Category archives: Human Sexuality

Protecting Children in a Post-Trans Ideological World

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

May 2, 2022

For the first time since Roe v. Wade was decided, there’s hope that the lives of the pre-born will once again be valued and protected in the United States of America. This optimism comes after nearly 50 years of praying, rallying, promoting legislative efforts, and organizing to ensure our elected officials voted for life.

In the years leading up to this moment, there’s been an awareness among the pro-life movement that we must offer solutions for some of the circumstances that could cause a person to believe that ending a baby’s life is a viable or even necessary option. In an effort to give answers to our society’s harms, some have opened adoption and fostering agencies, others pregnancy resource centers, while still others have offered counseling and shelter to pregnant women in situations of domestic violence.

As we reflect on the possibility that this historic wrong of legalized elective abortion might be righted, and as we build the foundations of a world in which the unborn are protected and their mothers supported, let’s extend this same hopeful expectation to our children who have been exposed to post-modern/transgender ideology.

The Bible talks about a day when justice would be lacking, and truth would “fall in the streets” (Isaiah 59:14). Clearly, we are living in just such a time. Post-modern or social constructivist thought tells us that there is no objective truth and what matters is “our truth.” But this kind of “truth” is subject to humanity’s desires and can be easily changed to fit the latest social trends. A standard this fickle can never serve as a rudder for an identity-starved generation. This type of fluid truth can never foster a sense of meaning and well-being that is able to withstand the changing tides of human existence.

How do we, who refuse to let truth fall in the streets, prepare for a post-post-modern/post-transgender world?

Think about what it will look like when a generation, perhaps Gen Z, becomes disillusioned by the ideology that says, “life is without boundaries” and “the only objective truth that exists is what each person identifies as true”? What happens when this conception of truth provides no grounding for emptiness, pain, or a mercurial sense of self? Or when the collective consciousness of a generation is akin to an emotional roaring sea that has no limits to the waves of confusion experienced from one moment to the next?

Right now, the medical and psychological professions do not have answers to the gender identity confusion. In many U.S. states, these professionals are not even allowed to talk about root causes of confusion over biological sex. These professionals (I’m affiliated, too) may only offer affirmation. But as some who have detransitioned have reported, a time can come when the novelty of the transgender procedures wears off and the tide of applause from trans-affirming activists rolls back. After a person’s foundation has been laid bare, what remains is pain, unresolved identity struggles, and the confusion that initiated the desire to be someone else. When this ideology and supposed treatment collapses, we must be prepared!

Because, ready or not, they are coming, and the need will be great. Many in the trans-identifying community will realize that they were sold a lie about their identity by some of their closest family members, friends, and authority and political figures. The sense of betrayal and grief, as we have already seen with the first fruits of those who have detransitioned, will be profound. This means the church and those who remain clear and fair-minded need to be ready to receive them with open arms.

First, we can’t lose hope! Just last week, one pro-transgender group noted that 200 bills had been introduced in 2021 to prevent access to gender-affirming “health care” and aimed at mitigating the problems that arise with social spaces and biological males competing in women’s sports. This all points to a willingness of parents and concerned citizens to lobby their politicians to stand for truth and protect children.

Second, we need to learn about the needs of this population and ways we can serve them. The trans ideology has been advertised as a pathway to becoming your “true self” and a grand solution for mental distress. The reality is that many of those who identify with trans-ideology have childhood traumas in their backgrounds. Some may have a diagnosis of autism or were deeply influenced by their peers and social media. This ideology is no substitute for some of these root issues. When they come for help, they don’t necessarily just need someone with a degree in psychology. They will need someone who can listen, empathize with their pain, and show mercy that is tethered to truth.

Third, don’t stop praying. The pathway to freedom has and will always be through knowing the Truth, Jesus Christ. The Truth is the only person who can truly set someone free. Let’s pray that mercy and truth will meet over those struggling with gender identity.

There are many resources that are available to begin learning more about this population. Here are a few:

A Call to Pray and Stand for Human Life

by Dr. Jay Johnston

March 31, 2022

During the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, the judge was asked the following question by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.): “Can you provide a definition for the word ‘woman’?” After a pause, Jackson responded, “No, I can’t. … Not in this context. I’m not a biologist.” Judge Jackson’s answer has elicited a variety of responses, but I can only imagine how her comment broke God’s heart. As Creator, God created women in His image, bestowing value and dignity on each. 

While various secular commentators may struggle to define what a woman is, we know that God has clearly defined woman. Women are image bearers created in God’s image with a distinct beauty and femininity that ought to be celebrated and affirmed. We see this in Genesis 1:27-28 and Mark 10:6-9. As followers of Jesus, it is appropriate for us to be frustrated at Judge Jackson’s cowardice evident in her unwillingness to defy the progressive Left’s gender ideology. Yes, we can love Judge Jackson, but we do not need to be silent about her disqualifying comment about women and her liberal judicial leanings.  

As people of prayer, I am calling on you to pray and engage others to pray for the United States Senate as they consider Judge Jackson’s nomination. I encourage you to first gather people in your home, churches, ballfields, coffee shops, or wherever you can gather people to pray:

  1. Pray and give thanks that God created men and women in His image.
  2. Ask God to forgive us for making a mockery of human life.
  3. Ask God to stir the hearts of pastors and church leaders to love all people and to be bold and clear that God has created only two sexes, male and female.
  4. Pray that senators will take a stand and not vote to confirm Judge Jackson because of her extremism on issues related to life and human sexuality.

Thank you for praying for this urgent need in our land.

 “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18

Dr. Jay Johnston is National Prayer Director at Family Research Council.

Biden’s Supreme Court Nominee Refuses to Define the Word “Woman”

by David Closson

March 23, 2022

Did President Biden keep his promise to nominate a black woman to the U.S. Supreme Court? At first glance that seems like an absurd question. Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is a black woman. However, yesterday’s interaction between Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Judge Jackson suggests Republicans might want to ask the president’s nominee some more pointed questions about her worldview as the third day of confirmation hearings gets underway today.

Supreme Court confirmation hearings can be heady affairs. Although the topics of judicial philosophy, legal principles, and how to interpret the Constitution are vitally important to the functioning of our legal system, most Americans do not often consider them. Stare decisis, unenumerated rights, and originalism are simply not part of most people’s daily conversations with their friends or family members. As a result, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s four-day-long hearing on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to be an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court has likely proven dull for many people. 

However, likely lost among the hours of questioning in yesterday’s confirmation hearing was a fascinating exchange late last night between Judge Jackson and Sen. Blackburn. During her questioning, Blackburn asked the nominee to define the word “woman.”

Can you provide a definition of the word ‘woman’?” Blackburn asked. After a brief pause, Jackson answered, “No, I can’t.” Incredulous, Blackburn replied, “You can’t?” “Not in this context; I’m not a biologist,” the judge responded.

Initially, few news outlets reported on the exchange, and even most conservative court-watchers have focused on questioning by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) about Critical Race Theory and Sen. Josh Hawley’s (R-Mo.) contention that Judge Jackson has been too lenient when sentencing sex offenders. But the exchange between Blackburn and Jackson is a massive cultural moment and reflects how deeply gender identity ideology has taken root in our national subconscious. In short, those pushing gender identity ideology that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago have been so successful in promoting their views that it is now deemed too risky to define a woman as an adult biological female. 

The promotion and acceptance of transgender ideology have accelerated the rampant gender confusion in our nation, and the events of the past few weeks underscore just how successful LGBTQ activists have been in converting the news media, Big Tech, the business community, and now, apparently, the judicial community, to their cause. Just within the past few weeks, we’ve seen a biological male crowned an NCAA champion in women’s swimming and USA Today declare Rachael Levine, a biological male serving in the Biden administration, as one of the newspaper’s “Women of the Year.” 

But even though there have been several stories in the news lately featuring those who identify as transgender, it is remarkable that someone nominated to the nation’s highest court is unwilling to define the word “woman.” It raises the question of how Americans can trust someone to faithfully interpret the U.S. Constitution and apply the nation’s laws who lacks the courage to simply state biological facts. Nevertheless, here we are.

It would be ludicrous to think that Judge Jackson does not know what a woman is. Judge Jackson is a two-time Ivy League graduate. She has served on the federal judiciary for nearly a decade and has been seated on the nation’s second-most important court for almost a year. Without a doubt, Judge Jackson is highly intelligent. But her unwillingness to answer Sen. Blackburn’s question is a foreboding sign that gender identity ideology not only holds tremendous sway in the Democratic Party but has also taken hold in parts of the legal profession. Deference to partisan politics has no place in the judiciary.

President Biden promised to nominate a black woman to the nation’s highest court, and Judge Jackson meets both of those criteria. But the judge’s own refusal to define the word “woman” during her confirmation hearing is disturbing because it suggests an accommodation to a postmodern worldview unable to assert basic truths about human embodiment. Judge Jackson is a woman, and it shouldn’t be controversial to state this fact. Even those who may not agree with Judge Jackson’s judicial philosophy can acknowledge that Jackson’s nomination is historic and that many African American women are especially excited about her appointment. But the fact that the nominee herself cannot confidently answer a straightforward question that contradicts the far Left’s radical gender identity ideology is a sad and revealing commentary on the times. 

You don’t need to be a veterinarian to define what a cat is, a mechanic to define what a car is, a florist to define what a flower is, or a biologist to define what a woman is. But increasingly, you do need courage and a willingness to contradict the misguided zeitgeist of the age. On this point, Judge Jackson failed miserably yesterday. Ultimately, if Judge Jackson cannot define what a woman is, it is troubling to think of how she will interpret and apply the nation’s laws. One can only hope she will find some courage if confirmed by the Senate to the Supreme Court.

Transgenderism Has a Science Problem

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

March 22, 2022

Laws protecting children from harmful gender transition procedures are supported by basic scientific facts. Yet such laws are routinely opposed by cultural, corporate, and political figures, who claim they are the ones in alignment with science. The White House recently called efforts in Texas to protect children from gender transition an “attack on loving parents who seek medical care” that is “dangerous to the health” of these children. Is this really true?

Sadly, when it comes to this issue, ideology is driving science more than science is driving itself. Statements like that of the White House avoid the facts about gender transition for children and instead employ a communications campaign fraught with hyperbole, misinformation, and inadequate research that is more emblematic of a bait-and-switch tactic rather than the gold standard of scientific inquiry. What are we to think of all this?

In the midst of the confusion, it’s appropriate to recall a few basic facts about the scientific method:

1. The scientific method is just one way of learning about the world around us. It is not an infallible approach to knowledge, and there are always errors associated with any study. The question, then, is not whether error is present, but how loosely do we hold the findings because of the amount of error in the study.

2. Confidence is gained in the study’s outcome when error has been reduced. One way error is easily identified is by looking at how the study was designed. This means assessing the methods (e.g., web-survey, experimental study), how the sample was gathered (do the people in the study have the same characteristics as those the researchers are trying to apply the findings to), the financial associations of the researchers, and any vested interests the researchers have in a certain outcome.

3. A particular finding is also strengthened when multiple studies draw the same conclusion. It is normal for a research agenda to start with a wide scope and ask a question such as, “What are the experiences of youth who identify as transgender?” As this information solidifies, the research questions narrow, and the methods typically become more rigorous and directive. For example, the methods and question might move to the commonly known clinical trial phase and ask, “What interventions reduce gender dysphoria?”

4. As a research agenda grows, knowledge on a subject matter strengthens. In this way, a fuller picture might emerge, giving insight into the conditions that create an outcome. In this case, it’s clear that the transgender-identifying population has higher rates of childhood trauma, mental health distress, and increased suicidality. When there is clear knowledge about the factors that create a ripe environment for an outcome, it would be remiss to leave those concepts out of research study without a very clear logic for doing so.

With these basic research concepts in mind, there’s no escaping a need to be critical of the transgender literature. Transgender studies have been used to make big claims about the effects of medicalized interventions, but these studies lack solid empirical evidence to back up the assertions that these practices are efficacious. It is critical to keep in mind that these procedures are some of the most intrusive physiological practices used to address any psychological condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5; and soon 5-TR) and should demand the most rigorous scientific backing rather than the least. Here are four key things we should be aware of regarding the current transgender literature:

1. First, transgender literature is in its infancy stage of a research agenda. The types of research methods and questions asked in the peer-review literature reveal that these studies are only at the exploratory phase. This means that the approaches used to investigate the experiences of the transgender population cannot establish a causal relationship between claims that are made, such as the claim that the use of cross-sex hormones will reduce suicidal thoughts. The research methods, alone, prohibit such a claim from being made.

2. Much of the research scaffolding the idea that “transgender procedures save lives” is based on web/survey data, which captures people’s opinions from one moment in time. These data points do not account for suicidal thoughts or mental distress over time or long-term. By design, these studies cannot establish that hormones/surgery are responsible for a reduction in negative mental health outcomes. The methods themselves give us this answer, regardless of how many advocacy, medical, academic, or professional groups say it’s true.

3. The transgender literature has recycled some of the same web survey data from participants who were enlisted from the social media platforms Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. Although this isn’t necessarily a bad method approach for an exploratory study, in the initial phase of a research agenda, it is unconscionable that this level of inquiry would be explicated to a recommendation for removing healthy organs, particularly for children.

4. This body of literature asserts a causal link between gender affirmative medical care and mental health outcomes. This conclusion is erroneous because the research methods don’t allow for it and the variables known to affect the transgender-identifying population and suicide rates in general have been omitted from the investigations. That is, no study to date can claim that gender affirmative medical care clearly reduces:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Suicide attempts
  • Gender dysphoria

Would you have any of your vital organs, such as a kidney, removed because a few studies by advocates for kidney removals launched web surveys and found that some people felt less mental distress at the idea of an organ removal or because some people accessed services to remove their healthy kidney?

At this point, we must ask: Where are the research methods to establish the conclusion that access to transgender medical interventions bolsters mental health? There are none. But we still hear from our highest political offices that these practices “save lives.” Such a claim is both dangerous and patently false, and it is based on a body of data that is immature, to say the least. 

**To read more about how the science around transgenderism and other issues is being politicized, see these publications:

Despite War, Progressive Priorities Remain Unchanged

by Joseph Backholm

March 18, 2022

Emergency situations often have the effect of rearranging our priorities. When horrible things happen—even if they happen in faraway places and don’t personally affect us—they can remind us of what is most important. Weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however, it does not appear that the Left is spending much time engaging in self-reflection.

Modern progressivism is built on the belief that psychological safety is a fundamental right. As a result, it has sought to leverage the power of the government to protect people from ideas, people, or situations that would make them unhappy or uncomfortable. This is why, in the minds of many progressives, the possibility of people being called the “wrong” pronouns, for example, merits government intervention in the form of restrictive speech codes.

Ironically, the result of these ideological commitments is that the most prosperous, comfortable, and privileged people in human history are also some of the most ungrateful. One might think a war outbreak would provide some helpful—if not sobering—perspective. Families being torn apart could even make us grateful for our lesser problems, and images of real violence might motivate us to permanently abandon the silly suggestion that peaceful speech that expresses an unwanted or unpopular opinion is violence.

Sadly, this does not appear to be the case.

Only hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the head of British Intelligence took to Twitter to say, “With the tragedy and destruction unfolding so distressingly in Ukraine, we should remember the values and hard won freedoms that distinguish us from Putin, none more than LGBT+ rights.” It seems strange to be thinking about progressive gender ideology hours after a war breaks out. But evidently, virtue signaling was at the top of the to-do list for Britain’s top spy. Perhaps he was concerned the visibility of real victims might diminish the victim status of others?

That’s exactly what should happen.

A few days later, President Biden used the State of the Union to make sure people knew he had not forgotten the importance of identity politics. He lamented the “onslaught” of “anti-transgender” laws, referring to legislation in many states that would prevent the chemical and surgical castration of children who experience gender dysphoria.

Two days later, Vice President Kamala Harris likewise took a moment to show her support for the Equality Act, tweeting, “Let’s send the Equality Act to President Biden’s desk. We must increase protections for LGBTQ+ Americans across the country. The onslaught of state bills targeting transgender Americans and their families is wrong.” The Equality Act would, among other things, make sure men are allowed to participate in programs and opportunities previously reserved for women; anyone who dissents from these policies would be ineligible for government contracts or education funding.  

About the same time, CBS News ran a story expressing sadness that “Transgender acceptance in Ukraine is not widespread” and shared the concerns that a Ukrainian man who identifies as a woman would not be able to leave the country because men are being asked to stay and fight. For progressives in the media and those serving in Western governments, the point is clear: They will not let a war distract them from what they deem to be more important matters.

Still, the sexual revolution is not the only cause the war in Ukraine threatens to distract from. Their environmental agenda remain top of mind as well.

John Kerry, the former senator and secretary of state who currently serves as President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, expressed his hopes that Russia, despite their invasion of Ukraine, would “stay on track” with their commitments to combating climate change. Likewise, The Atlantic ran an article lamenting the environmental damage that would result from a nuclear war. 

These priorities are not merely academic. In fact, concerns over environmental impact appear to be driving the Biden administration’s reluctance to stop purchasing Russian energy. Officials don’t want to increase domestic production now for the same reasons they reduced domestic production in the first place. They believe reducing emissions is worth the cost, even if it is a human cost. As a result, they would rather send money to Russia during their invasion of Ukraine than abandon their emissions goals.

This tells us a lot about their worldview. Progressives aren’t going to let a war disrupt their efforts to help men pretend that they are women because they see the issues as similarly important. Likewise, they aren’t going to stop sending Russia money if it means increasing energy production because they see reducing carbon as a way of saving a life.

The universal condemnation of the Russian invasion shows us that there is still some moral common ground in the United States, but the Left’s continued prioritization of their policy agenda, even in the midst of a war, is revealing. If war does not inspire self-reflection, nothing will.

Bringing Awareness to the Experiences of Detransitioners

by Jennifer Bauwens, Ph.D.

March 10, 2022

As a trauma therapist, I’ve had the honor of working in a profession that aims to serve children and families during some of the most painful and vulnerable moments of their lives. I considered it a blessing to have a career focused on doing what the Bible directs every believer in Christ to do—that is, to care for the widows and orphans (James 1:27). In our modern vernacular, we might summarize this biblical passage by saying it is our duty to look for ways to advocate and care for those who are without resources and have been ignored by society. This description certainly applies to those who once identified as transgender and have decided to detransition to their biological sex.

These individuals have been repeatedly silenced and ignored, particularly by the medical and psychological professions. Before altering their bodies, many who have struggled with gender dysphoria reported that their peers, as well as their transgender advocacy, medical, and psychological groups, rallied around them and encouraged them to hormonally and surgically change their bodies to appear more like the opposite sex. Over time, many have come to regret their physiological alterations.

Only a few studies have tackled the plight of detransitioners. But one such study found that nearly 40 percent of participants who detransitioned said they felt pressure from health and mental health care professionals to medically transition.

At best, it is bad practice for professionals to pressure patients to receive unscientifically validated practices that carry known risks and permanently change the body. But this social pressure isn’t present at the onboarding to medical procedures only. Many report that all the encouragement and affirmation they previously received fades into the background when they decide to detransition. In some cases, hostility emerges from those who once cheered them onward to a course that could permanently alter their lives.

The fact remains that those who have identified as transgender have higher rates of childhood physical, sexual, and emotional abuse than the general population. Sadly, the vast majority of professional groups have not advocated for treatment options that address the issues that are frequently found in tandem with gender dysphoria. For example, in the aforementioned study, 57 percent of detransitioners said their evaluation for gender dysphoria was inadequate. Another 65 percent said that possible contributing factors, such as trauma and other mental health issues, were not considered when assessing their gender distress.

This study’s findings also showed that roughly 45 percent of biological females said their mental health did not improve while transitioning, and 41 percent detransitioned because they realized their gender dysphoria was due to something else (i.e., trauma or another mental health diagnosis). It logically follows that 48 percent of these participants experienced a trauma less than a year before experiencing gender dysphoria. No wonder nearly 40 percent of these biological women said that transitioning made their mental health worse—the real issues were never addressed by the gender clinic or therapist.

On Saturday, March 12, advocacy groups and individuals who’ve suffered the pain of misdiagnosis and the harms of transgender physiological procedures will be gathering around the country to raise awareness about the pain and lack of appropriate treatment options for those who’ve struggled with their biological sex. We need mental health treatment that is responsible and accountable to the public. Please support those courageously taking a stand and join or host an event in your city.

If you are unable to participate in any events on March 12, encourage your elected representatives to hold these professional organizations and gender clinics accountable for their promotion of harmful practices. Let’s call mental health and health practitioners back to their roots of truly helping those without a voice.

**For further reading, please see the following links for more information on ethics and mental health issues related to transgender procedures.

Congressional Leadership Hijacks Ukraine Aid to Push Progressive Agenda

by Travis Weber, J.D., LL.M.

March 9, 2022

Russia’s assault on Ukraine is saturating the news, airwaves, and the public’s focus. It’s understandable that people want to help, and are helping, provide relief and aid to Ukraine. It’s also sensible for Congress to want to help. It’s for this reason (the political pressure to provide relief) that Democratic leadership in Congress wants to combine aid to Ukraine with their domestic social policy preferences in one giant stew of government spending called “the omnibus.”

There are reasons to resist simply going along with this bill.

For one, the omnibus bill contains a problematic reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Congress passed VAWA in 1994 to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking and increase the availability of victims’ services. These are admirable aims. But when VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013, language was added (and is in the current reauthorization text) that mandates harmful gender identity ideology, maintains Planned Parenthood’s ability to obtain VAWA grants, selectively applies grant money, and could open the door to funding abortion more directly. You’ve probably heard about biological men competing in women’s sporting events on the basis of “gender identity” and how that is negatively impacting woman athletes. Under the VAWA reauthorization, battered and vulnerable women would face another threat of the same type—that of biological men who identify as women entering private spaces in women’s shelters.

The omnibus bill also turns a program designed to help women succeed financially around the globe into a “Gender Equity and Equality Action Fund.” This new program, backed by previous commitments by the Biden administration to promote gender ideology around the world, will open the door wide for the administration to push a harmful ideology in places like Eastern Europe at a time when security should be the focus. This program will also pave the way for the international abortion industry to continue erroneously promoting abortion as necessary for women’s economic empowerment.

Providing funds to Ukraine is a sensible and laudable goal, and we understand that our government also needs to be funded. However, there is a simple solution: peel off Ukraine (as the House appears to be doing) from other funding. And to completely fix the problem, cut all the substantive policy changes (like VAWA) that have been tacked on to what is supposed to be a spending bill. The current text is 2,741 pages long and has so many sections that it runs through the entire alphabet once and has to start over.

Streamlining the text (and process) along these lines will, in theory, prevent what should be a bipartisan appropriations process from turning into a fight for a partisan wish list.

Keeping Children SAFE From Sterilization — in Ohio and Around the Nation

by Joshua Arnold

February 18, 2022

On Thursday, the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act officially began working its way through the Ohio legislature, with a first hearing in the House Committee on Families, Aging, and Human Services. One of the bill’s primary sponsors, Gary Click, testified to the committee that the SAFE Act was “common sense legislation designed to ensure that children and adolescents receive only the best and safest healthcare.”

The SAFE Act “prohibits ‘gender transition procedures’ for minors and the public funding of, insurance coverage of, or referral for such procedures,” explains a brief by Family Research Council. Such procedures are neither reversible nor evidence based, and they have severe negative side effects. The brief continues, “rather than provide the help such children and adolescents need, transgender ideology promotes radical medical interventions, including the use of drugs to block normal puberty and cross-sex hormones and gender reassignment surgery to create the superficial appearance of conformity with the minor’s perceived ‘gender identity.’”

The unmitigated greed of the healthcare industry has led to countless children being mutilated and sterilized for life,” warned Policy Director of Ohio-based Center for Christian Virtue David Mahan. “Sadly, hospitals, schools, and even Planned Parenthood facilities across the state are pressuring families to put children on experimental and dangerous procedures.” He urged the state assembly “to take action before more children are permanently harmed.”

Legislators all around the country are introducing bills like Ohio’s SAFE Act in response to the transgender movement’s increased targeting of children. “A bill like this was not on my radar when I stepped foot into the legislature,” Click said. But each year since 2020, bills to protect children from harmful “gender transition” experiments have been introduced in over 15 states. The Arkansas legislature was the first to successfully pass the SAFE Act into law, doing so over the governor’s veto (a judge has blocked that law while a lawsuit against it proceeds through the judicial system). Currently, the SAFE Act and similar bills (34 in total) have been introduced in 17 states.

In addition to practical, medical, and ethical reasons to support the SAFE Act, there are also theological reasons for Christians to support the legislation,” explained David Closson, Director of the Center for Biblical Worldview at FRC. “Christians should support the passage of laws that tell the truth about the human body. And the truth about our bodies is that God made two distinct yet complementary sexes, male and female.”

Like every righteous cause, the SAFE Act faces fierce opposition. Pro-LGBT activists and their allies in the media attacked the Arkansas bill from every angle imaginable; even the nationwide behemoth 60 Minutes piled on. Proponents of the SAFE Act in other states can expect the LGBT lobby to employ similar aggressive tactics. But they shouldn’t be afraid. Despite the Left’s media blitz, the Arkansas legislature still passed the SAFE Act with a veto-proof majority. Standing up to protect children from harmful irreversible procedures takes a backbone, but it’s not impossible.

Check out FRC’s map tracking bills to protect minors from “gender transition” experimentation to see whether there is a SAFE Act or similar bill in your state. Encourage your state legislators to stand up for children. If they are already promoting these bills, encourage them to continue to stand firm against the attacks of the enemy, “for our struggle is not against flesh and blood.”

For more information, read FRC’s issue analysis, “Do Not Sterilize Children: Why Physiological Gender Transition Procedures for Minors Should Be Prohibited.”

Thinking Biblically About Missouri’s SAFE Act

by David Closson

February 11, 2022

Earlier this week, Missouri state representative Suzie Pollock introduced HB 2649, the Save Adolescents from Experimentation (SAFE) Act. If passed, this legislation would prohibit puberty-blocking drugs, cross-sex hormones, and so-called gender reassignment surgeries for minors. The bill also prohibits the public funding, insurance coverage, and referral of such procedures for minors. Arkansas became the first state to pass a SAFE Act last year.

There are many reasons for Christians to support the SAFE Act. These include protecting children from experimental procedures linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and sterility. Studies have also shown that 85 percent of children experiencing feelings of distress as a result of a perceived incongruity between their psychological, self-perceived “gender identity” and their biological sex eventually come to accept their sex around or after puberty. Puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones, and surgeries do not help children grow out of their gender distress. Moreover, there are risks, complications, and concerns associated with gender reassignment surgery for both males and females, as the procedures involve the alteration or removal of biologically normal and functional body parts.

In addition to practical, medical, and ethical reasons to support the SAFE Act, there are also theological reasons for Christians to support the legislation. If law is inherently pedagogical, Christians should support the passage of laws that tell the truth about the human body. And the truth about our bodies is that God made two distinct yet complementary sexes, male and female. Thus, although the SAFE Act focuses on protecting minor children for physiological reasons, there are theological reasons for Christians to support the underlying principles affirmed in this bill, namely, that one’s maleness or femaleness is inextricably tied to biological sex and integral to one’s personhood.

First, the most fundamental distinction between men and women relates to biology. Genetically, men have XY chromosomes; women have XX chromosomes. Thus, when a male asserts that he is a female, he asserts an objective falsehood in terms of biology and genetics. The reality of biological sex cannot be changed by so-called gender transition or reassignment surgery. Surgeries cannot change a person’s genetic blueprint, and while genital surgery may sterilize an individual, it cannot bestow the reproductive capacity of the opposite sex. In other words, a person remains in their biological sex regardless of the gender with which they choose to identify.

This difference between the sexes is taught in Scripture. Moreover, the nature of the difference (i.e., biology) is also affirmed. Genesis 1:26-27 explains God’s original design for the sexes:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

 So God created man in his own image,

    in the image of God he created him;

    male and female he created them.

In verse 26, the focus is on what the man and the woman have in common (i.e., they’re both made in God’s image and tasked with exercising dominion over the created world), but verse 27 highlights the difference (i.e., humanity’s creation as male and female). And this difference is crucial. According to the Bible, God did not create androgynous beings; He created two distinct yet complementary individuals. In other words, the creation of male and female is not accidental or incidental but central to God’s design of human beings created in His image.

Arising from the Bible’s teaching in Genesis 1:27 is the question of what constitutes the difference between the man and the woman. In other words, what is the nature of the difference?  Although increasingly disputed, most people agree that there is something different between male and female. However, it is the nature of this difference that is fiercely contested. Transgender ideology suggests that one’s self-perception determines maleness or femaleness; one’s reproductive structures are inconsequential to the discussion. According to this logic, one’s self-understanding would determine one’s so-called gender identity, but reproductive anatomy would not. But the context of Genesis 1 shows that biology cannot be divorced from maleness or femaleness; in fact, biology is the ultimate determiner of sex and gender.

The fact that biology determines sex is seen in Genesis 1:28 which says, “And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it.’” A key component of obeying God’s direction to Adam and Eve to “Be fruitful and multiply”—often known as the creation mandate—is procreation which is only possible with two biologically and genetically sexed individuals. Neither the man nor woman could fulfill God’s charge to fill the earth alone. In context, “male and female” in Genesis 1:27 must refer to the differing ways that human bodies are organized for sexual reproduction.

The implication of this teaching is clear. Even if someone feels strongly that they are “male,” they are wrong if their perception of their sex is not in line with their biological makeup. In a fallen world where the consequences of humanity’s initial sin affect our minds as well as our bodies, what we think about ourselves can be mistaken.

In other words, if someone is struggling with gender-confused feelings, a pastor, on the authority of God’s Word, can (and should) kindly tell them that their body isn’t lying to them. A person’s maleness or femaleness isn’t socially constructed. Rather, sex is something that is revealed by God in his special design of male and female bodies.

Second, there is a social dimension to the distinction between male and female. This dimension is touched on in Genesis 2:18, 21-25 which says,

Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.” …. So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

   This at last is bone of my bones

    and flesh of my flesh;

  she shall be called Woman,

    because she was taken out of Man.”

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.

This passage shows that complementarity between the sexes is embedded in God’s good creation. In verse 18, the word “helper” designates a social role for Eve within her marriage to Adam—a role that is inextricably linked to her biological sex. Adam’s creation before Eve and his charge from God designates a social role within his marriage to Eve—a role that is likewise inextricably linked to his biological sex. He is to be the leader, protector, and provider within this marriage covenant.

As ethicist Denny Burk has argued, the implication of this teaching is that God has so made the world that there is a normative connection between biological sex and the social dimension of maleness and femaleness. The social roles of the first man and woman in Genesis 2 are inextricably connected to their biological sex. The New Testament reveals that these roles are not merely descriptive of the first marriage but as normative for every subsequent marriage (1 Cor. 11:3; Eph. 5:21-33). 

Additionally, the social order of the first family presumes a normative connection between biological sex and social roles designed for that sex. It also presumes that a man understands himself to be a man and that a woman understands herself to be a woman. Self-identity and bodily identity match one another.

Finally, the Bible teaches that the difference between male and female is good. Consider Paul’s reflection on the Genesis creation account in 1 Timothy 4:4-5: “For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected, if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Where does Paul get the idea that everything created by God is “good”? Paul is simply reading Genesis 1, which says that God looked at what he had made throughout the six days of creation and said that it was “good.” And when God made the first male and female bodies, he said it was “very good” (Gen. 1:31). Paul affirms that what was true about male and female design before the Fall is still true after the Fall. This means that even though God’s good design in creation may be marred by the Fall and by sin, God’s good design is not erased by the Fall and by sin.

The Bible is clear that the distinction between male and female is biological and social. In the biblical worldview, the differences between male and female are also “good” because God declared them good. The responsibility of Christians is to understand and believe these truths. Pastors especially must understand the Bible’s teaching on sexuality and disciple their congregations to think faithfully about them.

The logic of the transgender movement has become so ingrained in many places around our country that even some doctors—those who have pledged to “do no harm”—are willing to perform irreversible procedures that remove perfectly healthy organs on children experiencing gender confusion.

Our cultural moment provides an opportunity for the church to speak into this confusion. And while we pray for revival, we also need to see that barring a move of God in our nation, the culture is only going to get worse and that as the Overton Window shifts on how society thinks about sexuality, it’ll only get harder and harder to pass good legislation.

In short, the urgency of the moment and the weightiness of the subject matter (protecting children) is why legislators should take advantage of the opportunities we have to pass legislation like the SAFE Act. It is also why Christians everywhere should study God’s Word on what it means to be male and female and why we should teach these truths in our churches, Christian schools, and homes.

When Liberal “Truths” Come Home to Roost, We Get Lia Thomas

by Joseph Backholm

January 28, 2022

You might have heard about Lia Thomas, a swimmer for the University of Pennsylvania who, after swimming on the men’s team for three years as Will Thomas, now competes on the women’s team. The results have been predictable. As of December, Thomas had recorded the fastest times in women’s college swimming in the 200 and 500 freestyle and won a 1650 meter freestyle event by nearly 40 seconds. It turns out men are very fast women.

The reaction has also been predictable. Yes, a few see it as a sign of “progress,” but most people instinctively recognize the injustice and insanity of it all. The crowds have been known to sit silently after Thomas completes a race and wait for the first female swimmer to finish before applauding. Although the NCAA insists the emperor’s new clothes are beautiful, it seems the onlookers aren’t buying it.

Those who are most frustrated might not fully appreciate how this all came to be. One female Penn swimmer has expressed her frustration anonymously out of fear of retribution. She told The Daily Wire that “I am typically liberal, but this is past that. This is so wrong. This doesn’t make any sense.”

Apparently, she sees no connection between her “typically liberal” values and what she now experiences on her swim team. That’s a mistake.

Thomas’ teammate likely equates being “liberal” with being “tolerant” and “nice.” She probably grew up encouraging people to live “authentically” so they could be happy. But now, those chickens are coming home to roost.

Another anonymous teammate explained in a different interview how the situation is affecting the team. “They feel so discouraged because no matter how much work they put in it, they’re going to lose. Usually, they can get behind the blocks and know they out-trained all their competitors and they’re going to win and give it all they’ve got. Now they’re having to go behind the blocks knowing no matter what, they do not have the chance to win. I think that it’s really getting to everyone.”

It’s helpful to remember how we got here. Ten short years ago, same-sex marriage was illegal in most places, but the campaign to legalize it was going strong. At that time, few were claiming boys can become girls. In fact, the movement mocked the idea that same-sex marriage diminished the two halves of humanity in any way. They said this was just about the freedom to “be who you are” and “love who you love.”  

Two things happened during the national debate over marriage that the Penn women’s swim team would do well to think about. First, our society embraced the idea that living “authentically” is the greatest thing a person can do. Second, we accepted the notion that the differences between men and women weren’t significant enough for the law to be concerned about.

For the transgender movement, the most difficult work was already done. Americans had been convinced that denying someone else’s truth made you a bad person, and along came Lia Thomas expressing the desire to live “authentically” while also claiming the differences between men and women weren’t significant enough to be concerned about.

Thomas’ new teammates want to object, but they agreed with the premise long ago. Either truth is personal, or it isn’t. Either we all have the right to live “authentically,” or there are ultimate truths we need to understand and embrace lest we destroy ourselves. These are binary choices, and many who took the path most traveled are becoming upset when they find out where it leads.

We all should have known better, and some of us did, but, in general, we were too busy feeling to think. The slogans were too easy to agree with and the social credit associated with being on the “right side of history” was irresistible. It was intoxicating to dream of a world just over the horizon—after we eradicated all the Neanderthals—where everyone could do what made them happy without judgment, bigotry, and hate. People were personally so excited about the potential of being able to do whatever they wanted that they did not adequately consider what might happen if everyone else did whatever they wanted, too.

In this case, they joined the swim team and beat you by 40 seconds. But it can get worse. Unless Thomas’ teammates and everyone else who enabled the status quo reevaluates what we’ve been doing for the last decade, they will long for the day when their greatest concern was men on their swim team.

Archives