Ethics: Transgender Teen Refuses Christian Counseling

What would you do Wednesday!

In the follow scenario, you, the reader, face questions from the parents of a transgender teen. The parents are part of your Bible study group. The teen is a boy who believes his true gender is female and wants to live as a girl.

The parents have recently shared with the group their son’s growing resistance against meeting with a Christian counselor. After meeting with a counselor for a month, their son now says he will not meet with him anymore. He claims the Christian counselor is trying to change him – to keep him away from his true identity as a female.

The son says he is a Christian, but wants to see a counselor who will affirm his desired female identity. He wants a counselor who will help him transition which he knows is directly against his parent’s wishes. The parents are asking the Bible study group for prayer and, especially, advice on what to do with their son.

What would you do?

  • Tell the parents to stand strong, love him, but continue Christian counseling.
  • Remove him from counseling, but lovingly stand by your position.
  • Even though they disagree, find him the counselor he wants.
  • Or…

Here I blog…


tagged as , in Christianity,Church Issues,Culture,ethics

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 David January 9, 2015 at 2:45 am

So here’s the thing about counseling — in order to work, it needs a willing patient. There’s no reason to expect a good outcome if the patient doesn’t want to be there, or actively *resents* being there.

Once the kid has explicitly said “No, I don’t want to see this therapist anymore,” Option One is right out. This is especially true if the child is, say, 17 (my reasoning here is that, as a teenager gets closer to adulthood, parents should allow the kid to have more and more leeway to make personal decisions, even if those decisions are upsetting or distressing to Mom and Dad; indeed, even if Mom and Dad *profoundly* disagree with the decisions.)

That said, I don’t think the parents are obliged to take the kid to a more transition-oriented counselor, either. I would imagine that the prospect of their child transitioning is /terrifying/ — or at the very least, deeply upsetting and alarming. I’m sure Mom and Dad would have a lot of grief and fear and uncertainty to deal with, and I doubt it helps anyone if they try to ignore those emotions.

So let me choose Option Four here: I would suggest that the parents withdraw the kid from counseling, and then go find a Christian counselor *for themselves*. Or a secular marriage and family therapist with experience in this field, if they eventually want to bring the kid in to some of the sessions. But the goal of this therapy would be for them, as a family, to figure out how to express their love for each other in a horribly tough time — it would *not* be to work towards (or away from) transition.

2 Lianne Simon January 23, 2015 at 9:08 pm

I think I’d ask the parents to read some scripture verses that show what God thinks of sex differences. He created humans male and female, but he also generated a wide variety of biological sex differences. A woman with XY chromosomes and testes in her abdomen would have been considered a barren woman. God consoles her in Isaiah 54. A child with ambiguous genitals would have been considered a eunuch. (Matt 19:12) God makes special promises to faithful eunuchs in Isaiah 56 even though Deuteronomy 23:1 makes it clear that eunuchs aren’t legally male. When the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized (Acts 8:26-41) , nothing was required beyond faith in Christ. Even though Phillip had performed miracles earlier in the chapter, he didn’t heal the eunuch. Perhaps sex differences aren’t something that need to be fixed. And last of all, I’d read Matthew 19:12 again and point out that some men choose to become eunuchs by altering what’s between their legs. For the sake of the Kingdom. Some change their legal sex for the sake of the Kingdom. Even if that doesn’t apply to today’s trans kids, it should demonstrate that God doesn’t despise them.


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