Gender and the Church: An Update

So last year I wrote a post discussing on my urgency to write my senior research project on gender and Christianity, specifically relating to transgender individuals and the Church, as well as passages in the Old Testament and New Testament that are used to against transgender people. And I was extremely excited about it. I spent the remainder of that summer lightly researching and reading, thinking I would be able to write a few exegetical papers and learn a bit of gender or queer theory, and then educate and wow my professors at my presentation. Well, that didn’t happen.

What did happen was a lot of negotiating on my topic being approved and figuring out what kind of resources I could actually use for an academic paper. The routes that we presented to me were either to write an extensive exegetical paper on Deuteronomy 22:5 and only focus on the text and not the implications towards the transgender community, or to write a theological paper covering both NT and OT views of transgender people. I was sort of stuck between these two options, and I began researching for the latter project (my professor recommended I read Mark Yarhouse’s book on ministering to people with gender dysphoria) only to find that the amount of writings on Christianity and the transgender community, in the academic realm, was sparse and heavily against transgender people, whereas there was a multitude of writings from nonacademic authors that I could not use primarily because they were on blogs or these individuals were not academic enough to have authority.

And ultimately, I’m not a theologian. Theology has never been one of my strengths, nor have I ever had an extensive interest in it at all. So I came to a point where I just had to let this project go, most likely indefinitely. What matters to me more is to be an effective ally in what I do, and that means writing a good argument and being thoroughly researched in this area. I’m not at that level yet, and I wouldn’t be doing the LGBTQ+ community any help by writing a poorly-researched paper that would immediately be disregarded. What I can do, however, is do research in other areas (such as exegetical papers with problematic passages, translation issues, etc.) that can benefit LGBTQ+ Christians as well as the LGBTQ+ community as a whole.

For now, I will do my best to fight for and support the LGBTQ+ community the best that I can and continue to lift up their voices.

 

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