How to think and pray about the suicide of a transgender teen

Just before the New Year, a transgender teenager name Josh “Leelah” Alcorn took his own life (see report above). In his suicide note, he said that he was despairing over the deep conflict he felt about being transgender. He also indicated that his parents were Christians and had taken him to Christian counselors for help. Here’s an excerpt from the child’s suicide note, which was posted online:

When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was. I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong. If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

The response to this news has been sad and predictable. Many who argue for transgender “equality” are blaming the teen’s parents and Christianity. In fact, the funeral had to be moved to a private location because of threats that the parents were receiving.

Activist Dan Savage has been calling for “Leelah’s” parents to be prosecuted and for the state to take their other children away from them. Savage says that the state should be harsh and make an example of the parents. Why? Because he views taking the child to Christian counseling as child abuse, manslaughter, and reckless endangerment. This is not a joke. This is really what he believes.

No matter how vitriolic the attacks against Christianity may become, we have to resist the temptation to respond in kind. The fact is that a precious child created in the image of almighty God has taken his own life. There are grieving parents and siblings. I can only imagine the sadness they must be going through–now compounded by the vicious attacks of strangers. I really don’t know anything about this family, but I can imagine that they need our prayers.

A few quick items that I would draw your attention to as you think about all of this:

• You are going to hear some people claim that transgender feelings in children are fixed and immutable. What you likely won’t hear is that about 70%-80% of children who report having transgender feelings eventually grow out of them (read about it here).

• Garrett Kell has written an extremely helpful pastoral word in light of Alcorn’s death: “What Would Jesus Say to Someone Like Leelah Alcorn?” His main points are these:

1. Jesus would say… “You are made in My Image, and I love you.”
2. Jesus would say… “You are broken, just like everyone else.”
3. Jesus would say… “You have a unique struggle, and I will use it.”
4. Jesus would say… “I came to rescue people like you, so trust in Me.”
5. Jesus would say… “The journey is hard, but it is worth it and I will help you.”
6. Jesus would say… “Your parents aren’t perfect, but they love you.”
7. Jesus would say… “Go to my people, they will walk with you in grace and truth.”
8. Jesus would say… “Don’t give up on life, I make life worth living.”

• Last summer, I wrote a post suggesting “10 ways to love your transgender neighbor.” You can read it here.

65 Responses to How to think and pray about the suicide of a transgender teen

  1. Daphne Maddox January 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm #

    We aren’t attacking Christianity, sir. Sorry you feel so defensive about that.

    We are defending Christianity from bigots who seek to use it as a weapon in their little war on people. We are defending Christianity from people who clearly miss the point of what it means to be Christian.

    “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
    For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

    Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

    Matthew 5:10-12

    You people made her a martyr, like it or not.

    • Dal Bailey January 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

      I like how you rip out scripture and use it for your own purposes…

      KInd of funny, that you follow the age old adage of “Satan will use scripture for his own advantage.

      “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
      For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

      (Standing for God, not accepting perversion)

      “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.

      (Like calling them bigots, homophobes and haters)

      Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

      (Yes, but now it’s not legal to murder us, but that’ll change)

      Matthew 5:10-12

      • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 8:24 pm #

        Whatever. I, for one, am not in this to win an argument with you. I will let you disgrace yourself on your own now.

  2. Kathy V. Baldock January 2, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    I would challenge you to take a college-level class or non- biblical based class/seminar on this issue.

    The Bible is not a treatise on gender studies. The concept of a person’s gender being incongruent with their biological sex has only gained medical recognition and acceptance within the past 75 years. Looking to the Bible for modern understanding and guidelines on gender is far outside the scope of its intent.

    If Christians alone were to treat cancer or any other medical condition per 1st century standards, that would be seen as ridiculous.

    I sat in the front row-center listening to you at ERLC. There will come a day when you finally realize that people are transgender and that it is not a moral issue or a condition praying or submission to God will “fix.”

    You may then realize the damage YOUR teachings and ideology infused theology has caused.

    Until then, PLEASE get out of your Bible bubble and seek EXPERT input. You are wrong on this issue. Your teachings and beliefs are counter to every major professional medical association.

    So either all those professionals are wrong, OR, you just might be.

    People look to leadership to lead and tell the truth. Find out the truth, then. please, lead in telling it.

    • Denny Burk January 3, 2015 at 12:41 am #

      Dear Kathy,

      Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. Thanks also for attending the ERLC event. I know we have enormous differences over these issues, so it means a lot that you were there.

      I think we may be in agreement at least about some things. We agree that there are folks whose sense of their gender identity differs with their bodily sex. Their experience often leads to feelings of alienation from their own bodies, sometimes from their families and peers. Sometimes it leads to depression and all manner of pain in their life. Perhaps we can agree that their suffering should call forth our love and compassion.

      Still, I think our disagreement lies mainly in how we would express that love and compassion. We would likely also disagree about the sufficiency of God’s word to address those who sense a conflict between their gender and their sex. The Bible is not a science textbook, and it should not be read as if it were. It does, however, offer profound and true insights into the human condition–into who we are as image-bearers who have been broken by sin. None of us are now what we ought to be. None of us are now what we will be. Even Christians experience groaning within themselves longing for the redemption of their bodies (Romans 8:23). Nobody has it all together.

      For me at least, I haven’t found any better account for the way that we really are than what I read in the Bible. And that includes what the Bible has to say about sexuality and gender. The Bible does speak to these issues, though perhaps not in the same terms that a gender studies professor would recognize. The Bible’s teaching on gender and sex starts in Genesis 1 and 2 and is carried right through to Revelation. God embedded a sexual distinction within the human race that is good and right (see Genesis 1:26-27). The sexual binary of Genesis 1 is tied to a gender binary in Genesis 2. Whereas the average queer theorist would not recognize a normative connection between sex and gender, the Bible certainly does. The Fall certainly has introduced sin and pain into our experience of these things, but that does not change what God’s fundamental created order is.

      I know that we will probably have to agree to disagree about these issues, but what I am saying right now is not an outlier Christian view. It is how the church has understood these things for last 2,000 years. More importantly, it is what the Bible teaches.

      Those scriptural truths inform how Christians wish to offer love and compassion to our transgender neighbors. It means that above all we want to do what we can to offer friends and neighbors what God has told us about what makes for flourishing and wholeness. God knows our weaknesses, and His word defines for us the path that leads to life and goodness (Psalm 119:105). We simply want to point people to that path, even when doing so is deeply counter-cultural.

      Thanks again for commenting, and blessings to you.

      Sincerely,
      Denny Burk

      • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 3:25 am #

        “It is how the church has understood these things for last 2,000 years. More importantly, it is what the Bible teaches.

        Those scriptural truths inform how Christians wish to offer love and compassion to our transgender neighbors.”

        And therein lies the problem. You say you’re offering the love you wish to offer, and doing it in the name of Christianity, but to not accept someone’s gender identity is to persecute their soul. There is nothing loving about torturing transgender people until they throw themselves in front of a truck!

        Stop loving people as you wish to love them. Just don’t do it. Love them as they ask, or if you can’t find it in your heart to do that, please just walk away and mind your own business. Lives are at stake here. I’d say you are playing with fire, but really your pouring gasoline on it. Just stop.

        • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

          “Stop loving people as you wish to love them. Just don’t do it. Love them as they ask.”

          What if somebody’s a masochist. What if they suffer from deep self-loathing, and feel they deserve to be hurt. Would you “love” them as they ask (by whipping them)? Or would you treat they as they ought to be loved, despite their request to be brutalized?

          • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 10:13 pm #

            Surely you’re kidding.

            Steve, nobody’s asking to be whipped, for crying out loud. Just that you maintain your human dignity.

            If your mind rushes straight to S&M when we talk about gender, that’s not our fault.

            • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm #

              If you think there aren’t real people who suffer from self-loathing and feel they deserve to be hurt, you don’t know as much about the human condition as you presume to. The fact that you think I’m kidding speaks volumes about your provincial understanding of the real world. You need to learn more and moralize less.

              • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 10:30 pm #

                I’m wondering how we got from gender identity to a desire to be hurt.

                It’s the desire NOT to be hurt that we’re talking about here. Trust me, you aren’t hurting people by respecting their identity. That’s why it seems so ludicrous to be talking about requests to be whipped in this context.

                The request is actually to cease the verbal whipping being doled out.

                • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

                  We got to it because I’m answering you on your own terms. You framed the issue in terms of “loving” people as they ask rather than how we wish to love them. You need to keep track of your own argument. Does your reaction mean you’re retracting your original claim? Do you now admit that it is wrong to treat people the way they ask if, in fact, what they ask is harmful to them?

                • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 10:38 pm #

                  BTW, here’s an analysis by a leading psychiatrist:

                  http://www.wsj.com/articles/paul-mchugh-transgender-surgery-isnt-the-solution-1402615120

                  • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 11:26 pm #

                    That is a discredited psychiatrist with no evidence. He is the one always cited by those who want to tell this story. He’s alone. Evidence completely contradicts his conclusions.

                    • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 11:47 pm #

                      Discredited by whom? By transgender apologists? He has sterling credentials. What are your credentials?

                    • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

                      The medical and psychological professions have observed overwhelming evidence that contradicts the evidence he cites and his conclusions. He’s the one people who wish to persecute transgender peopel always trot out to say “Look!! See! I get to believe what I want to about you even though you are telling me I’m wrong.”

                      Look, buddy., You ARE wrong. The only question is whether or not you are going to persist in persecuting people for who they are.

                      Your choice. I don’t really give a hoot about you and you certainly can’t change the fact that I’m happy with myself and my life.

                      I’m here because others, particularly who are younger and who are trapped in the kind of world you create around need some help. They need people who are stronger than then to stand up to bulllies and say ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

                      Good riddance.

                    • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm #

                      So, by your own admission, you suffer from a persecution complex.

                      Actually, the bullies are the gay and trans lobbyists who put elderly florists out of business.

                    • Daphne Maddox January 4, 2015 at 12:38 am #

                      You’re funny.

                • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 10:51 pm #

                  BTW, if a person suffers from xenomelia, should we “love them as they ask” by consenting to their surgical mutilation? How, if at all, do you consider xenomelia to differ from gender dysphoria? Is dismembering them upon request the right and loving thing to do?

                  • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 11:28 pm #

                    This is about persecution, not surgery. Would you persecute them, call them perveted, call them things they don’t want to be called? That’s the question.

                    • steve hays January 3, 2015 at 11:55 pm #

                      So your ducking the question. Why is that?

                      This is called an argument from analogy. You make a claim, I give a counterexample. It’s a test of your consistency–or lack thereof.

                      Amputation is to xenomelia as a sex-change operation is to gender dysphoria. That’s the comparison.

                      You said we should love people as they ask, not as we wish to love them. Very well then. How should someone with xenomelia be treated? Should we grant their request to be dismembered? That would be doing what they ask. Do you have a consistent principle? Or do you make ad hoc exceptions depending on your personal proclivities?

                    • Daphne Maddox January 4, 2015 at 12:02 am #

                      I can’t reply that deeply in the thread.

                      I’m not ducking anything and you are acting really childish.

                      Your analogy is completely unrelated. It’s a false analogy. A straw man.

                      First of all, I’m not hiring you as my surgeon, I don’t care whether you would perform any surgery on me.

                      Second of all, you are describing a surgery that removes key body parts.

                      Third of all, THE ISSUE ISN’T SURGERY! THE ISSUE IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU KNOW WHO PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN THEY KNOW THEMSELVES.

                      Got it?

                      I do not see Southern Baptists doing evertything they can to make life a living hell for people with the condition you describe. Therefore I really don’t give a hoot what you think about xenomelia in this context.

                      If you were to start driving people with the condition of xenomelia into killing themselves by telling them their identities are worthless or wrong, then we’d have an actual analogy on our hands.

                      You”re boring me. If I don’t keep responding to nonsense it’s becausre it’s nonsense.

                    • steve hays January 4, 2015 at 12:25 am #

                      “I’m not hiring you as my surgeon”

                      You seems to have difficulty following your own argument. Let’s try again. Your stated principle is that we should love people as they ask, not as we wish to love them.

                      So the question is how you think we should treat people who suffer from xenomelia. Is it loving to dismember them upon request?

                      “you are describing a surgery that removes key body parts.”

                      How is excising arms or legs the removal of key body parts, but excising sex organs not the removal of key body parts? The body can survive in either case.

                      “THE ISSUE IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU KNOW WHO PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN THEY KNOW THEMSELVES.”

                      Which is what makes people who suffer from xenomelia analogous to people who suffer from gender dysphoria.

                      “If you were to start driving people with the condition of xenomelia into killing themselves by telling them their identities are worthless or wrong, then we’d have an actual analogy on our hands.”

                      What if their “identity” is a mental illness? Should no one be diagnosed as having a mental illness?

      • Bill Soistmann January 3, 2015 at 1:20 pm #

        > Still, I think our disagreement lies mainly in how we would express that love and compassion.

        No, Daphne was right about your disagreement. You are ignoring the science on this issue and insisting on reading the Bible as a rulebook/textbook. In response to her comment, you go on to quote more and more Scripture.

      • Erica Franklin January 4, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

        Denny,

        The problem is that the Bible never states whether genitalia or the brain determine gender. That’s not surprising. It’s the same reason the Bible didn’t clarify that the earth revolved around the sun and not vice versa.

        If you can agree with scientists and medical professionals that gender is based on the brain, you’ll see that Lealah was trying to follow the Bible, but her parents (unknowingly) prevented her.

  3. Sandra Stewart January 2, 2015 at 11:02 pm #

    The link to Paul McHugh’s information appears to be dead, but his credibility as a researcher is nil. All of the information regarding what percentage of gender variant children stay that way has come from biased sources. The shear number of transgender adults 13.5 million would indicate any such claim is silly. Reparitive therapy is neither and does not work and as in this youngster sometimes lead to suicide. I have met one seven year old who parent tried to force to the male, she tried to commit suicide by jumping in front of a car and when that failed jumping out of a window, last I heard she is happy as a girl.
    There is no valid research that change therapy does anything other than pay the ‘therapists’ bills.
    often ignored there are as many female to male transgender individuals many of whom are unaware that they are because our culture allows women to dress as men with no comment.

    • Denny Burk January 3, 2015 at 12:49 am #

      Sandra, I think reparative therapy is mainly aimed at changing one’s sexuality from homosexual to heterosexual. I don’t think it has much to do with gender identity issues. In any case, I am not an advocate for reparative therapy. In fact, I’m quite opposed to it.

  4. Ruby Michelle January 2, 2015 at 11:19 pm #

    Sir,
    I am responding to what you have said concerning the Transgendered. My heart bleeds for the death of this unfortunate teenager and for the family as well. I lost both parents 14 years ago to a murder/ suicide. I discovered the aftermath. If not for my Jesus, I would not have made it thru. BTW, I am a Southern Baptist. I am also a MTF Cross Dresser. Cross Dressing is NOT inherently sinful. Do your research next time before you use Deut. 22:5 against the TG Community. Taking verses out of context does not please God and causes more harm than good.

    Also, remember what Galatians 3:28 says about diversity. Jesus loves and died for ALL, not just the amen corner in the local church! The SBC will do more for the Kingdom when it loosens up and shows true Christian Love instead of condemning a whole community of people just because they are different. Jesus did not hang out with the Pharisees when He walked the earth, He went to the outcasts of society. We as The Church need to follow His example in stead of being hypocritical and hateful to people who are different.
    In Christ’s Love,
    Ruby Michelle

  5. bobbistowellbrown January 2, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

    I’m praying for my cousin Richard. He decided at 65 that he was a woman and wants to be called Ricky. I’m listening to Rosaria Butterfield and just loving him and praying that he will study the Bible and grow in his knowledge of God.

  6. Daphne Maddox January 2, 2015 at 11:52 pm #

    ” He decided at 65 that he was a woman ”

    No, she told you who she is at 65. That’s 65 years where you didn’t have the chance to really know her (maybe she was scared, mayve she didn’t yet know herself — the latter would be more like my own experience). Use what time you have left to show some love, for god’s sake.

  7. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 12:01 am #

    P.S. Give all my folks over in Rockville a big kiss from me!

  8. Todd Kowalcyk January 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm #

    It’s sad that so many who claim the title Christian, don’t care about the entirety of God’s Word. You can’t take a double helping of God’s love and leave behind His judgment and holiness. God’s moral judgments are based on His righteousness and therefore are not arbitrary. Right and wrong aren’t based on the whim of man but on God and His righteousness. It is unmoving and unwavering. Therefore, there are only two words of counsel. God’s counsel and then everything else. The, “everything else” is all that is contrary to God’s Word. This boy’s suicide is tragic. It wasn’t caused by those who believe God. It was caused by this boy believing the counsel of his enemy. And his enemy got what he sought. This boy’s destruction. Don’t you also, reader, believe the counsel of your enemy for it will lead to to your destruction.

    • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

      God isn’t judging, Todd Kowalcyk. That’s you doing it falsely in his name. In the end, you will be the judged.

  9. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

    “Don’t you also, reader, believe the counsel of your enemy for it will lead to to your destruction.”

    I take this part to mean, don’t listen to me, I’m a hater and if you take me seriously it will lead to your destruction.

    All of this so-called-love you people are espousing is hate speech dressed up in biblical language. You do realize that, don’t you? Or are you that lost? I wish there was a way to save you, but you seem dead set in your delusions of righteousness.

  10. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 1:38 pm #

    > “You can’t take a double helping of God’s love and leave behind His judgment and holiness.”

    Oh yes, you can. My Christian God asks us to love our neighbors and leave the judgement to him. Can you not resist trying to play God with people’s lives?

  11. Christiane Smith January 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm #

    I worked for a year in a drug rehab in Paterson NJ as a teacher for boys who were fourteen to eighteen years old. Those boys taught me something very important: that they really, really needed to have someone LISTEN to them and HEAR them . . .
    for some reason the death of this child brings those boys to mind

    My hope is that this death will bring people to hear one another more clearly, past the words and into the pain behind the words. . . that is the place where healing ministry is needed
    God have mercy on all of us together. My hope is that Our Lord has received this child into His loving arms.

  12. Don Johnson January 3, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

    I want to challenge Denny on what he sees as responding in love and compassion, as I think it is not. Grace always comes before truth, I see Denny’s challenge is that he wants to mix some of what he sees as truth with grace. Paul has something to say about that in 1 Cor 13. Compassion means compassion, it does not mean compassion mixed in with some truth.

    Here is why it is important. Slaveowners convinced themselves that what they were doing to their slaves was compassionate and perhaps some of them were more compassionate than others. But most of us can see in the light of history that the slaveholders were deluding themselves; in other words, the founders of the SBC were sinning greatly in their interpretation of Scripture. So we see that the evaluation of what is compassionate cannot be from the perspective of the one trying to be compassionate, it must be from the perspective of the one needing compassion. Let THEM to us how to love them. I know this can be very scary.

  13. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

    > ” it must be from the perspective of the one needing compassion. Let THEM to us how to love them. I know this can be very scary.”

    Thank you, Don! This is essentially what we ask, though often we do so in anger because we feel overwhelmingly persecuted. You’ve framed it very well.

  14. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    P.S. I’m a descendant of some of Kentucky’s early Baptist ministers who were also, to my dismay, slavers. I imagine they’d have a pretty tough time reconciling me in their day and age as I do them in mine. I only hope that some day soon we can all, here still living on earth, agree to love each other as we are.

  15. Dal Bailey January 3, 2015 at 5:01 pm #

    When I was 14, I learned what transgender meant and cried of happiness. After 10 years of confusion I finally understood who I was.

    (I doubt he even wondered about his sexuality when he was 4, or even 10…I never wondered about mine till I WAS 14….)

    I immediately told my mom, and she reacted extremely negatively, telling me that it was a phase, that I would never truly be a girl, that God doesn’t make mistakes, that I am wrong.

    (So, you decide to blindside your parent with the announcement, instead of slowly discussing it, seeking out counseling on your own? You didn’t like the truth, you wanted it YOUR WAY)

    If you are reading this, parents, please don’t tell this to your kids. Even if you are Christian or are against transgender people don’t ever say that to someone, especially your kid. That won’t do anything but make them hate them self. That’s exactly what it did to me.

    (I debate whether she said those things. I have rarely seen a factual account of a “Coming out” that had everyone smiling and singing. Usually the party coming out also includes their demands (Not requests, or discussions) about how they are to be treated.

    My mom started taking me to a therapist, but would only take me to Christian therapists, (who were all very biased) so I never actually got the therapy I needed to cure me of my depression. I only got more Christians telling me that I was selfish and wrong and that I should look to God for help.

    (Seems he only wanted to go to therapists who would encourage his perversion. He refused to seek God and therefore, didn’t truly try and see the other side, only his)

    I am sorry about his choice of suicide, he obviously didn’t care to sit down and discuss, he blatantly demanded that he be accepted for what he was and no amount of discussion would change his mind.

  16. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 5:10 pm #

    You are accidentally right about wondering about sexuality.. most people don’t when they are that you. You are apparently confused about many things, one is that sexuality is different than gender. I realized I was different at around age 4, myself, as do many of us — it’s an age where our brains have developed to the point where we are ready to start seeing who were are and making comparison FOR OURSELVES.

    Honestly Dal Bailey, do you really think you have the right or knowledge to determine someone else’s identity for them? Did God die and name you successor?

    “[She] refused to seek God and therefore, didn’t truly try and see the other side, only [hers]”

    I cleaned up your language. You sound like a very sad person. Can you really type that with a straight face? “See the other side?” What on God’s green earth makes someone else’s identity your business AT ALL? It is most definitely you who cannot see any side other than your own ignorant, selfish one. Grow up and stay away from young people until you do — please.

  17. Tim Elliott January 3, 2015 at 5:28 pm #

    Daphne,
    Please calm down. We can sense your anger and judgment. If you claim it is wrong to judge, then follow your own moral code and stop judging. At least then we could respect your consistency.

    • Dal Bailey January 3, 2015 at 8:11 pm #

      Thank you Tim, your calmness is obvious and Daphnes blatant anger at God and those who don’t accept and praise this perversion is obvious.

      • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

        I am not angry at God. It’s a mutual love thing with us.

        I’m angry at Dal Bailey, though. I don’t really care how you feel, but mind your own business, sir. Your **words** are disgusting and irresponsible.

      • Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 8:21 pm #

        Ok, so I refrained from calling you anything. I simply state how you made me feel and my opinion of the words you used.

        Meanwhile, you, all the while thanking Tim Elliot, managed to not follow the very same request he made of me. What does that say?

        Nobody (well at least not me) is asking for your praise. Just quit picking on people for who they are. It really doesn’t become you.

  18. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 5:43 pm #

    Tim, I understand your perspective. I will share my opinion on their words, not the people themselves.

    Now why don’t we all agree to do that? If we were able to backtrack and everyone would follow your advice, this blog entry and quite a few of the comments would disappear (it being founded in the idea that some people feel entitled to share their judgement of the worth of others based solely on their *gender* of all things). What else is their to discuss?

  19. Daphne Maddox January 3, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    By the way, it is tough to calm down in the face of people who are repeating the exact same mantra that led directly to not one but countless young lives lost.

    Suicide attempt rate among youth in general ~1.5%
    Suicide attempt rate among transgender youth accepted by their own families: ~4%
    Suicide attempt rate among transgender youth NOT accepted by their own families: ~57%

    Now, if you factor in the fact that even if one’s own family accepts them, they still face a world full of people who do not accept them — people who speak and write like the original poster and commenters, and everyone else who in less “Godly” terms discriminates against them — in school most effectively — it’s fair to guess that the suicide attempt rate would be right back down in the range of the national average.

    In other words this kind of talk KILLS people. If you don’t want to kill people and these are your opinions, please keep them to yourselves; by “yourselves” I don’t mean restrict them to SBC contexts, I mean just stop and listen to those of us who are saying “you don’t understand us”. There is no need to form a conclusion. Listen and if you have nothing that will be taken as kind, just move on to something else. If, on the other hand, you continue with this, you are spreading something that ends lives when it doesn’t just make for a fully miserable existence.

    When I am not engaged in standing up for transgender rights in places where my identity is denied, I am a very happy person with a fun job and wonderful friends and family. I am lucky. Think how many more people there are who deserve that, too.

    Thanks.

    • Christiane Smith January 4, 2015 at 12:09 am #

      Hi DAPHNE,
      you wrote: “, I mean just stop and listen to those of us who are saying “you don’t understand us” ”
      I was thinking that some time ago, you might not have been given an opportunity to share your thoughts on certain Christian blog sites. But DENNY has given you a ‘voice’ here and that is important because many Christians read Denny’s blog, and your voice is heard by an extended conservative Christian audience. Please don’t think that your voice doesn’t matter to conservative Christian people . . . I am Catholic, neither ‘conservative’ nor ‘liberal’, but I think IF Denny cared enough to write this post, and cared enough to allow people with different points of view into the conversation, then conservative Christian people are not ‘closed’ to the suffering of others . . . the sadness of any child’s death is felt by all.

      A suicide attempt IS a cry for help. That high rate mentioned for transgender young folk is a cry we ALL need to hear. There are no problems so great that Our Lord would not respond as ‘The Great Physician’ . . . maybe in time, the Church will follow His lead in this regar. God Bless.

      • Daphne Maddox January 4, 2015 at 1:30 am #

        I appreciate the opportunity to say my peace.

        That said, there is no call for people to be referring to someone, living or dead in a manner that they very explicitly asked not to be called. It’s so far from ok, that all of the quoting of biblical text sounds completely ridiculous to me — if people can’t even respect someone enough to call them by THEIR name and gender — if they in fact go out of their way to do otherwise, if they call their gender a perversion, then I think those people are demonstrating a level of ignorance and hatred which is so deep that there is no bible which can help. It’s just fundamentally uncivilized.

        This, by the way, is just a matter of finding one psychiatrist, who is himself a conservative Christian, who says what this crowd **wants** to hear. “You are going to hear some people claim that transgender feelings in children are fixed and immutable. What you likely won’t hear is that about 70%-80% of children who report having transgender feelings eventually grow out of them (read about it here).”

        It’s complete nonsense, and any transgender person can tell you so. We are not imaginary and we do not have the characteristic in feelings or sexuality that that person ascribes to us. In short, he made that up to suit the moral proclivities of his religion.

        I have allowed the lack of civility and the citations of bogus science to make me retaliate here. I have given back what I have gotten. I was called perverted here BEFORE I started lashing out in response. In short, the overall tenor here is one in which civility is a rarity. I withdraw my contributions to the ugliness. I take them back.

        I stand by my statements that the overwhelming ignorance and hatred here is not fitting of adults and especially not adults who consider themselves to be pious Christians. I really do think there are people here who should be ashamed of themselves. We’re talking about a girl whose life ended in misery because of THIS EXACT BEHAVIOR. By perpetuating it, they are saying, “Go ahead and die, all of you. Our reading of the bible is more important than your life.” They cling to a conservative Christian quack with a psychiatry degree to say that they know us better than we know ourselves. and they’re willing to leave dead bodies in their wake for what? They literally make me sick.

        I’m going to say goodbye now. Those who hate deserve each other. If you hate in your soul and dress it up in a cloak of wanting to “love people the way we wish to love them,” then please stay away from young people. They deserve a chance to grow into wonderful adults with families of their own, without having a drumbeat in their heads of “you are perverted, I can “fix” you.” You can’t fix it if it ain’t broke. All you can do is break it. Leelah Alcorn was broken by this attitudes.

        Thank you, Christiane, for being among the few with a different attitude.

        Singing off,
        Daphne

        • steve hays January 4, 2015 at 12:48 pm #

          “if people can’t even respect someone enough to call them by THEIR name and gender”

          That’s why I, for one, refer to Alcorn by his real name and gender. He real name was Josh (not Leelah) and his real gender was male.

          It’s a pity that transgender lobbyists disrespect his true identity. They care more about their ideology than they do about people.

          “I stand by my statements that the overwhelming ignorance and hatred here is not fitting of adults and especially not adults who consider themselves to be pious Christians.”

          What’s truly hateful is people who condemn folks like Josh Alcorn to an unnatural, self-destructive identity and lifestyle, by refusing to offer them hope of possible restoration in this life or the next.

          • Christiane Smith January 4, 2015 at 8:12 pm #

            Hi STEVE,
            what we missed was that this child’s ‘perception’ (of the reaction of parents and many other Christians) was that of a ‘rejection’ so painful that it contributed to a tragic decision . .. the parents truly never wanted for this to happen . . .

            we don’t yet understand all we say we ‘know’ about a lot of variations in human physical, mental, and emotional conditions, Steve

            . . . perhaps we all need to be less rejecting and more a part of the lives of those who are going through what neither we nor they can fully make sense of . . this is possible for Christian people if they respond with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; it is possible through the help of the Holy Spirit to bring out our most powerful witness in this way . . .

            this child is no longer with us, but maybe we can ‘re-think’ what WILL HELP the next child . . . and the next . .
            . because we can’t turn a child away who is troubled and live with clean consciences . . . we know the full-blown consequences are irreversible if these children who are hurting are not comforted in the way that the followers of Christ are called to do using the fruit of the Holy Spirit

            God Bless

            • steve hays January 5, 2015 at 1:05 am #

              It’s demeaning for you to refer to a 17 year old as a “child,” which you do repeatedly in your comment. Many people are 17 when they graduate from high school. 17-year-olds can marry. 17-year-olds can join the armed services (with parental consent).

              To the extent that other people drove him over the edge, that would be LGBTQIA propagandists who filled his head with dangerous illusions.

        • steve hays January 4, 2015 at 8:30 pm #

          “You can’t fix it if it ain’t broke.”

          Ironically, it’s not Christians who say people like Josh Alcorn are broken; rather, it’s people like you and he who implicitly say that about yourselves. You said: “THE ISSUE IS WHETHER OR NOT YOU KNOW WHO PEOPLE ARE BETTER THAN THEY KNOW THEMSELVES.”

          Well, the people in question claim that their psychological identity contradicts their physical (i.e. genetic, morphological) identity. That’s radically “broken.”

          Likewise, if you think people in that condition are entitled to undergo sex-change operations and/or hormone therapy, then they are desperately trying to fix what they themselves perceive as broken.

          • James Bradshaw January 5, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

            Steve writes: “Well, the people in question claim that their psychological identity contradicts their physical (i.e. genetic, morphological) identity. That’s radically “broken.””

            So one is a “male” solely because one has male sex organs?

            If that is the case, where do the complimentary spiritual and psychological aspects of heterosexual marriage come from? Do they not derive from something other than one’s plumbing, so to speak?

            What you’re failing to grasp is that transgender activists are actually appealing to traditional gender ideals in the sense that they believe there are “male” and “female” characteristics that transcend the mere physicality involved.

            • steve hays January 5, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

              Does Bradshaw think that genetics and morphology are reducible to sex organs?

  20. Mark Carter January 5, 2015 at 12:21 pm #

    How terribly sad this is, for both the child and his family. As a parent who has lost two sons of my own (although not like this) I can tell you this family is going through hell right now. We all must pray for them, that God will wrap His loving arms around them and help them through this terrible, terrible time. And I think one other thing Jesus would say (to ALL of them) is one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible: “All things work together for good, to them that love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Rom. 8:28).

  21. steve hays January 5, 2015 at 12:41 pm #

    And, Travis, what we’re getting from “people like you” is a purely emotive, unreasoning response. The fact that your antagonism towards Christians and Christianity is so thoughtless is hardly an indictment of Christians or Christianity.

    Fact is, had Alcorn’s parents “accepted” his imagined gender, he would in all likelihood have died of AIDS, colon cancer, or some other LGBT related/aggravated disease.

    • Travis Henderson January 5, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

      Your type can’t be reasoned with, anyway, so why bother? Just keep doing what you’re doing, Steve. Your antagonism towards humans and humanity is the greatest indictment of your religion a heathen could hope for.

      • steve hays January 5, 2015 at 12:54 pm #

        Once again, that’s another comment from you with zero intellectual merit.

        • Travis Henderson January 5, 2015 at 1:14 pm #

          Said the man peddling morality he got out of a book of myths.

          • steve hays January 5, 2015 at 1:16 pm #

            You haven’t demonstrated that the Bible is a book of myths. Moreover, you haven’t shown that secular ethics can ground objective moral norms or human rights.

  22. Lou Greer January 12, 2015 at 4:32 pm #

    I thought I commented earlier, but I suppose my comment didn’t make it through because I didn’t use my full name. Sorry.

    My word of warning and advice was for people here to NOT engage with Steve Hays. He will essentially copy and paste portions of what you write onto his blog and then ridicule you. He has quite a following, so he will get a lot of support for making you look bad — but only if he disagrees with you.

    Google Triablogue – that’s his site and you’ll see what happens there.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Saturday Post(s) | A Pilgrim's Friend - January 3, 2015

    […] How to Think & Pray About the Suicide of a Transgender Teen. Denny Burk offers a helpful summary of a recent suicide as well as some needed resources to equip us to minister well in such a case. […]

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  3. President Obama denounces reparative therapy | Prisoner of Christ - April 9, 2015

    […] to a petition that appeared on the WhiteHouse.gov site after the suicide of the transgender teen Josh “Leelah” Alcorn late last year. Among other things, it says that “this Administration supports efforts to ban the […]

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