By Lisa Cherry
Every person in America has a right to his/her own views and beliefs. But what do we do when someone's expression of their free choice infringes on the rights, safety, or privacy of other people?
Our local community is faced with such a controversy.
A man is permitted in our women's locker room at our local university. And as we understand it, he is not a man pursuing a sex change surgery, but rather a man who considers himself gender exploring and therefore protected by anti-gender orientation discrimination laws.
Several of us in our area want to make an appropriate Godly response to this situation, but this is very difficult for the following reasons:
1. In this case, minors were traumatized which is totally inappropriate and unacceptable, and potentially illegal. It has been suggested by some who are knowledgeable about this case that if we challenge the rule on the basis of it involving minors, the university will likely ban minors from the facility. Further, they claim college-age students are adults and "should be able to handle it." But our point is that no one should be handling this!
2. Many people I have talked with are outraged and genuinely alarmed but they are afraid to speak up.
3. If we make a big deal about it now, it will likely hit the news which could cause more people to attempt to claim the law and enter the bathrooms. Right now, I think it is fairly unknown. Could knowing there is protection for all those who claim gender as a first amendment right cause sex offenders to try a new access method? How are the police protecting us from this?
4. But if we don't somehow rally for changes, this law interpretation appears to apply even to our churches and community buildings. (Any lawyers out there to clarify this? I know of one church that was sued on this type claim.)
5. Transsexual used to mean sex change therapy and hormones. Now it appears, to have morphed into new terms that are not well understood by the public. Transgender and Queer and Questioning. Check out these definitions from GLAAD Media Reference Guide:
Transgender An umbrella term (adj.) for people whose gender identity and/or gender expression differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The term may include but is not limited to: transsexuals, cross-dressers and other gender-variant people. Transgender people may identify as female-to-male (FTM) or male-to-female (MTF). Use the descriptive term (transgender, transsexual, cross-dresser, FTM or MTF) preferred by the individual. Transgender people may or may not decide to alter their bodies hormonally and/or surgically.
Transsexual (also Transexual) An older term which originated in the medical and psychological communities. While some transsexual people still prefer to use the term to describe themselves, many transgender people prefer the term transgender to transsexual. Unlike transgender, transsexual is not an umbrella term, as many transgender people do not identify as transsexual. It is best to ask which term an individual prefers.
6. The LGBTQ has threatened small business owners in other parts of the country who have opposed their "rights." Click here and here. Who among us wants their name on the frontline of an organized effort?
7. College students and even many adults have now been brainwashed to believe it is their right under the First Amendment, to question the gender that is "assigned" to them at birth, and to express their preferred “gender identity.” So waiting for the young girls or the guys on campus to speak out and complain is pointless because it is probably not going to happen.
8. This is a serious issue for us all. The issue is not limited to one man in our university bathroom. And the efforts we use now to clarify the issues may determine our future.
9. How do we know that sexually perverted people will not hide behind this law and approach our children in bathrooms and changing areas all over our nation? With the loose definition of transgender and queer, why couldn't any student try entering the facility on a dare? Or maybe a predator could get in to take a peep?
10. At least the Olympics and other sporting associations have put some definitions on this, but what about us in the general public? We are being pressed further every day. Is there any sort of regulating system in place to "certify" one's gender? Yes. It's called a birth certificate. But apparently we don't use them anymore! Who is going to decide this? The mentally ill? The sexually deviant? The predators?
11. Are we now as parents okay with Queer grade school teachers? Or Transgender day care workers? Or Cross-dressing nurses? Or Gender transitioning youth workers?
Parents, this issue is laced with many confusing concepts. Our kids will need help understanding as they are being taught terms like "gender assignment" and "sexual orientation discovery." I was meeting with a mom in Canada last weekend whose young teen had been confused and hurt by those who came to her middle school to teach her such things.
Our gender is to be celebrated as a gift from God.
Gender expression is not a "first amendment right" as our world wants to term it.
I will continue to seek the Lord's direction for how to respond here in my hometown. And please send your suggestions for me if you would!
My heart hurts for the confusion and pain unleashed in this issue. But I am confident our God will give us the grace, love and strength to lead our children.