Over the past few months, there has been much confusion about whether or not transgender people can use a bathroom or dressing room different than the gender of their birth. According to livescience.com, between 0.2 – 0.3% of Americans consider themselves to be transgender. What does it mean to be transgender? People who identify themselves as either transgender or transsexual are usually people who are born with typical male or female anatomies but feel as though they’ve been born into the “wrong body” (Source: ISNA – Intersex Society of North America).
One familiar example would be former Olympic gold medalist, Bruce Jenner, who is known for being on the popular TV show, Keeping Up with The Kardashians, of which he is the stepfather to the Kardashian kids. Bruce, whose name was changed to Caitlyn, was born male, has attempted the process to become female, and recent interviews and reports are mixed about his decision to remain one gender.
There seems to be disagreement at the state level. Currently, one state – North Carolina has enacted legislation to support transgender bathrooms. However, legislation for it was vetoed in the state of South Dakota and failed in other states like Virginia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Mississippi. As of last month, nine other states have pending legislation that may allow males to use female bathrooms and dressing rooms and vice versa (Source: www.usatoday.com).
The support of transgender bathrooms and dressing rooms is affecting one of our local chains. Target CEO, Brian Cornell, stands by its company’s policy to support the transgender use of bathrooms at all Target stores despite its $10 billion dollars in losses due in large part to an online petition by the American Family Association (www.afa.net) that has generated over 1.3 million signatures of people who have made pledges to boycott Target (Source: www.newsmax.com).
While we see the financial impact on the boycott, what interior effect does being transgender pose on one’s own health? “Transgender people face a high risk of prejudice and mental-health problems, and as many as 41 percent of transgender people in the United States have attempted suicide, according to a 2010 survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force” (Source: livescience.com). This is a very sad statistic. Those who are suicidal are in dire need of counseling. But it would be foolish to support a transgender bathroom policy. Doing so would further lower moral standards of the majority and would be a detriment to the moral and mental health of those who are confused and contemplating suicide.
Is that good? No. Is it right? No. Then what can we do? Take action. We too can boycott Target. If enough people do that, we can affect the pocketbook of Target and influence the CEO and its shareholders to change back to their original company policy.
This is not just a legal or even political issue, but at a deeper level, it’s a spiritual and moral one too. If that is the case, how is this confusion to be addressed from a moral standpoint? First, it depends on what Sacred Scripture teaches. When it comes to cross dressing Scripture states: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on woman’s clothing; for anyone who does such things is an abomination to the LORD, your God” (Dt. 22:5). That’s pretty serious. Also, WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)? I believe he would be compassionate to these people confused by their gender just as he was compassionate to the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8:1-11). But Jesus also told the adulterous woman to “go (and) from now on do not sin any more” (Jn. 8:11). I believe he would say the same thing to transgender people. We can also pray for their healing and conversion too.
Where there is confusion, there is the tail of the devil. This promotion and support for a transgender bathroom policy is wrong, and I believe the devil is heavily involved in trying to pervert God’s design of male and female identity and sexuality. We now see this manifested in our culture and in public whether it be at Target, in North Carolina, in our government legislation, or down south at the annual Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Let us not forget that we are made in God’s image and likeness (Gen. 1:26-27). Let us not be hoodwinked to think that the support of transgender bathrooms and dressing rooms are good ideas for our world, which is the current of the culture. Sometimes, with an issue like this, we are called to resist the current and go against the grain, and that is exactly what we need to do as people of faith in Jesus Christ.
*NOTE*: If you have been keeping up with the reading for the book, 33 Days to Morning Glory which started back on May 26th and will conclude on June 27th, there will be a gathering for the Marian consecration to Jesus on Tuesday morning, June 28th, in the St. Stephen Church site after the Our Lady of Perpetual Help devotion by the statue of Mary. FYI, – Fr. Jeff