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Azusa Pacific University has asked a professor who was once its chair of theology and philosophy to leave the school after he came out as transgender.

189 Comments

  1. I wonder what the consensus of opiniion is on this? Split along Christian/non-Christian lines as usual? The same arguments about of non-Christians’ expectations of Christians? Maybe another case of intolerance?

    Or, is it the right of a private institution to set its own boundaries for the sake of its stakeholders and statement of faith that should be upheld as their absolute standard? This is their integrity – like it or not. Bending this integrity bends the Absolute into the Relative.

    The secular world wants to dictate a level, relative, set of standards across the board. When this occurs, it should not drive private institutions deeper into, well, privacy. It is there, where calls of judgement are made and should be made without the outcry of a public that both will not and cares not to understand true Christianity. The love of Jesus still exists in the times of
    reprimand of issues that agitiate the boundaries set.

    • I completely agree that the secular world has no business in this discussion. The only acceptable influence should be the love of God. Is this professor still able to show the love of God to the seminarians? Are the students still learning the requisite material in a manner consistent with the love of God? Is the man’s life (formerly lived as a woman) one of authenticity, honesty, and Christian faith?

      • To your questions I want to answer, “yes”. I’ve had this professor for my church history class for the last few weeks and the topic of gender identity never came up until today (Friday) when we were notified that he was being asked to leave his teaching roles at my university. Our class curriculum has solely focused on striving to be more like Christ and specifically seeing that through Augustine’s “Confessions”. So yes. My professor has done an incredible job at that and never wanted to make his gender a big deal because, in his own words, “the general APU population doesn’t, so why should I?”

          • I had him as a professor a few years ago. I took his “Contemporary Christian Theology” Class and found it invigorating and challenging in all the right ways. At the time I had no idea he actually identified as transgender, and I don’t think it would have made any difference on what I took away from the class academically or spiritually, and if anything, looking back I think it enhanced it and has made even more sense of it. He encouraged scholarly discussion of the very diverse 20th century Christian theologies and, at least for me, I loved that it was all of us seeking truth and what it means to live out the Christian faith… namely, to love others at the heart of it.

        • Obviously they have the right to define themselves by whatever terrible rules they want; but they can also be judged based on how they define themselves. And asking a good, honest professor to leave purely because of his gender identity conflicts with what he was assigned at birth is defining themselves in a terrible way.

    • Danielle Graham Robinson

      Isn’t the fact that he was the chair of theology and philosophy at an evangelical school proof that this is not merely an issue that non Christians are imposing upon Christians? As a grad from Fuller Theological Seminary I can assure you that this is an issue that exists within the church and the institutions that educate future pastors. Christians can’t pretend like this is a secular issue. This is a human issue.

    • I fully support the right of a private institution to adhere to it’s faith principles. But at the same time, I think it is entirely appropriate for others to hold up a mirror to those principles and see if they stand close examination. For example, there was a time when every major Christian organization affirmed as a matter of faith that the sun revolved around the Earth.

      When men stepped forward and said “Actually, no, you are wrong in this” the church adamantly refused to change it’s stand and punished those who dared to speak otherwise. Would it have been better for the man who say REALITY to kept quiet lest he challenge a view held by faith?

      In like manner, those of us who know that as a matter of scientific fact the major religions are wrong about the transsexual condition are not obliged to stand quietly by and let a faith-based error go unquestioned.

      • Could you explain the facts available to science that the major religions misapprehend?
        Also, any proof that the Roman Catholic Church ever asserted geocentrism as a ‘matter of faith’? And could you explain what you mean by that term?

      • Interesting that you call it a condition when the APA is backing off that for p.c. reasons. However, whether transsexuality is a condition or not is beside the point. There are a lot of legitimate conditions that lead to behavior that still, like it or not, fits the biblical definition of sin. There are those who are psychologically predisposed to stealing or cutting themselves. While these are issues that need to be dealt with psychologically, it doesn’t change the fact that these are sinful behaviors. There’s no denial of science here. Many sinful behaviors can be explained by science. God still calls them sinful behaviors.

      • “In like manner, those of us who know that as a matter of scientific fact the major religions are wrong about the transsexual condition are not obliged to stand quietly by and let a faith-based error go unquestioned.” Really? What empirical diagnostic tool is used to determine this? And, at what age is it determined? Can it be pre-natally determined? If so, I suppose one could opt for gender abortion, since that is the new horizon for pro-choice. Scripture is the authority not speculative science driven by an agenda. Gender is a God-given gift and is part of who we are as assigned from a sovereign Creator. It is only gnosticism that teaches the soul is trapped in the body seeking release, But the Bible teaches the body is central to who we are. Of course in post-Genesis 3 world everything is broken and every aspect of God’s good gift to us is broken. That this woman is confused is a result of the fall. Redemption, not gender reassignment is the answer. It is too bad some one who is supposed to know theology doesn’t know and acknowledge this.

      • I’m curious about the science of transgender. We now disregard the chromosomal makeup of a person and pick our gender based on feeling? Problem is, nature doesn’t really play along well. Women who feel like men have ovaries etc. and have these two XX’s that can’t be changed.

    • A private institution should not have the right to terminate an employee based on sex, gender, orientation, race, or religion. His transgender identity does not negate his theological accomplishments, and if it is the basis for his potential termination that is employment discrimination. It’s not legal in the math department, it shouldn’t be legal in the theology department.

    • Rick, I am not sure if the controversy is so much about Christianity than about social conservatism.

      I am Christian and have discussed the issue with many Christians. There doesn’t seem to be sound theological reasons for the rejection of transsexuals. Rather, the opposition seems based more upon discomfort and lack of knowledge.

      NB: I am deliberately referring to transsexuals rather than transgender persons. The difference is important because I think from a Christian perspective it is important to recognize that God created man and woman.

      • I am neither Christian nor on the whole a “social conservative”,but it is tiring to see the advocates of acceptance of all things “LGBT” paint dismissal of their assertions as “lack of knowledge”.They see their opinion as fact when it is wishful thinking.

        • What I find tiring is people making specious claims with overly broad brushes. For example “it is tiring to see the advocates of acceptance of all things “LGBT” paint dismissal of their assertions as “lack of knowledge”.They see their opinion as fact when it is wishful thinking.”

          Which advocates are you speaking of? Which dismissals? Which opinions would you characterize as “wishful thinking”?

    • Love speaks the truth. Jesus received all just as they are and then lobes them enough to transform all who trust Him into a new creature. The exegesis of the Parable in Luke was at best unfortunate. See the Mathean account of the Parable of the feast…

      Matthew 22:10-14 (NIV)
      So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
      11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend? ’ The man was speechless.
      13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. ’
      14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

      May Heather find mercy and grace that leads to repentance and transformation. Otherwise it is entirely possible that this admonition from Isaiah applies to her.

      Isaiah 1:10-16 (Message)
      “Listen to my Message,
      you Sodom–schooled leaders.
      Receive God’s revelation,
      you Gomorrah–schooled people.
      11″ Why this frenzy of sacrifices? ”
      God ‘s asking.
      ” Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
      rams and plump grain–fed calves?
      Don’t you think I’ve had my fill
      of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
      12 When you come before me,
      who ever gave you the idea of acting like this,
      Running here and there, doing this and that––
      all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
      13 “Quit your worship charades.
      I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
      Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings––
      meetings, meetings, meetings––I can’t stand one more!
      14 Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
      You’ve worn me out!
      I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
      while you go right on sinning.
      15 When you put on your next prayer–performance,
      I’ll be looking the other way.
      No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
      I’ll not be listening.
      And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
      people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
      16 Go home and wash up.
      Clean up your act.
      Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
      so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
      Say no to wrong.

      Speaking Truth in love

      PM

  2. I confess I may be dense here (it is a Friday evening after a long week) but I find the article a bit confusing.

    Is she now a he, but still dressing as a she when s/he teaches at APU? Or is she pre-operative, but identifies internally as he, and dresses as he when not at APU?

    For clarity sake I would have preferred if the article consistently uses the gender pronoun that s/he currently identifies with. I’ve been in ministry with transgender folks throughout the process of transformation, and it is quite a spiritual pilgrimage with many twists and turns.

    • Sarah Pulliam Bailey

      Sarah Pulliam Bailey

      Article author

      Hi Nate,
      I’m still updating the story even as we speak! So I think all the pronouns are all “he” but I could be wrong. Still getting some details so hold tight. Thanks for reading and your feedback.

          • and so is the opposition to respect – a matter of ideology.

            All the important matters in life have an ideological component, it’s not a shameful label.

          • Actually, Nate, I had trouble at the beginning too. If this is confusing, that’s because it is. We don’t know how to refer to her because she wants to be called “him.” Do you refer to her earlier life as “she,” or do you rewrite his earlier like as “him.”

            I don’t know what I would do if this were my mother. Would s/he now be ones father?

        • But reporting objectivity, not respect should be the guiding principle in journalism. I will leave it to others which pronoun should be used, but “respect” does not settle the question.

      • I don’t understand what is going on…….She became a man? Does she have children as a man or as a woman? Does she have a “womb” ? I hope so. So, now is she going to be a man capable of becoming biologically a man…..I mean, can she produce male cells which can be fertilized with female eggs to give children. If so, it means both male/female ability by nature. If that is the case, I think she can choose. But if she can only bear children as a woman, has only woman’s sex organs and can not produce sperm; if she can only produce female eggs can be pregnant and give birth to children,…………so……….she is interested to be man which she does not have biologically………if it is only a mental desire or a psychological desire, then I would say she ends up as a woman…….because that is what /how she is created to be.

        • He has always been a man. He was simply born with a female reproductive system.

          Sometimes humans are born with extra fingers, extra toes, missing limbs, albino skin and all manner of other birth variations. Sometimes men are born with vaginas; sometimes women are born with penises.

          Our brains determine the gender we “feel”, not our reproductive systems (Specifically, the BSTc region of our Hypothalamus). If you doubt this, ask a female who has had a hysterectomy if she feels any less like a women. Ask a male who has been castrated if he feels any less a man.

          • Our genes and our chromosomes determine who we were created to be. XX = female XY=male

            Yes there mutations but they are rare. I think we should react with grace for genetic and chromosomal abnormalities.

    • I think they were pretty consistent with the gender pronouns, but the confusion may be that the article featured a screenshot of an older photo and bio. That did throw me off at first.

    • I on the other hand consider it offensive to offer validity to the person’s delusional sex,or assert that we have a right to decide what sex we are in defiance of the evidence of our genes.

      Any “ministry with transgender folks” whose aim is not to help them overcome their transgenderism is actively harmful,at best comparable to liquor-based treatment for alcoholism.”Friends don’t let friends”!

      • Louise E wrote:

        “we have a right to decide what sex we are in defiance of the evidence of our genes”

        And if your genes turn out to be 46,XY – as they may be (though unlikely)?
        Would you decide that you were male? Or would you too “defy the evidence of your genes”?

        Genes lie sometimes, you see. We can prove that, with every instance of severe Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH), every instance of Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS), and in many other cases and syndromes, some of which are still incompletely understood.

  3. Adam knew the risks of being honest with himself, given who he worked for. I applaud the his courage and strength for what he has done and wish him all the best. I attend Vancouver School of Theology, where he would be as welcomed as I have been.

    Lisa Salazar
    Author—Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good Life

      • How do you know he has 46,XX chromosomes? It’s likely, but not certain.

        Having been pregnant, it’s almost certain he has some 46,XY chromosomes too in his body.

        See www.nytimes.com/2013/09/17/science/dna-double-take.html

        Things are not as simple as you believe, or would like to believe. On the basis of your false beliefs, you’re also cruelly and unjustly judging others, something specifically warned against, is it not?

        • Well, she has been pregnant and has children as a woman/mother. Can she also produce male cells/sperm/ and make another woman pregnant? that is the question. If she has this nature biologically able to be pregnant and biologically to make a woman pregnant, then she may be allowed to chose. But when she becomes a man, if she is not able to make another woman pregnant, then it is simply a psychological desire……………this remains a disorder, not about biology. Therefore, I would recommend to get treatments to feel what she is biologically, i.e., a woman.

          • “Can she also produce male cells/sperm/ and make another woman pregnant? that is the question.”

            I beg to differ – unless you claim that anyone who’s sterile can be neither male nor female. Most women over 45 for example. Most people under age 10.

            As for the rest – I only know of one case, Petra Henderson, who has both fathered children and become pregnant (due to a botched hernia operation causing auto-fertilisation). Had the pregnancy gone to full term, it might have caused some theological difficulty.

            Tragically of course, the foetus never stood a chance. The male reproductive system can be mostly dysfunctional and incomplete and still be adequate, but the female one has to be “just right”,

      • And who are you to judge that he has been dishonest with himself in the past, or more importantly, is being dishonest with himself now? What are your qualifications to make such statements?

        Are you in his head? Are you his creator? Judge? No? Because you come off as awfully judgemental.

  4. I am a current student at APU and I just met Adam about a week ago. Just speaking to him I was completely moved and was brought to tears multiple times as his endless wisdom and love for the Lord was extremely apparent. He enstilled a new-found faith in my life and I was devastated to learn about his dismissal. I pray for a change.

  5. The APU “brand; This was indeed a seminar title that was given to professors earlier this year on what values APU has -aka the APU brand. Essentially to sell the school APU must snub all gay issues or transgender issues as well as feminist. Those taboo’s remove the brands “clean” reputation among conservatives. It’s a disgustingly unethical and uncaring version of “Christian” advertising for the school. Professors and students are supposed to strictly stick to the “brand” ideals. There is no alternative. The reality is that we don’t. The professors hate the image APU wishes to convey to conservative parents. The students hate the schools reaction to LGBT issues and social movements. The vast majority of us hate what APU is doing. We are the majority. But we aren’t able to make the rules because APU is run top down. The real students and faculty of APU care about and value Heath Adam. It’s the top that deserves the shame and blame for the firing of a good man. There is a community of fiercely compassionate and loving Christians who admire Adam and his courage. I am ashamed of the actions of my school and the constant close-mindedness in regard to the LGBT community and especially Professor Ackley. Nothing in the actions of my university reflects the God I love.

    • You must be a liberal. The problem is that there are too many liberals at this, what once was a a conservative Christian university where Godly standards were actually upheld. Now all of these liberals think that conservatives are close-minded and do not want LGBTs or transgendered professors. The fact of the matter is that you liberals are just as “close-minded” as you say conservatives are because you are not open the ideas or reasons why this professor might be asked to leave or what goes on with the LGBT group on campus. Think about it. It would open up a can of worms and more people would be upset that APU is faltering from its biblical standards. Right move. Sad the woman had to go. Unfortunate that she couldn’t realize that God made her perfect in his image and accept that she was a female not a male trapped in a woman’s body. We live in a sad world where people don’t see that God made us all in his image and that we don’t need to change for it.

      • I just want to disagree with you on the fact that I don’t think you can actually understand how God created him and I don’t think you have the right to say how God did or didn’t make him. You know how God made you and you can understand that but you cant understand how God made him any more than you can understand the intricacies of any other individual you have never met.

          • Frank, I read most of your comments. What a judging and “know it all” you appear to be. I teach anatomy and human physiology at an university and I fear, I have to tell you that at least 1 in 10000 babies born are not made by God with a certain sex. God did not make them male or female, but something in between. Not sin, but genetics made them being born being in between male and female, with a penis and a vagina at the same time. 1 in 10000 that adds up to a whole lot of people in a world of 7 billion humans. While one can see that they are in between in those … many more are – because of their genes not because of sin – in between male and female on the emotional level. Not sin made them that way – instead they are the way God created them. But then – of course – I am not sure if you are interested in the facts at all as you seem to have a very set opinion about all this already. Reading a book that explain the facts about these issues would help because judging without knowing (prejudice) … was that not also called “sin” in my bible?

          • Sin has even affected our genetics. We live in a sinful fallen world. People are born with all kinds of disease, disorder, genetic dispositions, ect…. This is not how God created us. So I understand fully the genetics and the rarity of chromosomal abnormalities.

            SurgicalLy changing your biology as an adult and take hormones to change your appearance is most certainly a result of sin and the surrender to it. People do not choose how they are born or how sin affects them but they do have a choice how to respond. They can choose to trust and go along with Gods created order or along with sins created order. If a person teaching theology doesn’t understand the basic theology about sexuality, marriage and gender then they are not qualified to teach at a university that does.

          • Hiding in the shade of the umbrella of religion and the bible to espouse discrimination, bigotry and intolerance. Nothing new here.

          • Just finished reading the book Middlesex (2003) by Jeffrey Eugenides
            A good read on topic of transgender issues.

      • Thank you Jason! I hate that people automatically assume APU or the Christians here are bad people because we don’t support what isn’t biblically supported. That doesn’t mean we can’t love the person! It’s also sad to see all these people in the LGBT community getting angry at us for not agreeing with them, but they are also not respecting our beliefs. And coming into APU, you signed a contract abiding to the school’s policies and beliefs.

    • Truth is not a matter of popular opinion.There is no such thing as a “LGBT community” that does not need to disband…such groups exist specifically to enable the tendencies toward wrongdoing of their members.A well-taught mind remains firmly “closed” to the falsehoods proposed to justify sex-changes or same-sex sexual relationships.

  6. I sympathize with the condition and the pain. Would it be too much to ask people to take even a little bit of ownership for themselves…no one else cut this person, no one else made this person do it? This person may be stressed, what if that was the result of a mental health condition (person lists on their website they have experience with bipolar/depression which would be consistent). If we hold no one responsible for anything, including their own perceptions and behaviors (including criminals), then we exist in an incredibly co-dependent and ill society which is unsustainable and will eventually collapse. When we feel like we have to rescue people from themselves it says vastly more about ourselves than that individual.

  7. This isn’t even justified on theological grounds. It’s frightening how many people assume that because transgenderism is weird to them it surely must be forbidden by scripture. It’s not. The only passage which *might* refer to transgender people in the Bible refers to eunuchs(which could be a reference to transexuals, castrated men, effeminate men, or celibate men) and the only instruction given is to accept them. This is the reason that noted radical leftist Pat Robertson has remarked that transgenderism in itself is not sinful.

    • God made them male and female. Sin has corrupted that. This is just another symptom of a fallen world. Like SSA, feeling like you are a different gender is. It a sin but trying to love as a different gender most certainly is.

      • In Genesis 2.19, God says that He will follow any method man uses to classify man and woman. In Isaiah 56, God says that trans* people who follow His covenant will be named in the Book of Life, and in Mathew 19.12, Jesus says trans* people will enter the kingdom of heaven.

        Read a Bible!

        • Where in Gen 2:19 do you find this sex/gender-classification?
          Also, thanks for pointing out Mt. 19:12. I think it would be good to think for a long time about “there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.”

          • They are making up this theology. Amazing what lengths people will go to misinterpret scripture so they can live how they choose.

            Someone choosing to be a “eunuch” has nothing to do with physically changing your gender or take hormones or act like the opposite sex.

          • God orders Ha-adam (‘the man’) to name all living creatures, and whatever names they’re given, that’s their name. This also applies to his wife, and himself.

            To name something is to classify it, to separate it from things which bear a different name. God gives no instruction on *how* to name living creatures, just that whichever way man chooses, God will honor it.

          • That’s some unsupported theology you got there. Shows how far people, will go to twist meaning so they can live as they choose.

    • That’s not quite accurate; eunuchs are not to enter the ‘assembly of the LORD’ (Deut 23:1). What I’ve heard is that this was because men were made eunuchs to serve as prostitutes in certain ANE religions. But, you’re right, Isaiah 56 sees the eunuch entering the Kingdom, and this is confirmed by Acts 8.

      A bit more from Isaiah:

      ““To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths,
      who choose what pleases me
      and hold fast to my covenant—
      to them I will give within my temple and its walls
      a memorial and a name
      better than sons and daughters;
      I will give them an everlasting name
      that will endure forever.”

      It seems like we would do well to consider what it means, in the realm of sexual and gender ethics, what it is that pleases God and what his covenant requires. I’m not certain that further body alteration is unquestionably acceptable for the Christian disciple.

      • Deuteronomy 23:1 would make sense in a different context. An ‘assembly of the LORD’ is, in short, a religious marriage, defined in Deuteronomy as between one man and one woman, for the purpose of procreation.

        Eunuchs, historically, weren’t considered male or female. They were, for example, permitted into the private chambers of both sexes, and often acted as go-betweens. And, considering that eunuch are infertile…

        This does raise a question on what the *actual* Christian position is on transsexualism. There’s a strong possibility that while it isn’t blanket condemnation, it’s not the liberal notions of equality either.

        It would make for an amazing theological discussion. I only worry that it’s getting lost in political talking points.

        • From website: gotquestions.org helps to define what a eunuch actually is in the Bible.

          Question: “What is a eunuch in the Bible? What does the Bible say about eunuchs?”

          Answer: The eunuchs of the Bible were castrated males or those born incapable of reproduction due to a birth defect. The purpose of intentional castration was to induce impotence and remove sexuality. It was a common practice in ancient times for rulers to castrate some of their servants and/or advisers in order to subdue and pacify them. It was especially common to castrate those who tended the royal harem.

          In Matthew 19:12, Jesus mentions eunuchs. He says, “There are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother’s womb; and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are also eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.” This discussion of eunuchs was in the context of the question asked of Him about whether it is good to marry.

          Because Jesus says that some eunuchs are “born that way from their mother’s womb,” some gay Christian groups argue that He was referring to homosexuals. Others disagree, arguing that the Bible’s use of the word “eunuch” refers only to those incapable of sexual intercourse through castration or birth defect, those who choose a life of celibacy and those who perform the work typical of eunuchs though they remain perfectly capable of having sex (and thus receive the title by association). The Bible never uses the words “homosexual” and “eunuch” interchangeably. Furthermore, eunuchs are never referred to in Scripture as being in sin, while homosexuality is universally condemned in both the Old and New Testaments.

          Recommended Resource: 101 Frequently Asked Questions About Homosexuality by Mike Haley.

          While he is not the author of every article on GotQuestions.org, for citation purposes, you may reference our CEO, S. Michael Houdmann.

          Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/eunuch-eunuchs.html#ixzz2fp5joKlF

  8. Chris Fannin*
    -You couldnt be more wrong about APU. My whole family has gone there and I have been there for 5 years (just graduated this summer), and my alpha leader became a transgender also, so I know what Im talking about. The majority does not hate what APU is doing and to say that they are anti-feminist is far reaching. The reality is that EVERYONE is free to talk about transgendered/homosexuality/ gay marriage all they want. But there is a select few who are using free tolerance and trying to turn it to promoting on campus. There is a clear difference between excepting and advocating. Adam is a great person, but s/he was in a great position of power over hundred of students. Bottom line, APU makes it clear about who they are, what they are trying to do, and how.

    p.s I love how you added conservatives in there too= conservatives hate all things gay right? ha ha

  9. “I did not get a sense directly from the individuals with whom I was speaking that they had a theological problem with transgender identity,” Ackley said. “I did get the message that it has to do with their concern that other people, such as donors, parents and churches connected to the university will have problems not understanding transgender identity.”

    It’s all about appearances. “What will the neighbours say”.

    Not that long ago, the same attitude would have been shown if a professor outed themself as a “mulatto” or “octaroon”. The University might have no problems with that theologically, but the “donors, parents and churches connected to the university” … a different matter. “We have to be practical.”

    I’ll leave all you good Christians to ponder that. Actually, from the comments, I’m not being facetious, you’re behaving in a most Un-Christian manner, by actually following His teachings.

    This is very much contrary to my experience with your religion, the evangelical strain anyway. I hope your behaviour becomes more widespread.

    I’m not Trans.. but I am Intersex. One of the rare forms causing a natural change, looking like one sex at birth (well, mostly), changing to look like the opposite (well, mostly again) later in life. For some, a miracle cure from wrongness, for others… a descent into nightmare. It can either cure or cause Transsexuality.

    People like myself tend to cause Fundamentalist Christians considerable headaches. They see our existence as an attack on their beliefs, and indeed it is. By existing, we refute them.

    So they act in self-defence, and in defence of their God. Can’t blame them, really. They know not what they do.

    Adam tried his best to do what was expected of him by others, because he thought they had to be right. I know that feeling all too well. He tried to be the best Woman any Man can be, as I tried to be the best Man any Woman can be. It’s what anyone with a conscience tries to do when so many people who know better than ourselves tell us what is required. It’s only later we find out they’re mistaken.

    Adam went on a spiritual quest to do the Right – and at such a terrible cost! Those scars are stigmata in a very real sense.

    I tried to salvage what I could from my horrible, perverse existence by helping others. My own “life” was in the toilet, irretrievably horrid, but I could make it meaningful by aiding those who weren’t lost causes, who just needed a helping hand. Nothing major. Thus spitting Cruel Fate in the eye. Getting my revenge – not a very admirable thing, but I was in so much torture, I forgive myself.

    Unlike Adam, I didn’t have the courage to be true to myself, to face the malice and hatred of society, the shame and humiliation to my family. “What will the neighbours say”? – How can I condemn others for the splinters in their eyes, when I have such a beam in my own? I’m human, thus imperfect, prone to error, but I try not to be such an *obvious* hypocrite.

    Anyway… I only have one question now that puzzles me. Why me? Not “why did I have to have the 3beta-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase deficient form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia” – for many have things far worse. Tays-Sachs syndrome for example. No, I mean “How come *I* got a miracle cure, a release from Hell, when so many more deserving do not”?

    There seems to be something fundamentally wrong there. No matter, now my own life is worth living, not something to be endured or a cross to be borne, it seems only fair that I do what I can to help others. One of the things I can do is to educate those of open-mindedness and goodwill on the feelings that Adam had ever since he was a little boy.

    If my words fall on deaf ears here – that’s my fault. For you have all shown goodwill. The spirit of 1 Corinthians 13. Kindness.

      • Thanks Reverend Al. That was most kind of you to say that.

        I try to inform those who know little of such situations. I try to support those going through it. It’s the least I can do, far less than I should.

    • You make yourself look foolish when you make statements without educating yourself properly. It’s blatantly obvious you have zero knowledge regarding the transition process.

      Implying trans individuals do not seek therapy is grossly inaccurate. In fact, we are forced into it thanks to the existence of WPATH standards of care for the transgender community.

      I will end with a phrase you might be familiar with…YOU are a joke.

      • I am glad people get therapy who are gender confused. They need it desperately. Not to accept what they think they are but to discover who they really are.

        The APA lost all credibility long ago.

        • Maybe these articles might aid understanding.

          A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

          Our study is the first to show a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals and supports the hypothesis that gender identity develops as a result of an interaction between the developing brain and sex hormones

          and

          Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation Garcia-Falgueras A, Swaab DF Endocr Dev. 2010;17:22-35

          The fetal brain develops during the intrauterine period in the male direction through a direct action of testosterone on the developing nerve cells, or in the female direction through the absence of this hormone surge. In this way, our gender identity (the conviction of belonging to the male or female gender) and sexual orientation are programmed or organized into our brain structures when we are still in the womb. However, since sexual differentiation of the genitals takes place in the first two months of pregnancy and sexual differentiation of the brain starts in the second half of pregnancy, these two processes can be influenced independently, which may result in extreme cases in trans-sexuality. This also means that in the event of ambiguous sex at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the degree of masculinization of the brain. There is no indication that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity or sexual orientation.

          They’re not Gender Confused – they’re Gender Confusing. They know what Sex and Gender they are, it’s only you who has a problem understanding.

          • Our genetics and our biology are corrupted by sin. Thanks for posting information supporting that. People have no choice how they feel or what genetic or biological system is affected by sin but we all have choice whether we accept and surrender to our sin or if we work to repent and trust God.

          • So you’re against medicine as a concept then?

            After all

            “our biology are corrupted by sin”
            and
            “we all have choice whether we accept and surrender to our sin or if we work to repent and trust God.”

            Implies that medical treatment is sinful, that we should not accept illness, only “repent and trust in God.”

          • Zoe are you saying that gender confusion is a disease and/or a disorder? Is it a medical condition with an accepted proscribed treatment?

          • Frank wrote – “Zoe are you saying that gender confusion is a disease and/or a disorder? Is it a medical condition with an accepted proscribed treatment?”

            When it’s severe, and causes distress, yes, it most definitely is.

            There are degrees, and the degrees matter. If I can make an exact analogy:

            Is having blue eyes a disease and/or disorder, a medical condition?
            Most reasonable people would say no, despite the fact that the mutation causing it is only less than 20,000 years old.

            What about having red hair? The CCR1 mutation there is widespread, and happens spontaneously in about 1% of humans. Malcolm X for example had red hair. This can cause a propensity to greater rates of skin cancer.

            What about albinism? Here, there are significant health risks, even in high latitudes. Most people would regard this as a “medical condition”.

            So – is an anomalous skin colour a disease/disorder? I think not, not unless it causes health issues. Most people on the planet wouldn’t regard anyone who is white as being “diseased”, it’s just a natural variation that causes no harm. Even amongst those with white skin, though there my be some prejudice against redheads, they’re not generally regarded as being “diseased” either. They’re far too common, 1% in the general population, but 30% in some parts of the world such as Scotland and Ireland.

            Albinism on the other hand is generally regarded as a medical condition.

            When it comes to what you call “Gender Confusion”, you’re mixing very different situations together.

            Someone who is *politically* against the concept of different Genders existing is no more disordered than someone who espouses Arminianism as opposed to Calvinism, Trinitarianism or anti-Trinitarianism.

            Someone who is born Intersex, with both male and female physical characteristics in their bodies – natural variation (like red hair) or disorder (like albinism)? This is more of an ideological question than a biological one. It’s reasonable though to say that if there’s no significant impairment or distress, then there’s no disorder.

            Technically, 1 in 60 people are Intersex, though as most are asymptomatic, that’s not a very useful definition. 1 in 300 men don’t have the usual 46,XY “male” chromosomes for example.

            Women who have CAH (usually due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency – 21h) have some degree of masculinisation. This may be mild, or severe. In some severe cases, about 1 in 10, they’re not women, but men as the result. Most though identify as women, look like women, give birth as women, and object very strongly to the idea that they’re not just women with slightly unusual bodies – I’d rather not go into gynecological details here. There’s significant variation, from obviously anomalous to requiring a micrometer to detect.

            So is CAH a disease/disorder, a recognised medical condition?

            It depends. In the common salt-wasting form, definitely, as without treatment they die shortly after birth. In other cases, no.

            I have the 3BHSD form of CAH. This causes my whole endocrine system to run haywire. I require continuous hormones to retain good health. I looked male at birth, so Gender Dysphoria resulted until that changed. So yes, in my own case, a disorder by any rational definition.

            When it comes to Transsexuality, as with Adam’s situation – historically it’s been regarded as a psychiatric illness with no biological causation. We’ve known better now for nearly 20 years, though a biological cause was strongly suspected 50 years ago, we just didn’t have the technology to find it.

            Now we know that Gender Dysphoria – a symptom listed in the DSM 5, the Psychiatric Diagnostics manual – is an inevitable consequence of cross-sexed neurological anatomy. It can’t be cured or even significantly ameliorated except by aligning the rest of the body to match the brain anatomy.

            Gender Dysphoria (DSM 5) – Gender Identity Disorder (DSM-IV-TR) – Transsexuality (ICD 10) – all describe the same phenomenon in various medical standards. The difference is that instead of being a psychiatric disease in itself, as was described in older publications, it’s now seen as a symptom of an anatomical anomaly.

            What isn’t controversial is that it’s been a recognised medical issue for decades, with an accepted standard of treatment with a 98% success rate, and that no other therapy has ever been found to be effective.

            I hope this explains a complex situation adequately? Feel free to ask for clarification.

          • You can’t have it both ways. If its a disease or disorder then God did not create people that way. If it’s not a disease or disorder then its a personal choice.

          • So you’re saying that God does not create babies with congenital problems? If not God – who?

            I attempted to show that when there were medical issues from something such as anomalous skin colour, then it could reasonably be seen as a disorder. But absent such issues, it could not.

            Is being taller than average a “disorder” by its nature? No.
            Is being 8ft 4 so you die early, and cannot walk without breaking your own bones – Yes.

      • Insults are never helpful.

        Please show goodwill to those you disagree with, no matter how wrong and even cruel they may appear to be to you.

        It’s easy to do this to those you agree with: but that’s not the test, we’re called on to do it to everyone. No exceptions. We’re all flawed and prone to error, so even if there’s a large difference in degree, there isn’t one of kind.

        Very, very few people are actually evil: most just misguided or misled, as we ourselves are in some areas.

        Please take as a working assumption that, until proven otherwise, no matter how narrow-minded and even bigoted someone appears to be, they’re trying to do the right thing according to their own lights.

        Try to inform. And sometimes, you’ll find it’s not they who are in error, but yourself.

        Yes, I believe Frank is incorrect here. But if so, I should be able to show that, with evidence and reason. And if not, he will have done me a great service in correcting me. In neither case are insults appropriate.

          • Which behaviour might that be?

            For example:
            Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041

            “The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder.”

            Is being born with cross-sexed anatomy a sin? Or is making the body consistent a sin?

          • Like having a tooth pulled, you mean? Or having LASIK to change the natural shape of the cornea?

            It has been argued that Transsexual people should just bear the “thorn in the flesh”, to “bear their cross” and “dedicate their suffering to God”.

            I always ask people who say this if they do that whenever they have a toothache. Dedicate their suffering to God – or do they seek treatment from a dentist, even if it means (the sinful?) mutilation of their body by having holes drilled in teeth, or even an extraction.

            Because if not, they’re exhibiting a double-standard. One rule for their own relatively minor discomfort, another rule for others whose distress is so severe that at least 40% attempt suicide because of it.

            Those are the facts.

            Calling such people “hypocrites” does no good. If they’re engaging in hypocrisy, then just putting the facts before them like that will make them realise it, because I’ve never found one who realised it before. Neither do I call on them to cease having dental treatment, that would be very wrong indeed. (Insert centuries worth of Theological argument supporting medicine here). I’m trying to relieve the world’s un-necessary suffering, not increase it.

  10. It is ironic and entirely hypocritical that the very same argument being used against Adam could have but wasn’t used against him at the time of hire, namely “practicing religion as a female deacon” if you will. Being a certified deacon gives one the authority as a “person of the cloth” and same authority to exercise and wield authority as Jesus’ representative on earth, albeit as a female. This is inarguably a much more egregious “tort” than merely stating one’s sex/gender as being one or the other.

    Regardless of legality insofar as public vs. private institutions’ right to discriminate, on its face (prima facie) and even far beyond that the positive track record of this professor relative to job performance, skillset, tenure, evaluations, student feedback refute beyond any challenge any excuse posed as credible to eject this professional from her standing as an employed professor at any institution. Gender is a trait common to all humanity and because of sin we are all fallen creatures. Discharging this professor only adds to the folly and incredulous reputation associated with what being Christian really is, what it stands for that clashes with the teachings of Jesus. It shows the world that by sending him to the unemployment line, being Christian is anything but being loving, not in word but in deed..

      • Why not? I thought we all needed help?

        But I could be wrong on this point.

        Anyway, my object is not to “win” some sterile debate, a rhetorical Olympiad, it’s to communicate and inform.

        Perhaps you can elucidate on your proposition, to explain why you hold that belief.

  11. Reading these comments reminds me why I left APU and why I no longer want to be involved in Christianity. I want to say so much more but I can’t express the way I feel like I’d like to.

      • Actually, I’m not blaming anyone at all. I just said that it reminded me of why. I’m happy in my choice to leave Christianity. I did do it because my spirit/mind could not handle all of the underlying hatred, judgement, and arrogance in the faith.

          • Frank, I appreciate what you’re saying, but I think some of the things you want to say require sympathy and patience and relationships that aren’t possible in comment threads.

          • James I agree completely but this is being discussed in this limited forum where someone could read whats being said and be deceived.

            A comment board is far from a good place to actually do ministry. Its better suited to exchange ideas.

          • I think “The Screwtape Letters” is an adequate apologia.

            Of course the church, being a human institution, is full of fallibility and error. That’s no reason to discard it.

            I discarded it simply because I don’t believe in gods. Yet I have faith in the existence of Good, so obviously a lot of Christian teaching is relevant. 1 Corinthians 13. Matthew 22:39-40.

  12. Thanks Sarah for the update. Much clearer now. And, of course, much more info too.

    APU is filled with folks who love Jesus and want to share his Love and his resurrection with others. A good and noble thing.

    APU exists at a time when we are discovering that there is much more to being human than conforming to Neo-Victorian norms for gender and sexuality.

    Yes, the Bible is general and Jesus in particular have a lot to say about using our sexuality in a way that produces faithfulness, compassion, and health for each other and for society. Yes, their teaching is against fornication, adultery, and breaking Covenental bonds we make with our spouse.

    But no, neither the Bible nor Jesus lays our a theory of gender or human sexuality. Nothing is said about Intersex, Transgender, or Lesbian persons. And next to nothing is said about Gays, with the exception that it prohibits men from visiting male cultic prostitutes or committing pederasty (and this has little if nothing to Gay men covenanting their lives together).

    So, we are going through a time of turbulence. Those who assume following Jesus means adhering to Neo-Victorian non-Biblical norms lash out with the anger and frustration that always precedes acceptance of a new reality (this happened in my case as well). For those who we agree with and those we disagree with, it is wise to remember 1Co 13: The Love of Jesus is always patient, always kind, and in the end, never fails.

  13. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    Reading these comments it is obvious people can be brainwashed by a decadent culture that any behavior can be deemed normal or acceptable by society no matter how bizarrely absurd. or immoral.

    • It is far easier, and much more convenient, to label something outside your personal experience as “absurd” and “immoral” rather than bothering to learn anything about it, true.

      Bearing false witness like that, sight unseen, is so much less difficult than investigation and attempting to determine what’s right in situations outside your knowledge. It’s something we all do, now and then, myself included.

      Just dismiss the matter with a wave of the hand.

      Or… you could spend far too much time looking at this, having to learn new things, having a comfortable and simplistic view challenged by facts.

  14. The really sad thing here is for anyone to use scripture to accuse others.

    Here are some things to consider —

    Jesus seldom mentions the word “sin” and almost never refers to it.

    Maybe about a dozen times or so.

    Undoubtedly because what may be thought of as sin to some, may not be to others.

    Seldom mentioning or referring to sin then is a good “role-model-example” for us.

    So, why do some use it simply to accuse others ?

    Considering our own should be enough for anyone to stop accusing.

    Jesus spoke much about love, we all know.

    And “love covers up a multitude” of those things called sins.

    So why be disrespectful and think in terms of sin ?

    Why not realize the GREAT and seldom mentioned truths that — All things are allowable, all things are lawful, all things are permissible…….1 Corinthians 6:12…….1 Corinthians 10:23

  15. Sandra Hutchinson

    I have a real problem with the attitude that “If God made a person one way, he or she should learn to just live with it.”

    I was born with a family with a history of defective eyesight. By that standard, I should not wear glasses or contacts, or worse, have corrective surgery. I also have depression, again with a family history. Is it a sin for me to take anti-depressants?

    That stance would seem to rule out surgical corrections of birth defects, indeed rule out much of modern medicine.

    I know from personal experience that transgender people can be good Christians, good employees, good relatives, and yes, even good pastors.

    • Using a tool to enhance your eye-site is nowhere near the same thing as altering yourself physically and chemically to try and live as a different sex or gender.

      And yes all people no matter what are human with human emotions and human capacity for love and goodness despite their sin. That’s does not change what’s best and what’s we should condone and support.

      • See

        The biological sexual constitution of an individual… cannot be changed… by the natural development of organs of the opposite sex
        Counterexample : Imperato-McGinley J, Guerrero L, Gautier T, Peterson RE. Steroid 5alpha-reductase deficiency in man: an inherited form of male pseudohermaphroditism. Science 1974 Dec 27; 186 (4170): 1213-5

        In an isolated village of the southwestern Dominican Republic, 2% of the live births were in the 1970’s, guevedoces (actually male pseudohermaphrodites). These children appeared to be girls at birth, but at puberty these ‘girls’ sprout muscles, testes, and a penis. For the rest of their lives they are men in nearly all respects. Their underlying pathology was found to be a deficiency of the enzyme, 5-alpha Reductase.

        Some people change apparent sex quite naturally. They are as God made them to be.

        I see no difference between having eyesight corrected by LASIK or other surgical means, and having genitalia made consistent with other anatomy.

        Frank, here’s a case for you that might provide food for thought, in a theological sense. Not a hypothetical, an actual case, like many others.

        http://home.vicnet.net.au/%7Eaissg/2010_FamCA_237.pdf
        RE: SALLY (SPECIAL MEDICAL PROCEDURE) [2010] FamCA 237

        I’d be interested in reading your views here.

        • If indeed there is a disease or disorder, either genetic or biological, that’s diagnosed following the accepted standards and is then treated medically with the accepted treatment, I believe that whether that is sinful or not is unclear. However if someone chooses the treatment, seeks it out that most certainly is a choice, concerned not with the love of God but the love of the self. That is a sinful choice.

          • “If indeed there is a disease or disorder, either genetic or biological, that’s diagnosed following the accepted standards and is then treated medically with the accepted treatment, I believe that whether that is sinful or not is unclear.”

            The syndrome is Gender Dysphoria. It is a recognised medical condition. It is caused (we’re pretty sure) by cross-sexed anatomy, though what role hormonal environment vs genetic anomalies play is less certain. We know we can induce the syndrome in experimental animals reliably by hormonal manipulation in the womb..

            The accepted Standard of Care is the SOC v7 of 2011. This involves triadic therapy – hormonal, surgical, and psychological to deal with the effects from societal abuse.

            I’ll quote from the previous version of the SOC:

            “Sex Reassignment is Effective and Medically Indicated in Severe GID. In persons diagnosed with transsexualism or profound GID, sex reassignment surgery, along with hormone therapy and real life experience, is a treatment that has proven to be effective. Such a therapeutic regimen, when prescribed or recommended by qualified practitioners, is medically indicated and medically necessary. Sex reassignment is not “experimental,” “investigational,” “elective,” “cosmetic,” or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID.”

            Note : “Not optional in any meaningful sense”. Not a choice – any more than any other necessary surgery is a choice.

          • So then it is a disease and/or disorder? A mutation caused by our sinful fallen world just like cancer and alcoholism.

            Did this professor get an official diagnosis and proscribed treatment? Did this professor has a genetic anomaly?

            The APA clearly does not know what they are talking about.

          • Frank wrote:
            “Did this professor get an official diagnosis and proscribed treatment? ”

            I think you mean “prescribed”. Though many would like to see the treatment proscribed too.

            Yes, from his own accounts, he did. The diagnosis under the DSM-IV-TR (current when he was diagnosed) is 302.85 Gender Identity Disorder in Adolescents or Adults.

            He may have also been diagnosed with Transsexualism (F64.0) in the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10).

            Treatment is according to the standards defined by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) Standards of Care, probably version 6 (2001) though his medical team might have transitioned to version 7(2011).

            Amongst other requirements, this requires the patient to live in the target gender role for a period of 12 months – including at work – before further treatment is authorised.

            You’ll find these standards of care at http://wpath.org/Documents2/socv6.pdf

          • “May” is not a answer. Did this person go to the doctor and did the doctor prescribe treatment or was it a choice by the patient? No speculation, truth.

            Is sex hormones and surgery necessary to save someone’s life?

          • “Did this person go to the doctor and did the doctor prescribe treatment or was it a choice by the patient? No speculation, truth.”

            Neither of us has access to his medical records, nor should we. However, treatment cannot be given without diagnosis. There are legal issues there, criminal as well as civil.

            Please read the standards of care. You can no more get this treatment on a whim than you can get a heart transplant.

            “Is sex hormones and surgery necessary to save someone’s life?”

            In some cases, certainly, without question. My own for example. There were pre-cancerous lesions on the dysfunctional glands, and without hormone therapy, my bones would become brittle, and (rather worse) due to cortisol issues my skin would disintegrate.

            Such inconvenience is a small price to pay to end the misery of Gender Dysphoria.

            In many other cases, yes, they’ll die without it, though through the effects of misery rather than cancer etc. Suicide or stress-related illness.

        • This would be more relevant if this was the case at hand. Azuza’s case is a much more classic case of a transgender/queer professor (She had as much in her original sermon title) pushing an agenda on a Christian University. Private institutions ought to be allowed to have their own standards as they see fit, since they are the ones that will be judged. If a Christian university wants to hold to Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9, or 1 Timothy 1:10, that should be their option. Don’t like it? There are many other universities.

  16. Azusa Pacific University did the right thing. I don’t pretend to know the whole story involving Heather Clements, but since Azusa is a Christian university, the last thing they need to be (implicitly or explicitly) teaching or endorsing, is gender disorder and confusion. There is too much of that mess already.

    So APU did what had to be done, even if it makes the gay activists angry.

    There are many secular universities and colleges in California, and certainly it is hoped that one of them would hire Clements.

    • If they employed someone born congenitally visually impaired – and who then had cataracts removed – would they be condoning or endorsing blindness?

      If they employed someone with a club foot – who then went through the painful, years long process of surgical repair – would they be encouraging self-mutilation?

      If not, why not?

      I contend that by dismissing this man, the ACU really is condoning and engaging in Gender Confusion. He’s a guy. He just didn’t look like it for a while.

      I’m willing to give full reasons why I say Adam’s a man, but it will take a few posts. I can summarise though by saying that sex is determined by the physical anatomy of the brain, which in turn determines gender identity.

      What takes a while is showing that any other method for determining sex – chromosomes, genitalia, fertility, appearance at birth, and so on – is flawed and unreliable.

      • Mutilating healthy bodies to accommodate the delusions of diseased minds is not corrective,and ought to be illegal.One opposes “gender confusion” by taking a strict “your genes say it and that settles it” attitude,not retreating to “whatever floats your boat”.

        • Louise E wrote:
          “One opposes “gender confusion” by taking a strict “your genes say it and that settles it” attitude”

          Many people do exactly that. There are a few problems with it though. 1 in 300 men don’t have “male genes”, and some women do. Rarely, so do the daughters they give birth to, as described below:.

          J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9

          A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

          Tell me, Louisa, have you had a karyotype? That is, a genetic test to see whether you are 46,XX (as most women are), 46,XY, 47,XXY, 45,X/46,XX etc (to give most of the likely possibilities for a woman, though there are others)?

          If you found you were “genetically male” – would you abandon your “sinful homosexual relationship” with your husband (bearing in mind he might be “genetically female” so it might not be homosexual after all)

          Or would you get a bone-marrow transplant from a 46,XX donor to convert your body (over several years) to “genetically female”, a clone of the donor? See below:

          Bone marrow-derived cells from male donors can compose endometrial glands in female transplant recipients by Ikoma et al in Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2009 Dec;201(6):608.e1-8
          &
          Transplanted human bone marrow cells generate new brain cells by Crain BJ, Tran SD, Mezey E. in J Neurol Sci. 2005 Jun 15;233(1-2):121-3 :

          These show that a bone-marrow transplant recipient’s entire bodies gradually become genetically identical to that of the donor due to cell turnover. Even the brain. Even the reproductive glands.

          Or, which I think more likely, would you change your view, abandoning it as obviously incorrect – as well as having inhumanly cruel, and, dare I say it, un-Christian consequences?

  17. I’d just like to complement Zoe for displaying such respect and honor toward those who have a different view of the matter, especially given the significance of the issues. I applaud you. This is an attitude that APU very much values (I’ve seen it in many professors, chairs, and students): respect in the midst of diversity.

    • And let me say that when someone engages in this way they are less likely to get dismissed. I completely dismiss anyone who comes at me with bigot, hater, homophobic or any other unsupported attacks thus neutering their ability to create a change.

      • Frank – “I completely dismiss anyone who comes at me with bigot, hater, homophobic or any other unsupported attacks thus neutering their ability to create a change.”

        Perfectly understandable. They do no good for their cause, do they?

        I try – however imperfectly – to listen to those who label me “pervert”, “freak”, “pedophile”, “in rebellion against God”, “worthy of death”, “condemned to hell” etc etc etc etc etc. Such things don’t exactly predispose me to be in a receptive frame of mind.

        But no matter. No matter who says something, nor how hatefully (or smoothly) it’s said, what *should* matter is – is it true or not?

        If I’m right … and that’s a big “IF”… I should let the evidence make my argument for me. Adduce cases, give facts, and let them speak for themselves. They do that far more eloquently than I ever could.

        I try to be kind too. 1 Corinthians 13 applies. I may know more than most about the science, and make my points eloquently and succinctly…but if I don’t do it in the spirit of charity, I’ve *completely missed the point*.

        13
        1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
        2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

        Exactly. Though the “all mysteries and all knowledge” in that passage refers to theological knowledge, it applies to biology, medicine and science too.

        I try, however imperfectly, not to “clobber” people or “win” some sterile argument. I try to inform, and in a spirit of goodwill. Being human, I’m not always very good at that, for which I apologise. Sorry.

        • Well if it were true it would be a different story. But now those words have become such buzzwords that the only thing people hear is the buzz.

          I can be for Gods plan for sexuality and and marriage without hate, without bigotry and without fear.

          • Indeed.

            If I may quote Oliver Cromwell –

            I am persuaded that divers of you, who lead the People, have laboured to build yourselves in these things; wherein you have censured others, and established yourselves “upon the Word of God.” Is it therefore infallibly agreeable to the Word of God, all that you say? I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken. Precept may be upon precept, line may be upon line, and yet the Word of the Lord may be to some a Word of Judgment; that they may fall backward, and be broken and be snared and be taken! There may be a spiritual fulness, which the World may call drunkenness; as in the second Chapter of the Acts. There may be, as well, a carnal confidence upon misunderstood and misapplied precepts, which may be called spiritual drunkenness. There may be a Covenant made with Death and Hell! I will not say yours was so.

            — To the General Assembly of the Kirk of Scotland; or, in case of their not sitting, To the Commissioners of the Kirk of Scotland: These. Musselburgh, 3d August 1650.

            http://www.cyberussr.com/hcunn/q-cromwell-beseech.html

            “I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken”

            Meanwhile – God Bless. We are both trying to do the right. We both see through a glass, darkly. If you are a bigot – then so am I.

    • My thanks. I try, both for professional as well as personal reasons. Alas, I’m human, and so fail at diplomacy some times, even though I shouldn’t.

      I’m a lowly Adjunct at the ANU (not APU) – the Australian National University, teaching Systems Engineering and Computer Science to postgrads. So there are certain standards of civility, respect, willingness to listen as well as speak, and to admit error that it’s expected every ANU academic should live up to.

      I have an ego as big as all outdoors, it enters the room ten minutes before I do – but even I can’t pretend to infallibility without bursting out laughing at myself.

      I think I advocate too much, and educate too little. But I try. As do many here, including those holding very different views from my own. So how can I not respect them?

  18. “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God. Dt. 22:5

    What is the point of this passage? It is saying to the Israelites that Male/Female distinctions are part of the created order and there is to be no confusion or crossing over between Males and Females.

    Prior to having a brain by which to think and feel, our gender is already determined. Within hours of conception ones gender is determined which then triggers which hormone will be dominant during the design process. Gender is assigned at conception, not post-birth.

    • Sex and gender are two different and distinct things. Sex is assigned at birth but gender is not. Gender is also accompanied by gender expression, they way in which each of us outwardly expressed our individually identified gender. This gender and gender expression may or may not match up with the sex we were assigned at birth.

      Ray, what you speak of is sex not gender.

      • Sex and gender are linked, perfectly before sin entered our world now imperfectly. If you have the sex organs of a man you are created male. Acting, dressing, believing you are a female is the result of sin and a choice of behaviors.

        Now gender roles are a different story. I am not saying that a female must cook and sew and raise children and not enter the workforce.

        • Frank – taking as true (for the sake of argument) that these situations are the consequence of the Fall…

          How can you be certain that “If you have the sex organs of a man you are created male.” Why cannot one of the things that go wrong be that a woman is born with that as a birth defect?

          I’ve already given the example in another post of people who were born with apparently female genitalia who developed male genitalia later in life. My own situation is something of a mirror image of that, though neither “before” nor “after” were complete, as is often the case in such situations. 5ARD it can be complete, but 17BHSD and 3BHSD, not so much.

          I contend that this means that “genitalia at birth defines sex” doesn’t work. Ask the children fathered by some men with 5ARD- children whose fathers were “born female” if that is the criterion to be used.

          If you mean “genitalia as of now” – then what about the cases where surgery was performed immediately after birth? Or later? Are these cases different in any meaningful way from natural changes?.

          I contend they’re not. While technically I’m not Transsexual – any external, hormonal or chromosomal Intersex condition precludes that as a diagnosis – I certainly had “Gender Dysphoria”. I looked male. It was hellish, as it would be for any woman. I tried to live as a man, simply because that was what society – and people such as yourself – expected of me.

          Now I get some kind of “free pass” simply because that condition cured itself, rather than my having the courage to be true to myself and seek treatment?

          The reason I’m not Transsexual is simple – I’m unworthy to be put in their company. It offends my conscience that those deserving of praise and support are labelled “sinful”, when they had the courage and integrity I lacked.

          • Zoe I sympathize. Our sinful fallen world causes much suffering for everyone. I also understand the human need to feel “comfortable” and “happy” but that is not what the Christian life is all about. We all have our crosses to bear and its easy to simply want to lay it down.

            No one gets a free pass from suffering but we all can get a free pass of grace.

          • That was most gracious of you, Frank. I appreciate it.

            I think it’s undeserved though. My situation got a “miracle cure” after all. It’s those who do not get it that deserve your sympathy. And mine.

            I also think you misunderstand – it’s not a matter of “comfort” or “happiness”, though I can easily see how that could be the impression.

            I’ll quote from a therapist, a specialist in this area – Dr Anne Vitale.

            “Secondly, “Dysphoria,” defined by Marriam-Webster’s Collegiate dictionary as “a state of feeling unwell or unhappy,” or in the American College Dictionary as “a state of dissatisfaction, anxiety, restlessness, or fidgeting” is simply too soft a word to describe the angst most clinicians see on intake with this population. At best it may be an apt descriptor for individuals who, despite strong evidence to the contrary, are making an extraordinary effort to convince themselves that they are sex/gender congruent. These individuals make life decisions such as getting married and having children not only because they may find it appealing to have a spouse and have children but with the added hope that this activity will ease or erase their obsessive cross gender thoughts. Although there may be instances where these special efforts succeed, (i.e. the incongruity is mild) the more likely outcome is a realization they have actually made matters worse. Typically, at time of presentation these individuals report that either their lives are in ruin, or they are very afraid that if their gender variant condition was to become known they would loose all that they cherish and be ostracized from family, friends and the ability to support themselves. High anxiety and deep depression with concurrent suicide ideation is common. One of the most extreme cases I have treated was that of a 50 year old genetic male, married and the father of 3 grown children with an international reputation as a scientist who reported to me that the reason he finally sought out treatment for his gender issues was because the number of times he found himself curled up in the corner of his office in the fetal position muffling his cry was increasing. That is not dysphoria, that is pure misery. ”

            I know the feeling, though it was never that bad for me, only one or two such episodes every month. Not daily. Not hourly.

            It’s a matter of dysfunction. You’ve given up on the concept of “happiness” as not applicable to you many decades ago. You exist. You try to take joy from things such as saving others lives, doing small acts of kindness. You long for a swift, merciful death, and if your mind doesn’t shatter so you suicide, eventually stress-related illness will grant your wish.

            In the most severe cases, no-one lives to age 25 without transitioning. (OK, I know one case who made it to 26, but only because the revolver she’d put in her mouth misfired TWICE).

            In less severe cases… look at Adam’s arms. The crosses he carved in them, the pain of the mutilation providing temporary relief from the far greater misery and horror of Gender Dysphoria.

          • Zoe I was extending my sympathy to all those that struggle with sexuality and gender. I know that their path is difficult and I hope they choose the path of life, which is the path of Gods Will not the surrender to the world.

      • “Gender” as something other than a grammatical term is a recently concocted construct used to justify irrational behaviors.While one is free to engage in professions regarded as typical of the opposite sex,to self-identify as being of the sex opposite to one’s genetic sex is unreasonable and should not be accommodated.

        • Gender is real, Do you not have an internal sense of who you are? Apparently you can’t tell the difference between sex and gender. you know brains have sexual characteristics. oh by the way. what is a genetic sex. what is your agenda. why are peoples genitals more important than who they are. obviously you should think it out rather than spout out what you have been so “well taught” (aka indoctrinated)

    • “Gender is assigned at conception, not post-birth.”

      That doesn’t appear to be the case from the evidence.

      Consider identical twins, product of a single conception – but who develop as opposite sexes. That’s a very obvious and not uncommon counterexample.

      A less obvious or well known one is the effects of certain anti-abortifacients (now banned) on the developing foetus.

      See:
      Prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol(DES) in males and gender-related disorders:results from a 5-year study Scott Kerlin. Proc. International Behavioral Development Symposium July 2005

      Exposure to DES in the womb caused a 500-fold increase in transsexuality, as well as a host of other Intersex sequelae.

    • Frank,
      What you stated has been taught for eons. I used to believe this was true as well. But more recent research over the past 5-10 years shows that gender of the unborn baby is not determined until about the eighth week in utero when hormones wash over the membranes of the brain, and determine whether genitals and sex organs manifest as male or female. With that said, cases of transgendered identity are likely possible, about 1% in fact.

      So, I believe that we as Christians are going to have to read, be better informed, understanding that much more is known today than was previously taught, and know that we are called to love others first. Also, it is a fact that many our churches have transgendered people in their midst, like Adam, who get marginalized. Jesus calls us to love them.

      Shalom,
      Dr. Saundra Taulbee

  19. Look, people are cherry-picking Bible verses if they bother to look at Scripture at all. As a Christian university, this school has the right to say the Bible stands as their standard of conduct. Verses like Leviticus 20:13, 1 Corinthians 6:9, or 1 Timothy 1:10 stand very clear on the issue of homosexuality. If you want to take homosexuality out of the issue, and ONLY talk about the transgender issue apart from sexuality, then let’s do that. But that’s not what I’m seeing in the comments, and based on the original title of the professor’s sermon, that’s not all s/he had in mind either. Another example of a progressive with an agenda pushing that agenda on a traditional Christian university.

  20. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7) Two things at work here. First, Dr. Ackley’s relationship with the Lord appears to be genuine, which is a heart issue. APU’s desire to uphold what they have reasoned to be Biblical standards in the arena of Human Sexuality, too, appears to be genuine. I would surmise (given the scant evidence we are all evaluating this on) that God has a place for both Dr. Ackley and APU, even if the fit between both parties is not a good one. Neither should be vilified.

  21. This so-called “guy” is undeniably FEMALE has given birth and has female genes. The fact that she thinks being a man is a better option is neither here nor there. She is a woman like it or not. And this stupid expression “assigned a gender” at birth is equally nonsense. She was “BORN” a girl, created in her mother’s womb and grow there as a girl. She is either being knowingly perverse or mentally sick.

  22. While private institutions are certainly entitled to a degree of control and responsibility over what goes on regarding the activities that occur within/during that institution’s administration, the right to exercise employment discrimination is not one of them. The right to be employed regardless of the way your were made – essentially the essence of what you are (and obviously I’m not talking about pedophilia or things promote or exercise a danger to others) – is something in which society as a whole has a vested interest. And it is not just a vested interest, but an interest to the extent that society has the right to prevent this form of what is basically sexual discrimination. I would say and hope that should something like this go to the Supreme Court, those self-appointed ‘Guardians’ of their so-called spiritual precepts should and would be very disappointed.

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