What to Say to Your Child About Transgender Bathrooms

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"Mom, there's a girl in my class who says she's a boy, and we're all supposed to treat her like a boy. We call her a boy name and everything. Is she a boy, Mom?"
"Mom, there's a girl in my class who says she's a boy, and we're all supposed to treat her like a boy. We call her a boy name and everything. Is she a boy, Mom?" (iStockPhoto)

"Mom, there's a girl in my class who says she's a boy, and we're all supposed to treat her like a boy. We call her a boy name and everything. Is she a boy, Mom?"

A Brave New World?

My nephew was 9 years old when he asked his mother this question. How would you answer? Ready or not, the question is coming. With the legalization of gay marriage and Obama's recent directive that all public schools provide transgender bathrooms or risk the loss of federal funding, parents are officially swimming in uncharted territory.

It's an ocean of relativism, where absolute truth is outdated at best and offensive at worst. The only "reality" in our society is that people determine their own reality. Giving individuals the freedom to formulate their own "truth" is seen as tolerant while denying such a freedom is often viewed as arrogant and small-minded.

But it wasn't always this way. There was a time when mainstream society held to certain absolute truths, such as the biological and scientific truth that God created two genders: male and female (Gen. 1:27). Basic societal laws regarding marriage, restrooms, college dormitories, organized sports and the like supported this absolute truth.

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Not anymore.

How do we raise children in this "brave new world"? More and more, I hear Christian parents making statements like "I don't want to impose my beliefs on my children. I want to allow them to find their own way. I want to raise them spiritually neutral." It sounds humble, and society applauds. "Let Johnny find his own reality! If it turns out he's really Jenny, more power to him!"

But the Bible calls such human "wisdom" foolishness.

As a matter of fact, the Bible urges parents to take exactly the opposite approach, intentionally raising their children in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 6:6–7, after exhorting the Israelites to love the one true God with their whole hearts, Moses issues a mighty charge:

And these words ... shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (emphasis added).

That is spiritual training around the clock! It is a lifestyle of instilling truth deeply within the hearts and minds of our children. Proverbs 22:6 reiterates, "Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it." The book of Proverbs goes so far as to say if we withhold spiritual discipline and instruction from our children, we set our hearts on putting them to death (Prov. 19:18). Yikes, right?

Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

So what should we be teaching our children when it comes to transgender policies? How can we use the Bible to answer our kids' toughest questions? I could write a theological paper, but many smarter bloggers have already done that. Instead, I want to write mom-to-mom with simple, practical words I would actually use in the lives of my own children when the time comes.

Let's tackle my nephew's question first:

Are girls who think they're boys actually boys? (Or vice versa?)

No, son, the little girl in your class is not a boy. Being a boy or a girl is not about how you feel, what you look like, the clothes you wear or the toys you like to play with. The Bible says God chooses whether we are born boys or girls. Our gender is precious and part of His beautiful plan for our lives. We cannot change it, no matter what we do. Even if someone believed he was a monkey, it would not make him a monkey. Feelings do not change the truth. The Bible says Jesus is the truth (Gen. 1:27John 14:6).

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