Olympic champion, Bruce Jenner, was atop the news this past spring and summer as the saga of his transition from manhood to womanhood unfolded. Time magazine, where Bruce Jenner was on the short list for person of the year, commented on the famous athlete’s story. “Jenner’s rebirth as Caitlyn was the most visible high point of a banner year for the transgender community. The Secretary of Defense called the ban on transgender people’s open military service ‘outdated’ and directed that the policy be reviewed. A measure to add nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people to the Civil Rights Act was introduced in Congress with nearly 200 co-sponsors.” While the Bruce Jenner story played out in the media, many people wondered what to make of the whole situation.
Gender issues, like gender dysphoria, which describes a disconnect between one’s biological sex and their emotional state, occupy more and more of the headlines in today’s news. Reports on the issue are sometimes helpful, but as you might expect, they are often slanted one way or another. From a pastoral perspective there are several questions that become very relevant. What if you were presented with gender issues in your ministry? How would you approach the subject? What makes a boy a boy and girl a girl? Is there a physiological cause of such gender confusion? In the case of someone who has had gender reassignment surgery, what does repentance look like? Most importantly, how would you apply Law and Gospel to an individual who believes they were born in the wrong body?
I hope you will come to the Texas District Pastors Conference to discuss this issue and to learn how you might faithfully minister to someone who struggles with gender issues and specifically with gender dysphoria.
By: Rev. Alan Taylor
St. John, Galveston