It’s a distraction from real problems, honey — problems like poverty, injustice, public safety. Some in government don’t want to talk about these things because realistic ideas to make them better conflict with their ideologies and other agendas.
Sometime ago I promised my preciously little great grand- daughter that she could ask me anything and that, to the best of my ability, I would always answer her honestly — but appropriately. Honesty has not proved to be a challenge for me. Coming up with age appropriate answers sometimes have been, however; she is, afterall, only seven. Take for example the time she asked me from where babies come out of their mommies’ bellies. Fortunately, she had already figured this out for herself and answered it in the phrasing of her question to me. She was just seeking confirmation. Whew!
Recently, after I had been back from our month-long trip to Asia only a day or two, my little darling was dropped off by her mother for Opa-provided daycare. I was still kicked-back in my recliner after having just finished my morning walk with Benji, my dog. My little darling crawled up in the chair with me for some morning snuggle time. What a joy. Then, after a few minutes of quiet time, her attention was drawn to a huge stack of magazines on our coffee table. Funny that we still call it a coffee table since we never drink coffee in the front room where it rests. The table is just for walking around — where we stack magazines and yet-to-be-read mail after separating that which might matter from all the junk that shows up daily. My little darling slipped down from my lap and stood looking at something on the coffee table for a few moments. On top of one of the stacks of magazines, my stack of ‘The Week’ magazines, was a recent edition featuring an illustration showing the back of a little girl’s head, her hair in pigtails. The little girl’s image was facing two restroom doors, one with the ubiquitous male symbol and one with the equally ubiquitous female symbol. The symbols are both ubiquitous because they appear everywhere and always side-by-side or across a hall from one another in public places. The symbols were shown throwing rocks at each other. Above the magazine’s cover illustration was the title of a highlighted article found within, “Bathroom Wars”.
“Opa, what does bathroom wars mean?”
Oh, my God – now how do I explain this?
“Come here, honey,” I said. “Sit on my lap, I’ll try to explain.
God makes girls and God makes boys. But sometimes boys don’t feel right about being boys; they want to be girls. Sometimes girls feel this way too; they don’t feel right in girl bodies and want to be boys. It doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. People have different opinions about why this happens. Some say it’s just a mix-up; the natural feelings these persons have just aren’t correct for the bodies they were born with – that it’s not a choice they can make. Others say that it’s a perverted or bad choice that these persons make.”
“Yes, honey. Really.”
“But what does this have to do with bathrooms?”
“Well, everybody needs to use the bathroom from time to time. And those who have or once had boy bodies but now look and act like girls need to go too.”
“Well, I don’t see what difference it makes, Opa.”
“I don’t either, honey,” I said. “But some people really think it does. Some people are making a big fuss about it.”
“Well, Opa. I’ll promise you one thing: I’ll always want to be a girl.”
With that, my little darling’s curiosity was satisfied – the issue was settled. But I can easily image that, had she been a bit more inquisitive, a bit more adult, our dialogue might have continued as follows…
“Why, Opa? Are boys and girls only now feeling confused?
“No, honey,” I said. “I’m pretty sure that there have always been persons who haven’t felt right in the bodies with which they were born. But our society is just now learning to accept these persons as natural children of God. Sadly, some people will never be able to. They think that they can force these persons to behave the way they think they should behave by forcing them to dress appropriate for the bodies they were born with and to use correspondingly appropriate bathrooms. They are justifying laws restricting non-gender appropriate bathroom use by claiming that these persons are a threat to children. But I think this is just scare tactic politics.”
“It’s a distraction from real problems, honey — problems like poverty, injustice, public safety. Some in government don’t want to talk about these things because realistic ideas to make them better conflict with their ideologies and other agendas.”
“Doesn’t God love these persons who aren’t happy with their bodies?”
“Yes, honey, God loves all His children.”
“Then why did he create them to be so confused? And if God didn’t create them to be confused, aren’t they sinning?”
“Good question, honey. But there’s a Bible passage that might help us to understand. It’s in the Gospel according to John, Chapter 9, verses 2 and 3… ‘His disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?’
‘Neither this man nor his parents sinned,’ said Jesus. ‘This happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.‘
“I’m still confused, Opa. What does being born blind have to do with this?”
“I don’t blame you, honey. This is a very difficult issue to understand. Someday you will have your own understanding. Mine is like this: All babies are born different, some pretty like you, some not quite so pretty. Some are born with deformities, like being blind, or without arms or legs. But this does not make them bad persons. Persons born with a disconnect between their physical selves and their sexual identity aren’t bad people either – not as I understand the passage in the Book of John that I just shared. To me, ‘the works of God,’ some translations read, ‘workings of God should be manifested,’ refers to how we are to relate to people who are born different from ourselves. God works through us. He, I think, challenges us to show grace, to love others despite how they are different from us.”
After thinking this over awhile, my little darling said, “Well, I love everybody, Opa. But some are more special to me.”
“I know, honey. Some people are more special to me too!”
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