Thoughts on Staying in One's Birth Sex
By Robyn Shanor, PhD, MDiv
Some Christians would rather attempt to continue to live in their given birth-sex and assigned social role as opposed to changing their sex or social gender role.
This choice may be made for a number of reasons. The problems created within current relationships by gender issues may be one. Their religious beliefs may cause them to feel that changing gender role and/or SRS is incompatable with their beliefs. Some may be overly guilt-ridden or from such a strong fundamentalist background that they eventually decide that it is easier to deal with gender issues than it is to deal with their guilt or concerns about losing their salvation (which I personally do not believe will happen!). And others simply come to a sincere belief that it is not God's will for them to change sex or gender.
For that reason, I offer this page with links to various views, testimonies and opinions regarding Christians and gender issues.
My own personal opinion after reading through a number of these testimonies is that in some cases the author was not a true transsexual but was only a crossdresser or homosexual who used crossdressing as a means of sexual enticement (sometimes these persons mistakenly go through the route of SRS and are very unhappy, thus the Benjamin Standards of Care for Transsexuals), or the individuals were overwhelmed with their religious guilt and chose that path instead of transition.
In some cases the author sincerely seems to put forth a testimony of being healed from their gender issues or at least healed to the point to be able to deal with their gender issues but without having to change sex or gender roles. This is not uncommon for someone to seek to stay in their gender role especially if they are married or have concerns regarding children.
Others decide to simply cope with their gender issues and to stay in their birth role, whether temporarily or permanently, due to such reasons as employment, family or health considerations.
After all, only about 10% (ten percent) of all transsexuals follow through to surgery and transition! The rest eventually find some median point of coping.
If one is able to remain in their birth sex and assigned gender role without eventually damaging their health or mental stability or taking their own life, they may have an easier time as opposed to all of the pain, broken relationships and social stigma that is normally suffered by those who transition.
However, unless you deal with your gender dysphoria, a foundational self-perception of who you are and how you were created, you will invariably be forced to mis-adjust other basic perceptions in your life-- whether in your religion, relationships, or in your perception of reality itself, unless you have first dealt with your gender-conflicting issues.
Unless you are prepared and feel called to remain in your natural birth-sex role, you may find the attempt to be difficult, unless you have already dealt with your gender issues. What may suffer are the basic healthy human virtues of self-love (godly care for oneself), intimacy and the hope of goodness and wellbeing for yourself (and possibly others) in the present.
However, I do strongly believe that God can eventually bring your gender roles to One-ness, in which neither gender-role is "sinful" nor needs to be "healed" or "delivered from." If God made you this way, then He certainly knows how to bring you together into Wholeness in His own time.
You can adapt as a member of your birth-sex-- or even succeed. But you can also probably flourish living your life in the role of your inner gender, while incorporating it and remaining in your birth-sex role without need for surgery or transition.
Count the cost, don't be as a ship tossed by the wind, get good advice and counseling, and then proceed in faith without a doubt, in whichever role you choose to live your life. But-- seek His will, and you may find that eventually, the God who created you as He intended will bring about a sense of Oneness, for which you were created.
If you have questions regarding Robyn's Oneness experience, you may write Robyn who makes no guarantee that you'll get a reply due to time-constraints!
For more on Robyn's story...
For those who want to explore oppositional or more conservative views regarding crossdressing, transsexuality or transition, I also have supplied these links as a resource.
For whatever reasons they have come to their conclusions, I list these links for those who need to find them. My prayer is with you if you should make the choice to continue in your birth sex and assigned gender, and/or to incorporate them in Oneness.
Added April 1, 2000 (no fooling!)
A reader's comments to Robyn:
> I would go back to being male in a minute if
> there were some way that I could be assured that
> I could.
Honestly, both genders seem to require painful sacrifices and choices for us. If we transition it's frequently accompanied by much pain and loss of relationships, especially spouse and/or children. On the other hand, yes, I suspect that for some it's possible, but also painful since if one has experienced the feminine side and allowed it to become cultivated, then turning back to male role seems accompanied by a more angry, depressed assertion of the masculine traits.
In my own experience, due to health reasons I was forced to at least play the male role again after being in fulltime transition for months. It was at first empowering-- for about 48 hours, then became more and more depressing and excruciatingly emotionally painful.
I got on hormones about a year later, but after half a year I couldn't get reapproved due to their concern over the other unresolved health (injury) issues. After about three months I was forced through a resurgence of male adolescent-like body changes, that was infuriating and emotionally painful to me! I was so angry that I couldn't get the hormone approval since I'd gone back totally fulltime.
My body grew hair where it didn't have any before, my temperament was much more unsettled and angry and I really missed the feminine side that I had before and during hormones. However, I realized that possibly if someone were to want to turn back that it might be possible. Endocrinologists can do things hormonally, either raising the testosterone or giving medications that help the testosterone-sensors to work more properly, whichever is lacking. But I'm still paying physically from the effects of that 3/4 of a year of the effects on my body. I lost quite a bit of hair from thinning, and my skin turned more leathery after a lifetime of baby-soft skin.
It dawned on me that possibly if someone were to want to return to the male role or to stay in the male role, possibly taking the female prescription hormones for a short period and then jumping the other way by taking whichever was necessary in the male hormone realm might be one way of forcing or enforcing the male role. Of course, this is just a personal guess and would have to be done under the care of a gender-friendly endocrinologist.
So-- yes, I suspect it is possible, but just like the decision to transition to female, going the other way may have its own price to pay and its permanent effects so it's not something to decide without consideration.
Sometimes, if we choose to transition or live in the full female role, it is more of a painful resignation that this is indeed necessary for us, even if it seems unwanted. Most seem to portray it as an ecstatic period, which is usually true in part, but on the other hand the sense of loss and dying of one part to allow the other part to live healthfully is sometimes what is best for us.
In conclusion, either decision should be weighed carefully, and possibly whichever is chosen, one should have the mental perspective that the result will be a bittersweet mixture of having done the right thing and the longing for the loss of what was left behind.
(you must hit "Back" after viewing these links if you want to return here, or Bookmark this page)
Please let me know if there's a resource I need to list here - Robyn
Coping for Now
- Lisa decides to cope with gender issues for now....
Turning Back for Family's Sake
- "A Life-Changing Experience" by Sarah/David
Crossdressing is Wrong or Unscriptural
- Cross-dressing and Christianity: A Testimony of a REAL Man's Struggle
- First Stone Ministries
- "The Ethical Issue of Transexuality" by Dr. Greg Bahnsen
- "Jennifer or Jerry?" by Rev. Jerry Leach
- "Man in the Mirror" by Sinclair 'Sy' Rogers
- "The Final Transition" by Perry Desmond"
Other relevant links regarding gender, provided for your own research
- "A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality"
By J.-N. Zhou, M.A. Hofman, L.J. Gooren and D.F. Swaab
- "TS Brain Differences"- by Marc Breedlove
- New findings on gender predisposition position released by experts 3/14/97
- "Aberrant Sexuality" by Christian scholar Lambert Dolphin
- The Relation Between Masculine Role Conflict and Psychological Distress in Male University Counseling Center Clients
Glenn E. Good, John M. Robertson, Louise F. Fitzgerald, Mark Stevens, and Kim M. Bartels
- Masculinity: Media images cause conflict for men
by Eric Adler, Kansas City Star
- ERIC TITLE NUMBER: EJ438842 AUTHOR: Stillson, Richard W.; And Others
TITLE: Predictors of Adult Men's Gender-Role Conflict:
Race, Class, Unemployment, Age, Instrumentality-Expressiveness, and Personal Strain.
YEAR PUBLISHED: 1991
JOURNAL: Journal-of-Counseling-Psychology; v38 n4 p458-64, Oct 1991
- AMERICAN PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION- SOCIETY FOR THE PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDY OF MEN AND MASCULINITY- RESEARCH PROJECT PAGE
This page is designed to facilitate the process of planning research, linking colleagues, and organizing presentations. Below
you will find a list of individuals (in alphabetical order by last name) who are involved in scientific and scholarly work in the area of men and masculinity.
- Ideas of masculinity can be damaging
September 21, 1997
by Eic Adler, Knight-Ridder Newspapers
- A Discussion of the Effects of Gender Roles on Men
From: David Fellner, Jr.
REPLIES TO THE "ANTI-TRANSGENDER" POSITIONS:
- Marci Williams writes a reply
to Randall Wayne's position as stated in "Cross-dressing and Christianity-- A REAL Man's Struggle."
- Robyn's Correspondence with Randall Wayne
regarding Randall's position as stated in "Cross-dressing and Christianity-- A REAL Man's Struggle."
One last item for your thoughts-- noted gender expert Sandra Bem (1974) has said that people with a high level of androgyny are better adjusted psychologically than gender-stereotypic individuals.
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