Much has been said about the efficacy of using the preferred pronouns of transgender and non-binary students. As a volunteer with an organization that helps LGBTQ youth, and as a member of the LGBTQ community, I felt a responsibility to share my perspective.

I know first-hand how much LGBTQ youth wish their families, teachers, and schoolmates would use their preferred pronouns and how invalidating it is when their pronouns are not used or respected. I have listened as these youth detail their difficult experiences, and it has deeply affected me. Studies show that transgender individuals experience depression and suicidality at significantly higher rates than non-transgender people.

Last year, a study by the Trevor Project revealed that using the preferred pronouns of LGBTQ people can significantly reduce suicidality. In other words, using preferred pronouns can save lives. Therefore, I believe that refusing to use the preferred pronouns of transgender and non-binary students is a disservice to them. A refusal would continue to twist a dagger into the souls of students that already have to deal with invalidation, stress, depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. For some students, their home life is one of constant invalidation and danger.

School should be a safe and affirming environment where they do not have to experience that. I know some people may not agree with what I am advocating for. In the end, though, isn’t it worth it for us to set aside how we think things should be in order to save lives?

Matt Tobias

Leesburg

(2) comments

jke

Nuts, figure it out!

J Smith

Mr. Tobias, I appreciate your concern for those in the LGTBQ+ community and the sharing of your perspective as a member of that community.

The LGBTQ+ community has long advocated for inclusion, as well as for the concepts of diversity and equity. Inclusion has centered on community acceptance and affirmation of LGBTQ+ behavior. Failure to accept and affirm LGTBQ+ behavior can be seen as a homophobic/transphobic response that can be subject to civil penalties.

Even worse, those who view sexual activity as a choice or a behavior, instead of an identity, are often made out by the LGBTQ+ community to be immoral, hateful, discriminatory bigots, and oppressors.

It seems that the most intolerant community is the LGTBQ+ community. Either you are for full and unequivocal acceptance and affirmation of LGBTQ+ behavior or you are against it. In the eyes of the LGBTQ+ community, to “love” them is to accept and affirm their views on sexuality and identity.

We all have first-hand experience that the teen years are turbulent and a time of transition. Adolescent health studies have shown that homosexual attractions and feelings of transgender identity are often just that, transitory.

What isn’t transitory is that we all are made in God’s image. As image bearers of God, we have moral agency and with our moral choices comes responsibility and accountability. Many in the LGBTQ+ community believe that their identity comes from the LGBTQ+ community.

But that isn’t true. Our communities and groups shape us, but they don’t define us. To believe otherwise is to destroy individual freedom, responsibility, and accountability. That belief is profoundly destructive and dehumanizing.

There are many that believe that the best act of love to teens (and adults) experiencing homosexual or transgender feelings is not to use their currently preferred pronouns, but to address them in a manner that affirms that they are a creation of God, worthy of dignity and equal value. Dignity and value that comes not from a specific group and the ideological presuppositions of that group, but something more transcendent, the dignity and value that comes from being made in God’s image.

We all have a moral duty to care for those struggling with their sexual identity. But we have to understand who these people are in God’s eyes, not according to a particular “group.”

The LGBTQ+ narrative appeals to emotions with broad brush strokes, but the truth can be found in a few simple statements:

All of us have gone astray from God’s truth. Isaiah 53:6

Our iniquities have created a separation from God and have earned His judgment. Isaiah 59:2

Jesus loved us so much He took on our penalty to provide a path to restore our relationship with God. I Peter 2:24, John 3:16

Our true identity is found when our relationship to God is restored through faith in Jesus Christ.

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