Nondiscrimination Based on Gender Identity

Greg Strand – March 6, 2013 3 Comments

I have spoken often about the moral tsunami we are experiencing. Biblical morals are being undermined and denied with increasing rapidity; the moral dominos are falling with increasing speed.

Evidence of this was revealed recently in The Boston Globe where the writer commented on the new document that was released by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, “Guidance for Massachusetts Public Schools Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment: Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity.”

Here are some crucial statements from the document:

  • “A transgender boy, for example, is a youth who was assigned the sex of female at birth but has a clear and persistent identity as male. A transgender girl is a youth who was assigned the sex of male at birth but has a clear and persistent identity as female. Gender nonconforming youth range in the ways in which they identify as male, female, some combination of both, or neither” (pp. 3-4).
  • “The responsibility for determining a student’s gender identity rests with the student or, in the case of young students not yet able to advocate for themselves, with the parent. . . . [But because it is generally established by age four] the person best situated to determine a student’s identity is that student himself or herself” (p. 4).
  • “Consistent with the statutory standard, a school should accept a student’s assertion of his or her gender identity when there is ‘consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity, or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held as part of a person’s core identity.’ If a student’s gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior meets this standard, the only circumstance in which a school may question a student’s asserted gender-identity is where school personnel have a credible basis for believing that the student’s gender-related identity is being asserted for some improper purpose” (p. 4).
  • “determining a student’s gender identity is simple. A student who says she is a girl and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of her life, should be respected and treated like a girl. So too with a student who says he is a boy and wishes to be regarded that way throughout the school day and throughout every, or almost every, other area of his life. Such a student should be respected and treated like a boy” (p. 4).
  • “school personnel should use the student’s chosen name and pronouns appropriate to a student’s gender identity, regardless of the student’s assigned birth sex. For those students who have been attending a school and undergo gender transition while attending the same school, it is important to develop a plan for initiating use of the chosen name and pronouns consistent with the student’s gender identity” (p. 7).
  • “the student may access the restroom, locker room, and changing facility that corresponds to the student’s gender identity. While some transgender students will want that arrangement, others will not be comfortable with it. Transgender students who are uncomfortable using a sex-segregated restroom should be provided with a safe and adequate alternative, such as a single “unisex” restroom or the nurse’s restroom. Similarly, some transgender students may not be comfortable undressing in the changing facilities that correspond to the student’s gender identity” (p. 9).
  • “Some students may feel uncomfortable with a transgender student using the same sex segregated restroom, locker room or changing facility. This discomfort is not a reason to deny access to the transgender student” (p. 10).

I include these extensive quotes because unless one reads the actual statements it would be hard to believe. I share this not to cause fear, but to keep you informed of what is happening. In this way, we can be more effectively equipped and thus equip more effectively, and to pray in a more informed and focused manner.

Greg Strand

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Affectionately called “Walking Bible” by his youngest daughter, Greg Strand has a ministry history that goes back to 1982. Since that time, he has served in local church ministry in a variety of ministry capacities: youth pastor, associate pastor of adult ministries and senior pastor. He is currently the EFCA's Executive Director of Theology and Credentialing. Greg reads voraciously and never stops learning — a passion reflected in the overflowing bookshelves that spill from his library to multiple offices. And he could tell you about each of those books! His hunger for learning pales in contrast to his great love for God and for teaching the Word of God.

3 responses to Nondiscrimination Based on Gender Identity

  1. Kimberly Schroeder November 17, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Hi Greg, i noticed this article after we made contact on another article concerning a transgender divinity professor. (This statement is more for others who do not know we have already corresponded on another transgender issue) i fully understand you and other Christians have some strong fears over growing acceptance that some of us are different. It is obvious that you are assuming your audience will be shocked by what you consider state sponsored immorality. I’m going to make a comic statement, but it is an accurate one and one i actually thought up myself. “Among Christians when the topic turns to transgender issues the discussion quickly adjourns from the sanctuary and reconvenes in the toilet.” What does the bible say about toilets? Did all time periods and cultures in Scripture have men’s and ladies rooms?
    I genuinely wish gender were as simple as good teaching of male and females roles. I knew at three that i identified with/as female, but lived for almost fifty more years as male before my wife and i of 17 years decided i should go ahead and transition to female. Some do not know at that age, but honestly i did.
    I appreciate the fear Christian have of me, but it is baseless. The only reason I’m bothering with this discussion is because i feel like i have no choice. I large Christian group and many others in the Christian community are convinced God is judging you because you let me exist. I am an affront to Gods holiness and so there are tornados in Joplin. I can assure you i am well accepted with grace by my strongly conservative community except for some Christians who are just plain rude. If i motion for a woman to go ahead of me in line most often get a smile and a thank you. On a Sunday after service when the local large church gets out I’ll get a rude gesture, a glance up to The Lord of bad manors, and a dirty look. However, this only happens on rare occasions and clearly they are Christians if the fish and bibles are any indication.
    I used to get angry, but realized i was not helping anyone by doing that. I feel personal contact seems to at least let people see the truth. Contrary to popular belief Satan has not endowed Transgender persons with great mind control powers. A lot of us can be total jerks and many are very nice. Do you have any friends in the transgender community? I mean i think The Lord hung out with the local low lifes on occasion and i think there is still a call for Christians to be like him.

    • Thank you for the ongoing dialogue. I do not like to communicate in this format, as I stated in my previous comment. It is all-too-easy to miscommunicate and/or misconstrue what is said in this format. However, since you made another comment, I will provide four brief thoughts/responses. Please know that I do so with love for God in all His fullness and His truth as revealed in His Word, and with care for you.

      First, you emphasize the word “fear”: Christians fear state-sponsored immorality and they fear you. That is likely true for some. Others, however, respond not based on fear but with a concern for social and moral implications to beliefs and laws. Living in the country we do we are called to be involved, to be engaged (Rom. 13:1-7) as salt and light (Matt. 5:13-16) so that we can be a leavening influence. We desire to do so in a way that has an aroma of Christ (2 Cor. 2:14-17).

      Second, your example of the discussion of transgender matters occurring in the toilet with the stated premise that since the Bible says very little to nothing about toilets, we cannot refer to it as authoritative when it comes to the matter of toilets. It is similar with transgender matters. But, even though one might not find the word in the Bible, it does not mean the Bible has nothing to say about what lies behind the word or what the word means. As an example, though the word “bioethics” is not found in the Bible, the Bible has a great deal to say about “bioethics.” When it comes to sex, sexuality and God’s design for it, the Bible has even more to say.

      Third, you refer to personal contact being the best way for people to “see the truth.” What does “truth” mean here? The truth of God’s Word? The truth of God’s design? The truth of your personal experience? The truth of living in a fallen world?

      Finally, the Lord Jesus Christ was full of “grace and truth” (Jn. 1:14). He came to seek and to save the lost (Lk. 19:10). He spent time with tax-collectors and sinners, and was known as a “friend of sinners” (Lk. 15:1-2). But He also spoke truth and called people to live according to that truth, calling sinners to sin no more (Jn. 8:14:6), with eternal consequences for all based on response to Him and His Truth (Jn. 3:36). This is the state of all of us apart from Christ (Rom. 5:12; Eph. 2:3). The call to repent and believe (Jn. 1:12) is a call to all to be saved from sin and the consequences of sin, the wrath of God. The call to a life of ongoing belief, repentance and transformation is a call to those who are in Christ, those who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (Rom. 12:1-2; 2 Cor. 3:18).

  2. It has been a two years since we first commented back and forth. My friend Bob the EFCA pastor still ignores me, but I have hope and so continue to write him expressing my undieing friendship. He is always welcome in my house or in this case apartment. Everyone else I know seems to be more welcoming. Dedicated Christians even of the fundementialist variety now confess they could have handled the issue a little more personally. In other words Christians seem more inclined in getting to know a person (me) rather than attempting to respond to a concept (transsexuality). Church people even on Sunday after service no longer exhibit as much rude behavior. I do not see fear in the eyes of others

    The believers I meet may still think I’m the reason God will judge this country harshly, but they don’t blame me personally as often. I think they prefer to see me as a victim of our fallen world rather than one actively seeking destruction of the nation I love so dearly.

    I think there is also less inclination to run to scripture to find a reason to avoid getting to know any LGBTQ (alphabet soup) person. It sort of happens mostly when other Christians are not looking I’ve heard in confession. I’m a fairly normal looking middle aged female who is different enough to raise questions at some point, but by then people are over it. I’m just that girl Kim who is a local Sedona, AZ Realtor. Most of my friends are other women, but I do have an occasional male friend. I am most comfortable being a woman among other women.

    Greg you and my friend Bob are a
    Ways welcome in my home are are any other person Christian or otherwise. Please say yes and enjoy our humble hospitality.

    Thanks!!!
    Kim @>—>—–>—————– (<— that's a rose FYI)

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