Alberta’s Bill 7 was introduced on November 19th by Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley. The bill seeks to amend the Alberta Human Rights Act by striking out the word ‘gender’ – which previously only distinguished between males and females – and replace it with the words ‘gender’, ‘gender identity’, and ‘gender expression’. Though a seemingly simple alteration, it has a large impact. It has already passed first reading in the Alberta Legislature, with very little public awareness or discussion. We need your help to alert our MLAs and the broader public to the danger of redefining sex in Albertan law.
What’s the issue? Some individuals believe they were born into a biological sex that they do not feel fits their psychological sexual identity. This is known commonly as transsexualism, transgenderism, Gender Identity Disorder (GID), or gender dysphoria. Provincial governments have begun enshrining in law an idea that this psychological sexual identity – for which the term ‘gender’ is used – is not fixed but fluid. Tied into that is the idea that there are more than two genders, and that what ultimately matters is how one person feels about their own gender, rather than giving any consideration to what their biological sex is. Those pushing this political agenda are attempting to enshrine in law the right to identify as, act, and dress as any sex they feel best relates to their psychological sexual self-identity – and to be treated by the civil government and the rest of society accordingly.
What does the Bible say? Most basic to our understanding of sex is that God created two (and only two) genders that correspond to the two biological sexes: “male and female He created them” (Gen. 1:27). All the modern-day speculation about numerous psychological genders—or even a gender “continuum” with unlimited genders—has no biblical basis for acceptance. The Bible also shows that psychological and biological dis-unity is not a modern phenomenon: God rejected the blurring of gender lines already in the Old Testament: “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing.” (Deut. 22:5).
Here follow 10 resolutions regarding a Biblical understanding of the issue of gender and sex, taken and adapted from Denny Burk:
- All persons are created in the image of God and all are made to glorify Him (Gen. 1:27; Isa. 43:7);
- We recognize that the fall of man into sin and God’s subsequent curse have introduced brokenness and futility into God’s good creation (Gen. 3:1-24; Rom. 8:20);
- We extend love and compassion to those whose experience of this brokenness includes a perceived conflict between their biological sex and their gender identity (Rom. 8:22-23);
- We affirm God’s good design that gender identity should be determined by biological sex and not by one’s self-perception – a perception which is often influenced by fallen human nature in ways contrary to God’s good design (Eph. 4:17-18);
- We affirm God’s original design to create two distinct and complementary sexes, male and female (Gen. 1:27; Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6);
- We affirm that male and female designate the fundamental distinction that God has embedded in the biology of the human race;
- We affirm distinctions in masculine and feminine roles as ordained by God as part of the created order, and that those distinctions should find an echo in every human heart (Gen. 2:18, 21-24; 1 Cor. 11:7-9; Eph. 5:22-33; 1 Tim. 21:12-14);
- We invite all people, including transgender persons, to trust in Christ and to experience renewal in the gospel (1 Tim. 1:15-16);
- We love our transgender neighbours, seek their good always, welcome them into our congregations; and spur them on to repentance, love and good deeds in the name of Christ (2 Cor. 5:18-20; Gal. 5:14; Heb. 10:24);
- Our love for the gospel and urgency for the Great Commission must include declaring the whole counsel of God, including what God’s word teaches about God’s design for us as male and female persons created in His image and for His glory (Matt. 28:19-20; Acts 20:27; Rom. 11:36).
What’s the problem? The medical/psychiatric evidence (outlined below) corresponds to God’s design of the human person. Individuals who undergo sex-change surgery have the highest depression and suicide rates, as much as 20 times the national average. There are numerous examples of those who undergo such surgeries and later regret it.
In an article titled, Surgical Sex: Why We Stopped Doing Sex Change Operations, Dr. Paul McHugh, Distinguished Service Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University, gives a history of sex change procedures and explains the scientific reason for rejecting such treatment.
I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment. The children transformed from their male constitution into female roles suffered prolonged distress and misery as they sensed their natural attitudes. Their parents usually lived with guilt over their decisions—second-guessing themselves and somewhat ashamed of the fabrication, both surgical and social, they had imposed on their sons. As for the adults who came to us claiming to have discovered their “true” sexual identity and to have heard about sex-change operations, we psychiatrists have been distracted from studying the causes and natures of their mental misdirection by preparing them for surgery and for a life in the other sex. We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it.
Walt Heyer is an example of someone who struggled with transgenderism throughout his life and eventually had a sex-change surgery. He lived for almost a decade as a woman and then, after facing severe depression and continued gender confusion, decided to change back to his biological sex. He now strongly speaks out against sex change surgeries, arguing they don’t address the inner struggles, depression, and suicidal tendencies of trans-gender individuals. The political approach is a truly superficial attempt to create a resolution through major surgery.
Bill 7 seeks to make the embrace of gender dysphoria a right worthy of protection, rather than providing people with gender identity disorders with the kind of help they really need, to address their inner struggles and bring them to the only hope that is available for any of us.
How can Christians respond? Christian counsellors work from the basis that all human beings are broken – we all have needs that cannot be filled. The ultimate answer is found in Christ, not affirmation in our condition. As Jesus says, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17). Even so, we desire to help each other in our suffering. The extremely high suicide rate among people identifying as trans-gender is proof that that they experience human brokenness no less than the rest of humanity. Christians desire to assist those struggling with their sexuality.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION!
It’s not enough for us to be concerned about developments like Bill 7. As prophets, priests, and kings (LD 12, Heidelberg Catechism) we have a duty to respectfully, but firmly warn our government officials of the dangers of undermining what God has designed as good.
- Please take the time to send one of the following EasyMail letters, and encourage others to do the same. Don’t hesitate to use your letter to request a meeting with your MLA to discuss this further.
- We also encourage you to use the talking points in this article to write a short letter to the editor of your local paper (have it proofread by others before sending in).