"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." – The Serenity Prayer.
If we were completely honest, we'd admit that Bruce (Caitlyn) Jenner's problem is also ours. Jenner's gender identity disorder is someone else's eating…substance abuse…antisocial…you name it…disorder. All of which can be traced back to a deep yearning for acceptance that can only be satisfied on a spiritual level.
But we still try.
Psychologists suggest we all have disorders, though most do not wear them front-and-center like the transgender donut shop worker I've reached out to over the years in an honest attempt to extend God's love on a personal level. Like my donut shop friend, I cannot help but believe that Jenner's exhibition, which the media circus calls "courage," is really a desperate cry for help in an increasingly genderqueer culture where the only thing that is wrong is to suggest something is wrong.
Jenner told ABC News' Diane Sawyer he is, for all intents and purposes, a woman in a recent interview. "People see you as a macho male but my heart and my soul and everything I do in life…that female side is part of me, that's who I am," said Jenner. If you read the Bible, you'll see God also has a "feminine side," comforting "his people like a mother comforts his child" and so forth. Nonetheless, throughout scripture, the God, who is Spirit, is clearly referenced as male. Jenner is as much a woman as my sweet rescue pup, Bella, is a male. Ten pound Bella hikes her leg, rolls around in the mud and is the "Alpha" leader of our diversified 3-dog pack, which includes a 70-pound Alaskan Husky male sled dog who submissively follows her around. She looks and acts like a male dog, but she'll always be our precious Bella with a dirtied pink bow.
We can change our appearance but we cannot change our DNA. Penn State University research released March 23, 2005 in Science Daily determined the difference between men and women is in their genes, not the jeans they choose to wear. The research concluded that the chromosomal differences "should be recognized as potential factors for explaining normal differences between the sexes but also gender differences in how certain diseases are manifested, progress and respond to treatment" -- meaning should one be diagnosed with a disease, it would be wise to check the correct gender box at the doctor's office.
A comprehensive Swedish 30-year scientific study, "Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery," published February 22, 2011 found that post-op transgender people had "substantially higher rates of overall mortality, death from cardiovascular disease, suicide attempts, and psychiatric hospitalizations in sex-reassigned transsexual individuals compared to a healthy control population." It concluded that "post-surgical transsexuals are a risk group that need long-term psychiatric and somatic follow-up." Although surgery and hormonal therapy "alleviates gender dysphoria, it is apparently not sufficient to remedy the high rates of morbidity and mortality found among transsexual persons." With those kind of statistics, it is shocking some are opposed to taking preventative measures. Democrats recently moved to ban so-called "conversion therapy" and should be held accountable.
A few years back, a Central Florida congregation welcomed a post-surgery transgender into their church. Accepting the person, not the behavior, they allowed him to do volunteer work, only asking that he use a gender-neutral restroom. In time, this kindness led to an unsolicited personal realization that God doesn't make mistakes. He later resumed his male identity. Lest we forget, we're all in the same boat. The change we think we need when we look in the mirror pales in comparison to the surgery of God's grace and forgiveness that'll transform us from the inside-out. May we have the wisdom to know the difference.