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Transsexuals are men or women who are biologically normal, but whobelieve themselves to be members of the opposite sex.1 This feeling ofbeing ‘trapped in the wrong body’ may lead to a transsexual demandingwhat is often called a ‘sex change’ (also known as ‘gender reassignment’).
This involves the use of hormones and surgery to change their appearanceand sexual characteristics.
These medical and surgical possibilities now make people believe they can‘change sex’ and created the idea of ‘transsexuals’ or people claiming to be‘trapped in the wrong body’. 2 The word ‘transsexual’ only arose in the1940s.
The problem, however, is psychological: the evidence supports this viewoverwhelmingly.3 The transsexual’s body is healthy. Traditionally invasivesurgery has only been used to preserve the integrity of a body endangeredby disease or injury4, not to mutilate a healthy body. A painful operationcannot solve the mental dysfunction.
Gender reassignment only changes the outside, not the inside. In fact it isnot possible to change sex. It is helpful to distinguish between ‘sex’ and‘gender’. There are two distinct sexes: male and female. Gender, however,can be thought of differently: there is a range stretching from masculinityto femininity. Such a variation in characteristics from person to person isquite obvious.
People are born either male or female. It does not make sense to say ‘Ihave the right to change sex’. It cannot be done. It would be likeParliament passing an Act to decree that all pregnancies in future will beby men not women.
The reason that there are two, and only two, sexes is that God createdmankind such that to be human means to be either human male or humanfemale (Genesis 1:27). The human body is therefore a good gift of God andessential to the human person. But the transsexual sees their body as anaccident, as denying their ‘true self’ which resides in their mind andemotions. This is opposed to the Bible, which teaches a positive view ofthe body: the supreme expression of this being that Jesus became flesh(John 1:14). It is an old heresy (‘Manichaeanism’) which detaches theperson from the body.5
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 warns against ‘sinning sexually against your ownbody’. Christians must honour God with their body.
The Old Testament uses the same word to condemn homosexual practiceand intentional cross-dressing. Deuteronomy 22:5 states: “A woman mustnot wear man’s clothing, nor a man wear woman’s clothing, for the LORDyour God detests anyone who does this.” (compare Leviticus 18:22).
In July 2002 the European Court of Human Rights held that a transsexualhas the human right to change sex and to marry someone of the samebiological sex.6 But until now British law has been in harmony withChristian belief. In the court case Corbett v Corbett
, Mr. Corbett arguedthat his marriage was void because his ‘wife’ was a man. Mr. JusticeOrmrod agreed. He upheld the principle that biology determines the sex.7A male-female transsexual who had undergone ‘gender reassignment’remained as he was ever since birth: male. Ormrod upheld that three factsdetermined the sex of a person:
1. The chromosomes (XY – male; XX – female)2. The gonads (testes/ovaries)3. The genitals (penis/clitoris, including internal sex organs)
Ormrod also held that the man was psychologically a transsexual.
In Corbett v Corbett
the marriage of a transsexual male-female to a malewas declared void because both parties were biological males.
The Gender Recognition Bill, introduced in Parliament in November 2003,allows transsexuals to marry. It does this by allowing them to swap the sex
recorded on their birth certificate. But this is fundamentally dishonest. Youcannot alter a fact of history. If the Bill becomes law, it will open the doorto gay marriage. Transsexual marriage is gay marriage since legally twomen, or two women, of the same sex would be married.
There are claims that a person’s sex is the product of a gradual processdetermined by society. This is clearly opposed to Scripture. The objectivefact is that the XY or XX chromosomal/genetic pattern is set at conception.
Nor is it reasonable to assume that other biological factors, e.g. brainstructure, cause transsexualism. There is little evidence for this and theplea ‘I was made this way’ was abandoned by biologists long ago.8
Even if psychology were a factor in determining sex, why should itoverrule all other factors?
. A transvestite is someone who cross-dresses for erotic
stimulation, usually a man who dresses as a woman.10 This is not thereason why a transsexual would dress as the opposite sex.
. A homosexual wants to fulfil same-sex desires with their
body as given. They do not see their body as a problem.
3. A biological ‘intersex’ condition, also called ‘hermaphroditism’
. There are
very rare cases of babies whose sex at birth is ambiguous. Truehermaphrodites are born with both testicular and ovarian tissue. Oneworld-wide review found only 364 cases of true hermaphrodites since1899.11 Another intersex condition, involving ambiguous genitalia, isthought to occur in 1 in 130,000 births.12 Such illnesses have nothing to dowith transsexualism. A transsexual has a healthy body.
There is evidence that some transsexuals attempt suicide, become involvedin prostitution and that some transsexuals regret having their operation:even ‘returning’ to their biological sex.13
It has also been claimed thathormonal treatment can result in breast cancer.14
The Christian response to a transsexual, as with any other person, shouldbe prayer, care and counsel as for any with psychological difficulties andwhere necessary repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:21)
The Christian Institute, February 2002
1 ‘Transsexualism’ in Atkinson, D J and Field, D H (Eds.) New Dictionary of Christian Ethics and Pastoral Theology
, IVP,1995, page 863. It is a rare condition. The American Psychiatric Association has estimated that 1 in 30,000 males (0.003 percent) and 1 in 100,000 females (0.001 per cent) are transsexuals: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (ThirdEdition – Revised)
, The American Psychiatric Association, 1987, page 75. More recent studies have shown a higher prevalence,but there is no reason to believe they are more accurate: see Transsexuality- a report by the Evangelical Alliance PolicyCommission
, 2000, page 16.
, Op cit
, page 12. The idea is distinct from cross-dressing.
4 O’Donovan, O, Transsexualism and Christian Marriage
, Grove Booklet on Ethics, 1982, page 15
6 Goodwin v. United Kingdom and I. V United Kingdom (2002) 35 EHRR 447; The Times, 12 July 2002
7 Corbett v Corbett (otherwise Ashley)
 2 All ER 33
8 Whitehead, N, ‘Are Transsexuals Born that Way?’, Triple Helix
, Autumn 2000, Christian Medical Fellowship, page 7
9 ‘Transsexualism’ in Atkinson, D J and Field, D H (Eds.), Op cit
, page 864
11 van Niekirk, W A, ‘True Hermaphroditism’, Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol.
, 126(7), 1976, pages 890-907
12 ‘Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome’: see http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency.html as at 14 February 2002
13 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders
, Op cit
, page 75; O’Donovan, O, Op cit
, page 4; Califia, P, SexChanges- The Politics of Transgenderism
, Cleis Press, 1997, page 246; Whitehead, N, Op cit
, pages 6-8
14 MacKenzie, G O, Transgender Nation
, Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1994, page 71 citing Prior J, Vigna, Yand Watson, D in ‘Spironolactone with Psychological Female Steroids for Presurgical Therapy of Male-to-FemaleTranssexuals’, Archives of Sexual Behavior
, 18(1), 1989, pages 49-57
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