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Dear Gramps,

Those who have been born male and have chosen to live in this world as a woman are referred to in the press as “she” and the new feminine name they go by.    The same goes for the opposite gender.  Should Latter-day Saints participate in the charade, and take up with the ways of the world, and do the same thing?  Or should they honor the gender God gave these people  when they were born into this world (and will continue to have after the resurrection throughout all eternity)?







Gramps has been talking with his friends about this issue and trying to figure out how to address it. There are various issues in play here.

On the one hand, we have clear counsel from our prophets that we must be kind in our disagreements and reflect the Savior’s love in all our communications. Most people who undergo so-called “gender reassignment” are tortured souls, dealing with issues the rest of us don’t even imagine. When a man goes so far as to castrate himself, receive estrogen injections, and otherwise live a “feminime” lifestyle (as he sees it), and requests to be called “she”, it seems churlish to deny him (her) this request. It costs us nothing and makes him/her happy, so where’s the harm?

On the other hand, there is a deep danger here. We have many social fictions that we hold to, just because it makes life go easier for all involved. For example, we hold a door open for women, not because we think women unable to open their own doors, but because we want to show we value women. Perhaps our society doesn’t really value women as we should, but a simple act like holding the door, though it may perpetuate a fiction, helps remind us of the deep truth underlying that fiction.

“Gender reassignment” is another social fiction, but in my opinion, one of more dubious value. We pretend that a man is a woman (or vice versa) because that person has requested we do so. For the most part, perhaps this is innocuous. But we must always remember that it is a fiction. We must never allow ourselves to believe that “gender” is a false construct, and that we may choose our gender just as we choose our hairstyle. In the words of The Family: A Proclamation to the World, “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

We live in this world and among its societies. We conform to the laws and societal customs of those societies unless such laws or customs force us into disobeying the Lord. In this case, calling a man “she” is not fundamentally a moral issue. So in my judgment, we teach our truths, publicly and (especially) privately, and also “render unto Caeser” by calling people by whatever gender they prefer.





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