In this morning’s message, we shared the biblical principle that human sexual identity is not the product of cultural influence: to a great degree it is hard wired into us. When Genesis 2 explains that God created man from the earth while woman was taken from man’s side, the message is simple and elegant: we are radically different at the most basic cellular level. The writers of scripture may not have known this, but every cell in a man’s body contains two sex chromosomes: x and y. Every cell in woman’s body contains two x chromosomes. This makes us as different as soil is from flesh and bone. We are so different that a particular genome which has one effect in a man’s body will accomplish something quite different in a woman’s body.
Basic sexual identity is not the product of cultural upbringing and it cannot be changed by surgery. It is not widely reported but the John’s Hopkins Hospital pioneered sex-reassignment surgery in the 1960’s. In 1979 they concluded a major research project tracking roughly two dozen recipients of the surgery and comparing them to about the same number of transgender candidates who had not undergone the surgery. What they discovered was that the medical procedure did not resolve the mental health issues. Those issues actually began to intensify a few years after the surgery. The findings were so shocking and compelling that John’s Hopkins stopped performing sex reassignment surgeries, despite the fact they had been a leader in the field.
In 2011, researchers in Sweden followed up on more than 300 recipients of sex-reassignment surgery for a period of thirty years. What they discovered was that a few years after the surgical procedure the mental issues actually became more severe. To their astonishment, the suicide rate among sex-reassignment surgery recipients skyrocketed.
There’s more. Researchers at Vanderbilt University and the Portman Institute (London) tracked children who had reported transgender confusion. They found that 75 – 80% of those young people eventually grew out of that confusion and left those feelings behind without surgery or medical intervention of any kind. The vast majority didn’t need medical help: they just needed to grow up.
The point of this is not to say that men and women with transgender issues don’t have a problem: they obviously do. And they certainly deserve concern and compassion rather than ridicule and criticism. Nobody should have more love and concern for their pain than followers of Jesus Christ. Only by listening to people and hearing about their hurt can we demonstrate the love of Christ and offer them support and options for improvement.
In this context, I simply wanted to confirm what Scripture clearly teaches: sexual identity is not a function of culture; it is a result of design at the most basic level. It cannot be altered with surgery. God has made me who I am for his purpose and his glory.
Lift up the Cross!
A great deal of the content found here can be found in detail in an original article by Dr. Paul McHugh and published in the Wall Street Journal. See “Transgender Surgery isn’t the Solution;” June 12, 2014.” Today’s message can be found at http://www.ProvidenceToday.org.