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.

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The Federal Government Should Dictate Policy: An Affirmative View

Gender identity equality is a human rights issue that should not be left up to debate by the states. In order to ensure equality for all gender identities, we believe policy surrounding this topic should be strictly controlled by the federal government. With the federal government in charge, we are confident that legislation will allow for gender identity protections in all contexts and locations across the United States.

While some states may not want to acknowledge any identity besides the one a person is born into, many states have shown their support for gender identity equality by passing their own legislation to prevent discrimination in the workplace, restrooms, and schools.

However, without consistency in our laws across the country, we believe that it will be nearly impossible to achieve total gender identity equality in the future. This inconsistency provides little incentive for those with conservative views to open their minds to ideas they are unfamiliar with.

Although our country has ways to go until equality is reached, we do feel that the federal government has made some progress over the past decade. While the federal government does not have many laws that pertain to gender identity explicitly, many federal courts have begun to look at previous sex discrimination laws in a new light that applies to discrimination based on all gender identities.

In 2014, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the U.S. Department of Justice will consider gender discrimination based on sex and gender identity discrimination to be synonymous under federal law. This means that people facing gender identity discrimination will receive many of the same protections as those facing discrimination on a basis of their biological sex.

Under the Obama Administration, the Department of Justice’s new stance had been applied to the Title IX of the Education Amendment Acts of 1972. This act was originally created to prevent sex discrimination in all educational programs that receive federal money. However, rather than solely protecting equality of the sexes, this law was then applied to those who are transgender or nonconforming.

While the U.S. has taken many steps forward, it has also taken several steps back since the beginning of Donald Trump’s presidency. Since Trump took office, he has withdrawn federal protections for transgender students that would allow them to use the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. We believe that this decision is extremely harmful for transgender and nonconforming students who live in states that have chosen not to comply with the guidelines put in place by the Obama Administration.

We feel it is ridiculous that a person can have full rights in one state, and then be stripped of their rights in another.294114-bcc3812e620607e5a5a7e57ddc7ce713

Workplace Tolerance: An Affirmative View

UnknownGender is something that follows people everywhere they go, including in the workplace. Transgender employees are constantly being discriminated against at their jobs. 21 percent of LGBTQ employees have reported being discriminated against regarding hiring, promotions and pay. As a group, we believe this is not fair. All people, no matter what their gender identity is, deserve equal rights.

One company in particular that has shown great growth with workplace acceptance and tolerance of LGBTQ employees is Starbucks. Starbucks is committed to including and accepting all. In May 2016, Lucy Helm, executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, released a letter to all Starbucks employees. The letter reinforced Starbucks’ Global Human Rights Statement which reads, “Starbucks is committed to support and uphold the provision of basic human rights and to eliminate discriminatory practices.” They support their employees through everything and do not stand for inequality.

In the past, Starbucks has offered health insurance coverage to their employees who are lesbian and gay and has also supported employees that are transgender or considering transitioning. The company has expanded their health care coverage to include gender reassignment surgeries. This creates a company environment that is respectful and welcoming.

zR9ap6dk-7360-4912This is an image of the Starbucks headquarters raising a Gay Pride flag, recognizing the LGBTQ community.

The work environment at Starbucks has positively impacted many employees. One in particular is Shawn Orchowski. Orchowski had a difficult time coming out as transgender to his family but found “unconditional acceptance” at Starbucks because of the open and inclusive setting.

This sense of inclusion runs deep through their entire company. Each worker fully believes in the company’s goals, including Starbucks Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. At an annual meeting of shareholders, one stockholder stated that Starbucks lost customers because of its support of the LGBTQ community and gay marriage. Schultz responded by explaining that not every decision a company makes is based on finances. His decision to support the LGBTQ community was made “through the lens of the people [employees and clients].”

Other companies should follow in Starbucks’ footsteps. The company strives to make everyone feel accepted and to create a space where employees and customers are not afraid to be their true selves.url

An Affirmative View on Gender Identity in Schools

When most people think of gender, they usually think of two broad categories: male and female. Recently, people have been recognizing that gender is not binary and that it falls on a continuum, rather than being completely one or the other.Assuming that boys and girls identify with the gender they were assigned at birth goes against the research that has proved there is a range between masculinity and femininity. When children are forcews-busd to live by a gender that does not match their identity, many become depressed and have a harder time focusing and learning in school. Children may have a harder time dealing with their gender identity in schools because of the schools’ bathroom policies, dress code, preferred pronouns, and activities that separate members of the different sex.
Schools need to provide a safe and nurturing environment for children to gain academic achievements and develop social skills. Educators need to concentrate on creating this environment starting at a young age because feelings of inconsistent biological and psychological gender identity have been beginning to form at younger and younger ages. Gender impacts a child’s experience at school across every grade and influences how the rest of their academic and social career will continue

In 2017, Washington public schools will begin to implement a gender identity curriculum in all grades beginning with kindergarten. Children as young as five years old will begin to learn about gender expression including the differences between gender and sexual identity as well as the traits that are typically associated with each gender.

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In order for schools to respect children’s gender identification, they must honor and build a strong sense of community and acceptance that allows students to feel comfortable sharing what they would like to be called, their preferred pronouns, and choice of restroom. If a student does not feel comfortable using either the men’s or women’s bathroom, the school should set up a gender neutral bathroom so that all students can feel comfortable and have their desired privacy. Another important action for schools to take is to have a dress code that does not limit what each student must wear according to their biological gender.

In order for children to feel completely safe in an environment that caters to their needs, schools should follow these actions, which will allow for the better psychological and physical well being of all students.

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