Janie B. Cheaney: Valley of delusion

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, September 18th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Scripture teaches us to see our fellow human beings with compassion. It also teaches us to tell the truth. Here’s WORLD Radio’s Janie B. Cheaney.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: At the church where I help serve dinner for the downtown community once a month, I meet all kinds: street people, addicts, gays, and the occasional cross-dresser. One individual flaunted the figure and clothing of a teenage girl, with the facial hair and facial structure of a man. It wasn’t just the face, though; no one would have taken this person for anything but male, despite the shape. 

We had a pleasant conversation, but later, when making a request for our guest, I used the pronoun “he.” I was immediately corrected: “She.” 

“Uh, okay, sorry,” I said. 

A small exchange, but it indicates the direction we’re headed. How far we can travel in that direction? I’m not so sure. My understanding is that a small fraction of the population, less than 1 percent, suffers from genuine confusion about their sexual identity—the brain, somehow, disagrees with the body about whether one is male or female.

In 2013 the Netflix series Orange is the New Black made a star out of LaVerne Cox, the first openly transgender person to appear as a series regular. Beginning in 2015, the former Bruce Jenner made a very public transition overwhelmingly backed by the media. “Trans,” once the lower-case “t” of the LBGT acronym, became the big T—the new civil-rights frontier. The advocacy group GLAAD dropped its acronym—formerly Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation—to underscore trans inclusion. 

Trans became trendy, especially among the young. According to an extensive survey conducted two years ago, as many as 25 percent of California kids are questioning their biological sex. 

The trend is extremely dangerous. If only a fourth of those confused kids decide to take concrete action with puberty blockers or hormone therapy, permanent sterility is only one of the possible health consequences. And there’s no evidence of improved well-being—recent studies indicate the opposite. I predict that in 10 years, or less, we’ll see a monumental backlash from 20-somethings whose lives were permanently altered, or even ended, by this delusion.

But even now, reality may be starting to push back. For the last two years, GLAAD’s “Accelerating Acceptance” report has shown declining acceptance, especially among young people who are usually the first to hop aboard a civil-rights bandwagon. In every demographic, young men and women reported discomfort with learning a family member was LGBT, or having such a person as their child’s teacher or family doctor, or sitting beside an LGBT individual at church. In some demographics, the acceptance level dropped almost 50 percent in a year’s time. 

The pushback may signal a return to sanity, or a reaction against the efforts of activists to herd an entire culture into this uncharted territory. It could get ugly. Our challenge and calling is to see the herd as sheep without a shepherd, and worthy of our compassion as God’s anxious and confused image-bearers.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Janie B. Cheaney.

(Photo/Creative Commons)

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