Gender Identity and the Christian Church: An Affirmative View

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As today’s society continues to progress in terms of understanding and accepting those of the LGBTQ community, it is safe to say that there are still a number of steps to be taken until equality is reached. Among the many groups that remain passionate in their arguments against transgender people is the Christian Church, which preaches that such individuals have a psychological disorder and should be either changed or rejected. As a group, we feel that these ideals are not only wrong but also unjust. Just as religion is a freedom in America, gender identity should be one within that as well.

Not all Christians, however, are in agreement with such values. There are even a number of transgender people who themselves identify as Christian. Caitlyn Jenner, a well known television personality who recently transitioned from male to female, is both a follower of the Christian religion as well as a frequent church goer.

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In his online blogging site, John Pavlovitz uses Christianity as a prominent theme in his posts. As a heterosexual Christian male, he argues against members of the Church who oppose transgender people. The writer addresses that the Bible does not at all mention gender identity, and that those who refuse to be accepting are essentially going against the real, underlying focus of the religion, which is love, acceptance, and kindness.

We believe that no one should feel unsafe entering any religious temple or church at all, let alone one of their one religion. Religion and the members of the community should be there in times of struggle and difficulty. People who do not identify with their biological sex should be able to find comfort in the arms of their religious peers, leaders, and God. It is a shame that many are unable to distinguish between the difference of “sex” and “gender,” and that they use the Bible as an excuse to openly shame people who are just trying to be themselves.

Hopefully time will allow for the Christian Church, and all religions for that matter, to participate in equality of all people, gender, etc. In the meantime, it is important that people such as Caitlyn Jenner and John Pavlovitz continue to speak their truths and impact the lives of others.

Gender Identity Terms

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CBS News recently published an article following the release of the CBSN documentary, “Gender | The Space Between.” The documentary covered the complexities of gender identity as well as a number of surrounding issues. An extremely important takeaway is that there are several pronouns and terms that are either unknown or often improperly used when describing gender identity. As a society, it is important that we become educated on the correct terminology and treat everyone with respect.

This article lists and explains all of the gender identity terms. Understanding this vocabulary is a key factor in making sure everyone feels accepted and equal.

LGBTQ Discrimination in Arkansas

Arkansas is just one of the many states that does not have any laws that protect against gender identity discrimination. In fact, the state government continues to try to pass bills that are anti-LGBTQ.

The link below contains a video clip from an interview with Arkansas state Representative Mickey Gates on March 17, 2017. On the topic of gender identity, he argues that although people can identify however they want to and nobody can stop them, the state does not need to acknowledge them or their feelings.

http://www.thv11.com/news/local/legislator-says-state-isnt-obligated-to-recognize-gender-identity-of-transgender-arkansans/423216338

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Gender Identity Discrimination in the Workplace: A Refutation

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Discrimination against members of the LGBTQ community is an extremely prevalent issue within workplace environments across the country. Many instances in which people were denied jobs, fired, harassed, and more simply because of their sexuality or gender identity unfortunately continue to occur in America today.

In 2014, a few steps were taken towards finding a solution when former president Barack Obama signed an executive order that prohibited the federal government from contracting with any firms that discriminated against their workers, customers, or clients for reasons such as their sexual orientation or gender identity. Ten days after, he signed an additional order which stated that all firms doing business with the federal government were required to prove their adherence to federal laws and executive orders. This enforced his initial executive order by having all workplaces demonstrate that they are completely fair as well as respectful towards LBGTQ employees.

Years later, in 2017, our country has unfortunately regressed in terms of this matter under the presidency of Donald Trump. Despite his assurance at the beginning of his term that not only did he intend to protect the LGBTQ community but also that he would not rescind the executive order concerning their rights within the workplace, he later proved that he was not on the side of those who are gay, transgender, etc.

On Monday, March 27, President Trump annulled Obama’s second executive order on the issue. By doing so, he took away the requirements for firms having to confirm their compliance to the order regarding discrimination against LGBTQ workers. While that order may still be in place, there is now nothing that is there to back it up and ensure that employers are not violating the law. Not only does this give firms the opportunity to discriminate against those within the LGBTQ community essentially without facing any consequences, but it sends the message to the people that the government does not care whether or not you break the law, which makes doing so ok.

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It is upsetting that this order has been rescinded, as well as it is upsetting that no additional action has been taken towards improving the lives and opportunities of those who identify as LGBTQ in work environments. Everybody should be treated equally and with respect despite their sexual orientation or gender identity. The fact that President Trump voided Obama’s order lets the public believe that it isn’t important to respect people who may be different from you and that they do not deserve the same equal rights as everyone else.

Everyone, no matter what sexuality, gender, or gender identity, should be granted the same freedoms as everybody else. It is unfortunate that this may no longer be demonstrated within workplaces following President Trump’s recent decision, but hopefully further action towards putting a stop to LGBTQ discrimination will be made in the near future.

Gender Identity Across the Country

The Human Rights Organization recently published a report on the main issues concerning gender identity in American schools. The study, which was done based on more than 500 student, teacher, parent, and other interviews, indicated that the lack of LGBTQ education amongst kids is detrimental to the lives of many and a key contributor to instances of bullying, harassment, and discrimination.

While a number of states have been working to implement policies that protect the rights of LGBTQ youth in schools, a great deal of progress is still needed to be made. Additionally, many administrations have remained opposed to the idea of any gender identity curriculum to be implemented in a classroom setting.

Below is a map identifying the states that have laws against teaching LGBTQ issues in school. Limiting such education will only continue to hurt not only those who are victims of gender discrimination, but also society as a whole.us1216_antilgbt_map-01_0

Jory Mandell

My name is Jory Mandell and I am a sophomore public relations major at the University of Maryland. I was born and raised in Montclair, New Jersey, a town that is very diverse and accepting of anybody and everybody.

Growing up, I was surrounded by people of all races, religions, sexualities, and gender identities.  For the most part, my peers were all very open and comfortable about who they truly were, and were rarely judged or shamed for it. However, over the years I have come to realize that the rest of this world is not the same as my hometown, and it is something that upsets me greatly.

I chose to come attend this university because of the diversity and the large population of the student body. While it is, for the most part, more accepting than others and there are many apart of communities such as that of the LGBTQ one, people are still not nearly as aware as they should be when it comes to this subject.

I am lucky enough to feel comfortable with who I am and in my own skin, but unfortunately, that can not be said for everyone. It is appalling that people have to feel shame when it comes to matters of their gender identity and that they are unable to have the same rights as everyone else.  This is a topic that I am personally very passionate about, and through this blog, I am hoping to inspire others to feel the same.  hands-in-air