I received a letter from my daughter's public elementary school that they are welcoming a new family with a "transgendered third grade girl." This letter is urging us to welcome and accept "her" and treat her the same as any other girl. She will be in third grade and my daughter is in second grade. The letter also informs us that our school district does not tolerate discrimination in respect to gender identity and or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, disability or religion.
There is a meeting at the school next week for parents to come and ask questions, etc. about transgender children. The parents of this student, staff, district personnel and the principal will be at this meeting.
I am really in need of some advice on how to handle this. We are a strong Christian family who believe that God did not make a mistake when He created this child. I am having a very hard time saying I will go along with the school district and tell my daughter to accept him as a girl. I want to be a loving, yet clear witness for Christ at this meeting.
Oh my word! I am so sorry you have to deal with this very difficult situation. I have thought about your question a lot and sought the wisdom of some of my friends who are immersed in ministry to those with gender issues.
I think you have a challenge here to balance the Lord’s command to be loving and compassionate to this family in crisis, and the need to disciple your own daughter in truth and love and wisdom.
One thing that really strikes me is the presence of overt spiritual warfare. This confused child and the parents most probably have no idea that they have been attacked and conquered by the lies of the enemy who comes to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10). I don’t know about you, but it breaks my heart to think about a child who so despises gender to the point of wanting to change it, and parents that think they are helping by going along with it.
When it comes to the parent meeting, I respectfully suggest that you seek to be overwhelmingly kind in your words and your tone. You might communicate that you are concerned about the ridicule that this child will receive from the other students, regardless of their hope to head it off. Children are still in the concrete stage of operations at this age, and they may not accept that this student is a girl. It’s quite possible that this child will be ostracized and marginalized, called names, and whispered about in ways sure to cause pain. It would be appropriate to ask how the school is planning on handling that. It would also be a good idea for you to be empathetic to the difficult situation that these parents are in. You could say that your prayers are with them during this transition to the new school.
You can’t control what a school does, but you have total control over how you talk to your own children about it. Since you are committed to biblical standards of truth and love, that means framing this unfortunate challenge to your daughter in a way that tells her the truth and honors this new student. Something along the lines of, “Sweetheart, there is a new third grade student using a girl’s name who looks like girl and acts like a girl, but God made him a boy. He isn’t bad, he’s confused. We don’t know why, but he doesn’t understand that being a boy is a good thing, and God makes lots of different kinds of boys. This is very sad, and we need to pray for him and be kind to him.”
This means that your daughter may have an opportunity to show kindness and compassion to a hurting child—not by joining into this game of “pretend,” but by simply reaching out to connect with a smile, an invitation to sit together at the lunch table (if second graders even mingle with third graders?!). . . basically, showing the love of Jesus to this hurting child. Part of that might include encouraging her not to discuss what mommy and daddy say about this child or their family to other children at school.
This is definitely a sticky situation. It's easy to be broadsided by the fact that in your wildest dreams you never thought this would happen at your daughter's school, and therefore rise up in defense for truth and justice regarding these poor children's hearts and souls. That being said, let me encourage you to see yourself as the ambassador of Christ in this circumstance. Try not to get caught in a debate with non-believers. Speak as Jesus would speak, sharing truth in a way that leaves no room for debate or verbal retaliation.
It is very sad that our children are growing up in a generation where they are exposed to things that are difficult for grown adults to understand themselves. I will be praying for you, your family, the family of this child, and your school at large.
As I am writing to you, I am continually reminded that it is God's kindness that leads us to repentance. Therefore I urge you to trust the fight for truth to the Lord. In the meantime, pray for the lost souls that are at your daughter's school, and look for opportunities to communicate the gospel to those who have not trusted Christ, starting with compassion.
I hope you find this helpful.
© 2009 Probe Ministries
About the Author
Sue Bohlin is an associate speaker with Probe Ministries. She attended the University of Illinois, and has been a Bible teacher and conference speaker for over 35 years. She is a frequent speaker for MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) and Stonecroft Ministries (Christian Women's Connections), and serves on the board and as a small group leader of Living Hope Ministries, a Christ-centered outreach to those dealing with unwanted homosexuality. Sue is on the Bible.org Women's Leadership Team and is a regular contributor to Bible.org's Tapestry Blog. She is also a professional calligrapher and the webmistress for Probe Ministries; but most importantly, she is the wife of Dr. Ray Bohlin and the mother of their two grown sons. Her personal website is suebohlin.com.
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