What should I do if my child says thinks God made them the wrong gender? Never Say “God Doesn’t Make Mistakes.”
I have heard people say “God doesn’t make mistakes” to children regarding questions about sexual identity. This is a terrible thing to say to a child who feels insecure and fragile about their self-identity! The child may think, “But I am a mistake.” If your child tells you they question their identity, tell them, “God loves you and so do I. You are not a mistake and I will be with you while we try to figure this out.”
I am not going to tell you that you should support a gender transition. That’s a heavy decision and will require a lot of prayer and research on your part. Instead I am going to offer my advice on how to preserve your relationship with your child and keep them alive. One very important piece of information for parents to consider is the large number or transgender youth who commit suicide. Please see this article, which states that 40% of transgender youth have attempted suicide. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32345113/
Obviously, it is very important for parents to be thoughtful and attentive when addressing gender identity concerns in children. Gender dysphoria is a related condition in which children feel like their gender is somehow wrong. It is incredibly distressing to feel like your own body is wrong. A child may feel like they are a mistake or an accident. This can lead to distress, depression and suicide. Telling a child that these feelings are a temptation or a type of sin could be very destructive. Remember the intellectual age of the child. They may not understand what you are trying to say. Instead, they may get mixed up, thinking they are possessed or a spawn of Satan or something, even though that is not what you meant.
Parents, if you feel like your child should not experiment, transition or otherwise explore their gender identity, you certainly have the right to say so. Furthermore, trying to hide your opinions from your own child is nearly impossible. Yet, it is important to always be gentle and to listen without criticism. The child is already in a fragile mental state. In any big decision that a child has to make, any feelings or questions that they have, it is valuable to discuss and explore all sides of an issue. Conversations with your child should include statements such as this: “Well, I have always believed…” and “What do you think?” “Why don’t we do some research?” “Let’s ask some other people we trust for their thoughts.” At the end of the day the child must know that you love the child and value their worth. Meditate with them. Pray with them, asking for the Holy Spirit and for wisdom. Tell the child you know they are struggling and you care about them.
Be wary of those who push gender transitions too quickly, because this may not solve the dysphoria or depression. Some may think that being open-minded means immediately supporting a gender transition. But doesn’t being open-minded mean considering all perspectives and being liberal means accepting freedom of choice? There is so much to consider that as I write I am praying for the parents who may be reding this. I would like to lift up the parents trying to raise and love their children safe and happy and healthy and Christian through a gender identity question.
I think there are a lot of Bible studies and research – both medical and Biblical – for you to look at to help you understand the issues of gender identity. I would encourage you to read broadly from scripture rather than focusing on a couple verses. Read the entirety of Corinthians and Galatians.
I know many people believe the Bible is very clear about what is right and wrong, but if you really believe that, I have some thoughts for you to consider. Read the entire book of First Corinthians and think about the following points:
1 Corinthians: 5 discusses a man who is sleeping with his father’s wife. I’m paraphrasing Paul here. He says you can’t avoid all the immoral people of the world, you would have to leave the world to do that. But, don’t be proud that you have a member of your congregation who would sleep with his father’s wife. Parents, would you compare your precious child with a man who was proud to sleep with his stepmother? Research the culture of Corinth and you will see that our children are not like the people of Corinth.
1 Corinthians 6: 12 – 20 addresses sexual immorality, but also explore 1 Corinthians: 7 which details marriage. Do you also agree with all of this? Specifically, it says that divorce is a sin, and if your spouse leaves you, you must not remarry.
Next see chapter 11. Must a woman truly submit to her husband? Do you cover your head to pray? Is it a disgrace for a man to have long hair, or for a woman to have short hair?
If someone spoke in tongues in front of you, would you believe they are inspired or crazy? See chapters 12 and 14. Speaking in tongues gets a lot of coverage.
Do you agree that it is a disgrace for women to speak in church? 1 Corinthians 14: 34 – 35
As you dig into the Bible, you will see that it is baffling and not as straight forward as we would like it to be. I don’t know about you, but I know I cannot figure all of that out. All I can do is try to figure out how to love my children and take good care of them through it all.