Laura Perry and her mother Francine

Brian Hobbs writes “From transgender to transformed” for the Baptist Press. In brief it is about Laura Perry, of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, who lived as a transgender man, “Jake,” for about ten years. Jake finds Jesus and is now back to Laura. I have no problem with Laura. Apparently she transitioned in her late teens and was subsequently estranged from her family. I have to wonder about the extent and quality of the counseling that she received at that time.

Being transgender is not a condition. Gender dysphoria is the condition. Many people who have gender dysphoria experience extreme anxiety and depression. 

There is no known therapeutic approach that reverses or eliminates gender dysphoria. For many sufferers, gender affirmation relieves the symptoms and allows them to get on with their lives. Recent studies demonstrate that children in severe distress (with the potential for suicide) have normalized levels of depression and anxiety after transitioning. The rest is up to us. Subjecting people to minority stress will make them sad and anxious.

Prayer and accepting Jesus are no more likely to cure gender dysphoria than a brain tumor. Hobbs’ piece concludes:

[quoting local pastor James Biesiadecki] “Laura’s testimony, and the testimony of the Perry family, is proof that Jesus is the answer to sin and life’s struggles,” he said. “I am so thankful for this dear family, and I pray Laura’s testimony of salvation and new life in Christ will continue to inspire many people.”James Biesiadecki

In addition to co-teaching a Sunday School class at church, Laura has been able to share her story in front of audiences, as well as on Tony Perkins’ national radio program.

“I am living proof that God’s love is greater than the devil’s lies,” Laura said with a smile.

As succinctly as I can put it, this crap kills kids! First of all, being transgender is not a sin — At least it should not be regarded as sin. In faith communities, what on earth is wrong with a transgender person being a practicing Christian? Secondly, Jesus is not the answer to a serious medical problem. Everyone thinks that they can be an amateur psychiatrist because emotional issues are not as tangible as physical conditions. Just the opposite is true! Without the usual diagnostic tools like x-rays or MRIs the psychiatrist requires a very special skill set. A pastor does not have the skills or training to be a substitute.

There is a considerable difference between atypical behavior and gender dysphoria. I don’t want to guess about Laura. What I can say is that trans youth are pretty together when it comes to assessing their own state of happiness or despair. With a skilled, experienced clinician as an intermediary, parents need to listen to their kids and to learn from them. Researcher Dr. Kristina R. Olson has posited that most of the transgender people who desist were never really transgender in the first place but she cautions that we require a great deal more research.

I agree. More science and less superstition! Pray away the transgender is no more beneficial than pray away the gay. Perhaps the next time that Pastor Biesiadecki, or someone in his family, needs medical attention he can dispense with the medicinal mumbo jumbo and seek a faith healer. Ought to work, right?

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By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.