Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Christians and Transexuality

(Nong Poy is Miss Tiffany 2004. She went for sex change to be who she is now when she was 17.)

Roland Chia, the recently appointed Chew Hock Hin Professor of Christian Doctrine at Trinity Theological College, has written on Gender Reassignment Surgery (GRS). In the past few months, I was reading and contemplating over homosexuality and I think it's time to move on to this other unfamilar ground: Transexuality.

I'm hesitant to concede Roland's position as I was before on another issue, yet I think overall he gave a very good short-hand describing the issue which could serves as a starting point to get the conversation going.

"GRS is not an option for transsexual Christians seeking therapy because it transgresses the divine creational ideal for human sexuality and sexual relationships. The Bible appears to favour the view that human sexual identity is determined biologically.

The Christian community should never agree that transsexual operations be allowable for Christians. But it should at the same time be willing to support the Christian transsexual who is willing to work patiently through the issue."

Thought about transexuality before? This is very real not only in the church but also in the society. One of my cousin is a self-professed tom-boy since young.

So, what's your thoughts?

4 comments:

Nalika said...

My thought is you search hot babes picture while at work.. Hahaha.

Anyway the boy is much prettier than many girls.. i am a little jealous..
haha

Sze Zeng said...

Ohh... sorry to disappoint you Nalika.. but searching hot babes pics is just one among many other things that I do while in the office! :P

riki said...

Actually there are some Christians who propose a very pro trans reading of the bible, based on positive references about eunuchs. see eg http://209.85.141.104/search?q=cache:tqpyCSdbQV4J:www.advocate.com/exclusive_detail_ektid45681.asp+Roughgarden+eunuchs&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=4&gl=au

Meanwhile, biologist Joan Roughgarden has noted that the Bible actually provides evidence that transgender people were a part of regular life even in biblical times. Roughgarden is a transgender woman who has taught at Stanford University since 1972. In her book Evolution's Rainbow, Roughgarden wondered why, if Darwin’s theory of evolution were correct, diversity in the animal population did not seem to be disappearing.

But Roughgarden is also a Christian who has done extensive reading of the Bible. In her latest work, Evolution and Christian Faith, she offers the radical notion that the two beliefs are actually quite compatible. And she goes a step further to claim that Jesus’ beliefs and teachings actually were intended to help Christians live with the diversity that existed then and that would continue to be present.

Of relevance to trans people is her discussion of eunuchs. She references Matthew 19:12, in which Jesus describes three types of eunuchs—those “which were so born from their mothers’ womb,” those “which were made eunuchs of men,” and those “which made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake.”

Roughgarden interprets the first category as describing intersex individuals and the latter transsexual individuals. She notes that Jesus’ descriptions line up with those of ancient Roman writers who described those we would today call cross-dressers as well as those who transitioned genders without physical alteration.

She points out that some eunuchs held powerful positions and that “eunuchs were common enough that writers referred to them with such phrases as ‘armies of eunuchs.’” And she asserts that the apostle Philip's baptism of the eunuch in Acts 9:27–38 serves as an “explicit instruction to include eunuchs within the church.”

Sze Zeng said...

Hi Riki,

Thank you for pointing out these interesting points.