In the complex landscape of today's society, young people often wrestle with questions of identity and self-discovery, and one topic that has gained prominence is gender confusion. As a non-profit mentoring organization with Christian roots, it is our mission to guide and support young minds through the challenges they face, offering insights rooted in the timeless wisdom of God's Word.
Understanding Gender Confusion:
Gender confusion among young people is a multifaceted issue influenced by societal expectations, cultural shifts and personal experiences. According to the Pew Research Center, about 5% of young adults in the United States say that their gender is different from their sex assigned at birth. According to Reuters, in 2021 about 42,000 children and teens in the United States, received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria, which was almost triple the amount diagnosed in 2017. It is safe to say that number has increased greatly since 2021. When children receive this diagnosis, they can be given puberty blockers which block the release of the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen. Over the five year span of 2017-2021, 4780 children were given these puberty blockers, this number includes only those surgeries covered by insurance with a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. At least 14,726 minors also received hormone therapy in the same time-frame. Some of the results of hormone therapy are permanent. In the time frame of 2019-2021, there were over 50 surgeries to remove genitals and at least 776 surgeries to remove breasts on minors. These statistics are heartbreaking. Furthermore, when these decisions are made at a young age, they are often met with regret later, like the case of Chloe Cole, you can read about here. It is crucial for mentors, parents and caregivers to approach these discussions with empathy, recognizing the unique struggles each individual faces.
At the heart of our mentoring philosophy is the unwavering belief in the authority and relevance of God's Word. The Bible serves as a guiding light, offering clarity on matters of identity, purpose, and, yes, gender.
Created in God's Image:
The book of Genesis teaches us that every person is fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 (NIV) declares, "So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." This foundational truth emphasizes the intentional design of distinct, complementary genders.
Our Mentor's Testimony:
When one of our mentors first met their student, they were using a boy's name at school, trying to fit in by giving what she thought were the right answers. The student told their mentor that this name was given to her because of her tough demeanor on the playground. However, the mentor had a suspicion that she was wrestling with her identity. In their conversation, the first thing she asked was about her thoughts on being transgender, revealing her potential inner struggle with identity. Feeling lost and unaffirmed, this student didn't know who she truly was or that she was a Child of God.
Despite the schools' push for self-identification, the student’s parents were struggling with their own issues and couldn't provide the affirmation she needed. Our mentor stated that her student’s mother shared that she would rather her daughter be happy and not try to kill herself, so she could be whoever she wanted to be. Our mentor responded by telling her that this is not right; she is a girl by God’s own design.
This student recently gave their heart to Jesus, and our mentor asked her, “Why are you going by a boy’s name at school? It is time you got a new identity.” Upon transitioning to a new school due to bullying, the student found solace in a friendship with their mentor, who consistently shared God's love and truth with her. She also started going by her given
birth name once again.
Despite her difficult upbringing, our mentor's affirmations helped this student to see themselves as beautiful and worthy. Previously in their relationship, when our mentor asked the student what she thought about herself, she said she felt only negative things. The more a student hears that they are beautiful, accepted, and made in the image of God, the more they begin to believe that truth themselves.
Our mentor stresses the importance of truly listening to her student, to hear her desires, wants and preferences. When she got her student a Christmas present, her student told her, “You really 'get' me. None of my other family members got me anything that I like.” When her student stated that her home life is hectic due to eight people living in her house, our mentor began bringing her to her own house for activities, where she experienced peace. Through the power of mentorship and unconditional love, children like this student, can find acceptance and transformation.
God's Sovereign Plan:
Psalm 139 further reinforces that each person is intricately woven together by the Creator. Verses 13-14 (NIV) state, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." This reaffirms God's sovereign plan in shaping each individual, including their gender.
Our mentor Natalie’s student’s gender confusion started at a young age due to abuse. From age 2-14, every person who was supposed to be a caretaker or protector in her life became a traumatizing force of evil, leaving her with nothing but hurt and shame. She associates her birth name with everything negative and feels emotionally fragmented, lacking proper guidance on right and wrong. According to the school, certain characteristics make her more like a boy, perpetuating the confusion. In 2024, the concept of gender has evolved beyond traditional male and female identities, adding to her struggle in understanding her identity as a child of God.
Some individuals become fragmented as a coping mechanism to escape trauma, adopting alter-personalities to deal with their experiences. This was the same situation with Natalie’s student. She developed her own new personality and new name. Without the Word of God and healthy relationships, they struggle to discern truth from falsehood, seeking validation in others who share similar stories. The battle lies within the mind, requiring renewal and redemption through the Holy Spirit. Each person is uniquely purposed by God, emphasizing the importance of consistent, truthful guidance.
With her student, Natalie focuses on John 3:16, emphasizing the promise of eternal life through belief in Christ. She also emphasizes the word 'whoever' to reassure her student that there are no additional requirements for salvation beyond belief in Christ. This verse serves as a lifeline during moments of self-harm or negativity, offering the hope of a new life free from brokenness and sin. Despite ongoing struggles and questions, her student has shown progress, exemplifying the transformative power of God's word.
Initially fearful and traumatized, her student sought comfort and security from Natalie, experiencing a profound shift from victimization to independence through the healing power of God's Word. The supernatural realm is acknowledged as a battleground, requiring love, truth, and intervention to combat darkness and offer eternal life through Jesus.
It is essential to approach discussions around gender with compassion and humility. Colossians 3:12 encourages us as God’s people to "clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” By acknowledging the challenges young people face, having compassion, and being patient we can provide a supportive environment for them to explore their identity within the framework of God's love. Our compassion must not outweigh the truth however.
Restoration and Redemption:
For those who may struggle with feelings of confusion or identity, it is crucial to emphasize the hope found in God's grace. Through the transformative power of Christ, individuals can experience healing, restoration, and a renewed sense of purpose.
In navigating the complexities of gender confusion, MentorMe stands firm in the belief that God's Word provides a timeless and unwavering guide. By fostering understanding, compassion, and biblical wisdom, we strive to empower young minds to embrace their identity as fearfully and wonderfully made children of God.