Talking to Kids About Gender in a Gender-Confused Age

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Given the media’s choice to largely ignore the story, you may have missed the details about a recent court case in Dallas centered on the custody of a 7-year-old boy. The boy’s mother said he should be identified as a girl, claiming he made that decision himself at age 3 because he liked Disney princesses and so-called “girl toys.”

She sought sole custody to “transition” the boy against the father’s wishes, to administer hormone treatments as the child neared puberty. She also wanted a court order to forbid the father from calling his son “son,” speaking his name, or referring to him as a “he.” The father said the boy still wanted to be a boy while in his custody (in fact, the mother’s own paid “experts” testified that he “does not identify with only one gender”). He also accused the mother of contributing to his son’s perceived confusion by telling him that monsters only eat boys.

Thankfully, after a jury recommended 11 to 1 to confirm the mother as sole custodian, the judge intervened by ruling that joint custody will be maintained. The judge’s ruling will at least temporarily slow the likelihood of the boy soon beginning harmful hormone therapies, which would’ve suppressed his natural development.

But it’s easy to imagine a different judge deciding the opposite, perhaps in a state without the governor and other top politicians speaking out against it.

How to Respond?

Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: cases like this will arise again, and the some judges will decide differently, in ways that will harm children and set dangerous precedents for others. So, if you identify as a Christian and as a mature adult, how should you respond?

For starters, if you have kids yourself, be a parent. It’s your job to be the adult. Children will be childish, by definition. They think like, well, children (1 Cor. 13:11). They are not reliably knowledgeable, reasonable, or wise. They lack life experience, a firm grasp of reality, and the ability to make decisions of ultimate importance. In fact, they’re not legally allowed to make any major decisions on their own, and any such agreements they try to enter into aren’t binding.

Mom or Dad, you must teach them and guide them through this early stage of life. You’ll often save them from themselves.

Helping kids prevent puberty to later change genders seems like an especially twisted form of lifelong abuse.

If a kid wants to put on a cape and jump off the roof because they say they’re a superhero, you don’t affirm them in that decision no matter how passionately they believe they can fly. You can try to reason with them by explaining the potential consequences. But if they don’t listen to reason (and often they won’t), you don’t just throw up your hands and let them experience those consequences. No, you protect them because you love them. You are the parent, and parents are there to protect, not enable.

Progressive “experts” often say the loving thing to do is to embrace a child’s self-proclaimed “gender identity” (a new term) and give them drugs to block puberty (and likely make them permanently infertile) so they can more easily “transition” later by surgically removing healthy organs.

Considering that 80 percent to 95 percent of kids with gender dysphoria end up identifying by their true birth/genetic gender after puberty, helping kids prevent puberty to later change genders seems like an especially twisted form of lifelong abuse.

Speak Up for Others, Too

In addition to parenting your own children, speak up for what is universally right for all members of the human family, especially those who have no voice of their own (Prov. 31:8–9). A key strategy of those seeking to redefine truth or promote postmodern ideologies is to bully into silence those who disagree.

We have a “cancel culture”—the advancement of the idea that “words are violence,” and countless other efforts to curtail free speech and civil discourse both online and off. A loud and vocal few can sound like a majority when the real majority is too afraid to speak up. The resulting “spiral of silence” leaves multitudes afraid to acknowledge that the “emperor has no clothes” even in the face of his obvious nakedness.

Speak up now, lest we soon inhabit a world where courts say it’s illegal to call your son a “son,” and judges decide how you must raise your kids. By speaking with conviction, you can at least take comfort in knowing it wasn’t your silence that made possible the abuse.

Speak Truth in Love

Finally, above all, love people in word and deed. Every one of us has areas where our natural tendency is to stray from God’s design for our lives. Each of us has strayed; each has areas where we’ve turned to our own way (Isa. 53:6). All of us, then, need admonishment and encouragement and help.

When we meet someone who is struggling, we meet ourselves—and we should lovingly point them toward the same truth we’d want them to leverage for our encouragement. That especially includes the truth that making choices against God’s Word won’t bring ultimate joy, peace, or fullness of life.

When we meet someone who is struggling, we meet ourselves.

Love without truth is not loving, and truth spoken without love will not be heard. Indeed, the greatest truth we must continually share is that even when we do make foolish or rebellious choices—which we will—the Lord still loves us: “God demonstrates his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

Since he made provision for our sin, we don’t have to remain a slave to its consequences, either in this life or in the life to come. May we courageously speak of his love and consistently model its effects.

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