, and vice versa. But my opinion means nothing to you, and the life you lead. And it shouldn’t. You have the right to live the life you want. My job as a Christian is to love you as Jesus does. Bottom line. But in loving you does not mean that I accept your choices, nor am I saying that you are right. What I am admitting is that I am a sinner too, and it is not my job to judge you.
Everyday I struggle to remember that our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.