Denny Burk, who authored the anti-transgender resolution for the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention, has just posted his ten points to help Christians show their love for transpeople, "10 ways to love your transgender neighbor" (6/12/2014). "He is on his way to becoming the #1 anti-trans Christian voice. In Jesus name, of course," responds progressive evangelical Christian writer Kathy V. Baldock, author of Walking the Bridgeless Canyon: Repairing the Breach between the Conservative Church and the LGBT Christian Community.
Many of Burk's suggestions are common sense approaches to loving anyone with whom a Christian doesn't agree entirely (as Jesus taught us to love our enemies in Matthew 5:44). However, in light of Burk's overall message that transgender identity should never be recognized by Christians (in spite of the medical existence of intersex conditions, for example, that cause gender to be misidentified for some of us at birth), I suggest the following alternate or supplemental list of ten ways Christians can express love to our transgender neighbors:
Essential ways to love your trans* neighbor if you are a Christian (or more broadly, a person who seeks to be humane):
1. Simply love a person who is transgender as you would love any other human being.
2. As you would love any other person, just trust us when we tell you our gender.
3. As you would love any other person, simply use the name and pronoun we tell you to use for us.
4. As you would love any other person, don't ask us to "prove" our gender (or name/pronoun) to you with legal documents (unless perhaps you are our lawyer).
5. As you would love any other person, don't ask us to prove our gender (or name/pronoun) to you with proof of our medical history (unless, of course, you are actually our medical doctor). Practicing medicine without a license (like diagnosing gender, for example) is illegal, remember?
6. As you would love any other person, for God's sake, just don't ask us to describe our genitals to you (unless we are dating seriously).
7. As you would love any other person, for God's sake, don't ask about our sex life (unless we are dating very seriously).
8. As you would love any other person, don't bully our spouse, children or other family members just because you don't approve of us.
9. Don't expect our children, spouse, friends or family to owe you an explanation for our transgender "condition" or devote their entire lives to fighting for or against the LGBT community.
10. When we have to use a restroom for the same simple bodily functions for which everyone else uses a restroom, the loving thing to do is let us do so without making a federal case or sexual issue of it. Like anyone else, we just have to pee. As Moses pleaded so many times with Egypt's Pharaoh for the freedom of his Israelite community so long ago, "Let my people go!" (Exodus 5.1, 8.1, 9.1)
Follow H. Adam Ackley, Ph.D. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DrHAdamAckley