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Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
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Posts for February, 2014

Professional heterosexual Jeff Johnston takes non-Biblical position on Facebook gender options

Daniel Gonzales

February 13th, 2014

Facebook has updated their site to allow users to select options for their gender beyond “male” and “female.”  In a surprise to no one Focus On The Family is worked up about this and trotted out their resident ex-gay-for-pay Jeff Johnston to provide quotes for an AP story:

“Of course Facebook is entitled to manage its wildly popular site as it sees fit, but here is the bottom line: It’s impossible to deny the biological reality that humanity is divided into two halves – male and female,” Johnston told the AP.

Except the Bible makes repeated reference to eunuchs* in both the Old and New Testaments.  Which gender box would Johnsnton force Heigai from the Book of Esther to choose? How about the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8? Or Ebed-melech who rescued Jeremiah from the well?  What box on Facebook would Johnston tell them to check?

Even Jesus spoke of eunuchs in Matthew 19:12

“For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.”

Johnston ignores a direct commandment from Jesus and Biblical record to falsely claim a two choice gender binary exists, when it clearly does not as recorded in his own holy book.  Focus seems to agree with Johnston’s position since their PR team tweeted a link to the article.   It’s unclear why Focus has adopted a non-Biblical position on the existence and dignity of transgender people.

 

*As modern medicine has given us hormones and surgery to supersede castration the term “eunuch” is rarely used today. The Biblical context of Matthew 19:12 makes it clear there are multiple reasons for a person being a eunuch beyond involuntary castration, I argue in Biblical times it is was an inclusive term much like “trans” is today. Also, one of the few continuing ancient transgender traditions are the Hijra of South Asia who still today often self identify as both eunuchs and transgender further supporting my assertion the terms are interchangeable.

Taiwanese transgender couple’s marriage allowed

Timothy Kincaid

August 7th, 2013

Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu both transitioned from male to female last July, but Ji-yi did not report her transition until this year. In the meantime, in October, they married.

GayStarNews

In a surprise decision that shocked even the couple themselves, the Taiwanese government has decided not to revoke a marriage between two trans women.

After a marathon meeting with colleagues from justice and welfare ministries and other experts, the Interior Ministry announced today (7 Aug) that the marriage license of Abbygail Wu and Ji-yi Wu should remain valid.

It said the Wus were indeed ‘a man and a woman’ in accordance with civil law when the registration took place. The government respects people’s right to change their gender, it added.

LifeSiteNews’ Ben Johnson misrepresents “Christian position” on transgender people, fails to actually cite the Bible

Daniel Gonzales

August 1st, 2013

Eunuch Ebed-Melek successfully argues against the rest of King Zedekiah’s court and leads a team of 30 men to rescue the prophet Jeremiah from a well. (Jeremiah 38)

 

Ben Johnson of LifeSiteNews is in a tizzy over Pat Robertson’s declaration that transgender people altering their bodies is not a sin and thus he will not condemn it. Johnson cites multiple sources attempting to condemn transgender people.

Traditional Christians have condemned such actions as a form of self-mutilation since the days of the ancient church.

Well that’s overly broad and has no source to back it up.

Speaking specifically of castration, the Apostolic Canons, a fourth century Syrian document, states, “If a layman mutilate himself, let him be excommunicated for three years, as practising against his own life.”

The Apostolic Canons were merely church orders issued in 692, many of which were rejected by Pope Constantine.  The Apostolic Canons were written several centuries after the last books of the Bible were written.  Johnson continues to cite irrelevant sources:

More contemporary teachers uphold the Christian admonition to maintain one’s biological gender and respect our bodies.

“To destroy organs purposefully that are healthy and functioning, and to try to create imitation organs which will never have the genuineness and functioning of authentic organs lacks charity,” said Fr. William Saunders, professor of Catechetics and Theology at Christendom College’s Notre Dame Graduate School. “Such surgery which purposefully destroys the bodily integrity of the person must be condemned.”

Continuing to avoid citing the Bible at all costs, Johnson instead cites the National Catholic Bioethics Center for his final jab at trans people.  I won’t bore you with a quote.

Had Johnson bothered to open his Bible he might find clarity with Matthew 19:12 which quotes Jesus:

For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. [KJV]

Yes, the King James Version quotes Jesus as using the phrase “born that way.”  I’m sure printing that would cause LifeSiteNews all sorts of problems.

Or perhaps Johnson could ask why God hasn’t selected the transgender person mentioned in The 700 Club to spread the gospel.  This would be Biblically consistent with Acts 8 : 26-39 in which God selects an Ethiopian eunuch to spread His word to Ethiopia. That eunuch by the way was the modern day equivalent of Secretary of the Treasury to the queen of Ethiopia.

In fact in Biblical days eunuchs held the most powerful positions in government. In the Book of Esther eunuchs ran the royal court of King Xerxes and a eunuch by the name of Hegai personally selected Esther to ascend to the throne from the royal harem.

And I haven’t even cited all the references to eunuchs in the Bible, just my personal favorites.  Transgender and gender non-conforming people play major rolls all throughout the Bible and consistently held positions of power and importance.  Rather than looking to the Bible for his article, Johnson grasps at straws to condemn them.

 

A milestone in our community turns 60

A Commentary

Timothy Kincaid

December 1st, 2012

Some years ago my friends John and Terry lived across the street from a frumpy older woman who was, according to them, pretty much indistinguishable from any other frumpy older woman. Her name was Christine Jorgensen.

But six decades ago Jorgensen was anything but frumpy or older. But she was a woman. Named George. And sixty years ago this weekend she set about the process of having her body match her gender. Hers was the first widely known successful transexual transition.

Much of the rest is known. She was a curiosity, a celebrity. And Christine did what she could to educate and inform an incredulous public. BBC has a nice write up of her life.

But for me, the point is that at the end, after the glamour was gone she was exactly what she was all the time: a woman.

We can sometimes forget this from the way that Hollywood or the media can at times report on the subject. A transgender woman or man is almost always just that: a “transgender woman” and “transgender man”, as though there must be an asterisk on their gender.

But while politics and prejudice can very often demand that trans folk place this aspect of their being first and fight for their rights, they are not the “colorful edge” of the LGBT community and the processes they may have chosen to align their body with their gender does not define their gender.

Transgender poeple are neither exotic flowers or freaks. They are not as a whole glamorous and exciting or “a man in a dress”. They’re just people. And, in my experience, the novelty soon wears off and then you see transgender people through their humanity – some good, some less so – all just living their lives with integrity, but no asterisk.