20 November each year marks the Transgender Day of Remembrance when we remember all transgender people who have been murdered or died because of who they are. 2021 is the deadliest year since records began. Discrimination arises in part because of a dispute about the nature of the conditions. One group, mainly the Professional Medical Institutions consider transgender identities to be natural personality variations within the normal range of development. Opposing groups consider them to be personality disruptions. The lived experiences and management methods are almost opposite to each other. Great harm can occur when incorrect diagnoses are made. In such conflicts, how can we, and how can you, find ways to understand? As Jesus welcomed everyone, we need to acknowledge the voices that are heard.

For all transgender people the search is for identity and the rejection of what is wrong, it is not about behaviour or sexual desire. Most people consider trans women to be women because of the ways we interact with society, and how we share common interests and concerns. It is far more than biological sex. Will you find that our senses of gender identity lie at the heart of the personality that is created? Transgender people sometimes describe themselves as being ‘born into the wrong body’, but this is a truth of experience. Few, if any, believe that we literally change biological sex.

This is a conflict where only one group can be right. Another group must impose their own viewpoints on us, by telling us what we ought to be, pursuing other agendas they may seek. What we need more than ever is for people to listen and understand. Paul says we are all one in Christ Jesus. When that happens, the murders, suicides, persecutions, and traumas faced by transgender people will begin to decrease.

Susan Gilchrist