Oprah and Transgender: Just the Facts, Ma'am?
- Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Interestingly, no one ever asked Dylan or Kayla why they wanted to be the opposite sex, or what it was about that gender that was so appealing. Even more interesting – though not surprising, given the popular trend of revering children’s opinions over those of adults – is the fact that the children’s feelings were assumed to be fact.
Throughout the broadcast, just one “expert” – a clinical psychotherapist and “gender specialist” – offered her opinion about Kayla, Dylan and other families with this problem.
“If the child is transgendered, they’re transgendered,” she said. “There’s really nothing you can do to change that, nor is there anything you’ve done to cause that… It occurs in the womb. The research so far shows that it occurs in the first trimester. Something happens whereas the brain develops in one direction and the body develops in another.”
Many would disagree with this statement. Moreover, there are no credible medical studies that verify this conjecture. But Oprah presented it as fact, and encouraged us to do so as well. She even rebuked Dylan’s father for not “believing who Dylan really is,” as if five-year-olds had somehow become trustworthy authorities for truth and justice.
Even more disturbing is the fact that Oprah’s website, which describes the shows, reverts to the use of “he” for Kayla (Kayden) instead of “she,” and “she” for Dylan instead of “he.”
Without objective information, we cannot understand this complex issue. And without understanding, healing may well seem impossible – or even abusive. As a result of shows like this and the lack of objectivity that currently reigns in the media, millions of people are buying into the lie of “transgender.”
There is hope and there is healing for those who suffer from feelings of association, however powerful, with the opposite sex. These people are not alone, and they do not have to be abused by the lie that “God made a mistake,” which will only lead to more alienation and confusion.
Contrary to another extreme position, which is rooted in Christianity but which offers mere willpower and prayer as a one-stop panacea for these feelings, “transgender” is a complicated issue. Healing is not a simple path, nor is it a comfortable one. After all, facing our pain – and the sinful ways that we have responded to that pain – is an emotionally demanding process. But there is a path that leads to freedom – something that the popular “do whatever you feel” humanist philosophy can never offer.
Oprah’s support of “transgender” without questioning the facts or delving beneath the surface is not only unethical, but abusive. This is surprising, sad and extremely disappointing, given Oprah’s heroic support of abuse victims in the past.
As a result of Oprah’s shows on transgender and the many myths that it continues to perpetuate, Crosswalk has decided to tackle this issue in a two-part series.
The first article, which will appear later this month our News section, will deal with the origins of transgender. Where does it come from? Might there be a genetic component? Why do young children associate so strongly with the opposite sex? And why do people, even Christians, believe they really are in the wrong body? Could they be?
The second article, which will appear next month also in our News section, will explore some of the ways that people can begin to find healing for “transgendered” feelings. We will briefly discuss the reasons why Christians may fear and minimize these issues, as well as the wide variety of Christian ministries and counselors that are available for help.
We hope you will join us for this all-important discussion.
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