Trans Pansexuality

Watching Only Connect last night on BBC Four (we’re high-brow in the Ould household don’t ya know), I have to admit I took one look at one of the female contestants and thought “Is she or isn’t she?” To see what I mean have a look at the episode yourself.

Now what was going through my mind was, is she trans, is she Kleinfelters, what is it? This wasn’t out of some puerile finger-pointing (if I’d wanted to do that I’d have pointed out the Zaphod Beeblebrox lookalike on the other team) but rather an interest in sexual identity and how that may be linked to genetics. When we were waiting for Zachary’s diagnosis from the placenta biopsy, I read up all the things it might be and was fascinated by what variations can occur in the 23rd chromosomes.

But it turns out that Emma Laslett is trans. Here’s her description of herself (you need to scroll down the page).

Emma LaslettI’m Emma, a 21-year-old, pansexual, transgender French student (as in a student of the language, not a student of the nationality) and part-time music reviewer from scenic (and by ‘scenic’, I mean ‘largely made of concrete’) Milton Keynes, in the UK. When I’m not reading pretentious books or frantically writing essays in actually-scenic Oxford during term time, I read, listen to a ridiculously eclectic variety of music, and play prodigious amounts of video games. I’m pro-people, pro-freedom, and anti-people being dicks. Also, I speak six languages (to a greater or lesser extent), can neck a pint in five and a quarter seconds (thank you archery parties for teaching me this), and have scars on my eyeballs. Yay factoids!

Quite an arty photo as well I think you’ll agree.

Of course we’ve covered transgender issues here before and as I’ve indicated in the past the subject should cause conservatives to stop and ponder a bit before just dismissing it out of hand.

  • If we lived in a perfect, Edenic, un-fallen world then issues of Transgenderism wouldn’t occur. That is to say, I am convinced that transgenderism is a result of the Fall.
  • However, if transgenderism is simply one variant expression of the brokeness of all humanity, we cannot (as you rightly point out) make its experience in and of itself as disbar to ministry of any kind. We are in a sense driven back to the behaviour / orientation distinction in the issue of homosexuality.
  • My current issue therefore is what “behaviour” in the life of those who have transgender issues is sinful and what isn’t. For homosexuality I think we have clear Scriptural guidelines on sexual expression. For those with transgender issues we do not.
  • My key current concern is whether in assuming that the displayed sex of a person (i.e. that which they appear to be biologically) is the “correct” sex, are we actually missing the truth of the situation for some people? For example, I assume Susannah that if you are a male to female transexual, your sex chromosomes are XY. A traditional conservative approach would be to argue that since you present as biologically male that is your true gender and any attempt to deny it is to embrace fallenness rather than to reject it.
  • However, might it actually be the case that your true gender is female and that the development of your sex chromosomes as XY is actually a result of the Fall (in the same way that my son having a third 18th chromosome was fallen, not “good”). If this is the case then helping you transit from male to female is actually a “good” thing rather than a “bad” or sinful thing.
  • At the same time, I am aware of a number of cases where those who have presented with very clear sex/gender self-divergences have, through bringing areas of emotional and relational brokeness to God in prayer and allowing him to heal them, have seen their self-perceived gender realign with their biological sex.

There are some interesting examples of men and women who have considered sex reassignment surgery and then changed their minds, coming back into happily living in their birth sex. At the same time we have some good examples of men and women who are trans and live comfortably in that identity. Possibly the best example of this in the Church of England at the moment is the priest Rachel Mann who is based in Manchester.

But back to Emma. What I found interesting reading her biography was this description of “pansexual”. Now, I’ve never head that phrase applied to someone outside of a perjorative by some of the less savoury parts of the Conservative blogosphere. But a little trip to Wikipedia (the fount of all knowledge) reveals the following.

Pansexuality, or omnisexuality, is sexual attraction, sexual desire, romantic love, or emotional attraction toward people of all gender identities and biological sexes. Self-identified pansexuals may consider pansexuality a sexual orientation, and refer to themselves as gender-blind, asserting that gender and sex are insignificant or irrelevant in determining whether they will be sexually attracted to others. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines pansexuality as, “not limited or inhibited in sexual choice with regard to gender or activity”.

The concept of pansexuality deliberately rejects the gender binary, the “notion of two genders and indeed of specific sexual orientations”, as pansexual people are open to relationships with people who do not identify as strictly men or women.

OK, that makes sense and I see the distinction between pansexuality and bisexuality where one is a rejection of the gender binary that the other affirms.

But….

Is there not something philosophically inconsistent about being a trans pansexual? If gender or activity are not important for sexual attraction, why are they important for sexual or gender identity? What I mean is this – if it isn’t important whether one is attracted to a particular gender or sexual activity, why is the gender of the pansexual itself important? Why did Emma think it was important for her to have a female gender and therefore accept the binary gender differentiation that implies (I don’t want to identify as a man, I want to identify as a woman) yet at the same time reject such a differentiation in her sexual attractions?

Can you see my point? I’m not criticising her decision to identify with a female gender, I’m questioning whether such an identification itself undermines the philosophy behind her stated sexual preferences.

Thoughts?

Posted in Media, Transgender, Transsexualism
  • Tom

    My thoughts? I think you are right; it is logically inconsistent. If, as people often seem to protest when it comes to attraction, “genitals don’t matter”, why is it so important to go through a major operation to have the right ones?

    • I think there are slight differences. For homosexuality the genitals I have and the genitals the other person has are important (by definition) in the same way they are for heterosexuality. With the bi-polar gender spectrum they are also important for bisexuals (so the bisexual says I am attracted to a man or a woman AS they are a man or a woman).

      But the pansexual is simply attracted to the person and cares not what they do sexually. This is very interesting because I am wanting to ask “You really don’t care what sticks where or rubs up against what?” And perhaps it might be interesting to ask a pansexual whether he/she has any preferred sexual activity and to explore whether that is gender related at all.

      Regardless, I think it’s a mistake to say “genitals don’t matter” and in doing so to confuse homosexuality with gender issues.

      • Tom

        Hi Peter,
        I understand the difference between what is being presented as pan- versus bi-sexuality, but I think the language used by many bisexuals bears remarkable similarity to the former; perhaps there just wasn’t a term yet? For instance, Jesses J is famously quoted as saying something along the lines of “you fall in love with the person – what does it matter which genitals they have?” This is more pansexual-sounding, although she (to my knowledge) identifies as bisexual. So I think coming up with this fancy new term is fine, but the orientation has probably been adequately covered within the spectrum of sexuality previously covered by “bisexual”. Apparently it seems it’s vital to add to the plethora of terms describing people’s exact sexual proclivity that we’re all required to be familiar with.

        • Hamlet

          Disagree. I think bisexuality is an attraction exclusively to gender binaries (eg male and female). Pansexuality, on the other hand, accepts that not all people biologically male or female and says, “actually, I’m attracted to those people, too”. A bisexual person, I think, would not consider this unless they fitted into a gender-binary stereotype.

  • Hamlet

    I think the notion of pansexuality generally just conveys that the person is open to relationships with non-gender-binary people. It’s irrelevant whether or the pansexual is gender-binary or not; the accept that some people are not gender-binary (eg. intersex) and are open to that. Does that make sense? It makes sense in my head but I’m not sure I have conveyed it effectively.

  • JuliaMarks

    Well, I disagree that there is an inconsistency. I think the two are consistent in that they both represent “cool” positions to take on one’s own sexual identity. It’s cool to just change your gender identification at whim (because the position you take while urinating is so essential to your sense of identity); and it’s even more cool to not take a position on who (what?) turns you on. If anything turns you on. Perhaps being turned on is not cool. It’s so confusing to know anything anymore. Don’t you agree?

    • As it happens, no.

      I don’t think this is about people choosing to be “cool”, I think this is about people in a very liberal environment having the ability to actualise their desires. Now I might disagree with people as to whether they should be able to actualise their desires and what they are achieving by doing so, but I don’t think it’s just to do with trying to be cool.

      • Fiddlesticks

        ‘Actualising their desires’ might also be putting it a mildly. We’re not talking about people having a chocolate ice-cream craving. I’d say the same about homosexuality or abortion. It’s more that our society tends to see suffering as an ultimate evil and the need to relieve suffering as justification in itself. I’d say that suffering is *one* of the things that we need to take into account when deciding on an action – but it’s certainly got to be taken seriously.

    • Hamlet

      If you ask any transperson out there why they wanted to transition, it invariably is not because they thought it would be fun. In my experience, it comes from a genuine sense of gender dysphoria and not just some whim.

      • Joe_R6

        I’ve always been tempted to classify trans as a form of OCD – with the OC element being focused on “passing” for the other gender. I say that because of the controlling way trans people engage with others about the subject – always correcting others about trans issues and policing how the subject is discussed.

        • Hamlet

          OCD is a medical disorder that is diagnosed. You cannot just go around pronouncing people you think are “controlling” OCD. As for your argument that transpeople have a form of OC because they are controlling – politicians are equally controlling, are you going to “diagnose” them with OCD as well? No. What you’ve done is both unhelpful and ignorant.

    • Fiddlesticks

      I actually really object to this comment. Whatever people’s reasons for having a sex change operation, it’s certainly not to be cool or to be able to pee in a certain position.

    • You’re way off on this, Julia. You can’t change your gender identity – at least, I don’t know of anyone who has. Gender dysphoria is not fun, and it’s not cool, and it’s not a choice.

  • JuliaMarks

    I was writing tongue-in-cheek about people wanting to be cool. But not so much about urinating: when one asks oneself what the major differences are between being a woman and being a man, the biggest differences are physical, and not all that interesting (in my opinion). One wants to change one’s gender because they want/do not want breasts? But you, Peter, brought up the tension between “choosing” one’s gender but opting out of “choosing” the gender of one’s lust object. And that, also, has all to do with physical attributes.

    • Hamlet

      I think it’s more that people who are transgender experience gender dysphoria and believe they have been “born in the wrong body”, as it were, and their subsequent surgeries are to put them in-line with how they feel they should be. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, genitalia don’t matter, but in a society where so many things are dependent on whether you have flabby bits on your chest or in your groin, those things do become important.

  • Being a straight trans woman, I don’t find anything at all inconsistent in Emma being a pansexual trans woman. She’s just saying that she is a woman – that’s her own identity. And she happens to be attracted to people of all genders. That doesn’t make her less of a woman any more than being attracted to women (???) makes you less of a man.

    Gender dysphoria is a condition of intense discomfort with one’s body. It’s a medical condition, hence the medical treatment that is often prescribed

    • So, if we’re to follow this line of reasoning:

      1. Gender identity is a person’s subjective sense of being a man or a woman.
      2. Gender dysphoria is a acute sense of discontent with the sex that presents, or is assigned at birth and/or the gender roles associated with that sex.
      3.. Changing physical characteristics by which we can be identified as a man or a woman reduces the discomfort you describe by achieving a semblance of congruence with the brain coding of one’s gender identity.

      However, if your gender re-assignment shows the importance of congruence between mind and body gender, how is it that there is no discomfort in pursuing a sexual attraction that patently disregards very importance of gender identity that led to surgery?

      How can gender identity be important and inconsequential at the same time?

      • You’re getting gender identity and sexual orientation confused. They are different things. E.g., my gender is female, I’m attracted to men – straight trans woman. There are a lot of bisexual cis gender people – e.g, male gender, attracted to both men and women. I know a cisgender

        • Before I go further, here’s the deal. Put on your best outfit, glamorous or demure as you like and I’ll pitch up at a CofE church of your choice with a warm welcome. It may not be true of every church, but it is true of the church of Christ for which my and Peter’s Jesus died.

          That said, gender and sex are not mutually exclusive: ‘A gender role is a set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship.’

          Since gender role includes social and behavioural norms in an interpersonal relationship. Why should that categorically exclude sexual preference?

          In other words, it appears that while trying to achieve congruence between one’s presented and psychological gender is a paramount consideration for transsexuals, there is no concomitant need for congruence between the psychological gender and the sexual preference norms of the reassigned gender role.

          I also hear no consideration for the confusion it precipitates when someone experiences a heterosexual gender attraction to those attributes only to be told, at some stage, of the gender re-assignment surgery.

          Your explanation suggests that the search for gender congruence only goes as far as changing gender-specific mannerisms and physical attributes (counselling, surgery and hormones and clothing), while one can maintain a gender role that involves gender indiscriminate behaviour.

          While pansexuality may indeed be a preference, such an ambivalent form of attraction will rarely remain dormant as an unexercised preference.

          It would suggest that compulsion to alter the physical attributes of gender is more the aim of re-assignment than achieving complete congruence with psychological gender.

          We needn’t dress up gender-indiscriminate desire as anything more medically driven than than lust.

          • I’ll pass on your deal, but – whatever.

            Anyway, cool, bring in a third aspect of gender. Now we’ve got identity, sexual orientation, gender roles, and, for that matter, we can add gender expression. These are all aspects that are related, but different, and living on different spectrums (spectra?). Gender roles and expressions are, I think, why some feminists claim that gender is entirely socially constructed. And it’s true, gender roles are social constructs, and vary widely from culture to culture. But how does that relate to gender identity or sexual orientation? I know women who defy every gender role they can, and, for that matter, I’m pretty free with them myself, even though I’m quite comfortable and in fact prefer the gender roles assigned to women. So what? I’m straight, I like men. Emma’s pan, she likes everyone. I don’t think it’s as complicated as you seem to think.

            there is no concomitant need for congruence between the psychological gender and the sexual preference norms of the reassigned gender role

            If I understand what you’re trying to say, I don’t see why there would be, for individuals who aren’t dealing with closet issues. The need is to be authentic, I think. In my case, I’m fine with the sexual preference norm of my reassigned gender (not gender role, that’s different), because I’m straight. I like men. But if I were gay, I’d defy that sexual preference norm. No big, if I’m okay with that. If not, I’d have to deal with coming to terms with my homosexuality. It sounds like Emma’s come to terms, and even embraced, her pansexuality.

            I also hear no consideration for the confusion it precipitates when
            someone experiences a heterosexual gender attraction to those attributes only to be told, at some stage, of the gender re-assignment surgery.

            Well, I certainly didn’t bring that up. So I guess you don’t. I’m wondering why you bring it up?

            Your explanation suggests that the search for gender congruence only goes as far as changing gender-specific mannerisms and physical attributes (counselling, surgery and hormones and clothing), while one can maintain a gender role that involves gender indiscriminate behaviour.

            Speaking for myself only (I can’t speak for others), the search for gender congruence goes as far as necessary to live an authentic life without the intense discomfort of gender dysphoria, which includes surgery, hormones, clothing, social transition, and which was facilitated with counseling. Everyone’s search for gender congruence is unique to the individual, and everyone has one. Usually it’s conducted somewhat subconsciously, or with limited awareness, during puberty and young adulthood. For cis people, I imagine it’s usually – not always! – a pretty basic process. For trans people, it never is. So, yeah, I guess just about anyone would “maintain a gender role that involves gender indiscriminate behaviour.”

            While pansexuality may indeed be a preference, such an ambivalent form of attraction will rarely remain dormant as an unexercised preference.

            While [heterosexuality] may indeed be a preference, such [a focused] form of attraction will rarely remain dormant as an unexercised preference.

            In my case, and I think most trans people, the compulsion to alter physical attributes of gender is to stop the pain of dysphoria.

            We needn’t dress up gender-indiscriminate desire as anything more medically driven than lust.

            We needn’t dress up gender-[specific] desire as anything more medically driven than lust.

            Bottom line? I think you’re making this a lot more complicated than it is. Emma’s a pansexual trans woman. She could be a pansexual cis woman, or a heterosexual trans woman, or a homosexual cis woman, or… the possible permutations go on and on. So what? What’s hard to understand about that?

            • First, I was merely living out the gospel, which is neither reducible to a mere intellectual exchange like this (although I understand the appeal of that), nor a capitulation to ‘laissez-faire’ liberalism. ‘Faith without works Is dead’, said Jesus’ apostle, James…Oh, what…ever!

              You’ve also tried to introduce a false dichotomy. Gender roles, according to your lights, are social constructs and therefore can be treated as dispensable. Your response later on, rejecting only the need for congruence between psychological gender and sexual orientation merely reinforces this unproven notion.

              In contrast, you simply assert gender identity and sexual orientation to be immutable characteristics. Ergo, to achieve congruence, you’ve enforced a surgical alteration of your presented physical gender characteristics because the latter are more amenable to change…Right!

              Even if gender roles are no more than a social construct (and there’s no proof they are), these major constructs are part of our evolutionary history and serve an important purpose beyond producing children. Marriage, some might say, is another pre-political social construct. It doesn’t mean that it’s not indispensable to society as a whole, rather each of us having little regard for these institutions because apparently that’s what it means for them to live in society ‘authentically’ (meaning in their individual heads).

              It’s also disingenuous to claim that sexual orientation can remain at the level of a mere predisposition: ‘I like men…Emma’s pan…she likes everyone’. Sexual orientation is a bit more than ‘like’; it imposes itself on sexual activity. Your final resort to the stock ‘find and replace’ argument (the inventor of the word processor must have been a liberal) adds nothing to the debate. I would challenge mysefl and those of all sexualities to explain how their sexual preference finds expression in a permanent, faithful and stable relationship that upholds, as marriage does, the primacy of biological kinship. And, if it doesn’t find expression beyond just attraction, why would it even be noteworthy beyond intellectual curiosity?

              You’ve dismissed the impact of your ‘authentic’ gender on others. Apparently, it’s okay to present yourself as just another heterosexual woman who’s attracted to men. It would also be authentic to insist that such an important change in a transsexual’s life requires some explanation if a mutual ‘heterosexual’ attraction should develop. Even if it kills the mood to say early on: ‘Look, there’s something you should know about me.’

              The two great pillars of a Christian response to the gospel are repentance and faith. You’re right that both you and Emma can do what the hell you like in a free society.

              However, as a Christian, there’s a higher accountability. It’s not good enough for me to prioritise coming to terms with behavioural characteristics by labelling those we give up on changing as part of an intractable and inviolable identity. That’s just a comfort blanket cop out.

              This has been a meandering and challenging intellectual journey for which I’m thankful. Nevertheless, I still find your concluding destination (the gift of our presented sex characteristics should be pressed into service of a presumed immutable psychological gender and whatever sexual attraction imperative imposes itself) far less inspiring…probably as uninspiring as you find my position.

              Since little further engagement is possible, let’s leave it there.

              • You seem to have changed the terms of the conversation with this last comment, David, so I think a lot more engagement is possible. You were using terms like “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender role,” and that’s the level with which I engaged you; but here you seem to indicate you were talking about spirituality, ethics, and morality. You’re right, I was saying that sexual orientation and gender identity are immutable, while gender roles are not. But what we do with them counts. “As a Christian, there’s a higher accountability.” Having any particular sexual orientation says nothing about the actions, or even thoughts, one takes in response. This is the point I was trying to make by switching words in your two statements where I did that.

                Anyway, I’ll leave it there, with one added thing: You say “[I’ve] dismissed the impact of your ‘authentic’ gender on others.” Not true. If you review the comments made above, you will hopefully notice that I didn’t address this at all. You brought it up, I asked you why. Am I right is assuming, from your statement above, that you brought it up because you wanted me to acknowledge the obvious and ethical necessity to be open and honest about my personal history with men with whom I hope to establish an intimate relationship? Sure. But why do you imply and assume to get this answer? Would you treat a heterosexual cis person the same way, by assuming they would not be ethical enough to share important information in their personal background when starting a relationship? How do you suppose they would feel about that? How would you?

                • While the terminology might have changed, I still think the nature of this web-site would involve engagement on both psycho-sexual and moral terms.

                  While you claim that sexual orientation and gender identity are immutable, there is considerable evidence that it is not completely innate. While biological factors have an influence, even at toddler stage, ideas regarding the norms of gender behaviour (gender roles) are conveyed through social interaction with family and authority figures. It’s also clear that children actively search for those gender cues in order to make sense of the world around them.

                  So, gender identity is more than a person’s self-concept, it is also influenced by social norms. Gender identity is significantly relational: it’s not just how I view myself as a person, but also how my self-concept relates to other people, ideas and nature.

                  So, I disagree with the idea that gender identity or ‘Having any particular sexual orientation says nothing about the actions, or even thoughts, one takes in response.’ Neither gender identity, nor sexual orientation can exist outside of a relational framework.
                  I suppose that it’s because of your self-conceptual, rather than relational focus on gender identity, that I began the exploration of impact. ‘I hear no consideration…’ was an attempt begin an engagement with the moral impact of an internally congruent self-concept on others.
                  Your question in response about why I’d bring up the relational impact.

                  • the norms of gender behaviour (gender roles) are conveyed through social
                    interaction with family and authority figures. It’s also clear that
                    children actively search for those gender cues

                    Absolutely. I can attest. And the social interaction and gender norms play a huge role in one’s own gender role and expression, including one’s understanding of what gender is and what it means. But from my own experience, and what I’ve been able to glean from others’ experiences, it does not affect one’s actual gender identity or sexual orientation, it only affects one’s feelings and understanding about them, and how one goes about expressing that. For instance, I was very heavily socialized to be a boy, and could see by looking at my body that I looked like one. Yet my gender identity stubbornly remained and still remains girl/woman. Based on my observations and the things cisgender people say about it, I believe cis people have a very different experience, and have a much harder time separating the concepts of gender identity and gender expression, probably because they seamlessly tie together.

                    Gender identity is significantly relational: it’s not just how I view
                    myself as a person, but also how my self-concept relates to other
                    people, ideas and nature. … Neither gender identity, nor sexual
                    orientation can exist outside of a relational framework.

                    Absolutely! That includes one’s relationship with oneself. Being able to relate authentically with others as myself has been one of the best, if not the best, aspect of accepting my gender identity and transitioning. It completely relieved the awful, extreme isolation I felt hiding behind the mask of a manhood that was entirely contrived. But that identity says nothing about my actions. Does the fact of a cisgender female identity indicate that a woman will be a prostitute, or a housewife? Those are both possibilities, but the identity itself just says that she understands herself to be female, and relates to others as female. Same with a male cisgender identity. What judgments can I make about you based on your gender identity? Absolutely none. I need more context. Likewise with sexual orientation. For instance, I know a person who identifies primarily as lesbian, yet married a man and is satisfied with that relationship because of her feelings for him. A pansexual person can be attracted to everyone and still maintain a monogamous relationship with one person. If the majority of such people actively sleep with multiple partners, that still gives us no right to judge one individual based our perceptions of the majority.

                    Your question in response about why I’d bring up the relational impact was unnecessary: this web-site and its comment threads are characterised by such moral explorations. In the light of the nature of debate on this site, when you could have easily begun such an exploration, it was a superfluous irrelevance.

                    My being here is unnecessary. My desire to understand your meaning and your motivations, however, is more than “superfluous irrelevance.” The issue addressed by the post was how can a person be transgender and pansexual at the same time, and I answered within that parameter. Sure, I could have expanded it to other subjects or explorations around it, as you have. I didn’t see any need to do so, nor did I have any desire to do so. The question of being trans and pan at the same time, without context, has no moral implications. Add context, and you get them.

                    you’ve previously argued the case for a gender indiscriminate world in which gender roles are mere social constructs and the need to be authentic to one’s self concept is paramount

                    How so? Gender roles (outside of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing or the male equivalent) are social constructs. How does that argue for a gender indiscriminate world? But maybe I don’t understand what you mean but that term. If you mean a world in which people can be openly Trans*, cis, gay, straight, bi, or even pan without discrimination, then yes. I will argue for that.

                    • But from my own experience, and what I’ve been able to glean from others’ experiences, it does not affect one’s actual gender identity or sexual orientation, it only affects one’s feelings and understanding about them, and how one goes about expressing that.

                      There a saying: ‘hard cases make bad law’. Your gleaning of experiences may validate your own life choices and those of other transsexuals. You are free to make personal choices without hindrance. I’d even admit that a variety of environmental factors might place your psychological gender at variance with your presented sexual characteristics. That doesn’t prove that gender identity is innate and immutable. It doesn’t make the case for insisting that other tax-payers become involved in subsidising gender re-assignment through NHS contributions, nor that the State should accept that identity documents used for national demographics should be altered to replace your birth gender.

                      The clear teaching of scripture is that Christ’s example for all was to come to terms with His presented humanity until God supernaturally intervened: ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.’(Phillipians 2:5 – 8)

                      From a Christian perspective, we are provided with the revelation that human sexual attraction was an outcome of the divine gift of sexual differentiation. However you choose to de-mythologise the Genesis, it is re-iterated by Christ as the impetus for leaving the descent group to form a new and permanent offshoot of family, whereby biological kinship is derived through the organic union of sexually differentiated pairs: ‘For this cause, a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh’ (Gen.2:24)

                      There is one overarching identity aspiration to which we should conform and it is that all-enduring mind of Christ that awaits divine, rather than earthly redemption. That identity is superior to all others and congruent with the will of God as revealed through Christ. That does not mean blind uniformity, but it does mean that the Christian purpose must be consistent with its historic trajectory and a wider context than any individual’s internal mystical journey. This identity has been explained and corroborated through the written history of Israel, through the prophets who warned and encouraged them and through the apostles who were chosen eye-witnesses of Israel’s Messiah, Jesus.

                      In spite of His divine identity, Christ embraced his outward natural appearance of humanity, even to share in its vulnerability to death. How does His approach to His outward natural appearance inform our own approach to gender identity?

                      The issue addressed by the post was how can a person be transgender and pansexual at the same time, and I answered within that parameter.

                      The issue that the post raised was whether the claim to be a transgender pansexual was philosophically and/or morally inconsistent. In order to answer this, you tried, at first, to first divorce gender from sexual orientation. You now admit that gender is relational and includes sexual orientation. Yet, you prioritise psychological authenticity over the your native sexual characteristics. In contrast, Christ came to terms with the variance between His natural outward appearance and His divine nature by simply accepting it as God’s gift, rather than as an unacceptable contrivance: ‘Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me’ (Heb. 10:5) With all of its vulnerabilities, the body into which Christ entered the world was cherished by Him as a gift from God surrendered to suffer on the cross, rather than a constant source of acute dissatisfaction with its natural limitations.

                      How so? Gender roles (outside of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing or the male equivalent) are social constructs. How does that argue for a gender indiscriminate world?
                      Arguing for pansexuality is arguing for sexual relationships in which gender serves no discernible purpose. Yet, gender is clearly part of our originating nature, relational framework and a crucial part of human evolutionary development. While no-one has the right to penalise subjective choices through legal and employment penalities, Christians have the right to challenge the dissemination of and State support for these choices as they relate to public policy.

      • I know a cis gender woman who is pansexual. Why would that be so different from a trans pansexual?

        • Ken

          As we are human, sexuality will always be a subject which consumes our attention. After all, none of us would be here without it!

          The fundamental thing from Scripture is that, for God to create mankind “in His image”, He had to create both male and female. Both genders are necessary, and when coming together in sexual union, they show this mystery, by a congress which, in some profound way, reunites the two genders in a harmony which echoes what Adam was (complete) before Eve became his removed side (a better translation than merely “rib”). That complete identity (ie Adam and Eve combined, before she was separated) was the “image of God”, which is what God made mankind to be.

          Although I have many gay friends, whom I like immensely, It would be wrong for me to consider their sexual union to be equivalent to a heterosexual union. Only a union between male and female can “undo” the separation of Adam and Eve, and recreate (to some degree) the complete representation of the “image of God” that is encapsulated in a man and woman coming together.

          Now, I HOPE I am accepting and loving towards all those who differ from my viewpoint. I also hope I am not prone to condemnation of others. However, I must be able to disagree, without being criticised for bigotry. Indeed, only a bigot would say that a reluctance on my part to accept homosexuality as morally identical to heterosexuality is unacceptable. It would be the imposition of an intolerance on others, whilst claiming that only a tolerance which accords with their ideals is acceptable.

          And this brings me on to the matter in question. Clearly, SOME people are born with indeterminate genitalia and sexual idenity. They should be helped with appropriate surgery. However, the chromosomes remain whatever they are. If you have a Y chromosome, even if you might prefer to be wholly female, you are not.

          And I must add another point, which seems to me wholly relevant. As has been established, some people suffer from a form of body dysmorphia, where they believe that, say, their right leg is interfering with their ability to “be themselves”. Certain Continental surgeons are willing to amputate the perfectly sound limb in such circumstances. This to me seems to be a betrayal of all the medical profession should espouse. They opt for an easy “solution” which “solves” the patient’s perceived problem – but a truly responsible carer would go beyond and behind the “easy answer”. A GOOD healthcare professional should go deeper, and try to resolve the inner conflict experienced by the patient, rather than the short-term “answer” of lopping off the limb.

          In the same way, I hope my GP would care enough to go beyond my initial requests. if I said I wanted appetite suppressants, as a way of handling my bulimia tendencies, if that was what was troubling me.

          So, it may well “feel” better for someone to have their trans-gender desires indulged. That certainly does NOT mean that it actually IS in their best interests.
          Just saying.
          Ken

          • I assume that by “body dysmorphia” you are referring to
            Body
            Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD)?
            In which case, I see some surface similarities, but BDD is way different from GD, and it is pretty
            clearly a mental disorder, whereas there is broad consensus among health care professionals that GD is a medical condition. It seems like making a connection between two separate conditions, as you do here, is a bit like saying that
            polymyositis should be treated like anorexia. Treatment of GD is not determined to entertain the whims of the patient – it’s been developed over the past 100 years based on
            best practices and outcomes. This treatment has been determined by health care professionals to be medically necessary, and further supported by the courts (e.g., Fields v. Smith,653 F.3d 550 (7th Cir. 2011), or O’Donnabhain v. Commissioner, 134 T.C. No. 4 (2010)).

            In addition, there have been a number of studies that have found sex differentiation in the brain, specifically an area called the BSTc, which indicate that, to the extent that the brain is a sex organ, GD is similar to intersex conditions in that body morphology manifests an actual condition that is different from that usually
            developing. Since that difference is in brain structure, and therefore invisible without an autopsy, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, or that it can just be written off with a Scriptural reference.

            The thing about Scripture is that it isn’t usually used to determine the treatment of specific medical conditions. It seems inconsistent to recognize the need for surgery in some intersex conditions and deny it for treatment of GD without taking into consideration that the undeniable intersex conditions that exist demonstrate that the “ideal” described in your Adam and Eve analogy has exceptions in the real world. What criteria do you use to determine which conditions are subject to this reading of Scripture, and which aren’t?

            Further, notice that God is one, and singular, but man made in His image is “male and female.” Using your own logic, the most complete humans would be intersex or transgender, as they manifest both male and female in one person or body. Isa. 56:3-5 could be used to support that reading, with further support from Matt. 19:11-12 and Matt. 5:29-30. In fact, I don’t think the Bible addresses GD at all – it was unknown or unrecognized by the people of that time, and using Scripture to determine anything at all about GD seems to be unreliable and risky. How many other medical conditions are not addressed in Scripture?

            It’s pretty hard for me to read your statement, “it may well “feel” better for someone to have their trans-gender desires indulged,” without taking offense, since I never asked for this condition. You have never walked in the shoes of someone with GD; you don’t know what you’re talking about. For most of my life I only had cisgender desires. Accepting that I had GD, and getting appropriate treatment for it, would have been a lot easier without the pervasive judgment of society, primarily by my own Christian community. Having done so, I thank God every day. Every part of my life has improved – including my spiritual life, my faith, and my connection with God.

            Just saying.

  • Fascinating stuff. If I understand you correctly, you are saying this: in order to Not be Something, there must first exist Something to Not be. In order to Not be Male, there must first exist Male. To say that we are not Male, is to recognise the existence of Male.

    If that’s what you mean, then you are right. “Gender Theory” is a snake eating its own tail, since, in order for the theory to be “succesfully” implemented, we would have to cease to recognise….Gender! Which is why Australia and Germany now have a Blank option on birth certificates. If Male and Female are the same within the very context that defines their difference, then they are the same thing. If they are the same thing, then…neither exist :) The contradiction of Gender expresses itself linguistically, not through the creation of new names, but through the retention of old names (Male/Female).