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  • Transsexuals, intersexuals and marriage

    I've raised this topic because:
    1. I personally know a few transsexuals, as well as a committed Christian with gender identity disorder (henceforth GID);
    2. it is, biologically, psychologically and socially, a very complex issue.
    First, some definitions. By no means will they be universally accepted, but I'd prefer it if we used them to prevent confusion. Sex identifies an individual's biological characteristics — for example, chromosomes, producing gametes or sperm, breasts and skeletal structure — whereas gender refers to the social and cultural roles which individuals are expected to conform to. In general, sex determines gender, although gender roles vary widely between cultures, and some cultures recognise a "third gender".

    GID is a psychological condition, possibly with a biological aetiology, whereby an individual feels uncomfortable with the gender they were brought up with. A transsexual is someone who wants to, or decides to, live as another gender; in particular, post-operative (post-op) transsexuals, who have underwent surgical and hormonal treatment to physically take on the appearance of the opposite sex. In what follows, when I refer to a transsexual, I am referring to a post-op transsexual.

    Also, it is important to note that transsexuality is not the same as homosexuality, although there is inevitably some overlap.

    Intersexuality is an even more complex situation. Wikipedia defines it as:

    "…conditions in which chromosomal sex is inconsistent with phenotypic sex, or in which the phenotype is not classifiable as either male or female[.]" — Wikipedia on "Intersexuality"
    In other words, it is a biological condition which renders the question an individual's biological sex dubious. As an extreme example, someone with complete androgen insensitivity (CAIS) is externally indistinguishable from a female, but has a male karotype (i.e. is chromosomally male). In many cases of ambiguous genitalia, doctors will decide at birth what gender should be assigned.


    Now, onto the question of marriage. No doubt, you have already been considering some of the unique issues involved in marital relationships for post-operative transsexual and intersexual persons, and I would like to invite comment by posing the same, clear question about both conditions. I will suggest a few answers, but you are free to ignore these; my only request is that you explain the reasoning behind your response.

    1. What sort of marital relationships do you believe should be open to a post-operative transsexual?
      1. They should marry a partner of the opposite sex from their pre-operative sex.
      2. They should marry a partner of the opposite sex from their post-operative sex.
      3. They can marry a partner of either sex.
      4. They should not marry at all.

    2. What sort of marital relationships do you believe should be open to an intersex individual?
      1. They should choose a sex, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      2. They should be assigned a sex at birth, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      3. They should be assigned a sex (by whom?) according to their external appearance, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      4. They should be assigned a sex (by whom?) according to their karotype, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      5. They can marry a partner of either sex.
      6. They should not marry at all.


    Remember that the proposed answers are only suggestions, and whether or not you choose one of them, I am more interested in the reasoning behind your answers. I look forward to your responses, and hope this will be an interesting and enlightening discussion.
    Last edited by Ecumaniac; Jan 2nd 2008, 03:14 PM. Reason: Clarity

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ecumaniac View Post
    I've raised this topic because:
    1. I personally know a few transsexuals, as well as a committed Christian with gender identity disorder (henceforth GID);
    2. it is, biologically, psychologically and socially, a very complex issue.
    First, some definitions. By no means will they be universally accepted, but I'd prefer it if we used them to prevent confusion. Sex identifies an individual's biological characteristics — for example, chromosomes, producing gametes or sperm, breasts and skeletal structure — whereas gender refers to the social and cultural roles which individuals are expected to conform to. In general, sex determines gender, although gender roles vary widely between cultures, and some cultures recognise a "third gender".

    GID is a psychological condition, possibly with a biological aetiology, whereby an individual feels uncomfortable with the gender they were brought up with. A transsexual is someone who wants to, or decides to, live as another gender; in particular, post-operative (post-op) transsexuals, who have underwent surgical and hormonal treatment to physically take on the appearance of the opposite sex. In what follows, when I refer to a transsexual, I am referring to a post-op transsexual.

    Also, it is important to note that transsexuality is not the same as homosexuality, although there is inevitably some overlap.

    Intersexuality is an even more complex situation. Wikipedia defines it as:

    In other words, it is a biological condition which renders the question an individual's biological sex dubious. As an extreme example, someone with complete androgen insensitivity (CAIS) is externally indistinguishable from a female, but has a male karotype (i.e. is chromosomally male). In many cases of ambiguous genitalia, doctors will decide at birth what gender should be assigned.


    Now, onto the question of marriage. No doubt, you have already been considering some of the unique issues involved in marital relationships for post-operative transsexual and intersexual persons, and I would like to invite comment by posing the same, clear question about both conditions. I will suggest a few answers, but you are free to ignore these; my only request is that you explain the reasoning behind your response.

    1. What sort of marital relationships do you believe should be open to a post-operative transsexual?
      1. They should marry a partner of the opposite sex from their pre-operative sex.
      2. They should marry a partner of the opposite sex from their post-operative sex.
      3. They can marry a partner of either sex.
      4. They should not marry at all.

    2. What sort of marital relationships do you believe should be open to an intersex individual?
      1. They should choose a sex, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      2. They should be assigned a sex at birth, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      3. They should be assigned a sex (by whom?) according to their external appearance, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      4. They should be assigned a sex (by whom?) according to their karotype, and marry a partner of the opposite sex.
      5. They can marry a partner of either sex.
      6. They should not marry at all.


    Remember that the proposed answers are only suggestions, and whether or not you choose one of them, I am more interested in the reasoning behind your answers. I look forward to your responses, and hope this will be an interesting and enlightening discussion.
    The GID folk... those "Christian" ones... do they figure God just messed things up?


    Visit our new website
    ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

    A.W. Tozer said,
    "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

    GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by ProjectPeter View Post
      The GID folk... those "Christian" ones... do they figure God just messed things up?
      It is one person. And he does not believe that God messed up; he believes that biology messed up. Just the same as it does with sickle-cell anaemia, or intersex disorders.

      Please, let's focus on answering the questions I asked in the OP instead of speculating about my friend's motives or faith.

      Comment


      • #4
        The answer to all of your questions lie in the scripture fact that we are to worship and live in spirit and in TRUTH.

        Eph. 5:9 For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth

        God does not make mistakes biologically or psychologically or whatever....

        until these individuals can come to terms with their true identities, marriage should be the last thing on their minds.

        they would be entering any relationship with a lie
        It takes love to embrace those ones who are weak, and strength to endure the weakness, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Ecumaniac View Post
          It is one person. And he does not believe that God messed up; he believes that biology messed up. Just the same as it does with sickle-cell anaemia, or intersex disorders.

          Please, let's focus on answering the questions I asked in the OP instead of speculating about my friend's motives or faith.
          I figure there faith is in serious question... that is the point.


          Visit our new website
          ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

          A.W. Tozer said,
          "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

          GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ProjectPeter View Post
            I figure there faith is in serious question... that is the point.
            No, his faith is not in question. I understand that you are trying to help, and it is kind of you, but I am not seeking advice for my friend. I am seeking Christian responses to two very difficult (and, needless to say, controversial) situations.

            Comment


            • #7
              Well, okay, then as to your questions: the last option on both. A Godly marital relationship is between a man and a woman, just as God created them.
              Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
              Not second or third, but first.
              Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
              when He is the source of all hope,
              when His love is received and freely given,
              holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
              will all other things be added unto to you.

              Comment


              • #8
                I tend to agree with both of the above answers. It seems to me that people who don't want to face the truth, or want people to accept what is not right, they make up excuses...i.e. medically descriptive analyses of their "condition." Their condition is that they are not in the will of God.
                I do not think that any of the above instances of the O.P. should marry, period. There is apparently enough confusion as it is. Why add other people to an already messed up mind?
                While I understand your questions, and why you seem to be asking them, I have to wonder why it isn't already apparent. There is no truth to your hypothetical questions other than to search the Word of God and what He says about it.
                Romans would be a good place to start. God Bless.
                Psalm 118:8 - "It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man."

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by always View Post
                  God does not make mistakes biologically or psychologically or whatever.
                  Of course God doesn't make mistakes. But biology does. Cancer, fragile X, Down syndrome... All of these are biological mistakes. Intersex children are cases in which a child's gender is biologically indeterminate; i.e. their sex is unsure because of a biological error. It is beyond doubt that such cases happen; the question is, how do Christians come to terms with them?

                  until these individuals can come to terms with their true identities, marriage should be the last thing on their minds.
                  My questions implicitly assumed that any identity issues would be resolved in some prescribed manner; perhaps I should have been more explicit. Allow me to expand a little:

                  What is a transsexual's true identity? And what kind of relationships may they pursue once they are reconciled with it?

                  What is an intersex person's true identity? And what kind of relationships may they pursue once they are reconciled with it?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    My questions implicitly assumed that any identity issues would be resolved in some prescribed manner; perhaps I should have been more explicit. Allow me to expand a little:

                    What is a transsexual's true identity? And what kind of relationships may they pursue once they are reconciled with it?

                    What is an intersex person's true identity? And what kind of relationships may they pursue once they are reconciled with it?
                    The questions you ask are very sensitive and there is no one blanket answer for them. Instead, every case must be reviewed individually.

                    Things like this were not a real issue when the Bible was written, so we must use our best judgment.

                    For me, it seems that people suffering from such a condition, depending on the level of ambiguity, should marry if they can find a loving spouse. However, for some of the more extreme conditions, it seems that people will have to patiently bear this cross.

                    Just like people who are born blind, handicapped, or sterile, they must prayerfully discern God's will in their lives. For whatever reason, Christ has called them to share in his suffering.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by jesuslover1968 View Post
                      While I understand your questions, and why you seem to be asking them, I have to wonder why it isn't already apparent.
                      In case anyone is wondering, I don't have any personal stake in this question. I don't have gender identity disorder, I'm not a transsexual and I don't have any intersex disorders (to my knowledge). I'm asking because it's an interesting and complex topic which piques my intellectual curiosity.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by KATA_LOUKAN View Post
                        Just like people who are born blind, handicapped, or sterile, they must prayerfully discern God's will in their lives.
                        My favourite answer so far.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ecumaniac View Post
                          Of course God doesn't make mistakes. But biology does. Cancer, fragile X, Down syndrome... All of these are biological mistakes. Intersex children are cases in which a child's gender is biologically indeterminate; i.e. their sex is unsure because of a biological error. It is beyond doubt that such cases happen; the question is, how do Christians come to terms with them?



                          My questions implicitly assumed that any identity issues would be resolved in some prescribed manner; perhaps I should have been more explicit. Allow me to expand a little:

                          What is a transsexual's true identity? And what kind of relationships may they pursue once they are reconciled with it?

                          What is an intersex person's true identity? And what kind of relationships may they pursue once they are reconciled with it?

                          Well, things happen inutero. We have conjoined twins, girls born with 4 arms and 4 legs - things happen. Yes, I know some babies are born with female inside parts and boy outside parts. No different.

                          The transsexual's identity is what he is born with. If a male, then they are male. If female, then female. Things with transexuals, at least as far as I understand, is that they seem to have chosen to be forced to be reconsiled to who they have made themselves. Had they remained as they were designed, there wouldn't be an issue. I think we can agree that it a fact.

                          Whatever life hands us, we need to seek God's will first. As your friend is a Christian as you state, that is what needed to happen. The flesh is always confusing unless we attempt to squelch it with the Spirit. The physical differences just make it more apparent, further tempting that flesh because there is something for our eye to further convince our mind.

                          This is no different a circumstance than someone born blind, or one who had their sight taken from them after a couple decades. No different than one born without legs, or if those legs were taken from them in a car accident. No matter what, it's our desire to be within the will of God and not against him that should come before all else.
                          Seek ye FIRST the kingdom.
                          Not second or third, but first.
                          Only when all else pales to God, when He receives all glory,
                          when He is the source of all hope,
                          when His love is received and freely given,
                          holding not to the world but to the promise to come,
                          will all other things be added unto to you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by threebigrocks View Post
                            As your friend is a Christian as you state, that is what needed to happen.
                            Please, can we all forget about my friend! I know you are all trying to help, and I thank you for your kindness, but none of you know anything about him. If I did want to seek advice on his behalf I would speak to our chaplain, who knows him very well.

                            I just want to discuss the two questions I asked in the OP. Thank you very much for your response to the first one, TBR.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ecumaniac View Post
                              No, his faith is not in question. I understand that you are trying to help, and it is kind of you, but I am not seeking advice for my friend. I am seeking Christian responses to two very difficult (and, needless to say, controversial) situations.
                              You got them. If he is a guy who's pretending to be a girl and being with a guy... he's a homosexual. If it is a girl then ditto. Period. That is called sin. If they practice such sin then they will not inherit the kingdom of God. Again... period.


                              Visit our new website
                              ! The Blog might interest some.. and Lord help me!!!... for those that twitter... there as well.

                              A.W. Tozer said,
                              "To escape the error of salvation by works we have fallen into the opposite error of salvation without obedience.”

                              GO.... SERVE YOUR KING!

                              Comment

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