This past Friday night, I tweeted out, "My heart goes out to Bruce Jenner, & when he says, 'I am a woman,' I hear him saying, 'I am deeply confused & hurting.' Let's pray for him!" The responses to this tweet were as ugly and profane as anything I have ever seen. Why the extreme and even irrational hostility?
Some of the tweets included these gems:
"(Expletive) you you disgusting saliva gerbil" (to be honest, I've never been called that before)
"you cranky scheming mustachio'd clown" (this was also a new one)
"(Expletive) YOU. I don't have the patience for this nonsense anymore. You are the epitome of everything that's wrong here."
Why such vitriol?
Look again at what I posted.
It was grounded in love, and I simply expressed what I heard in Bruce Jenner's words, calling for prayer.
Some of the tweets were so profane that to quote them here would be of no use, since almost every word would have to be censored. But there were plenty of others that, while using better language, were just as ugly:
"you are a horrible human being"
"And all i hear is a bigoted old man who is scared to even think that a person may be different than him."
Later in the evening, in response to some comments others had made (there were some who were not as nasty in their tweets), I asked why the trans advocates discredited those who regretted sex-change surgery or who now believed that you cannot change your gender, posting some relevant links as well.
Then on Saturday, I made this comment: "Who said that being a man or a woman is determined by how one feels? Since when are biology & genetics meaningless?"
In response to this, one young man wrote, "YOU'RE LITERALLY SO IGNORANT? Why is your mentality stuck in the 60's, move forward with time to now this stuff happens."
How do we deal with such moral madness? How do we even begin to interact with this social insanity that exalts subjective feelings and denies verifiable reality?
As followers of Jesus, we must be gracious and loving towards those who identify as transgender. And as I've said many times before, we need to have great compassion on the children who struggle with gender identity issues, continuing to do our best to get to the root causes of these issues with the goal of providing a way for them and their families to find wholeness without the need for lifelong hormones and sex-change surgery.
But the fact is that Bruce Jenner is not a woman, and it is not hateful to say so.
If he were a woman, he would not have been able to father all of his children, nor would he need female hormones to feminize his body.
That doesn't mean he doesn't feel like he's a woman. It simply means he's not a woman.
Yet today, even to utter those words is to put oneself in the crosshairs of ugly and vile attacks.
Of course, trans people and their allies will remind us of the terrible struggles they endure, of their very high suicide rates, of their being rejected to the point of homelessness as a result of societal stigmas, at times violently assaulted.
And so, the moment you take issue with transgender activism, you are accused of pouring salt in the wounds, of causing more suicides, of deeply hurting precious, sensitive people.
I truly understand this, and I don't minimize the pain that many of these individuals have lived with.
I'm simply pointing out that the vicious responses to my tweet point to an irrational hatred and anger more than to a caring disagreement, making clear that this is part of a larger ideological struggle in which those of us who hold to biblical marriage and morality and who celebrate gender distinctions will be vilified by those who reject those values.
Ironically, LGBT advocates constantly criticize us for holding to clear gender distinctions, telling us that we are being bigoted and stereotyped.
"After all," they argue, "who says that boys should play with footballs and girls with princess dolls? That is so sexist and out of date."
Yet when a little boy chooses princess dolls over footballs, those same advocates say, "It's obvious that he is really a she!"
In the same way, when Bruce Jenner tells Diane Sawyer he thinks the way a woman would think, he's not accused of gender stereotyping. Instead, he's celebrated for recognizing his real gender. And on and on it goes.
I truly believe that, in the coming years, our society will come back to its senses (but with greater sensitivity to the struggles endured by trans-identified people).
But for now, while walking in love towards all, we must stiffen our spines, stand up for what is right, be fervent in prayer, and continue to speak the truth, knowing that ultimately, truth will triumph.
And let's remember to pray for God's very best for Bruce Jenner.
Michael Brown is the author of 25 books, including Can You Be Gay and Christian? and host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show "The Line of Fire." He is also president of FIRE School of Ministry and director of the Coalition of Conscience.
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