Posted on April 24, 2016
Posted on April 24, 2016
I have watched as the media, social and otherwise, has exploded with opinions over whether or not transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom associated with their gender identity. A lot of it really saddens me, especially the hateful words many Christians are spewing with regard to the “perverts” that just want to attack girls and women by using the women’s restroom.
Quite honestly, this is a very complex and confusing issue for me. On the one hand, I have compassion for transgender people who feel like strangers in their own bodies. On the other hand, I understand the fear that many feel over the loss of privacy and safety in restrooms for women and girls. But in the midst of all of the outcry and debate, we have lost sight of the humanity of the very people we are debating – transgender people. They are people, not subhumans.
The people we are debating about here, are not perverts looking to find a way to rape women in bathrooms. They are people with a story of struggle to be who they authentically are. They are women who feel like men inside, and men who feel like women inside. They are human beings who are broken, (not defective). And we’re just trying to break them some more.
At the core of our humanity is a need to love and be loved. All of us need a safe place to belong, to be ourselves, to be accepted and included. Imagine what it must be like to try and belong when you feel like the gender you most want to belong to isn’t the gender you biologically are. Imagine the struggle to understand that, amidst the shame of being misunderstood and maligned.
Perhaps we have forgotten that we’re all broken people. We all have struggles. We all stand in need of a Savior, whether we want to admit it or not. We all stand in need of grace, because without it, we have no hope.
Regarding this issue, I’d rather see the people of the Christian Church involved in conversations as opposed to grand-standing positions. To have a conversation requires us to look at transgender people and acknowledge their humanity. To acknowledge their humanity requires us to acknowledge our own. When we acknowledge our own, we find that we are broken people, just like they are.
We’re people trying to figure out broken relationships, our place in the world around us, a way to raise our kids and pay our bills and do the right things and hold it all together while the world feels like it might just swallow us up. We’re all just imperfect people in this imperfect world. And when one person acknowledges that they struggle too, it levels the playing field and we can have a conversation.
Broken people need broken people,
to walk the journey with us
to talk about our struggles without being judged
to encourage us when we think we can’t make it another day
to challenge us to do the right things.
Christians, we should be better than this ugly debate. Jesus fought first for justice. He passionately pursued justice for the marginalized and ostracized. He chose to hang out with the prostitutes and lepers, the tax collectors and adulterers. He lived and loved without trying to break these broken ones. They could receive his love because of their brokenness. We would do well to accept his love as broken people too.
Let’s acknowledge that it’s complicated and some things we just can’t understand. Let’s acknowledge that we don’t really know what it’s like to stand at the doors of the women’s and men’s restroom and not know in which you should go. Let’s acknowledge that we are all created in the image of God. We bear his image, and it’s time we started acting like it.