Earlier on today I read this post about young Ryland Whittington, a young girl who, as soon as she could talk (thanks to a cochlear implant) shouted about how she was a boy. As time went on she became more and more ashamed of being a girl until, after speaking to specialists, her parents came to the realisation that Ryland is transgender. They took what, to most, would be a tough decision and started to treat Ryland as and refer to him as a boy.
The video in the article I have linked to was put together by Ryland’s parents to explain their decision and the positive impact it has had on his life. He is happy, settled and, finally, comfortable with who he is. I found the whole story heartwarming and uplifting.
Unfortunately, I found the post through this entry on Facebook.
“Perverse”?! A decision taken because a 5 year old has a clearer sense of his own identity than many do in adulthood is “perverse”? In what way? He dresses, acts and is treated in a way in which he is comfortable and happy. He isn’t harming anybody, there is no sexual element to this (as in erotic, rather than gender), he is not being forced into a lifestyle or identity he doesn’t want.
He may have the genitalia of a girl, but he has the mind and personality of a boy. Which is more important; what a person is or who a person is? Labelling somebody by accepted convention based on physical attributes, or allowing somebody to be the person their mind tells them they are?
Some of the comments on the post were equally hard to understand,
“The Lord maid Mel and female.
It says in the Bible no sex with the same gender
No fornication no sex with animal’s.
It’s the evil spirit’s in there’s body’s
They need more of or lord…
God bless are confused world……”
None of this relates in any way to the issue of transgender people. Unless, of course, you just take the first line (anyone reading this called Mel, yes, God made you!) in which case I would ask whether or not the person posting it thinks God makes hermaphrodites. They occur in all of nature, including humanity, so surely if someone can physically be both genders then they can be physically one, yet mentally another?
“God doesn’t make mistakes. We are born the sex he intended us to be. So when you try to “correct” what God made, you must know its wrong. Simply put.”
Now, please do not take what I’m about to say the wrong way, I do not think that being transgender is any form of disability. However, Ryland was also born deaf. He has been given cochlear implants to correct how he was born, hoe God made him. Please don’t try to tell me that is against God’s will. We all have to overcome diffculties in our lives, some as a result of the way we were born. God gives us the strength to do this, if we ask Him. What is stronger, living in a way which defies social convention, at no harm to anybody, or living a lie, denying who you are and, statistically, increasing the risk of suicidal tendencies or self harm?
“My daughter told me she’s Queen Elsa, but I didn’t bow down…where I come from, when kids are blatantly wrong, we tell them so. They’re kids – they don’t get to define reality. Love them enough to tell them the truth. I recall Jesus loving the sinners & saying, “go & sin no more”.”
Right, two things here. Firstly, I’m pretty sure that this person’s daughter did not attempt to define reality. There is a huge margin between imagination and reality. I seriously doubt that little girl truly believed that she was really a cartoon queen. Ryland truly believes he is a boy. Because, inside, he is a boy.
Secondly, “they don’t get to define reality”? Yes, they do! It’s called learning. Just because a child doesn’t have most of the experiences and abilities to process information in a mature sense that they will do as an adult does not mean that they don’t have the ability to know their own mind and identity.
Martin Luther King famously said,
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character”.
This great man, a man of God, spoke true wisdom with these words. We can apply this to any physical attributes, including physical gender. It’s what’s inside that counts. Your character. Your personality.
Ryland’s personality is that of a boy. It’s what he is. It’s what he wants to be. I applaud and admire his parents, Jeff and Hillary, for allowing him to be one and freeing him to be the person God made him to be inside rather than stifling and suffocating the very essence of him as a human being.
That’s not perverse. It’s beautiful.
“For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.” Galatians 3:26-29