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Thoughts On Bruce Jenner and Identity

Thoughts On Bruce Jenner and Identity

This past month, Bruce Jenner, the amazingly gifted Olympic athlete, came out in an interview with Diane Sawyer as being transgender. Bruce has walked for years with gender-identity confusion, at times very strong, at other times very submerged and not in the forefront of his feelings, according to his interview. Bruce lived as a husband and father to six children and had, and still has, nothing but heterosexual attractions. Experiencing transgender feelings can be explained as: The gender that I see myself as, verses the gender I really am physically and biologically. Bruce said in his interview that he had the “body of a man, and the soul of a woman.” He was sincerely trying to explain to the best of his ability what he definitely feels, but doesn’t fully understand.

Johns-Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore MD was the first to pioneer and perform gender reassignment surgery. Their former chief psychiatrist, Dr Paul McHugh, wrote in the Wall Street Journal on June 2, 2015, “Policy makers and the media are doing no favors, either to the public, or transgender people, by treating their confusions as a right in need of defending rather than as a mental disorder that deserves understanding, treatment and prevention.”

Johns-Hopkins studied its gender reassignment patients and discovered that the vast majority was no better adjusted after their surgery than before the surgery, so they stopped performing the procedures. In an interview with the New York Times, the physician who headed the study stated, “My personal feeling is that surgery is not a proper treatment for a psychiatric disorder, and it’s clear to me these patients have severe psychological problems that don’t go away just because they have had surgery.” Dr. McHugh reports a recent study of gender reassignment patients, which found that, pertaining to their transgender feelings, their mental and emotional state of being was no better adjusted after surgery than prior to the surgery.

Dr. McHugh reports a recent study in which it was found that death by suicide rose among gender reassignment patients by almost 20 times that of the non- transsexual population, and concluded, “Sex change is biologically impossible. People who undergo gender reassignment surgery do not change from men to women and vise versa. Rather, they become feminized men and masculinized women. Claiming that this is a civil rights mater and encouraging these surgeries is to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder.” In other words, just as with homosexuality, the root issues driving the feelings, have not been dealt with properly, and therefore the deeper emotional issues remain, as well as the transgender feelings. And depression and hopelessness may even increase due to these unresolved feelings. Thus the 20 times increase reported in suicide rates compared to samplings from regular society not experiencing transgender feelings. I have to say: I saw such a sadness in Bruce Jenner’s eyes in the interview, and a hopelessness on his face even as he talked about finally being able to live “out” as a woman.

Bruce Jenner stated in his interview that he never disclosed the severity or depth of what he was dealing with to his wives, (he’s been married three times) or to his children. He also said he never sought any kind of help. Though his first wife was the daughter of a pastor, and Bruce as been exposed to the bible and Christianity, he stated (with a tone of hopelessness, mixed with sorrow and resentment) that God must have decided to give him this very big trial to play a trick on him. There could be nothing farther from the truth! How I wish I could sit down with Bruce and have a loving conversation about God and his character. That he is the God who RAN to meet the prodigal, and who extends his hand continually to us when we are sinking in life’s difficulties. This fallen world, its sin, our fragile humanity and brokenness, and the resulting damage by sin (both ours and that of others toward us) are the cause of Bruce’s issues. The God of all comfort and healing would love to help and resolve these things for Bruce. Come to me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble and gentle of heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” Bruce’s issue is not something he was born with: it is a soul issue. His soul has been deeply wounded, and the effect on his identity is a crushed and confused view of himself. And “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” Lies have been sown in his soul and mind.

Recently, Rachel Dolezal, who was the NAACP Director in Spokane Washington, was also in the news. She claimed to be a black woman when she took the job. But when her white parents went to the media and said their daughter was actually a white woman, Rachel responded by claiming that though she has the body of a white woman, she feels she has the soul of a black woman, just as Bruce Jenner claims he has “the body of a heterosexual male, but the soul of a woman.” Rachel claims to be “Trans-racial.” Bruce claims to be “Transsexual.” But the reality is, we all struggle with identity, trying to figure out who we really are and where we really fit, until we give all of our heart and mind, body and soul to Jesus and ask him to tell us who we really are. He is the one who sorts out the details of our confusion and pride, and gives us an understanding of who we are. The Bible says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” So, if I think I am a black woman though I am white, or I think I am a woman though I am biologically a man, the Bible says I will behave in the manner that I see myself, not necessarily out of truth.

Jesus has come to restore truth. And that truth sets us free (John 8:34-36, John 10:10). Free from the confusion and the identity issues we all deal with. Free to begin to become more like Jesus day by day, and to embrace our gender in a God given healthy fashion. I have a way to go. But I have seen the Lord change my view of myself, and my identity, and my feminine gender, and bring all these areas into alignment with truth. And the result: My feelings are also changed. For “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.” And I see him do the same for so many of those who come to this ministry for help each day.