Monday, June 15, 2015

Bruce Jenner, Chaz Bono, and My Oldest Daughter

My twenty-seven-year-old daughter has been mistaken for a man. She has short jet black hair and sometimes sports a shaved head. She wears guy's clothes. Her gestures and the way she carries herself convey a masculine message.

(I asked my daughter for permission to write about this. She not only consented but influenced a few thoughts in this piece.)

When she hears, "Excuse me, sir"  she shrugs it off. I, on the other hand, feel like I've just taken a sucker punch to the gut.

The recent news about Bruce Jenner, now Caitlyn Jenner, and the not so recent news about Chastity Bono, now Chaz Bono, hits a little too close to home.

Some camps celebrate and call the trans-gendered person a hero.

Other groups turn their noses up in disgust and call him or her an IT or a freak.

We (as a society)  have missed the mark in how to respond to a troubled soul.

Since I have a young adult who struggles with gender identification issues, here are some questions I have pondered:

Why are we so intolerant of the effeminate male and the masculine female? 

Isn't there room for a man with a gentle soul (Bruce Jenner claims to have the soul of a woman)?

Can't we make space for a powerful woman? 

Can't a man operate out of his feelings?

Isn't it okay if a woman is a thinker rather than a feeler?

Why is there such a narrow stereotype of what constitutes a man or a woman? We have created a very small box for the two genders. 

Clarification: I am not talking about the current philosophy of the gender spectrum. Men are men if they are XY and women are women if they are XX. Chromosomes determine sex not behaviors or preferences. I am also not addressing jobs or roles...only personality and interests.

(Two people who have busted the glass ceiling of stereotypes are Mikhail Baryshnikov and  Laila Ali )

I don't have any answers but I do know how to respond to the person who finds him or her self outside the box-- with love and with compassion. 

Here are a few things I have learned:

1. We affirm how God created that person (male or female) For instance: "God created you to be a gentle man. Being gentle is a strength."

2. We don't enter into his or her illusion of being another sex by calling him or her by different name or referring to him or her as the opposite sex (Genesis 1:27).

3. We pray for his or her relationship with the Lord.

My daughter suggested I google Sy Rogers. Sy wrestled with his gender identity since he was a young boy. As an adult, he decided a sex change would solve his problems. In order for the sex reassignment surgery to occur, Sy needed to live as a woman for two years. At the 18 month mark, The Lord got a hold of him and he was reborn as a child of God. Sy put a stop to the procedure, embraced his masculinity, and pursued God.

The fanfare surrounding Bruce will fade away. But his pain will not. Whatever led him to this place has not been addressed. Surgery, implants, and hormones are all Band-Aids to a complex physiological problem.

Johns Hopkins used to be the go-to place for sex reassignment surgeries. Many years of research have shown that the surgery doesn't fix the struggler's core issues. The doctors at Johns Hopkins contend the issues are internal not external. Mental not physical. Johns Hopkins no longer participates in gender transitioning.

Many seeking a new sexual identity have suffered severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse.

Depending on your point of view, we are all born with or develop  preferences and orientations.

There are reasons for our struggles. But...here's the thing--we  need to be reborn anyway.

Those of us who do not wrestle with the heartache of gender confusion have a choice. We can either help bring someone to God or push him further away from the Lord.

Kindness and compassion are the answer. Prayer is the action.

So rather than condemning or celebrating Bruce and Chaz, let's pray for them. Pray for the healing only God can bring to such a devastating struggle. Pray the Lord draws each one to Himself.

And while you are on your knees, pray for my daughter, too.



with faith, hope, and love,
Lori 

29 comments:

  1. Unconditional love and compassion along with the bedrock of God's Word. You are a VERY wise mom Lori! Thank you for clarity and an eternal perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for this brave, honest, and gracious post, Lori! And for modeling commitment, authenticity and love as a mom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura---thanks for your encouragement and support!

      Delete
  3. Thank you, Lori, for your sincere words of wisdom. Prayers for your oldest daughter.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I covet your prayers Judy. Love to you!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for this. I agree that our too small boxes contribute to the confusion.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love that your daughter helped you write this post. It's that openness between you that will allow the Lord to guide you both down His path for your lives. THank you both for your vulnerability!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes she fully participated. We are able to talk about most everything. We may not always agree but we can still talk. :) she is a remarkable young woman.

      Delete
  7. I just love how authentic you and your daughter are about this very difficult topic to address. Thank you for sharing such a wise and truthful testimony. I will be praying for you both to be a voice for God!! Your faithful and bold steps are surely opening hearts and leading them to Him. <3

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chrissy. My daughter is the brave one! Love to you!

      Delete
  8. Well done. I hope this post floods Heaven's Gates with prayers?

    ReplyDelete
  9. So well worded Lori. What a great resource to help us navigate the increasingly common struggles with identity in an increasingly confusing world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Julie. And thanks for sharing the post.

      Delete
  10. Thank you (and your daughter!) for sharing! What a compassionate and loving approach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Theresa. I will pass along your words of encouragement to her! :)

      Delete
  11. Love never fails! Praying for both of you. I think we forget Jesus didn't come to condemn the world. It already was condemned. He came to seek and save the lost. Then He commissioned us to do the same. Thanks for your wise honesty!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Beautiful Truths here! So glad you and your daughter shared your hearts and thoughts!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Beautifully said/written, great article on such a sensitive topic. Thank you for your openness & bravery to put yourself & your family out there. Your daughter is blessed to have a mother who is rooted in God's word & love. May God continue working in & thru your lives & hearts.
    Blessings my friend

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Paula. God is teaching both of us a lot--that is for sure!

      Delete
  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  15. hank You Lori for addressing this tough issue with love and compassion.

    What really resonated with me is when you wrote, "Why is there such a narrow stereotype of what constitutes a man or a woman? We have created a very small box for the two genders...I don't have any answers but I do know how to respond to the person who finds him or her self outside the box-- with love and with compassion."

    The more I know, the more I know there is still so much more I need to know -- you know? ;)

    Can I share with you what GOD has placed in my heart and taught me?

    When we sit in judgement it prevents us from moving with compassion.

    Our Salvation is based on our Savior, not our sexuality -- nor our gender identity.

    In a confusing and uncertain world the one thing we can be certain of is GOD's Amazing Love for each and every one of us. I believe much harm has been done by religious people who due to their lack of understanding and compassion have become a barrier instead of a bridge to Christ, and one could argue that this is the greatest sin of all.

    Also, just because a young person finds his/her same gender friend attract does not mean that this person is automatically homosexual. Lori, as you wonderfully pointed out and people who have confided in me about their own struggles is that "Many seeking a new sexual identity have suffered severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse." It is only GOD's Amazing Love that can reach and heal soul wounds.

    My hubby and I have also suffered from biased legalistic viewpoints, because we did, and still do not fit into others stereotypical box. What if both husband and wife are gifted to be strong in areas that are unconventional, and do not conform to the gender stereotype that is found in society and the church?

    GOD took us on a 12 year journey to become parents to our amazing daughter. There was loss and pain along the way, and during our toughest & darkest times where we needed love and support some brought judgement due to their lack of understanding of what GOD was doing in our lives. We were told that, "you must be sinning in some way for GOD not to bless you with a child. Maybe it is your spouse who is sinning."

    Doctors must take a vow to first due no harm, as Christians we should do the same. Before we offer advice, let's offer a hug. Before we speak, let's say a prayer and ask GOD to place His Words in our mouth that they would be helpful and not harmful to others.

    Sincerely,
    Anissa Stark

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. God loves out-of-the-box situations ,circumstances, and people! I am praising Him for your uniqueness and your very big heart. Thank you for your words.

      Delete
  16. Lori, I also wanted to personally thank your brave and beautiful daughter for courageously sharing her struggle.

    LORD help each of us to keep in mind & heart that each one of us has a struggle, something the LORD will have us overcome with His Love and Strength. Most of us, our struggle/s are secret, but what if they were made public? What kind of struggle or where we are at in our struggle or battle does not determine our salvation, nor GOD's Love for us.

    Unfortunately there has been harm done by religious folks who send a message that their struggle determines their salvation. Praise the LORD it does not!

    Our Salvation is based on our Savior Jesus Christ, not our sexuality, nor our gender identity.

    Lori I believe that you and your daughter will be the Light of GOD's Love to those who have been alienated by some religious folks. We need to bring His Truth wrapped in His Love.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words Anissa! Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete