Mailbag

The Mailbag: Lady looks like a dude?

I believe [a certain, well-known women’s Bible study author/teacher] is a transgender. Her body shape is very masculine, she has larger hands and arms than most women. Her voice is lower. Her facial features are not naturally that of a woman and this is proved by science.

She must have had many treatments to disguise this such as hair removal and hormone therapy.

If she longs to be married, why doesn’t she marry? The answer is that she is transgender. Why does she say she can’t have children? The answer is that she is truly a male.

Further, her traumatic sexual past is testimony of her sexual confusion.

I may be completely wrong on this, after all I have not found any confirmation online whatsoever… but I may also be right.

Many of the questions I receive for The Mailbag are very similar, but every now and then a truly unique question comes my way. I found your e-mail quite interesting, and I sincerely appreciate your eagle eye for a potentially problematic issue in the church. Given the choice between an evangelical woman who blindly trusts everything that labels itself “Christian” and an evangelical woman who may swing and miss every now and then, but is trying her best to be discerning, I’ll take the latter.

But I do believe, barring any hard evidence, that, for now, this is a swing and a miss. Let’s break this down and take a look at each of your thoughts here. I’m going to call this particular teacher “Linda” from here on out.

I believe [a certain, well-known women’s Bible study author/teacher] is a transgender. Her body shape is very masculine, she has larger hands and arms than most women. Her voice is lower. Her facial features are not naturally that of a woman and this is proved by science.

The assertions you’ve made here are your own subjective opinion. Someone else could just as easily look at Linda and perceive her body shape, facial features, etc., to be perfectly within the bounds of femininity. Remember the “What color is this dress?” and “Is this sneaker grey or teal?” pictures that were going around on social media a few years ago? People see things differently and everyone thinks what she’s seeing is the right way to see it.

Your personal perspective is not “proved by science” any more than the perspective of someone who perceives Linda to look feminine.

The article you’ve provided does not “prove” Linda’s particular features are those of a man. It is the abstract for a study that was performed to discover how accurate people’s perceptions are when they are attempting to distinguish between male and female faces. I have not read the whole study (it appears to be access restricted), but I’m guessing the results of the study do not show that all people accurately distinguish between male and female 100% of the time. That actually proves the point I’m making. You could be wrong in assessing Linda’s features as male, or she could have more male-like features and still be 100% genetically female.

She must have had many treatments to disguise this such as hair removal and hormone therapy.

Or she hasn’t had any of these treatments because she’s actually a woman.

If she longs to be married, why doesn’t she marry? The answer is that she is transgender.

That’s a huge leap, statistically, and even anecdotally speaking. The overwhelming majority of women who are single but desire to be married – especially evangelical women – would tell you they are still single because they haven’t met the right man yet. It is not because they are transgender. And that’s almost certainly the reason Linda isn’t married.

Why does she say she can’t have children? The answer is that she is truly a male.

Or, much more likely, because she’s a single evangelical woman. She may be a false teacher, but she may still have the personal conviction that sex outside of marriage is wrong or that IVF or surrogacy are wrong.

Linda also knows which side her bread is buttered on. If she should turn up pregnant outside of wedlock, she would lose a huge chunk of her audience and would likely be dropped by most of the Christian retailers and publishers who promote her, and many of her speaking engagements would be canceled. Even if she said her pregnancy was the result of IVF, there would be enough people in her audience who either think IVF is wrong, or who think she’s lying to cover up sexual sin, that a pregnancy would be detrimental to her career.

Or perhaps she is infertile. Millions of biological women would tell you that their infertility isn’t because they’re truly male.

Or perhaps she is just a strong believer in adoption. Many people – single or married, childless and families that already have biological children, saved and unsaved – adopt children, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with transgenderism.

There could be many reasons Linda either can’t or has chosen not to have biological children, and most of these alternatives are astronomically more likely than Linda being transgender.

Further, her traumatic sexual past is testimony of her sexual confusion.

Then why aren’t we saying all of the other female false teachers – and there are a number of them – who say they were sexually abused are transgender? Yes, sexual abuse can be a contributing factor to someone deciding to become transgender, but it’s not a determining factor. If it were, then everyone who has been sexually abused would decide to become transgender.

I may be completely wrong on this, after all I have not found any confirmation online whatsoever… but I may also be right.

I really appreciate that you realize you may be wrong about this. So many people treat their subjective opinions and perceptions as irrefutable fact, and it’s refreshing that you’re not doing that.

If, in the future, objective evidence comes to light that Linda surgically altered his genetically male body to appear female (ex: Linda admits it, Linda’s doctor publicizes the medical records, etc.), then your perceptions will have been vindicated.

(I sense you’re a person of enough integrity that I don’t really need to say this, but just in case you or another reader needs to hear this…) Until such time, and in the absence of any corroborating evidence, I would beg you not to go around airing your speculations about Linda to others. Here’s why:

  • With zero evidence to back up your claims, spreading your unsubstantiated opinion about Linda around is gossip, and gossip is a sin. It doesn’t matter if she’s a false teacher, an ax murderer, an atheist, or the greatest Christian since the Apostle Paul – gossip is a sin.
  • The fact – supported by biblical evidence – that Linda is a false teacher is more than sufficient reason for people not to follow her. If you want to warn people away from Linda, focus on that.
  • If you share this idea with Linda’s followers as a way of warning against her, they’re going to think you’re a kook and double down on their support of her. (I don’t mean this to sound harsh, I just have a lot of experience in this area, and I know that’s how they’ll react. I mean, these professing Christians think I’m a kook when I provide objective biblical evidence she’s a false teacher.) It’s going to have the opposite effect you’re hoping for.
  • If you share this idea with others, it’s going to damage your credibility, and people won’t listen later when you’re sharing the truth of Scripture with them.
  • If you’re wrong, and Linda gets wind of this speculation, it’s going to be unnecessarily hurtful to her. Most women are very sensitive about the way they look, and it would be unkind and unloving to make these kinds of subjective remarks about her appearance or anyone else’s.

Again, thanks for keeping an eye out for problems and for loving the church enough to want to protect it.


If you have a question about: a Bible passage, an aspect of theology, a current issue in Christianity, or how to biblically handle a family, life, or church situation, comment below (I’ll hold all questions in queue {unpublished} for a future edition of The Mailbag) or send me an e-mail or private message. If your question is chosen for publication, your anonymity will be protected.

10 thoughts on “The Mailbag: Lady looks like a dude?”

  1. Thank you for the kind answer to “Lady looks like a dude” . As a natural born 5’10 woman with not a lot of curves, I am very self conscious about the fact that I am not the average looking woman and it’s something I struggle with to be thankful for to the Lord who made me, and all of us, uniquely and fearfully! My personality is very much one of wanting to be unseen and to quietly blend into the background and yet I was seemingly made to stick out like a sore thumb lol I am healthy and have no reason to be ashamed of the way I am made. One day at a time.
    It tends to only be an issue when I hear what some parts of society say about women who aren’t 5’4 and curvy and don’t fit into their idea. I am happily married and my husband loves me as I am and so it feels silly to feel insecure or to think I’d ever have to prove to anyone that I am and always have been and always will be all woman and nothing has or can change that!

    So, just, again thank you ❤

    Like

  2. Yes, this was an intriguing question and your answers are very logical, practical, and Biblical. Another possibility is that some people are born intersexed by no fault of their own. This could explain a reason why this person knows she cannot have children. There may be more here that meets the eye. Pray for the spiritual life of this person first and foremost-that is my opinion anyway.

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    1. Hi Patti- Technically, that’s possible, but “Linda” being intersex is statistically so much more astronomically unlikely than her being transgender it’s functionally impossible in the real world. Funny you should mention medical intersex. I addressed that topic recently in this article.

      Like

  3. Michelle, you’ll never know how how much I appreciate this article! On more than one occasion, people have looked at my photo online and said I look like Gilbert Gotlieb in drag. Thank you for standing up for those of us who don’t fit the visual standard of femininity.

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  4. Women come in all shapes and sizes, due to genetic variation. Some are hairy, tall, muscular, and have big hands and feet. Some are petite, with delicate features. And, some have size A bra cups!

    It has nothing to do with being transgender.

    Like

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