More teenagers are classifying themselves with nontraditional gender labels such as transgender or gender-fluid, according to a new study.
Published this week in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the research showed that almost 3% of Minnesota teens did not identify with traditional gender labels such as “boy” or “girl.”
That number is higher than researchers expected. A UCLA study from January 2017 estimated that 0.7% of teens identified as transgender.
The purpose of the study was to examine mental and physical health characteristics and care utilization between youth who identify as transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) and cisgender (a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex the person had at birth).
The study found that students who are TGNC reported significantly poorer health, lower rates of preventive health checkups, and more nurse office visits than cisgender youth.
While the number of transgender teens was higher than researchers expected, the new statistics underscore how teenagers embrace relativism much like the rest of our culture.
Just last week, I summarized new Barna research which shows teens, part of “Gen Z,” believe that what’s true for someone else may not be “true for me” – a mindset that indeed filters into sexual identity.
So, what do you do? As the percentage of teens who don’t accept traditional gender norms rises, how can you reconcile the messages you hear from Scripture and society?
If you believe the Bible is the truth of God, then you will face increased pressure as time moves forward to either abandon your convictions or withhold compassion about transgender issues.
That’s why we need more people who will speak the truth with a healthy dose of love (Ephesians 4:15).
The apostle Paul predicted days like this would come:
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).
The truth is:
– Jesus confirmed that God created people in His own image. Jesus asked: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female … ” (Matthew 19:4; see also Genesis 1:27).
– Scripture implores us to dress in a way that reflects who God made us: “A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God” (Deuteronomy 22:5).
– Throughout His ministry, Jesus showed compassion to people who were sidelined by society. Regarding kids, Jesus commanded the disciples to let the children come to Him (Matthew 19:14). He also revealed kids are a priority to God, noting their angels are in constant communication with the Father (Matthew 18:10).
I believe Jesus wants us to help transgender teens and adults understand He loves them and wants them to be who God created them to be – at birth.
Jesus wouldn’t abandon the truth nor would He withhold his love and compassion. We shouldn’t either.
So, speak the truth in love to a culture that is confused.
Future generations hang in the balance.
Laura Lacey Johnson is a cutting-edge faith and culture writer who focuses on everyday headlines. In addition to speaking, she is a regular contributor to ChristianHeadlines.com and American Family Radio. To read Laura’s latest work on the headlines, visit www.lauralaceyjohnson.com, or to download your FREE copy of Why Jerusalem is Important to 3 World Religions, subscribe to her blog here.