How Grandparents Can Respond to LGBT Issues Part 1: Being Informed

An experienced marriage and family counselor recently shared that her last three clients had come in to discuss having underage granddaughters who had disclosed that they are lesbians. All three said that there were no obvious signs of interest in homosexuality prior to the disclosures and suspected that their grandchildren had been influenced by the current culture which is encouraging kids to pick a gender and explore their sexual preferences.

In this post (Part 1), we’ll explore how we, as Christians, can respond to confused parents and grandchildren with grace and truth by first looking at the facts about sexual orientation and transgenderism. Part Two of this post covers specific ways to help our children and grandchildren as we navigate this issue with grace and truth. Please join us in praying for God’s glory and blessing as we seek to help families.

While there may be similarities or clusters of commonalities, it’s important to understand that not every scenario of a declared LGBT “identity” is the same.

To date, there has been no genetic causation found to be responsible for a person being “born” with a predetermined path for same-sex attraction (the current terms for this being “lesbian” for females or “gay” for males). Research is varied on this topic and most often not objectively reported by media sources, but the fact is that even liberal organizations and sources admit that a direct and singular genetic or biological causation is unproven and even unlikely to be found.

That’s because sexuality, which contains behavioral and relational elements, is more complex than a mere “digit” on a gene. At the same time, for many individuals, it’s more complex than merely being a conscious one-time “choice.”

Behaviors can certainly be understood as a choice, whereas attractions often feel spontaneous or unchosen by individuals. Nonetheless, it’s misleading and inaccurate to say that people are simply “born this way.”

Adding to the variability and variety among personal experiences, is the reference “I’m ‘bi’” – meaning “bisexual.” Bisexuality refers to having no exclusive attraction toward people of one particular sex and this also appears to be based on an individual’s subjective experience and preference in any given context or particular relationship.

Another major area of current attention is “being trans” or “non-binary.” This refers to transgenderism. Being “trans” relates to the expression of a gender identity that is different from one’s biological sex at birth.

As a side issue, it’s important to know that a very small number of individuals are verifiably and medically born with biological abnormalities such as ambiguous genitals or abnormalities of the gonads, chromosomes or hormones. These rare conditions are called Disorders of Sexual Development (DSDs). Individuals affected by DSD’s understandably have potential confusion about their gender related to their known genetic variations or developmental anomalies. While this confusion leads some to identify with the opposite gender of what appeared predominant at birth, later in life, most come to identify with the gender most physically recognized at birth.

By contrast, people who come to identify as the gender that is opposite of their biology (without any biological abnormalities) make up the majority of what is labeled as “transgendered” in the world today.

Transgenderism in its current form was quite uncommon in decades past but recent cultural influences have led to many people- mostly adolescents and young adults- questioning their sexual identity in this way. Still, despite all of the attention transgenderism has received in the popular culture, the incidence of transgenderism is estimated to be approximately .5% of the US population.

Due to what some in the mental health and counseling field consider “social contagion,” the reported numbers seem to be rising. Some LGBT activists believe that the number is “silently” higher because those who are “transgender” are afraid to report their experience. While this may be true since, very unfortunately, ridicule for struggling and “different” individuals does exist, the number is still disproportionate compared to the large social and public policy unrest over this topic.

LGBT activists are quite vocal and target their arguments toward young and relatively inexperienced parents. They often describe very normal childhood behaviors as evidence of homosexuality or transgenderism and then tell parents that they need to nurture those desires in their children. If they don’t, they are considered to be neglectful and abusive parents.

Grandparents can draw on their experiences in parenting to help their children understand the problems with this point of view.

For example, if a preschooler enjoys putting on his mother’s high heels and walking around the house, that may be described by an LGBT activist as evidence that he is “expressing his natural self” and therefore gay. However, it is very common and normal young child behavior and usually indicates that the child loves his mother and enjoys copying her and pretending. Fixations, however, related to behaviors of the opposite sex are appropriate to assess and very gently and strategically assess further. Similarly, a girl playing with toys that are defined as “traditionally male” should not be interpreted as evidence that she is a lesbian.

Likewise, when a teenage girl reports that she had a dream about kissing a girl, this does not mean that she is a lesbian. Many heterosexual adolescents and even adult women report having an occasional dream of this nature during some period of their development or during some emotionally impressionable moment in their lives. The same is true for heterosexual men. While dreams can indicate things that are in our subconscious or serve as a source of anxiety, sometimes they are not necessarily associated with reality and are certainly not “determinant” at all.

The interpretations of activists or others who don’t understand normal human development are often accepted by confused parents and their children because they offer something that some Christians have failed to fully represent from their faith: Christ-like empathy and compassion. Unfortunately, motivated at times by fear or “old cultural baggage,” the knee-jerk reaction of many in the Christian community is to condemn, lecture, and quote Scripture to those struggling with confusion about sexual identity.

It is interesting that while the Bible clearly defines what sexual sin is, most people put sexual issues in a category exclusively of their own, as if they are so much worse than the sins of dishonesty, pride or stealing. Responses are often harsher than for other sinful behaviors. Yet, there is nothing in the Bible that indicates that a misunderstanding of, or participation in, sexual sin should be handled any differently than other sins that may pull your children or grandchildren off track for a while.

Yes, the natural physical, emotional, and relational outcomes may have different or even greater “costs” to them but this fact remains: Patience and grace is required in order to influence and show Christian love and a biblical path in response to these very real and heartfelt concerns. A listening ear and a willingness to be with children or grandchildren as they struggle to define all aspects of a person’s identity is a large and undying gift that can be given by grandparents. 

If you see confusion that gets worse by the day, a referral to a competent, licensed Christian counselor may be helpful. Those who are well-trained in how to respond to sexual identity issues will help confused parents to understand the truth about sexual identity. Also, they will not participate in shaming coercive practices which directly “force” viewpoints on a hurting child who may be attached (sometimes for very good reason) to their presently-declared identity or identity struggle. Instead, they will help parents and their children work through any confusion they have about sexual identity, while being even-handed, objective and compassionate (avoiding fear tactics regarding the client’s specific viewpoints even if they conflict with the Bible’s message on sexuality).

We need to have compassion for the fact that we are all inundated with inaccurate information about sexuality – and appreciate the fact that simply “telling someone about the Bible” isn’t typically the most effective path to influence their connection to Christ’s path for them.

Bear in mind that, unfortunately, young parents are encouraged to allow their kids to explore much more than the children are capable of handling and their children get frequent enticements to engage in various forms of sexual exploration. Without anyone to listen and provide some wisdom and discernment, parents and grandchildren may listen to the voices of opinionated activists. Struggling grandchildren will then naturally drift toward what their peers and the popular culture recommend. However, with patient, loving, steady, calm, and concerned adults in their lives, they will accept grace and be open to hearing the truth.

The truth about gender is that it is binary.

Every human being has DNA that designates whether the person is a male or female. Regardless of how someone feels, his or her DNA determines biological sex – and biological sex and gender are intended to be understood as one-in-the-same. People can alter their behavior to live as a male in a female body or vice versa but changing the behavior does not change their sex.

Likewise, undergoing surgeries to change one’s anatomy or participating in hormone therapy does not change an individual’s sex chromosomes. These types of intrusive, cosmetic, and biologically-altering treatments are very dangerous, particularly when provided to young children and adolescents.

We have absolutely no information proving the safety or the long-term physical and psychological effects of many of these recently “popularized” and fairly new procedures. Furthermore, children and adolescents do not possess the maturity or cognitive ability to make informed and rational decisions about complex issues that will significantly affect them for the rest of their lives. We know this intuitively, but even brain science suggests it. An individual’s prefrontal cortex of the brain (where forethought and rational decision-making lies) is not fully developed until between the ages of 20-24.

As we see here, with so much critical physical development still ongoing, the disruption to nature’s course by a hormonal intervention is simply and clearly not advisable.

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13 thoughts on “How Grandparents Can Respond to LGBT Issues Part 1: Being Informed”

  1. I was very sad when last year I heard My oldest grandson was gay. He had always loved the Lord and served Him on the mission field. He has done a complete turn around. He is a far leftest and does not want to talk about the Lord. He was going into the ministry and has changed his major to Political Sciene and is far left politics. He has struggled for years. Parents divorced when he was a baby . Mom remarried 8 years ago and Micgael my grandson and his stepfather do not get along. His real father is not in his life either. I do a lot of praying and appreciate your prayers for him. This is very much a topic of discussion on Grandparenting. I was so glad to see the topic discussed. Thank you.Debbie Blank

    1. Legacy Coalition Blog Team

      Thank you for sharing and allowing us the privilege of joining you in prayer. May God do a mighty work in this young man’s life.

  2. Joann Y. Ashworth

    Thank you for an excellent and well written article. I am a grandmother of 6. We have weekly family meals on Friday night that allows for the discussion of many topics. One powerful discussion activity is the sharing of our own stories.
    When I was in the 6th grade, I was interested in what it felt like to be a boy. So for a couple days, I wore boy clothes, styled my hair like a boy and carried my books like a boy. The end point was that my curiosity was at best shallow, but it was satisfied. This occurred in the 1960s. NO EXTERNAL force or ideology influenced me. I was not told I was something I was not, nor was I mocked or disciplined in anyway. It was just simple child curiosity that was allowed to run its easy course.
    I have shared this with my adult children when they were younger and now with my grandchildren as the conversation has made its natural appearance.
    I have learned that not everyone has had this kind of curiosity, but others have had their unique curiosities – such as alien time travel, other culture curiosity and so forth (my best friend Barbara decided she wanted to be an Indian. She got to build a teepee and live in it during a winter weekend. She learned a lot, including she liked her home and family). She remains a best friend that continues to share story with me.
    My counsel is that curiosity is natural (yet there must be some safe guardrails and guidance). Curiosity does not determine an end point destiny.
    Sexual mutilation is wrong and the science on this is clear. My 14 yr old grandson and I had a discussion regarding the idea of ‘just because something can be done -should it be done?’ We watched the Last King of Scotland. The brutal film gave deep food for thought.
    I look forward to reading part II

  3. Thank you so much for this information. It’s good to have something to go back to when needed.
    Please pray for my daughter who is in a lesbian relationship, and for my grandchildren and their parents who believe that this is all ok.

  4. Please pray for my 12 yr old grandson. He just told me 2 weeks ago that he has a boyfriend. He does like girls, too, apparently. I spoke with him about what the bible says about this (and all sin that we are not willing to give up). He knows we love him, but this concerns me. He watches anime and pokemon – both of which I am against, but his mom is not. His mom is not walking with the Lord right now. She just broke up with her boyfriend that she has a 1 yr old daughter with. He is abusive to both of my grandsons (mostly verbally, but has hit them). She is against me at this point, so I really have no input, but prayer. The 12 yr old was also sexually abused by his biological father when he was small – under 4. His mom is overbearing with him, but not the other 2 children. Please, please, please pray for all 4 of them. Thank you.

  5. Pingback: How Grandparents Can Respond to LGBT Issues Part 2: Ways to Help - Legacy Coalition

  6. I am wondering if the focus should mainly be on helping a child or grandchild understand their identity in Christ and not focused on the sexual symptoms. I say this because even though I don’t have a sexual identity problem, I have had an identity in Christ problem and that has led me to believe all kinds of lies about myself and caused me to live in ways that go against who God says I am. The sexual aspect is just a symptom of the greater root identity problem.

  7. Thank you for this intelligent and compassionate article. I don’t have a situation similar to others who commented but I’m grateful for your input. Will these articles always be available? Thanks much.

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